Monday, January 23, 2012

Pibbles and Kids

On our Facebook page, we asked for you to give us topics to write about - and you gave us kids. Are pit bulls great with kids? Yes. And no. ?? Let me explain. Pictured is Axle with my (at the time) 6 month old nephew. He and his mom, also pictured, stayed with us for about a month. Axle LOVED kiddo. He gave him kisses and watched over him like a mother hen would her chicks. My other dog, Otto, an American Bulldog/Bull Terrier mix, also loved the little man. I know the kid is wearing the bib saying sloppy kisses...but I really think the dogs have him beat!

So when are pit bulls and other bully breeds NOT good with kids? Well, pit bulls and all dogs are like people - they are individuals. Not all dogs like kids. Not all kids like dogs...and the list could go on. Would I let an excitable pit bull (or other larger dog) go run amok with small children? No. Their exuberance could lead to some bumped heads and skinned knees...and a whole lot of tears. Never leave children unsupervised with ANY dog! Just because you know how your dog behaves and reacts to things doesn't mean your child does...and they usually don't.

Teach kids from an early age that a dog is much more than a furry playmate - they are part of the family and should be respected. You don't tug ears, yank tails and ride them like horses. You don't scare them or tease them. You love and respect them at all times, and they will give the same to you.

Pets are part of family planning. If you already have children, I recommend waiting until they are older before introducing a new pet to the family. You will have more time to spend training the dog, and your kids will have a better understanding of what they are being taught. If you already have dogs, don't worry - I have an answer for you, too. If we were to have a baby, Axle would probably abandon our room for the nursery because that would be "his" kid.

How do you prepare your home and your dog for the newcomer? Start by teaching your dog to respect the nursery. I wouldn't allow the dog in there at first. This teaches them that there is something different about that room. When you let them in, reward them for good, calm behaviors. Before you bring the new baby home, bring home some of his/her clothing or a dirty diaper in a plastic bag (gross, I know) for your dog to check out. This will get the dog familiar with your baby's scent. Haven't you ever seen Lady and the Tramp? Yeah, it pretty much happens that way...only there won't be any rats...we hope.

So what's the bottom line? Dogs, of any kind, can do great with kids as long as you follow these simple rules:

1. Know your dog.

2. Never leave ANY children unsupervised with ANY dog.

3. Teach your kids about boundaries and to respect dogs, as well as all other animals.

With a lot of love, patience and common sense, your dog can have a great relationship with children. :)

Love, peace and pibbles!

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