Make Facetoface Encounters Okay

Because of their size, kids are more capable of face-to-face encounters with dogs. Kids also love to stareā€”it's a sign of normal development. If your dog isn't used to such direct attention, it can be overwhelming. To condition your dog, hold her face in your hands often and stare at her. If your dog is uncomfortable and resistant, place butter or another creamy spread on your hands or arm as you interact in this way.

Kids are also impulsive and are known to climb, trip, and run a lot. This behavior can cause a predatory reaction, and a dog might run, pounce, or mount the child. Start to mimic a child's behavior before introducing your dog so that these activities will seem more commonplace.

When introducing your dog to children, take along treats and butter or another creamy spread. If your dog is familiar with a clicker, this tool can work in your favor, too. Using treats will help your dog form positive associations with being around children. Provided your dog is not showing any signs of aggression, let the kids be involved with handing out the treats and giving direction. If, however, you notice aggressive displays, stop all interactions and call a professional immediately. Don't let your dog become another "dog bites child" statistic.

Proofing and Prevention chapter

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