Integrating Dogs and Cats Into The Family.

Integrating Dogs and Cats Into The Family.

Why Should Pets and Children Be Socialized

Socializing pets with children is important for the development of the children and the pets’ personality.  Children are rambunctious and energetic and exposing pets to children teaches the pets how to acclimate to new situations.  Pets learn how to become better companions in various environments.  The children in turn develop important bonds that will aide them in future relationships.

It's physically healthier for pets to learn how to interact with other humans.  Neurological signals releases adrenalin and corticosteroid hormones when pets are under stressful conditions.  Consistent release of these hormones increase blood pressure and suppress the immune system of the pet.  Poorly socialized pets stimulate the release of these hormones and induce unhealthy stresses.

Pets are seen to provide their human counterparts with more than companionship.  Pets help humans foster human-to-human friendships and social support.  Researchers show that pet owners are more likely than non-pet owners to befriend those in their community.  This is often done while walking their pets.  There are also many physical and mental health benefits associated with owning pets.  The humans increase physical activity, which lower blood pressure and reduce stress.  There is also a correlation between bonds between pets and owners and the secretion of a happy hormone called oxytocin in humans.

How To Socialize Pets and Children

Adding a four-legged member to the family could seem like a task, but it is not as challenging as it seems.  Take small steps by first getting the pet accustomed to one or two new people and slowly introducing more people.  A calm environment would allow the child and pet to be relaxed.  Gauge both the kids’ and pets’ temperament to avoid a chase.

Teach the children how to have a positive interaction with pets.  Rubbing on the chest, back, and shoulders are comforting for dogs.  Whereas, pats on the head are signs of aggression for dogs.  Start children off with tossing treats to pets from a distance.  After several interactions where the pet and child have had a chance to get comfortable with one another, then the treats can be fed by hand.  Have the children praise the pet, so they both associate one another with a positive and fun relationship.

After the children and pet have a strong interaction in a peaceful environment, you can expand them to new experiences.  At this point you can take them out of their comfort zone and introduce new stimuli.  They both can share new experiences together such as going to a friend’s house, the park, or the pet store.  Both the children and pet can attend classes together as well.  This is often helpful when puppies grow up with children.


Socializing dogs, cats, and other pets with children and other members of the family could seem challenging, but it will develop into fun memories the family can share.  

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