Child's Best Friend: How to Raise Dogs That Are Good With Kids

A young boy hugging his golden retriever

Growing up with a canine best friend can be a magical experience for kids. Much like having a sibling, growing up with a dog at home is like having a best friend who’s always around—someone to bring happiness and joy into life. 

Besides adding extra excitement to a child’s life, young dog ownership has many benefits that can last a lifetime. From fostering a sense of responsibility to encouraging outdoor play, having a dog around can truly enrich a child's life in many ways. But how do we ensure that this relationship blossoms beautifully? It all starts with creating a strong bond between your kiddo and their four-legged friend. 

At Joyride Harness, we believe nothing is greater than the strong bond between a person and their dog. And there is no age range to this happiness. If you’re thinking about growing your family by four paws, keep reading to learn how to raise kid-friendly dogs. This advice will set you, your child, and your future pup up for success! 

Creating the Bond Between Kids and Dogs

If you’ve ever seen films like My Dog Skip or Homeward Bound, you know that the bond between canines and children can be incredible. Fostering this bond between kids and dogs is like setting the foundation for a friendship filled with love, respect, and mutual understanding. As parents or guardians, it's our role to guide this relationship in a direction that ensures safety and happiness for both parties.

First and foremost, it's essential to understand the mutual benefits that this relationship can bring. For kids, a dog can be a confidant, a playmate, and a lesson in empathy and compassion. On the flip side, for dogs, a child can be a source of affection, fun, and a lifelong companion. Children often have more energy than adults, which can be a great match for a young dog who’s always looking to rub around and play. 

But, this relationship isn't just about fun and games. It's a learning curve for both the child and the dog. It's about teaching kids the importance of being gentle and understanding the cues that dogs give. It's also about training dogs to be patient and tolerant. This way, we can foster a relationship that is respectful and harmonious. Of course, one of the best ways to ensure a safe and happy bond is to ensure our children are befriending kid-friendly dogs! 

Three young boys in sunglasses are laying in the grass with their small white dog, who is also wearing sunglasses

8 Tips for Raising Dogs That Are Good with Kids

Sometimes, when raising kids and dogs together, the bond is naturally there, and everyone gets along. This is more common among older children and dogs with experience around small humans. More often than not, some “training” is needed to ensure dogs are kid-friendly, and vice versa. When raising dogs and kids together, it’s important to focus on fostering a safe and respectful relationship.

Here are some tips for raising dogs that are good with kids.

1. Choose the Right Breed

Different breeds have varying temperaments and energy levels; some are better family dogs than others. Conduct thorough research to find a breed known for being child-friendly that aligns well with your family's lifestyle. Some of the most popular kid-friendly dog breeds include Poodles, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Bulldogs, and Pugs

2. Obedience Training

Enrolling your dog in obedience training classes can be a great start. It helps instill good manners and behaviors, making the dog more manageable and safer around kids. When you work with a trainer, they can give you specific tips on managing your dog in your household. 

3. Socialization

Early socialization is key for raising a dog that is comfortable around kids. Expose your dog to different environments, people, and other pets. This will help them become more adaptable and comfortable around children, reducing the chances of aggressive behavior.

4. Create Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries for both the dog and the child. Teach your child not to disturb the dog while eating or sleeping, and train the dog to respect the child's personal space.

5. Safe Play

Encourage safe play activities that both the child and the dog can enjoy. Avoid games that encourage rough play, potentially leading to accidents or injuries, especially if the dog is large. 

6. Supervised Interactions

Always supervise interactions between young children and dogs. This ensures that playtime remains safe and prevents any potential mishaps.

7. Safe Spaces

Create safe spaces in your home where both the child and the dog can retreat to when they need a break. This helps in preventing any potential conflicts.

8. Positive Reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward good behavior in your dog. This encourages them to repeat the behavior and helps build a positive relationship with the child.

A young boy in a striped polo and red shorts runs down the street with his white and brown dog on a leash

Educating Children on How to Interact with Dogs

Just as it’s essential to train our dogs how to behave around children, it must also teach our young ones the proper ways to interact with their furry friends. This ensures the child's safety and helps foster a respectful and loving relationship with the dog. 

Here are some things to consider: 

Understanding Dog's Body Language

Teaching children to interpret a dog's body language can be a proactive step in preventing misunderstandings or accidents. Help them recognize signs of a relaxed, friendly dog as opposed to a fearful or aggressive one. This knowledge will empower them to interact safely and respectfully with dogs.

Approaching a Dog

Educate your child on the correct way to approach a dog, especially one they are meeting for the first time. Encourage them to approach slowly and quietly, allowing the dog to come to them first. Remind them to always ask for permission from the dog's owner before petting.

Gentle and Respectful Interaction

Instill in your child the importance of gentle and respectful interaction. Teach them to avoid pulling the dog's fur, ears, or tail and to refrain from disturbing the dog while it's eating or sleeping. Encourage them to use gentle strokes when petting the dog and avoid making loud noises that might startle it.

Involving Your Child in Dog Care

Involving your child in the dog's care can be a wonderful way to foster a deeper bond between them. Assign them age-appropriate responsibilities such as filling the dog's water bowl, assisting with grooming, or helping during walk times. You can even involve them in the naming process and let them pick out the dog's collar, harness color, or even toys. Directly involving your child in the dog’s care routine helps nurture a sense of responsibility in the child and allows them to form a close and loving relationship with the dog.

Raising Dogs That Are Good With Kids with Joyride Harness

We all remember our first dog. And when you get your first dog as a child, it’s truly something special. The journey of children and their canine companions growing up together fosters a unique friendship filled with joy, love, and countless cherished moments. 

At Joyride Harness, we are committed to fostering these beautiful relationships. We believe the bond between children and dogs is beneficial and a source of immense joy and learning. It's a journey that brings families closer, teaching values of empathy, responsibility, and unconditional love. 

And the learning journey doesn’t stop at childhood. If you’re a new dog owner looking for advice on how to raise dogs that are good with kids or are wondering what you need to know before you bring your first dog home, we’ve got you covered. Be sure to check out our blog for other tips and tricks on dog ownership. From choosing the perfect harness to understanding your dog's needs, we are here to guide you every step of the way!

Share this post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


Headquartered in sunny Los Angeles , CA, we are committed to providing products that will make you and your dog happier and better with each other and out in the world.

learn more