Ensuring Safety and Sanity: Practical Tips for Navigating Toddlers and Dogs

Toddlers and Dogs: Practical Approaches for Ensuring Safety and Your Peace of Mind

Toddlers and dogs – a heartwarming duo whether cuddled up or frolicking in the yard. While there’s plenty of advice on keeping toddlers and dogs harmonious, finding insights from a dog training professional who juggles both a toddler and a dog proved challenging.


Young Toddler in a wheel barrow with a dog


As a professional dog trainer and a mother of two with two furry companions, I aim to offer realistic safety strategies for the coexistence of toddlers and dogs. These strategies are designed to enhance safety for your family and preserve your sanity.

Understanding Canine Cues

Reading your dog’s signals is crucial for toddler parents. Beyond obvious signs like growling, dogs exhibit subtle stress signals during interactions. Keep an eye out for cues such as lip licking, yawning, avoidance behaviours, and the “whale eye” look. Understanding these signals is key to fostering a safe environment.


Young Dog Under A Table


Avoiding Blind Trust

The misconception that certain breeds are incapable of aggression can be dangerous. Trust your dog’s body language over assumptions about their friendliness. Never leave a dog and toddler unattended, especially in a room with a sleeping child. Dispel the “My dog would never…” mindset for the safety of your child.

Consistent Boundaries for Toddlers

Ensuring safety isn’t solely the responsibility of managing the dog; there’s a crucial component of teaching toddlers appropriate behaviour. Constant supervision is vital, redirecting any rough interaction and modelling gentle petting. Use positive reinforcement and avoid punishment to create a safe environment for both child and dog.

Taking Breaks for Everyone

Both human and dog parents need breaks. As toddlers become more active, give your dog relief from constant interaction. Explore options like doggie daycare, creating a decompression area, or allowing one-on-one time during the toddler’s nap.

Promoting Positive Interactions

Make interactions enjoyable for both toddlers and dogs. Depending on their size and temperament, involve your toddler in feeding time, allow them to give special treats, or engage in playtime. Teaching simple cues like “touch” can make training a fun activity for even young children.

Knowing When to Seek Help

Any signs of dog aggression towards children require immediate professional guidance. Virtual or in-person dog training can address issues promptly and provide expert advice.

By implementing these realistic strategies, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for both toddlers and dogs in your home.


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