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Do dogs know to protect kids?
Many dogs go from being the apple of their master's eye to just another family member once a new baby arrives. Even though the shift of importance slides a bit, many dogs take on their new role of protector and playmate with stride. Animal Planet reports that most dogs are patient and tolerant when youngsters grab their tails or pull their fur, leading some owners to question if their easy-going demeanor is an inherent trait.
According to the news outlet, owners need to understand the social structures of dogs in order to fully grasp the unique relationship between canines and kids.
In the wild, dogs make a huge effort to establish their place within their social group. Dogs understand if they are dominate or a subordinate, and in family units, dogs understand that their masters are in charge as they are the ones who supply the pet food. They easily accept their role and the humans as their family or "pack."
Because of this, when a new member, a baby, is added to the family, most dogs just assume the child is part of its pack. The source reports that once someone becomes a part of the family, dogs believe "they are to be defended at all costs, whether they put food in the bowl or not."
Some dogs will go to such great lengths to protect their human family that they might seem hostile or even aggressive towards other dogs that approach on walks, even if they have been sufficiently socialized. You may want to keep your pup's Flexi Retractable Leash pulled in close when out on walks with the kids to help the dog relax, since it's hard to punish it for the protective behavior.
Although all dogs may protect their families if a dangerous situation occurs, some breeds that are either lazy or overly friendly might not be very good guard dogs day-to-day.
Most owners would probably want a breed that is a mix of protection and a gentle giant.
Veronica Sanchez, from Cooperative Paws in Virginia, told the publication that breeds with these characteristics include the Bernese mountain dog and Newfoundlands. Both breeds are known to be calm around animals and children and protective when they need to be. Owning these large breeds might come with some added responsibilities, such as maintaining their joint health. Giving these working dogs pet drugs like Dasuquin or Glyco Flex III will keep them limber.
Herding dogs are also good for families as they work to keep the pack together. The source reports that these breeds are "unlikely to let a child wander off or be taken," traits parents might look for. Independent breeds like Akitas or small lap dogs might not be the best choice for noisy, messy kids.