It’s no secret that my first baby was my dog, Sydney Fyfe. But now that Bugs is getting older and showing interest in Sydney I am trying to learn more about how to deal with toddlers and dogs. So I have Kristine here from www.thepetcarepros.com to talk about how to deal with toddlers and dogs. You can contact her directly for more information at info @ wellmanneredpups .com.
Merging the two worlds of being a dog owner and mom can seem overwhelming and even more complicated if you have a toddler. Yelling children, barking, cleaning up messes, and utter chaos may be what you are dealing with on a regular basis. However, I am going to share some tips to keep you, your dog, and toddler safe and with a thriving environment for everyone. The biggest point I want to emphasize is supervision and keeping everyone safe.
First of all, If you are in a hurry or distracted it is better to keep your dog in a room or crate rather than have your toddler and dog together. I want you to think about how to set everyone up for success. If your toddler is full of energy and grabbing everything, it is not going to be a positive experience for your dog. It could have the opposite effect. Dogs are nonverbal communicators so they are not going to speak like humans when they are stressed. Rather, they have stress signals that as a dog owner I encourage you to learn so that you can recognize and remove your dog from a bad situation. A toddler can still be put in a stroller or if you have a baby gate, it can be used as a barrier.
Secondly, remember, there are food toys for dogs that can keep them busy and allow you time with your toddler. If you can spend a little quality time with your dog and toddler separately as well as maybe on a walk together, every interaction is manageable for you too. Keeping both of their rewards separate but positive is important as well. Every interaction should be short.
Thirdly, preparation is important. Like I mentioned, there are dog food toys that can be made the night before and frozen, just like preparing food for your toddler. It gives you an advantage as well as keeping everyone busy. As a mom, we are always trying to keep our toddler happy, so use that thinking toward your dog as well. Another option is to have a dog walker or childcare so that both your dog and toddler can have breaks from one another. The extra side effect is you get some time as well which every mom could use.
Finally, remember both a toddler and dog think differently and are vulnerable. Even if things are going well with both of them, toddlers just like dogs, need that break. When your toddler is screaming or rubbing his/her eyes, that is a signal to you they are tired. It is just as important to recognize the stress signals your dog may be showing too.
I hope these tips were helpful and lead to a better understanding of how to make sure your toddler and dog are safe and happy together.