Are Dalmatians Good With Kids?

Happy family with Dalmatian resting at the beach in summer

Almost everyone knows and has seen Walt Disney’s animation movie 101 Dalmatians and maybe even the sequel 102 Dalmatians. These movies have shaped the image of them being cute and friendly family dogs. But are they?

The movie “101 Dalmatians” made the breed so popular it is difficult to meet demand. The consequence is big breeding farms where puppies are bred for sale often with poor or even without proper obedience and socialization training. This made them miss behave around children simply because they didn’t know-how. Which is how they became notorious as not suitable for children. The opposite holds true. To answer the question “are Dalmatians good with kids?” They can be the ideal pet for children when given proper obedience and socialization training.

I think this is true for all dog breeds. Dalmatians and Dogs in general love to be with their owners and can be wonderful companions. Some dog breeds tough are high energy dogs and are better suited for active families and children over 5 years of age that can play, sport, run or bike with them. If you don’t have a garden or your garden is without fence the be prepared to go to the park on a regular basis. Dalmatians need to exercise and run daily. Only leaving them outside in the garden is not gonna cut it.

Dalmatian Puppy and Kids

We have already discussed that with proper training in obedience and socialization skills Dalmatians can get along very well with children. So when is the best time to start training? When the puppy reaches the age of 8 weeks and between 16 weeks the are most likely to learn, accept and be comfortable around kids and family situations. Always introduce your new puppy in a positive way to your children.

It is even best to give positive training to dogs as they learn best this way. Have a talk with your children about how they should behave around their new friend, before the introduction. Make sure your kids behave well and respectful towards the pup and encourage plenty of petting in a gentle way.

Puppies are small and easy to pick-up and carry. Be aware that dalmatians don’t like to be carried around. It may look okay in the beginning, Dalmatians are very patient dogs, but up to a point. Their reactions can be sudden and might scare your little kids. Other things that Dalmatians don’t like are ear and tale tugging.

Other things Dalmatians don’t like are ear and tale tugging, arms around his neck and hugging.

Puppies and young dogs that have had good experiences with children will have no problems meeting yours. They will feel confident around your kids, be playful with them and not aggressive in their presence.

Advice To Parents and Kids

It’s advisable to always supervise a dog when around smaller children. Smaller kids can easily be knocked down by a full-grown dog. Puppies and young Dalmatians can get enthusiast while playing and can get a little too rough for the little ones. We don’t want either of them to get hurt while having a fun time.

Keep in mind that Dalmatians are high energy dogs, especially puppies. And you will have a wonderful friend who loves to play games with your kids. 

Kids can have the best time playing with these furry friends, but even the sweetest amongst them can have sudden movements around dogs, put an arm around his neck or hug him. Although meant well your pup might not always feel the same way. You can prepare your dog for this kind of interaction with kids.

What Adults Can Do For Puppies And Spouse

You as an adult can give a short hug and if your dog’s reaction is a good one then give him a small treat. Repeat this a couple of times and then start to hug a little longer. Give your pup a treat every time his reaction is good. Repeat these steps with gently tugging ears, gently tugging tales, hold his paw and putting an arm around him.

Positive reinforcement is key for a stable, playful and well-socialized dog. A nice extra is with every training session the bond with you and your Dalmation grows.

If your dog responds with over-excitement or exhibits anxiety when confronted with this behavior, it is wiser to take a step back. Postpone the introduction to your kids. At this point, it is better to focus on behavior training. Get a specialized dog trainer to help you during this process.

When your kids are a bit older and are used to their pet pal and the other way around, they can have good play times together. Playing, sporting and riding their bikes, a Dalmatian can be a good companion. Your dog can run around together with them until both get exhausted…. But only after several hours.

The last piece of advice would be to give your dog a safe place. If you want him to behave better when around children you can train your Dalmatian to “go to his place”. A physical location where he feels happy, comfortable and safe can be a great outcome when the situation becomes too intense. Teach your children that “the safe place” is off-limits for them. The safe place can be a dog’s crate, bed or mat. This place allows your dog to interact with your children and take a break when he wants to.

Some Steps We Should Do Are

  • Socialize your Dalmatian with kids
  • Dalmatians Physical and Behavioral Training
  • Train kids to live safely with a dalmatian
  • Special Needs

By doing these steps, we can keep our kids safe as well as it’s essential to have a happy and safe pet experience. These steps are described in detail below.

How to Socialize a Dalmatian With Kids

A grown Dalmatian can easily knock over one of your kids. A well-behaved dog is the first step to ensure the safety of your children and other family members in your home. Teach your dog the basic commands like sit and down, so you will be able to refrain him and teach how to behave around kids.

Many dogs have the impulse to jump up. This is in their nature. If they obey the command sit, you can use that to teach them to sit and not jump up. Some owners like the jumping but involuntarily you encourage your dog to jump up to every person he meets. Not everyone likes this behavior and it might scare children. 

The best thing you can do is teach your dog not to jump as soon as possible. Preventing him from learning is easier than unlearning bad behavior. This is where the command sit can help you. When you walk by the door and you see your dog wants to jump on you or is jumping, use the command sit to have him stop jumping. If he doesn’t listen, walk right back out of the door wait a few seconds for your dog to calm down and try again. When he does listen, reward him by petting him or giving him a small treat. 

The second technique you can try, when he jumps on you grab is front paws in your hands and gently put his paws back on the floor. Give lots of attention and praise for keeping all his paws on the floor. Then walk out and in again. Repeat this process a couple of times and finish with treats to reward him for his good behavior. This way eventually he will learn that it is more rewarding to keep all his paws on the floor instead of jumping on people.

Training your Dalmation is can be a daunting task. You can take your dog to training classes to get assistance from a professional. If your dog is socialized too late in his life, it can be difficult to train him. If you know about your dog’s history and this is the case I would strongly advise you to get professional training. You might get discouraged if you try yourself first. You both need to have a good time at it for your dog to learn. This is true for Dalmatians as it is for dogs of any breed.

Dalmatians Physical and Behavioral Training

When a Dalmatians comes new into your house you want him to feel comfortable in his new home and with his new family as soon as possible. Physical and behavioral training with your Dalmatian can help him in this process. Especially when you have little children around. Don’t expect too much in a short time, set reasonable expectations. 

It is the house adults’ responsibility to take care, exercise and train the new family member, however, it is good practice to involve your kids in the feeding and training process. Doing so can stimulate the bond between your dog and your children. 

Why Should we Train a Dog

As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your children how to behave around your dog. Small children are capable of doing cruel things to pets. Dalmatians are known to not always respond very well. When you take home your dog for the first time everyone wants to meet him. Your children might get so enthusiast they want to bring over their friends and have them meet with your dog. This might overwhelm your dog. Seeing too many faces in too short of a time window and living in a new home can get very stressful for a young dog. The last thing you want is your new dog to behave badly bad to newcomers so it’s good practice to keep others at a distance for the first few days and let your dog get settled first.

How Can We Train Our Dalmatian

Energetic dogs need lots of activity during the day. Dalmatians is such a breed known to be high energy dogs. I can advise you at least 2 hours of activity a day, twice a day one hour is fine. You should give him some free play time off the leash, that he can spend running. You can take something like a tennis ball that he can play fetch with.

Make sure that your Dalmation is safe when off the leash. Don’t let him off-leash in a place where he can bring harm to himself or others like crossing a road with traffic. If you perform an endurance sport like cycling or jogging this can be a good exercise for your Dalmatian. Dalmatians are known for centuries to have good stamina and can keep up a steady pace for hours. Do train him to stay along with you. Performing your exercise in an environment without distractions for your dog is a good thing. Especially in the beginning. 

Physical activities are great to lose some of his energy. Another great way to lose extra energy is by involving his brain in activities. Teaching him tricks like stay, near and down are simple examples to start with. But also playing hide and seek with an object like a toy your dog is really font off can really help. Do this during outside walks and you have a win/win…

Movement is essential for a Dalmatian. Remember, without sufficient exercise Dalmatians will just invent new, and possibly destructive for your home, ways to burn off their physical and mental energy.

What Should You Teach Your Kid to Stay Secured, If You Have a Dalmatian?

Dalmatian is stubborn & sensitive in nature, and it is their natural behavior. Their mood can be shifted. Although they are excellent family dogs, they have some flaws which are being stubborn and sensitive. Usually, these dogs never roar when poked by owner kids, but nothing can be said when their mood is off. So, for younger kids, you should teach your kids not to touch or disturb them while eating.

What Should Kids Learn Not to Do

Teach them not to touch the tail or mouth of the Dog as they can be irritated.

As these dogs are very sensitive, so teach your kid not to hit them or misbehave with them. Dalmatians can become angry after being hit.

Teach your kids not to touch Dog’s toys if they have.

As younger kids try to put everything in their mouth, so it could be infectious to put a dog toy in mouth, which was bitten by a dog.

Also, teach your kids to not go near them when they are jumping or running because due to their big size, they can hurt your kid unwillingly.

Rest. like all other dogs, and dalmatians misbehave when getting annoyed.

So, teach your kids to not annoy them by touching them while sleeping and eating or brushing your Dog by a stick.

Follow these steps and enjoy a great company of a dog with your family.

Special Needs

You might have read of several incidents involving children and Dalmatians. These incidents, however, happen frequently from Dalmatians who were deaf, or becoming deaf, and were startled.

Deafness is more common under Dalmatians then it is for other breeds. Partial deafness is also a cause that makes them respond negatively to training.

Calmness and a leveled head is the best way to be around Dalmatians, and avoid to trigger the sudden reactions that negatively bias them and their reputation.

The “Beautiful But Naughty” Reputation

Thanks to their stunning elegant look and unique spots, Dalmatians are probably one of the most famous dog breeds. These beautiful dogs attract many peoples attention, but Dalmatians are definitely not a dog breed for everyone.

Dalmatians can run for miles alongside carriages no problem. It is what they were created for hundreds of years ago. They love running, and they socialize well with horses. For hundreds of years, Dalmatians run along with carriage horses. Back in the days, If you saw one of these stunning animals, you were sure that the carriage would have followed shortly. Dalmatians were basically signaling passersby and street dwellers to move on the sides of the road. They also ward off and defended passengers from footpads highwaymen.

Dalmatians Are Also Famous For Being Firemen’s Dogs

They essentially had the same task, running along and before horses to warn people on the streets to move on the side as firemen were coming in a rush. Moreover, because horses are very intimidated by fire, Dalmatians were kept around during the fire extinguishing operations, as the presence of familiar animals were believed to keep the horses calmer. When petrol engines and trucks took the place of horses and carriages, firemen kept their Dalmatians around as mascots. Then Disney came along and portrayed Dalmatians in cartoons and movies, sealing the fame of Dalmatians as beautiful, but a bit naughty, dogs.

The negative bias towards Dalmatians continues nowadays. To defuse this bias it takes simply to understand that Dalmatians are not just beautiful toys (no dog should be considered a toy- ever!) but amazing life companions that need an active and caring family around them.

Erwin Borgers

Hi, I’m Erwin. I grew up with two cats, but I always wanted to have a dog. Since my wife and I lived together, we have Mayla. She is a very sweet King Charles Spaniel. Together we spend countless of hours in the forest near our home. We love to walk together and now I want to share what I learned about walking dogs and what I learned about dog gear with you.

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