Overcoming Your Childs Fear of Dogs

overcoming childs fear of dogsThere are a lot of advantages to adopting a puppy into your family. Children learn responsibility, sympathy, and care-taking skills. Our four-legged friends can bring joy to every family member, which has major health benefits for the future. Although, some children may not warm up to the dog as fast as you hoped. Before adopting a dog, its important that you make sure everyone is comfortable with having a new pet. If your child is afraid, your dog wont feel at home and they could develop anxiety or behavioral issues. Read the tips below on how to overcome your child’s fear of dogs before making your decision.

Watch what you say about dogs around your child. You could accidentally, push their fears further. For example, before asking a stranger to pet their dog never ask, “Does your dog bite?”. When a child hears this, they automatically think of a dog as something that could potentially hurt them. Chances are the stranger wont say yes to petting their dog if they have a history of biting.

Start off introducing your child to dogs in movies, TV shows, and books. Then take trips to the park or pet stores so they can see dogs playing from a distance. This way you aren’t forcing them into liking the animal. Let them move at their own pace. Try to keep in mind your own fears and how you would not want someone pushing you into something.

When you think your child is ready, start off introducing them to adult dogs. Puppies are very excited and overwhelming, just like children. Its best you start off with a older dog who will greet them calmly. Some people will host doggie meet and greets, which can be very helpful to be in a group rather than on their own. Maybe even visit a dog in costume! Children love to dress-up and this will show how fun a dog can be!

Teach your child how to interact with a dog. Dogs have several facial expressions and they use a lot of body language to communicate. Discuss their personalities, likes and dislikes and where they usually like to be petted. Make sure they know that they should always ask pet owners before petting their dog. When your child tries to pet a pup for the first time, try and distract him/her so they are not looking directly at your child. Dogs faces tend to look scary even when they aren’t meaning too. Warn them to never push, hit, pull on or tease a dog.

If you think your child is ready for a new pup, try dog-sitting for a friend! This way, you both will get the full experience and understand why we all love our tail-wagging family members!