For parents who want to become dog owners, or dog owners who want to become parents, childproofing their dog is as imperative as house training it.
In Peter Pan, the plot begins when Mr. Darling demands that his wife no longer employ the family dog, a Newfoundland named Nana, as their children’s nanny. This is meant to be a sign of his hard-heartedness, but his logic is hard to dispute: Dogs were bred to do many things, but raising children is not one of them.
Mr. Darling was, of course, being lazy. Dogs are a big part of many familes. While they don’t have an innate sense of how to behave safely around infants and toddlers, they simply need to be trained. Thus, for parents who want to become dog owners, or dog owners who want to become parents, childproofing the dog is as imperative as house training it.
Brian Kilcommons knows this. A world renowned dog trainer and author of Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life, Kilcommons has spent more than three decades helping parents train their dogs to play nice with babies and toddlers.
For new parents, Kilcommons stresses to really stop and consider bringing a new dog into the mix. “People don’t realize, they’re bringing another baby into the house,” he says. If parents are dead set on bringing a dog into their family, he recommends they wait until their youngest child is at least five before they get a dog and even then they need to recognize the impact it will have on their daily routines. At least if the kids are older they can help to feed and walk and train the puppy. For those who have dogs and want to make sure their child and four-legged friend get along, he offered up these tips.
Start with command training
A dog cannot be childproofed (or taught much of anything) until it has been trained to follow the basic control commands: sit, down, and let go. Command training,…