Paving the way for a happy dogs and their family

Knowing how to be safe with dogs is life skill for your friends and family, young and old.  Dogs communicate with us mainly through their body language and facial expression - learning to read these signs will help your dog greatly and prevent them from escalating their behaviour until you do notice.  When out of context, simple signs such as lip licking, avoiding eye contact, hiding, turning head away and panting are low level anxiety signs.  If you are concerned or need advice about your dog's behaviour please contact us for further advice.

The following is written for parents and carers with children.  And for expectant parents bringing a baby into your dogs world.

A note about cats - recognising their body language, facial expression and vocal responses is just as important in cats.  Educating children on this and considering preparing your cat for a new human addition is recommended.  For Cats Protection advice: click here for children; click here for pregnant mothers and babies.

Becoming a dog owner is a life changing decision for everyone, a decision that needs to be thought about; pros and cons and the expectations your family have for this new pet.  Don't forget about any existing pets and of course the specific needs of the new dog itself.  Not all homes are suited to having a dog, not all dogs are suited to all homes.  We recommend you visit our Choosing a Pet page before purchasing a new pet.   If having a dog is ticking all the boxes then a number of safety considerations are advisable for any dog owner, especially for those with children. 

We offer complementary pre-purchase nurse consultations and phone calls, if you are considering getting a pet.  If you have any specific concerns or need advice please contact us.

Firstly advice for your dog!

Choosing the right breed of dog with a confident character, will give you the solid foundations needed for a dog joining a busy home.  This starts with a reputable breeder: 
  • Make sure you visit the puppy a number of times and choose the more confident puppy - its a family decision so ask to bring your children
  • Avoid nervous puppies that don't interact when you come to meet them
  • Don't feel pressured to take a second puppy if there is 'only one left' - stick to your Plan A
  • Make sure you meet the mum and if possible the dad - they should both be happy, friendly, confident dogs which will be a good indicator that your puppy will be too.  
  • ... and because of this, if the breeder doesn't allow you to see the bitch before you pay for your puppy - alarm bells should sound.  We would advise you don't make the purchase. 

Preparing your dog for noises in the home (and environment) is strongly advised.  A good breeder should have already started carefully exposing your puppy to signs / sounds / smells / items around the home and different people including children.  A washing machine, hoover, cooker fan and smoke alarm can all be scary!   Ask your breeder what care they have been giving them regarding this.  (See below for the Dogs Trust sound files**)

The following advice looks at integration of dogs into their homes:
- Is your dog ready for a baby or toddler click here
- Settling in your new rescued dog click here
- Introducing your dog to cat and cat to dog click here
- Introducing your puppy to a range of sounds should be part of their early learning.  Follow the **Dogs Trust guide and download the free sound files - click here and select the SOUNDS SOCIABLE

Babies and Children living with and being around dogs in society

And now humans.  The following links are packed with lots of helpful advise.  Knowing how to live with dogs and being taught how to be amongst dogs in society is a life skill.  Even if your family doesn't have a dog many of the links below are excellent resources to educate and guide your child/children to be safe around dogs.  Please check out the list below.  If you have any questions or need advise then please contact us.

Blue Cross

Dogs Trust

Kennel Club
  • SAFE AND SOUND SCHEME - teaching kids how to be safe around dogs click here

Interactive learning

Cartoon Posters

Family Paws Parent Education
  • For the full Family Paws website click here
  • ... or their download their easy to understand posters click here