Dogs and children interact a lot. This makes for wonderful and positive relationships for both the dog and the child but opens up the dog to become a part of children playdates begging the question; what is proper playdate etiquette when it comes to your dog? Especially if your dog has a special needs condition.
The truth is there is no right answer. It all depends on the situation, who is involved and the factors at play. Here are some things to take into consideration.
1. How well do you know your dog? Does he react well to new children? Does he mind when new people are introduced to the scene? Could the stress of new people increase a special needs condition symptom such as seizures?
2. How well do you know the kids coming over? Are they afraid of dogs? Are they likely to behave badly around your dog, for example will they approach your dog if told not to?
3. How well do you know the children’s parents? Are they uncomfortable with their children being around dogs, especially if they are large dogs? Sometimes it is better to be safe then sorry.
4. Are you aware of any culture differences that may view animals differently?
It is always good to introduce and encourage a love of animals to children. I recommend introducing your dog, if you feel he can handle it, to a playdate but only for a short and supervised time period. This will make that time special for the dog and the children. It will also be controlled so parents will feel good about the situation and children will also see the importance of keeping safe around dogs other than their own.
How do you handle playdate etiquette with your dog? Please share below in a comment. As always, when dealing with a special needs dog, you must take into consideration their particular need and know how they react under various situation. This all goes back to my number one advice in successful dog ownership, know your dog.
You can learn more about easy, owner friendly dog care in “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog.” So many dog owners are caring for their dogs by easy, common sense methods. My book, “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” shares such tips, along with inspirational stories of owners making it work. “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” may be purchased at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. A PDF copy may be purchased here and is accessible to anyone with a computer. A percentage of the profits from “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine.
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