Kids and Dogs

Working with kids and dogs presents special challenges–food everywhere, hormone overload, busy moms and puppies are just a recipe for incidents and accidents. But some moms seem to handle it just fine? How do they do it?

We’ve collected a few free links for you below, but here are some of our favorite tips!


  • Separate kids and dogs during mealtimes. Sure, you want your kid to be able to play in the dogs food dish–but is that really necessary? No. And neither should your pup grab food out of the kids hands. Easy solution? Keep pup and kids separated with babygates during mealtimes. Allow pup to clean up after everyone is done. (Note that building trust and preventing incidents will help prevent a bite should they accidentally find a bone together)
  • Separate kids and dogs unless you can supervise 110%. We really do mean paying attention to the interaction, not playing on your phone or talking to the pizza delivery guy. Incidents happen really fast. Sturdy gates and playpens are a parents best friends.
  • Teach kids good manners! This means modeling good safe interactions, getting toddlers to sit down for “dog petting time”, showing kids how to pet gently and praising kids for treating the dog kindly, etc. No sitting on, patting, pulling or riding dogs.
  • Teach kids to “be a tree”. This means when the dog gets excited and wants to nip because the kids are running around, kids should stop and be still. This is really boring and stops most puppies from biting almost instantly! Since kids don’t always want to sit still, this is a good indicator that maybe it’s time for a break. Kids outside and puppy inside, or vice versa.
  • Teach dogs to move away from uncomfortable situations. This may take a little ingenuity, but watch your dogs body language and if she becomes uncomfortable, call her away from the kids and give her some protected space.
  • Work on resource guarding ahead of time! We have a great file on teaching dogs to accept or even enjoy you playing with their food and toys. Practice this with your pups a lot so it becomes a happy habit!

Helpful links and resources

Be a Tree {Karen Pryor}:

Videos just for kids!

Puppy biting

Keeping the peace between kids and dogs


For those who like hard copy, a link to a great blog site and one of the best books published on dogs and kids