Dogs Bite – Fish Swim – Birds Fly

All dogs bite.  It is one of the most natural things they do.  But even knowing that, we still have amazing relationships with them.  We are able to bring them into our homes and integrate them into our families.  We are able to have them work for us in so many valuable roles. 

So how is that possible?  Fundamentally, it is because we have taken the time to learn to recognize and interpret their behaviour.  It is because we have taken the time to establish a relationship with dogs that is based on mutual need and understanding.

This is the reality when dogs are properly trained and integrated into a family.  And you can bet this little gal knows how to respect this dog.


But sometimes things go wrong.  If you don’t believe that dogs bite, search the Internet and you will find an abundance of laws, attorneys and legal professionals listed for dog bites.  So believe us when we say, this is an issue.  What can you do about it?  Fortunately… lots!

In most cases, dogs bite as a last resort.  They give lots of warnings before they go to that extreme.  Of course, that’s in MOST cases, not necessarily ALL cases.  We have provided information about Dogs and Children.  If you have not read it, take a look and then come back here to round out your understanding.



Reasons Why Dogs Bite

Dogs bite for any number of reasons.  Even seemingly innocent actions can provoke them.  Here are some fundamental things you can be aware of and pay attention to.  And remember, these apply to you as well as your children.

  1. Interference when eating: Like us, dogs want to eat in peace. Don’t allow children to put their hands in the dog dish or go near the dog while he is eating.
  2. Taking toys or anything else: Children are taught not to steal toys or anything else from others. Do not allow children to take toys, bones or anything else from dogs. To prevent any mistakes, however, it’s prudent to train your dog to give up his toy or anything else for a reward. This way, they will willingly give the child the toy.
  3. Getting in their face: Children tend to want to get in your face and have to be taught to maintain the correct social distance. A child sticking his face into the dog’s face is annoying to the dog especially when the dog cannot control the child’s behaviour. Don’t allow your child to do this.
  4. Invading safe spots: When we are resting or sleeping, we can close doors and ask for quiet. The dog also needs his own safe space for resting and sleeping, too, where he can be left alone such as a crate or a designated safe spot. If the dog wants to come out to socialize then it’s up to him. Do not force him to come away from his safe spot.
  5. Rough handling: No one likes to be handled roughly, and the same goes for dogs. Dogs can be trained to tolerate and sometimes enjoy rough handling but children should be trained to be gentle with dogs.
  6. Invading personal space: If you don’t like someone climbing on you and getting into your space, rest assured dogs don’t like this same act of rudeness. Unless the dog comes to the child when called or at his own free will, it is prudent for the child to leave the dog alone.
  7. Screaming: We don’t like being screamed at. It’s even harder on a dog’s sound-sensitive ears. Children and adults alike, should remain quiet and calm around the dog.
  8. Inappropriate touching: Gestures like pinching cheeks can be irritating to humans. Likewise, dogs do not enjoy being pinched, hit or even hugged. You will see it in their face. You can teach puppies and dogs to enjoy cuddling, though, and close handling. In the meantime, teach children that not all dogs have tolerance for this behaviour and to be gentle with them.
  9. Approaching a dog without permission: Before you approach any dog, ask the dog’s guardian for permission to approach and pet the dog. The guardian will be the best judge of the dog’s body language and their acceptance of the child. It’s always better to allow the dog to go to the child. Have the child give treats to the dog. And, always give the dog the option to walk away.
  10. Protection: Great Pyrs are a guardian breed that takes its job quite seriously.  We are aware of cases where a Great Pyr will sometimes protect children from parents who are disciplining their children. Protection of the vulnerable is their natural guardian instinct and what they are bred to do.  In these cases, parents need to be aware of their actions and the reaction of the Pyr.  It is recommended that the dog be put outside or in another room when disciplining.

Appropriate Interaction

Interactions between children and dogs should be guided by common sense and basic training. Children need to be taught to be polite and kind to pets and to read signs when the dog is afraid or anxious. Dogs are living creatures and not stuffed toys. You don’t like to be treated rudely so why would your dog?

As soon as children learn to be kind to their dog, they can be taught appropriate games to play. This can be a game like fetch that results in treats as a reward. What a great way for children and dogs to get their exercise if the dog is well trained. Games like hide-and-seek are a wonderful way to teach search and rescue.

It is so important that dogs have positive associations with children. Adults should ensure that children give food rewards for the dog’s good behaviour such as calm, automatic sits and returning the ball.

VERY IMPORTANT RULE: Never leave dogs and children in the same room or any location, unsupervised even for one moment.  Both are unpredictable no matter how well behaved you think your child is or tolerant your dog is. 

Remember that dogs bite.  And it doesn’t matter what the breed of dog. Anything can happen in a nanosecond.  It’s simply not worth the risk.

Conclusion

The key to a happy and safe relationship with the family dog is to teach your dog and child to be polite to each other. Have the children treat their dog in the same manner they would like to be treated.  It’s very important to train both your dog and your children. 

Look for sources of basic obedience training and bite inhibition training for your dog.  Teach your children respect for what and how your dog communicates.  Use our guidance as your first step in providing a safe environment, but don’t stop until you have everything you need.

If you have any doubts as to how to train your children to interact with dogs, engage a positive-reinforcement trainer to come to your home. There may even be dog training schools in your area with child/dog interaction classes available.

A professional positive-reinforcement trainer is highly recommended so your child and dog will have positive interactions and gain a true and trusting bond with each other. It is well worth the investment to keep your dog and children safe.

If you are planning on a Great Pyrenees puppy, we have the book entitled Tips On Training And Living With Your Pyr Puppy - Volume I Training Your Pet, by Sandra A. Young.  We highly recommend this book and know that it will be one of many that you will enjoy in your relationship with your Pyr.


Here’s where you can read more about Dogs and Children.

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