It is never advisable to leave children alone with a dog that has just become a new family member. Dogs prove they are trustworthy with children after years of showing good behavior. The decision that a dog can be trusted alone with children is best made in consultation with several who’ve known your dog for a long time, including your veterinarian.
The dream most of us have when bringing home a dog is that it will love our children and our children will love it, but to make this happen, don’t throw them together. Carefully prepare each to meet the other. It helps children to understand that pulling, punching, and tugging hurts a dog just like it hurts them. Don’t leave children alone with your dog if they don’t understand this concept. Teach your children that if the new dog approaches it, it is doing something right, but if the new dog wants to avoid it, the child is doing something wrong. A child’s goal should be to behave so that the dog wants to play with it.
It often helps to have children feed the dog so that the children have value in the dog’s eyes. Have your children place the bowl down, then call the dog to come eat. Don’t allow children to place their fingers in your dog’s mouth or to remove treats from its mouth. Don’t encourage children to hand feed dogs unless you are certain your dog will not bite fingers in its eagerness.
It does not pay to be overly optimistic about the level of our dog’s self control. Be realistic. Of course there will be dogs that you trust with your life and with your children’s lives. Lassie was written about a real dog. However, there are also wonderful dogs who should not be handled by or left alone with children.