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When you bring home an animal, your life will change from that point on. If you have children at home or they visit often, it’s understandable that you might be concerned about bringing home a dog or cat, how the children will handle the pets, or how the animals treat them. We put together ways how you can help teach children to interact with animals.
Set rules and explain why they are important
You can find a dog or a cat in almost every household so by setting some basic ground rules for your children it will ensure their and the animal’s safety. For adults, it might be obvious not to pull a dog’s ears or a cat’s tail but it’s important for them to know. Some rules that should be followed:
· Don’t make loud noises or sudden moves when approaching them.
· Never approach when the animal is eating, chewing on a toy, or sleeping.
· Don’t climb on the pet, they can get scared or the child might even hurt them if it’s a smaller or senior dog.
Teach your children how to gently pet an animal
Some children have a natural soft touch while others will grab and pull, that’s why it is important for you to remind them to be gentle. Teach the children to pet the animal in the direction that the hair is growing and tell them to avoid sensitive areas such as ears, tail, legs, and paws. Most dogs like to be pet under the chin, at the base of the tail, under the collar, and their chest.
Supervise them when they are interacting
Remember to watch over the children when they’re with your pets, anything can happen a dog might bite them if the child touches them in the wrong place or a cat can scratch them if they grab them tightly. You being there can lower the chances of this happening by noticing that the dog is feeling uncomfortable or interfering.
Praise them when they are kind to the animals
Positive reinforcement through praise will motivate them to keep up the good work, nurture your child’s confidence, and develop a personal sense of self-worth.
Watch a movie about animals, visit wildlife refuges, or read more books about animals
Doing fun activities and going to places where the children can learn more about animals and how they behave can have a positive effect on them. They will see and learn how you approach different animals in different ways but always with kindness.
Teaching the children to appreciate the world around them, respect wildlife, and always be kind to animals will be a gift that they can carry throughout their whole life.