My Puppy Bit My Child
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From the moment you decide to adopt a pet, it is necessary everyone in the home knows what to expect. Unfortunately, with both puppies and children, it can be difficult for them to understand limits and boundaries. For this reason, it is very important we consider what to do with both parties when the puppy arrives in the home. We want to assert what is allowed and what isn't through training and education. However, even if we are careful, it is still possible a puppy might bite a child.
In this AnimalWised article, we look at what happens if my puppy bit my child. We understand why puppies biting kids doesn't necessarily mean they are dangerous, but we also look into what provisions we need to make to avoid this possibility.
The importance of educating your puppy
Education of any domestic dog should begin from the time they are a puppy. It is through training and education they will be able to relate to their environment, humans and other animals properly. Building a bond with our puppy is the reason why we adopt companion animals, but it also has practical importance. Without a strong bond, the puppy will develop behavioral problems such as biting and will not be able to live in the home.
Puppies are developing. Just like human children, they will need to understanding their surroundings by testing boundaries. This is one of the many reasons it is vital we ensure our puppy is kept with their mother and littermates for a minimum of 8 weeks.
During this period, the puppy not only receives practical support from their mother, but they are taught how to interact with others. When playing with their siblings, they will be able to know when they need to stop, what is allowed and what isn't. After being adopted into the home with their human family, this period will continue as they learn to interact with other species and dogs from other groups. The socialization period for puppies is between about 3 and 16 weeks, but it will never stop completely.
After this time, we will need to train the puppy. Basic commands and orders for dogs will help them to know when they need to stop. This isn't just about exerting control, but about doing what is best for the puppy. With this training, they can feel more secure in the home and we can provide reassurance when they need it.
The importance of educating your child
Peaceful cohabitation between puppies and children is a two way street. Although educating the puppy is vital for their well-being, so too is educating the child. This will depend a lot on age.
When our child is a baby, they should never be with the puppy on their own. Even well-socialized older dogs will need supervision with babies as we can't always know how they will react. The child may pull on the dog's tail, ears or other body parts and cause pain. Babies and toddlers are very tactile and will often be much stronger than we think they'll be.
Older children will still be testing their boundaries. They may not understand the responsibility of taking care of a dog, nor know the dog's limits. They can play too rough and the dog might bite them in response. We need to instill value sin our child which means they will respect animals and know not to push them too far or mistreat them in any way, even if they become frustrated.
When a child hurts a puppy or is playing too roughly with them, it is not the puppy's fault if they bite the child in response. We shouldn't scold the dog for simply defending themselves. This will also make educating them more difficult in the future.
Also, since puppies are developing physically, they will go through some growing pains. When their milk teeth fall out and their adult teeth grow in, it can be very frustrating and painful. This can cause them to be more agitated, but it will specifically make them bite because they want to relieve the discomfort in their mouths. Unfortunately, since puppy teeth are so sharp, this creates a greater risk of bite wounds on the child.
What can make a puppy bite a child?
Aside from biting out of teething frustration, puppies can bite children for a variety of reasons. Before knowing what we can do to prevent this type of biting behavior, here are the main reasons why a puppy bites a child:
- Jealousy: perhaps your dog was the center of attention before, but the arrival of the child has meant this attention is diluted. Since dogs are a territorial species, they may feel neglected or relegate to the background, so they feel jealous and will act out by biting the baby.
- Improper play: while playing, your child may roll on the ground with the dog or initiate play-fighting. The puppy may not understand the kid is only playing, so they bite out of genuine fear of being hurt.
- Treating the dog like a toy: if your kid is a child who sees the puppy as only a plaything, they will not understand how to treat them. Children throw toys about, ht them against things and generally disregard their integrity. If a kid does this to a puppy, it is no wonder they may get bitten.
- Lack of education: if you have not trained your dog to behave with the family, the animal's reactions can be unpredictable. Socialization is a vital part of this training.
- Hugging: canine language, hugs can be interpreted as a threat. The dog is very likely to react violently if the child tries to show affection in this way. In general, dogs do not like to be hugged.
- Abuse: if your puppy remains tied to a chain all day, receives a poor diet or is abused, how do you expect him to treat your children well?
- Fear: kids are boisterous and can make a lot of noise and commotion. If the puppy doesn't know what is going on, they can generate real feelings of fear and insecurity. Biting the kid might be a way to defend themselves against what they see as a grave threat,
- Grunting: it is common for children to imitate grunting, barking or other dog noises. The puppy, however, will likely interpret these sounds as genuine aggression and may bite the kid if they think they are about to be attacked.
How to prevent puppies biting kids
With the puppy:
- First of all, don't be afraid of the dog. They are a puppy and are very unlikely to hurt anyone, beyond causing small bites without injury. The only cases when a puppy has caused significant injury tend to be when they are left alone for prolonged periods.
- If the puppy bit or tries to bite your child, first make sure they know it is not a game.
- Never use violence to try to teach him something. Instead, look at our article on how to discipline a puppy for biting inappropriately.
- In case of jealousy, try to spend more time with the puppy. Enjoy going for walks and playing games with them. You must include them in your daily routine, teach obedience, carry out activities and, ultimately, love them.
- Teach your puppy the command ‘stay’ or ‘stop’ so they understand when it is enough and should stop a given behavior.
- Keep vaccination and deworming schedules up to date so there is minimal risk of infection after being bitten.
With the child:
- Teach them to respect the animal's space. Educate them to stop thinking it is fun to hurt the dog, bother them when they sleep or touch their food. They must understand that it is a living being that feels and can become enraged when disturbed.
- Don't allow inappropriate play. Teach them to have an affectionate, respectful, calm and pleasant behavior with the dog.
- Do not allow them to take any toys away from the dog. Dogs suffering from resource jealousy can respond very negatively. Understand more by looking at our article on how to stop a dog being jealous of a child.
- The child should expect the dog to come to them for companionship, not the other way around. When the dog approaches, it is best to allow them to sniff their hand before taking the next step.
- Never let them pet unfamiliar animals.
- They should not pet the dog above the head, tail or legs, preferring the face or neck.
- Avoid running and yelling around the animal.
Remember to always monitor the interaction between your child and your dog to detect possible negative behaviors in either of them. Getting them to get along is very easy, you just have to educate each one to respect the other's space. ONce the puppy has developed, you will see they will actually become very protective of them.
If you want to read similar articles to My Puppy Bit My Child, we recommend you visit our Behavioral problems category.