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Rottweilers & Kids

Contrary to popular belief, Rottweilers and children can coexist. In fact, Rottweilers can be an excellent companion to young children. One can read about the adventures of a young child and his Rottweiler in the Good Dog Carl series by Alexandra Day. However, Rottweilers are large dogs that at times have high energy levels so one must be careful to avoid accidental injury.

  • First of all never, ever, ever leave a small child unattended with a big dog of any breed. I think it's safe to say that most incidents when children are injured by a large dog happen while there are no adults present. Dogs will be dogs, and children will be children and situations may often arise that can easily be stopped by an adult, but a child does not have the strength or in the dog's eyes authority to put an end to a sticky situation. Just don't take the chance. Grab the kid when you go in to answer the phone or check on the pot roast. It is a minor inconvenience when you consider the repercussions of your decision.
     

  • Obedience train your dog. An obedience trained dog is a happier and mentally healthier dog. It is also a more well behaved dog. Having kids around a dog who knows and obeys commands like sit, stay, down, leave it, etc. is much less stressful as well. Most dogs love kids, and they tend to be a bit too overpowering for children in their desire to show them affection. It's this affection that can sometimes catch kids off guard and scare them. Putting an overzealous dog in a down/stay can give you the opportunity to show kids (and parents) how well behaved the dogs are. I will be honest that I have not really 'practiced what I preached' in this regard. Our dogs know not to jump on the kids, and they certainly aren't aggressive, but we are still working on the 'no kissies in the mouth' trick.
     

  • Teach your dog to respect children. Dogs should learn at an early age how to behave around children. They need to know that children are to be treated with the same respect that you are. That means no jumping, no mouthing, etc. Once they are firmly grounded in the basics of obedience, have your children make them sit, down, stay, etc. and reward them with a nice treat for compliance. This will help them learn that they are to obey your children just like they are supposed to obey you. If you don't have children then it is important to socialize your dogs around children. We don't have kids, but most of our friends do, so we just borrow their children. After a few hours of socializing (our friends call it free baby sitting, but what do they know), we gladly return the children, thankful that our dogs are much more well behaved.
     

  • Teach your children to respect your dog. This means no pulling, poking, or prodding. Often times children who are not raised to properly respect dogs, get bitten because they poked an eye, pulled on an infected ear, or stepped on a more delicate part of the dog. Most kids are not intentionally abusive, but they need to know what not to do when around a dog. Be sure they know not to hit or kick your dogs.  I have had to correct several of the children that we socialize with because they think they can kick or hit my dogs. They quickly learn how to treat my dogs, and they respect them as they would respect me.
     

  • Children, dogs, and food do not mix. Even if your dog is not food aggressive, why push the envelope? How many of us like other people wallering in our plate when it's dinner time? Not many. So why do we expect dogs to allow children to play in their food? If you have a dog that is food aggressive that is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed, but try to avoid situations that might bring out this quality in an otherwise loving, well adjusted pet. It's also a good idea to pick up any toys that the dog might enjoy playing with before allowing a child into the dog's space. Dogs don't like to share, and besides it's unsanitary for a 3 year old to play with the dog's rope bone.

 

          by Rachel Kennerly