Pets are an integral part of our lives as Australians. In fact over 80% of Australians have an animal companion at some period in their life. Pets are important in children’s lives both for the enjoyment that they bring now as well as the role rehearsal for future adult activities. (source: PIAS)

Owning a dog can be a wonderful experience and pet ownership can benefit family life and health in so many ways.

Some golden rules when dealing with dogs
– Always supervise children around dogs
– Ensure your dog has the opportunity to socialise safely with children
– Choose a breed that has a good reputation with children
– Ensure your dog is under your control by properly training it to “sit”, “stay”, “drop” and “come”.
– Let dogs eat without interruption
– Avoid cornering a dog – this can provoke a “fight or flight” response
– Provide the dog with a bed that is separated from noisy, high activity areas.
– Do not wake a dog suddenly – this may give them a fright and prompt an aggressive response
– Remove your dog from excitable environments – especially children’s parties where it may become over excited or aggressive

Educate your family
– to be calm, respectful and gentle around dogs
– to steer clear of a dog when it’s eating, tied up, sleeping or growling
– to stand very still if a dog runs at them
– to always ask “May I please pat and play?”