As the weather warms up there will be days when your family plans include picking up the kids from school and then heading to the park to let the kids (and your dog) have a well deserved run around. However, before you do, you need to train your dog to be comfortable around hordes of children and the excitement involved with the ending of a school day.

At Take Your Pet, we can’t stress enough the fact that just because your dog is comfortable around your children at home it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be as calm around strangers. Your children are special; they are a part of the dog’s pack. Your dog sees your children as their pack mates and treats them as such. However, unknown and excitable kids can be very confronting for your pet.

When you take your dog to events where there will be lots of children, such as school pick-ups, carnivals or sports days, you need to be acutely aware of your dog’s reaction to the mass of screaming, laughing children running around excitedly. If your dog begins to seem anxious, starts trying to hide behind you or begins growling at passers-by, be prepared to immediately make a hasty retreat.

Always keep your dog on a leash in such crowded places. Child areas may not be as pet-friendly as you expect them to be. Some children are afraid of dogs, and may start screaming or crying when they see you with Fido. If such a situation arises, move away to a distance and encourage the child to keep moving.

Spend some time training Fido not to jump up on anyone. Not only may jumping frighten some children, bigger dogs can actually push smaller kids down by accident. If children want to pet your dog, instruct them to do so carefully and gauge your dog’s reaction. If your dog seems unhappy, send the child away to prevent disasters. Always take your pet back to the vehicle as soon as you’ve claimed your children, and continue on to your pet-friendly family plans.

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