Children and Dogs
Below are some general notes and tips that are useful no matter what breed of dog you choose to put with young children. If your child respects your dog and his space, it will go a long way to creating a good relationship and encourages your dog to respect your child.
- Dogs are not toys.
Many small children find a dog's tail or paws irresistible. Unfortunately, your dog likes them just as much and won't like to have them pulled or tugged. Work with your children so they understand the need to respect your dog's body and not treat is as a toy of their own.
- A hug is not always a hug.
Simple displays of affection that children take for granted may mean something else entirely to your dog. A hug around the neck is a posture dogs use with each other to display dominance and some dogs are quite threatened by this. Teach your children to show affection in a way your dog understands - gentle stroking, or brushing and grooming.
- Children are not littermates.
Although you may view your kids and your dogs as your "children," it's important for your dog to realize that your kids are above them in your family pack hierarchy. We strongly recommend that you don't allow your dog to sleep in a bed with your children to help enforce this perception.
- Supervise, supervise, supervise!
The best defense is a good offense. Prevent altercations before they happen by always supervising your children's interactions with your dog. If you are unable to keep watch (you need to take a shower, for instance), crate or muzzle your dog.
Unique Greyhound Items
Greyhounds are raised and trained in a unique way. This creates some interesting issues that are easily dealt with if you use a little common sense.
- Let sleeping dogs lie.
Greyhounds are not used to being disturbed when they sleep. They lived in stacked crates in their kennels where no person and no other dog could touch them and startle them. Make sure children call the dog's name and allow the dog to get up before approaching. If the dog doesn't want to play and does not get up, your children must respect that. If they really need to get the dog to move, have them come get you to help.
- Condo Crates.
A greyhound's crate has always been his personal condo. Make sure your children respect your dog's "room" and don't play in or on it at any time. This is especially true when your greyhound is in the crate.
- Leash Safety.
Do not let children walk your greyhound unsupervised. Greyhounds are usually excellent on lead, but you never know when they may decide to chase a squirrel or rabbit. When a greyhound decides to go, the chances of a child having the power to control it are slim. The end result could be a hurt child and a lost greyhound.
- Who's toy is that?
Most greyhounds are mesmerized by stuffed toys, probably because they've been raised and trained to chase and catch them. Unfortunately, your dog cannot know which stuffed toys belong to children. Make sure that your children's prized toys are kept out of your dog's reach.
- Food etiquette.
Never let your children disturb your dog while he's eating treats or his dinner. Teach them to respect that time as your dog's personal time.
Some Additional Greyhound and Children Resources: