Teaching Your Child to Have Proper Dog Etiquette
Introducing dogs to small children can be a risky proposition. The best way to prevent a dog from ever becoming aggressive towards a child is to socialize the dog with small children when it is a puppy. If the puppy is around small children enough, he never sees them as a prey animal or as something to be afraid of.
First introduction to a dog
If for some reason you were unable to socialize your dog to small children when it was a puppy, the best way to introduce them is to find a calm dog-savvy child. Many children grow up with dogs and have a good sense about how to be around them. Start with an older child of nine or ten years old. Have your dog on a leash and be very careful to watch your dog’s body language as you approach the child. If your dog looks interested, but remains calm, allow the child to reach out a hand for the dog to sniff. If the dog reacts well then the child can begin petting the dog. If your dog does well with an older child, you can then attempt to find younger and younger children for the dog to be introduced to. Be aware that with some breeds, there is a very high prey drive. The smaller the children get, the more likely the dog is to view the children as prey rather than as human beings.
What to do if your dog is aggressive
If your dog becomes aggressive for any reason, immediately get the dog as far away from the child as you can. Give your dog a strong “NO” and possibly a jerk on the leash to let him know that his behavior was unacceptable. Most of the time, dogs give very physical clear indications prior to becoming aggressive. You know your dog best, so be watchful.