5. Kids and Dogs
Although, kids and dogs are everyone’s favorite photographic subject, they present special problems for parents. Teaching the new Greyhound manners must go hand-in-hand with teaching the children manners around the new pet.
Please keep in mind that you are dealing with a live, adult animal with all the accompanying instincts and needs. The Greyhound is one of the most easy-going breeds, but it is nonetheless just a dog.
In order to establish a loving relationship between Greyhound and child, it is a wise idea to review the following ideas with the children.
- The Greyhound is not a toy. It deserves respect, personal space, and responsible care.
- No living creature would enjoy being pounced on while sleeping. Call the dog’s name before startling any sleeping dog. If the dog is sleeping, he/she needs rest. When he/she is ready to play, the dog will let you know. Remember, a Greyhound often sleeps with his/her eyes open.
- A Greyhound needs a place of his/her own to rest undisturbed. An open crate is an excellent choice, but off limits to children.
- Small children often want to express their affection for the Greyhound by hugging or clinging to the dog. Teach your children that this can be ‘scary’ for the dog and encourage gentle stroking of the neck and shoulders or brushing instead.
- Tails and ears are private things, not play things.
- It is important to reinforce to the dog that children are part of the ‘human coaching team’ not littermates. Even though a child may be eye level, your dog must understand that the child is still a person and must respond accordingly. For this reason, we strongly recommend that your Greyhound does not share your child’s bed or bedroom.
- Outdoor games with your Greyhound should be closely supervised, especially initially and until both child and dog are fully trained.
- Instead of running and jumping with your new pet, have your child join you as you stand in place and happily encourage your dog to come to you. This provides exercise for the dog and reminds him that all people are in control, whether large or small.
- The main rule to keep in mind concerning children and dogs is easy – SAFETY FIRST. This applies to both the dog and the kids. Do not leave young children and dogs alone together! If you cannot supervise, separate your dog from the child!
Suggested reading: Childproofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson