Pets and Children: Three Tips for Getting Along

Children love to hug their pets, but some pets may not appreciate such embraces, says trainer Pat Miller owner and operator of Peaceable Paws Training in Salinas, California. Dogs may struggle to free themselves -- and failing that, could bite. Teach your kids to touch their pets in ways that don't frighten animals.

If your dog is pushy with your child -- and sleeps on your child's bed -- consider getting the dog his own bed on the floor, suggests Robin Kovary, director of the American Dog Trainers Network in New York City. Some dogs, that sleep on children's beds may think that their role is to dominate the children. A bed of its own will help the dog understand that's not the case.

If your pet is freaked out by rambunctious behavior, teach your children -- and their friends -- not to run around, squeal, or scream when their pets are nearby. If, despite your best efforts, the kids don't seem to understand that such actions can trigger aggressive responses from some animals, it's your responsibility to keep your children away from excitable pets unless you're around to supervise.

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