The Space Bubble That Should Exist Between Kids and Dogs (But Doesn’t)

dog and child on couch

There really isn’t anything like growing up with a four-legged best friend. They’re ever-willing, loyal companions of adventurous childhood schemes.

Sometimes, however, pets can get a little irritated or accidentally hurt by the antics of their young owners, and require a little R&R away from the action. Kids and dogs are equally important to the other, but only when both parties receive time, space and quiet.

More Than Ever

Most family pets have never had this much time to spend with their beloved human family members. Indeed, we’ve all had adjustments to make in the last couple of months. The future is uncertain, but it seems likely that kids and dogs are going to continue spending all day, every day, together.

Body Language

Parents of young children must supervise all interactions between their kids and dogs. They don’t typically pick up on the subtle cues of body language, and can become victims of dog bites extremely quickly. 

Teach kids to only use “gentle touches” on and around their dog. Do not allow ear pulling, tail tugging, jumping or laying on top of their dog. Instruct them on the visible cues that their dog is upset by their actions, such as flattened ears, growling, and running away/hiding.


When dogs have their very own space to retreat to they can take a break from the loud squeals or scampering footsteps around the house. Kids should know not to disturb the dog when they’re in their special place.

The Routine

An effective strategy for managing the needs of both kids and pets is to uphold a daily routine. Both children and their pets benefit from regular meal times, bathroom breaks, snacks, exercise times, and snuggle times. 

Part of your household routine could be to integrate your dog’s needs with encouraging your kids to participate in chores (if age appropriate), such as picking up poop in the yard, brushing their dog’s coat, grooming, filling water bowls, and taking them for walks.

Speaking of Walks…

Kids and dogs both love to get outside and enjoy nature. As long as your family abides by a certain safety protocol, this can be a worthwhile experience. Over time, you may be able to take everyone cycling, swimming, and hiking together. 

You can also work as a family to train your pet on specific obedience commands, obstacle or agility courses, and more.

Kids and Dogs

We know that many families are struggling to keep the peace at home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have questions or concerns about how you can keep your pet safe, healthy and happy during this time, we are always here for you at Harpeth Hills Animal Hospital.