It’s never too early to teach children that dogs are not toys, to be chased and grabbed.

And it’s never too early to teach puppies that children are not littermates to be chased and nipped.

Children and dogs

This is Ella, a maltese puppy from DeLand, FL, with one of the three little girls she lives with. There was chaos in the family. The girls LOVED playing with Ella, until she would nip! Then everybody would get upset.

It was important to teach the girls to stop treating Ella like a toy. There was a lot of grabbing and “loving” that wasn’t wanted. Sometimes Ella needed her own space, where she could relax without the pressure of being picked up and carried around.

When both children and dogs learn how to interact in a more structured way, magic happens.

Teach kids to invite, not force, play with puppies. Have them ask the puppy for a few simple behaviors: sit, down, come or place. This teaches the dog that children are to be respected.

Once the energy becomes less confrontational, they will enjoy each other so much more.