Children and dogs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly; after all, what is a childhood without a family dog? Siberian Huskies are exceptionally good with children, and everyone has undoubtedly seen the adorable online videos of Huskies teaching their human siblings how to crawl. Regardless of how good a breed is around kids, no one should assume that a dog will naturally tolerate children without proper socialization and training. Following are considerations to make when introducing dogs and kids.
The introduction of a new baby into the home can be upsetting for a dog, if not properly handled. A number of dog training facilities offer special “dog and baby” classes which can help owners learn how to make the transition as safely as possible. Lessons include how to desensitize your dog to the new smells, sights, and sounds that the baby will bring into the home. Dog trainers will also able to answer questions from the new parents, as well as provide tips and reminders for successful dog/baby introductions. Before the baby arrives, be sure your dog knows basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “wait,” “stay,” “down,” and “leave it.” Your Husky will likely want to play with his new charge, and may not be aware of his own size and strength. .
Teach Good Habits
When your child begins to crawl and walk, your Husky may become an enticing play-thing, given his soft, fluffy fur. Teaching your child proper manners around animals is essential during this life-stage. Although your dog may look like a comfy couch, discourage your child from sitting on your Husky or pulling on his ears or tail. Teach your child the appropriate ways to pet a dog, and also which areas are safe (such as his back or rump) and which to avoid (his face). Do not allow your child to hug or kiss your dog near the head or face, as some dogs consider this an invasion of personal space.
Develop Good Habits
As your child grows, be sure he or she learns good habits at each stage. Discourage your toddler from sharing food with your Husky, which will not only curb begging behaviors, but will also keep your dog from accidentally ingesting toxic treats, such as grapes, raisins, or chocolate. Other desirable routines include teaching your child to always close the door to the house, never leave the gate to the yard open, and to never approach a dog that is eating food or chewing on a bone.
Dogs are Not Babysitters
No matter how well your dog and child play together, never leave the two unattended. Siberian Huskies have high prey drives, and may confuse a running child for something to chase and play with. A child that makes a sudden loud noise may scare a dog, and cause him to behave unpredictably. When no one is looking, a child may also be tempted to break the rules and try to sit on your dog or poke and prod him. Occasionally, well-meaning dogs become nervous when left in charge and will try to pick up the baby or toddler and carry the child back to the parent, unintentionally causing harm.