What to do If Your Child is Scared of Dogs

Children are often scared of dogs, especially larger sized dogs. This can trigger additional problems, as dogs sense fear and may respond with fear and aggressiveness. The problem of a child being scared of dogs can be solved with a bit of training and patience.

Address the Problem

The fear of dogs may be irrational, but may also be triggered by a past event. If your child is old enough, you can talk with him and ask if there is a reason why he is scared of the dog. See if you can remember any event that may have marked your child in the past.

Limit the Time Spent with the Dog

If your child is scared of the dog, you will have to limit the time he spends with the animal. You may keep the dog in the yard and allow the child to see him a few minutes per day at first. Gradually, you can increase this time by 30 minutes, until your child becomes comfortable with the presence of the dog.

Get the Child to Play with a Puppy

Even if your dog is an adult, it helps if your child is exposed to a puppy and gets to play with it. Visit someone with puppies, but make sure the mother of the puppies is not around when your child plays with a puppy. Your child will see how harmless the puppy is and you can explain that your dog is just the same, but grown up.

Show a Good Example

You can show your child that the dog is a friendly pet by playing with him and demonstrating to the child that the dog reacts well when touched or groomed. Your child will probably want to follow your example, as he will see that nothing bad happens when you play with the dog. Gradually, you can have your child pat the dog and play with him. Teach your child not to mishandle the dog, so that the dog won't become aggressive.

Train Your Dog

In addition to training your child how to treat the dog, it is important to have the dog properly trained. The dog should be taught not to jump on people and should respond to commands, respecting the authority of the owner. The child should be taken to at least a few of the training classes and encouraged to interact with the dog. The child can be taught to use certain commands the dog is accustomed to, and this can be an immense help in creating a bond between the child and the dog.

Choosing the Right Dog

If you are getting a dog and also have a child or are planning to have a child, it is important to choose a dog that is suitable for family life and is good with children. Certain dog breeds may be too stubborn or too assertive, and can be difficult to train and may not be suitable for children. Ask advice from breeders and get a dog that has a medium energy level and is suitable for children.