Teach Your Child how to Interact With Your Pet
Having pets can be a very rewarding experience for a child’s mental and social development, and having someone to play with can be great for your pet as well. However, without the proper guidance there’s no way for your child to know how they should interact with their furry friend, and this could be dangerous for both your pet and your child. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to teach your child how to behave when playing with or petting animals, and here are a few.
Whenever your child is around your pet, but especially when first introducing them, make sure to be around to correct any behavior that you see which might cause your pet to be distressed. This is important not only for their safety, but so that the child can begin to understand what is and isn’t an acceptable way to interact with the pet. Also try to notice any signs of distress from the animal, usually in the form of changes in body language or sounds.
Show, Don’t Tell
It’s important to set a good example and to teach your child how to be gentle with their pet, and respect them when they require space. Kids are curious, and sometimes may try to pull on their tail, or bite or hit them as well, to see how they’ll react. Try to show them how to caress the animal gently, maybe even taking their hand so that they can feel how softly to pet them.
Just like with people, sometimes your pet doesn’t want to be bothered. A child may not be able to tell when it is or isn’t appropriate to interact with their pet, so it is important to have clear-cut rules as to when they are allowed to play with their friend and when they aren’t. Some good examples of this are during feeding time, or when the animal is sleeping, so as not to disturb them.
Every animal is an individual, and some are able to tolerate touch and interaction more than others. For this reason, it’s important to know your pets and how comfortable they’ll be around the child at different times. Given the chance, soon your child and their animal friend will be best buds, but it’s up to you as the parent to help guide them both so that they can build that rewarding relationship.
Here at Andes-Straley, we are committed to making sure that the relationship between your pet and all the members of the family is the best that it can be. If you have any questions regarding techniques or best practices to ensure that your child learns to interact with your pet in a respectful and kind manner, contact us through our website, or call us at (423) 378-4443.