Pet Boundaries: How To Teach Kids to Respect Animals
Hey, there friend,
Just like people, our pets have boundaries and limits. Even the most playful, loving pet needs some alone time once in a while. Understandably, kids don’t always grasp this concept and see pets as cute and cuddly!
But children need to understand that their pets need some space too. Help your child understand pet boundaries with my guide on how to teach kids to respect animals. So here are some ways to help teach your kids this important lesson.
How To Teach Kids To Respect Animals
Understand Canine Lingo
Dogs communicate through more than just barks. You can learn a lot about your dog based on its body language. An excited dog dances around and may even jump up on you. Likewise, a frustrated canine may show its teeth or let out a long growl to say, “back off.” Take time to understand what different barks mean, then have a conversation with your child.
Be a Role Model
Another part of knowing how to teach kids to respect animals is being a role model for your child. Remember, every animal has a different personality. So while some are patient, others may not be. As you teach your kids to give the animal some space, remind them to follow your lead.
If you see someone walking their dog, approach the owner together. Ask for permission before petting the pup, then give your child the go-ahead. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I’d be uncomfortable if a stranger ran up to me and invaded my personal space.
Pro-Tip For Strange Dogs
Teach your child to run up to unfamiliar dogs the right way. Dogs gather a lot of information through smell and reaching straight for a dog’s face alarms the animal. Teach your child to:
- Only approach stranger’s dogs with you.
- Ask permission before petting the dog.
- If they get approval, allow the pup to sniff their hand.
- Gently pet the dog’s back or side.
In following these steps, your child gives an animal the respect it deserves.
Layout rules for your kids to follow with consequences for broken rules. Your child shouldn’t pull your cat’s ears or tail, nor should they bother your pup as it eats. Both of these are crossing boundaries, even if your child thinks it’s a game.
Your pet may not realize your kids are playing and instead view their actions as a threat. And sometimes, this can result in an agitated animal reacting with aggression; for example, some dogs display food-based aggression when you touch them as they eat. Keeping a set of rules protects both your child and your pet’s best interest.
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