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 have a very special trainer who helps us and posts lots of great blog information. She also offers online courses for busy parents. Please check out Michelle Stern, CPDT, at her page Pooch Parenting! We’ve collected a few more 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, pup should not grab food out of the kids hands. Easy solution? Have real mealtimes and keep pup and kid separated. Allow pup to clean up after everyone is done.
  • 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. 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 dogs from biting almost instantly!
  • 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
Preparing for new baby arrival

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