The title could quite easily be ‘Dogs and children’ as the principles are pretty much the same whatever the breed. This blog however, is based on our 3 Shar Pei and our darling daughter (DD). It focuses on the fun, laughter and obvious enjoyment to be had but also things to look out for, such as: the warning signs and general experience gained.
When Marley arrived home as a puppy for the very first time, DD was already established in the family and house. From the get-go, we ensured that she interacted with Marley, whether that be in: the home, garden, on walks, playing fetch, hide and seek or even using basic commands (e.g, “sit, down, paw & fetch”).
Through this early interaction and socialisation, Marley quickly realised his position in the family (‘pecking order’) and therefore, a wonderful relationship between Marley & DD was established.
One after the other, Mulan, then Lola arrived and the same principles we used with Marley, were applied and also worked successfully.
However, there have been what you could call “close shaves”, where DD has inquisitively pulled a tail, squeezed the body or face too hard, screamed loudly or even shouted...basically being a typical ’giddy child’. The type of behaviour outlined can ‘spook’ a dog or any animal really, to the point where a grunt, gruff, or peck (not bite) has been presented by Marley, but not from the other two dogs.
We are not sure if this lack of reaction is due to the 2 girls having a different temperament to Marley or because they are lower down the pecking order, therefore with greater respect for DD. Either way, she has always been reminded not to repeat such behaviour that has previously caused such a reaction.
Our Shar Pei are now very used to DD, they respect, love and protect her. This I put down to, the early interaction and socialisation with each dog as explained above. There are also some very important rules and guidelines:
Don’t let your young child carry a puppy around (it can easily be dropped and hurt).
Try not to swamp your puppy (and even dog) with too much attention as they do like their own space too.
Respect the dog (it's not a toy).
Leave the dog in peace, especially when he is resting, eating or chewing on a toy or bone etc…
Do not go face to face with a dog.
Do not dangle any fingers in a dogs face. Instead, hold out your hand with fist clenched and with your knuckles shown. (Also it is important to let the dog come to you).
There are many other rules and guidelines that are simple common sense. However, always remember the golden rule in that, no matter how placid and loving you think your dog or puppy is:
Never leave a child alone with a dog or puppy. All animals are unpredictable.