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How Do I Teach My Toddler About Interacting With Our Pets?

Our daughter thinks pulling our dog's tail and ears is really amusing. How do we teach her to "make nice to the puppy"?

For starters, never, ever leave your toddler unsupervised around your pet. Rover may have just one last patient ear or tail pull in him before he loses his temper.

Teach her not to approach the dog when he’s asleep under any circumstances, how to react when the dog growls, and discourage her from putting the dog’s toys or food in her mouth, which a possessive dog could read as a threat. Read books about pets to your child so she can learn more about furry friends. And involve your child in pet caretaking responsibilities, like feeding, bathing, brushing, playing, and walking so she’ll understand that pets are creatures we love and respect.

Oh, and tell her to stop pulling Rover’s tail!

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