When Enough is Enough | The Limits of Tolerance in Dogs

There are many common phrases that dog trainers hear when it comes to dogs’ and kids’ interactions. My goal is to change the pet culture around this topic by educating families rather than having them rely on outdated rumors.

Before I start, I want to answer, “What is tolerance, and why is this important to understand in your dog?” We all have a gauge of stress we can handle throughout the day. We can all agree that some days are better than others. Stressors such as hours of sleep, work pressures, and family dynamics can all affect how we respond to daily events. News flash – your dog experiences this as well. We all have a stress threshold and can only be pushed so far before we have to draw boundaries.

Scenario one: “My dog is great with my kids; they mess with my dog’s food and can take its bowl, and my dog doesn’t care.”

Setting your dog up like this puts your kids at risk and could lower your dog’s tolerance towards children faster than if it were left to eat in peace. Your dog’s meals shouldn’t have unnecessary stress and pressure surrounding them. Would you allow your children to roll their hands on your or their siblings’ plates? Then why is it okay to subject your dog to this? If you want your dog to respect your kids, teach both of them healthy boundaries.

Scenario two: “My dog allows my kids to climb all over them and pull their hair and tail.”

Be prepared when you allow this “pack play” for your dog to view your kids as equals. This equality opens the door for your dog to treat your kids as littermates, which means they become fair game for your dog to nip, growl, and chase them down. What typically happens next is you have kids getting knocked down and crying, or you have a situation where the dog has reached their threshold and corrects your kid when they are resting, and your child invades their space. Then, owners scold the dog, and it is unfair.

Teaching mutual respect to your kids and dogs creates an organic and healthy relationship. As parents, we are responsible for teaching proper manners and setting boundaries. The Dogs to Diapers online course will help ensure a happy household.

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