Puppies and dogs often act out of instinctive behavior. So when a child tries to hug a dog around the neck or pet the dog from over his or her head, the dog may feel threatened. Some dogs will growl, snap or bite to stop the hugging. It’s best to teach children to pet underneath the dog’s chin instead.
TAKE A SEAT
Have your child play with the puppy at his level, near the floor, so the pup feels more comfortable. You should encourage your child to sit down whenever he or she is holding the puppy. Puppies tend to wiggle around and could be injured if they fall to the ground.
Puppies tend to chew on everything, including hands and arms, when they are teething. Keep a chew toy around at playtime to divert the puppy’s teeth away from your child (or household and clothing items). This will also give the puppy positive reinforcement to playtime or being held by your child.
FOR THE BIG DOGS
If you are introducing larger dogs into your family, let your child sit on your lap so the dog can get to know both of you. This allows you to control your child and teach the proper way to pet a dog.
Some pets get very excited by snacks, and require patience by the person feeding the treats. Children sometimes get nervous when a dog tries to take a treat from their hand, causing the dog to jump or lunge to get the treat, or nip at the child’s hand. Teach your child to put the treat in an open palm, and place your hand underneath your child's hand to help guide him.
The Kent County Animal Shelter recommends taking your puppy or dog to obedience classes. Activities such as running, jumping or making noise can make a dog react in a similar fashion. Puppies and dogs need to learn appropriate behaviors. For the first few days, make sure children play quietly and calmly with the pet, until they get adjusted to one another. You should teach your pets a command to get them to stop bad behavior when play gets too rough. Don’t punish a dog that misbehaves, as it could make the pet frightened of you or your children.
Teach your pet what is off-limits. If you catch your dog chewing on something he shouldn't, stop the behavior by making a loud noise. Reward the dog for stopping the bad behavior by giving it a chew toy and verbal praise. Avoid confusing the dog by making toys of old socks, shoes or children's toys that look like items that are off-limits. Dogs can’t tell the difference between the old and items still in use.