Pets are like honorary members of a family. Whether it is a dog, a cat, a hamster, or a bunny, every pet does not only occupy a space in the homes of families. They also occupy a space in the hearts of every family member.
But before that happens, it takes time for parents, their children, and the pet themselves to adjust. Because pets can sometimes be a source of curiosity for kids, their actions sometimes unintentionally cause distress to pets. A pet's usual reaction to torment from kids is a bite. And what is alarming to know is that in the year 2018, among the 350,000 Americans who were rushed to the emergency room because of an animal bite, most of the bitten patients are children.
That is why these tips might be helpful to address kids' behavior towards your family pets:
1. Set the rules.
For Cannon Dog Training owner Tania Lanfer from Oakland California, the first step in ensuring the safety of everyone in the family is to set some ground rules. These rules are supposed to tackle the way kids should interact with pets. Using this way, kids will understand that there are certain limitations on the actions that they will do towards the house pet.
2. Understand the pets.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Ilana Reisner, a veterinary behaviorist, all animals react to sudden actions to them when they are sleeping or when they are eating or when their toy or treat is taken away. This phenomenon is known as resource guarding.
So if concepts like these are introduced to kids, they will be more careful when approaching or dealing with the pets at home.
Other experts point out that concern on animal behavior also arises when young children are not aware of what they are doing. That is why understanding your pets as parents and letting kids understand them as well is very crucial.
3. Urge the kids to understand the feelings of animals.
Animals, just like humans, have their preferences and feelings. And a good approach for kids to stop tormenting pets at home is to ask them how the pets would feel when they do something to the pets. For example, you may ask your child how he or she thinks the cat will feel if it is kicked while sleeping. When kids already understand that they are hurting the feelings of the animals, then it could also be a good start to explaining to them that when an animal is hurt, it could bite or hurt them as well.
4. Continuous supervision should be observed.
Even if your girls or boys have been practiced to being around the pets, and the pets are also at ease with the kids, experts say that it is always best to supervise playtime of pets and children.
If despite the constant reminders to your kids about their untoward behavior to pets, and they still tease the animals, then this should be discussed with professionals like a pediatrician. Because this kind of behavior could mean underlying problems about the child.
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