How Do We Work with Dogs Who Are Afraid of Children?
It is imperative that owners refrain from correcting the behavior of dogs who exhibit symptoms of fear, hostility, or avoidance. When a dog is exhibiting scared behaviors, forcing her into a setting that she is not comfortable with might make the dog’s fear even more severe.
Instead of making the dog feel better about the presence of the youngster, punishment is more likely to make the dog fearful and aggressive toward the child.
In order for children and dogs to have positive interactions, one of the most important factors is for the dog to be in excellent overall health. A sick dog, one that is in pain or discomfort due to illnesses such as arthritis, or one that has been accidentally wounded by a kid may react violently, much as humans do when they are unwell or when they experience pain or discomfort.
Young children sometimes have poor control over their motor abilities, which may result in their accidentally hurting a dog by tripping over it, stepping on it, or petting it harshly. Young children under the age of three or four are not yet capable of understanding that other people feel pain and suffering. As a result, they often treat a dog excessively forcefully, causing the dog to be wounded and eliciting an angry reaction from the dog.
If adults have a greater understanding of the nature of fear in dogs, then many issues that arise between children and dogs may be avoided. If dogs have not had positive experiences with children, it is probable that they will be terrified of them and exhibit subtle signals of dread. This is true even for dogs who were raised around children.
The following are some behaviors and manifestations of fear that parents should keep an eye out for in their children:
The dog either cowers away from the kid, slinks away from the child, attempts to exit the room, or avoids the youngster in some other manner.
When the youngster gets closer, the dog will either tuck her tail, flatten her ears, or turn her head away from her.
When the youngster gets closer, the dog exhibits indications of fear or stress, such as excessive lip licking, yawning, or a quick onset of scratching or licking herself.
When the youngster gets closer, the dog makes a snarling or growling sound.
The dog is aggressive toward the kids.
If you see any of these actions in a dog, you should immediately transfer the youngster to a secure location, and you should also confine the dog to an area where she can feel comfortable. Seek the advice of a veterinary behaviorist or another certified behavior specialist, such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, if you notice that these behaviors occur every time the dog is in the presence of youngsters.
In the event that this cannot be accomplished, you should make preparations to keep the dog away from the children at all times until it can be taught that children are nothing to be afraid of.
Also, keep in mind that children’s attempts to touch or grasp a dog might result in unpleasant encounters for both parties. In addition, any dog, regardless of breed, is susceptible to developing a medical condition (such as dental disease, ear infection, or arthritis) that will make her less patient with interactions with youngsters.
Can a Dalmatian Alter Its Pattern of Spots?
After biting a youngster the previous day, Willie, a male Dalmatian who was six years old at the time, was brought in to see his veterinarian on a Monday morning so that he might be put to sleep.
His veterinarian, who was aware that Willie had previously spent time with a large number of youngsters and had never shown aggressive behavior in the past, was taken aback by the incident.
This is the tale that Paula, his owner, had to tell about him: Paula’s house had been visited over the weekend by a friend and her kid, who is six years old. Throughout the course of the weekend, the youngster was reprimanded on many occasions for disturbing Willie when he was sleeping or eating.
Paula saw the youngster go up to Willie while he was dozing on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon when everyone else was in the living room watching television. Willie was on the couch. Because the grownups were concentrating so much on the television, they missed a significant portion of what took place after that.
When they heard Willie growl, however, they turned around just in time to see Willie rush forward and bite the youngster on the face.
The youngster required urgent medical attention due to the severity of the bite, so they took him or her to the emergency department right away.
Paula was astonished and extremely concerned by Willie’s sudden, nasty conduct, and she stated that if there had been an animal emergency clinic nearby, her next stop would have been to have Willie put to sleep. Paula was very distressed by Willie’s sudden, vicious behavior.
This incident really shocked the veterinarian who worked at the clinic.
Willie was given a complete medical examination by him before he was put to sleep. Willie had been seized by the boy, who then drove his fingernails into Willie’s flesh, leaving ten brilliant red crescent-shaped markings on Willie’s face. He spotted these marks when he examined Willie’s face.
When the owner of the business found out that the youngster had caused injury to Willie, she realized that maybe the child’s actions had not been quite so incorrect after all. She made the decision to take him home and promised that she would never again place him in a position that was as challenging as this one.