Age Stages – Do’s and Don’ts
At this age, children view the dog as a “Funny thing” which competes for Mom’s and Dad’s attention. They also begin to see the dog as a friend. The dog still views the child as a littermate. You can expect a lot of ear pulling and tail yanking with children of this age. Your dog should be willing to tolerate a little of this, but don’t expect him to become your child’s punching bag.
Monitor all interactions between the dog and child. Teach the child appropriate games such as “Fetch” and “Hide and Seek” that he can play with the dog to avoid physical contact and roughness. Put the dog in a quiet place alone if there are lots of kids over visiting. It is difficult to supervise, and lots of running and screaming can illicit instinctive aggressive displays from some dogs.
Don’t allow tug–of–war games or wrestling games. This will encourage aggressive displays from your dog.
Don’t allow your children to be rough with the dog. “NO” is not enough––show your child how to pet gently and play “Fetch” with the dog.
This is the age when your children can begin to show leadership with your dog. This is a good time to have your children participate in the care of the dog (feeding, walking, and training). Children of this age make excellent trainers––they are usually more consistent and playful in their training than adults.
Include your children in obedience training, feeding and walking of the dog. Assign dog chores to children based on interest and ability rather than age or gender. Supervise all activities with groups of children. Too much commotion can be overwhelming to most dogs.
Don’t expect your child to take full responsibility for the dog. A dog needs much more time and attention than a child can give. If you (the adult) don’t want to accept responsibility, don’t get the dog.
Age 11 and up
At this age children become more interested in their own activities than the dog. This is normal and can be expected. However, there is no reason to expect the child loves the dog any less. The child will still rely on the dog, especially during stressful times. The adults in the family should be prepared to give the dog more attention when his favorite child pal starts spending more time with friends and social activities.