Too Close For Comfort? What to Do About Kids and Dogs at Home
There’s no question that dogs are great for kids. They help teach responsibility, and the close companionship experienced can develop self-esteem and empathy. But when everyone’s at home day in and day out, is there such a thing as too much time together?
We all need our space sometimes, and dogs are no exception. With that said, there are some important guidelines to ensure kids and dogs stay safe and happy at home.
There’s No Place I’d Rather Be
The concept of cabin fever has never been so acutely felt in our modern age as it is right now. Some families are lucky enough to share their home with a pet or two, a fact that makes staying at home more fun, comforting and more snuggly. If they have their own yard to explore and experience, everyone’s better off.
No matter how big your house or yard might be, chances are the people and pets that cohabitate find ways to get on top of each other.
Kids and dogs are usually great co-conspirators and can be found on the couch together, in a makeshift fort, or hanging around the kitchen hoping for snacks.
When It Gets To Be Too Much
Extended periods of time together can become exhausting, irritating, or both. Sure, everyone loves each other but it’s not necessarily normal to spend every waking moment in each other’s presence. The best things families can do for their pets and kids is to provide structure.
We Love Routine
Dogs are creatures of habit and they become deeply attached to the rhythms of the household. Perhaps previously accustomed to long stretches of “me time”, dogs are now faced with constant company. That’s likely a great thing for them, but not if their personal space or preferences are ignored.
As a result, cases of aggression are becoming more common between people and pets. It’s always vital to avoid a dog bite, but perhaps now more than ever we want everyone at home to stay there safely.
Always supervise interactions between kids and dogs. Watch carefully for even the subtlest body language that says “nope!” and redirect everyone to a more positive outcome.
Instruct your kids to use quiet voices if you see your dog react sensitively to noise, and seperate your kids and dogs if the energy is getting out of control.
What About Anxiety?
It’s not unusual for pets to react anxiously to changes in their routine. Before stay at home orders, pets may have felt separation anxiety when parted from their loved ones. Now, it’s possible for some pets to feel anxious about spending too much time with their beloved humans.
Kids and Dogs
Exercise can resolve most issues. Take your dog out for several walks, jogs or hikes every day. This clears up our mental clutter, and gives them an outlet for any negative feelings.
You could also use this time to focus on agility training or obedience training. Ever wanted to teach your pet to run alongside your bike? This may be the perfect time to enrich their skill set and deepen the bond between you.
Adding structure to your household’s routine will go a long way toward reducing chaos. If you have any questions about how to set up your kids and dogs for successful cohabitation, our team at Animal Family Veterinary Care Center is always here for you.