Although it is paramount that we teach children how to treat animals, we must also be realistic. There may come a time in the dog’s life where he is faced with a less than ideal child. We need to ensure that he knows how to cope.
Child proofing is what we do with our puppies to prevent them from reacting negatively to the advances of an over-zealous toddler or child.
These exercises consist of manhandling the pup in the same manner that any little kid might. But we add something else to the equation: treats. The idea is to turn an uncomfortable situation into a rewarding one for the pup.
Child proofing is a very important precautionary measure that helps to ensure against your adult dog biting a child. Remember, kids get wild and kids can be rough. This can be enough for a dog to react aggressively from fear or lack of socialization or a “natural predatory” reaction that could result in injury to a child.
Everyone in the family who is responsible and capable of taking part in this exercise should do so.
You can do these exercises at home.
Systematically go through the following exercises using tasty treats to turn the situation into a fun and light-hearted game. Although we are going to handle the pup more aggressively than usual, do not be overly rough.
The objective is to get the puppy comfortable with potential rough handling or encounters that he may have with young children over the course of his life. It is not our objective to handle the puppy in an unnecessarily rough manner and or startle him or make him uncomfortable or skittish. 1. Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 2nd ed. (New York:William Collins + World Publishing Co., 1977)