The Social Structure of Dogs
To fully answer this question, it’s helpful to have some insight into the social structure that dogs follow. In the wild, much of dogs’ behavior is driven by whether they’re in charge or subordinate. With pet dogs, they understand their family setting. In the case of a child who’s brought into a dog’s human family, their instincts will likely be to protect it.
As you may have guessed, there are a few caveats to this behavior. The first is understanding that breeds differ in their natural protective characteristics. Herding breeds are going to go out of their way to keep their pack together (including children), while breeds that have been bred as lap dogs are going to be less proactive in their interactions.
Another important note is dogs with previous experience around children are the most likely to be patient during future interactions. If a dog hasn’t had much socialization outside of its core family members, interactions with children should be carefully supervised. But as long as a dog has a basic level of socialization, it’s likely to interact with children in the way we described at the beginning of this post.
Helping Your Dog with Family Transitions
Any family that has a dog and child knows how attached they can get to each other. This can cause quite a bit of stress during transitions like going back to school. After a fun summer of playing together, a dog may be sad when its buddy resumes leaving the house for eight or more hours a day. If you face this or any other type of challenge due to a transition within your family, our dog daycare can help.
By getting your dog out of the house and into an environment where it will be engaged with other dogs, you’ll be able to help your pup continue feeling its best.