The American Bully has one of the most intimidating looks to many people. The large, muscular build, wide head, and often cropped ears, make these dogs appear imposing. It is not uncommon for people to move off the sidewalk when I am walking my American Bully, or pull their kids off to the side. Should this be a parent’s reaction though?
Are American Bullies kid friendly? As a general rule American Bullies are very kid friendly. The American Bully is known to be an exceptional family companion and great with children. These gentle giants were specifically bred for the purpose of being a loving, loyal, and gentle family dog.
The interactions I have witnessed with my own American Bully and kids only confirms this fact. My American Bully loves to interact with kids from the neighborhood, family members, and children we randomly meet in the streets. He is excited to greet kids and loves to be around them.
With that being said there are precautions every dog owner must take when introducing and socializing their dogs with kids. There are also things we must teach kids about being friendly with dogs to ensure the most positive interaction possible.
In this post I will cover some basics of the American Bully’s kid friendly nature, and the proper way to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time together. Let’s dig in.
Are American Bullies Safe For Kids?
As a whole, well socialized American Bullies can be safe around kids. Following some basic rules when it comes to manners, making the right kind of introductions, and keeping interactions under control are all needed to keep everyone safe. These same rules apply not just to American Bullies, but all dogs.
Because the American Bully is a strong dog, we must make sure that we follow some basic safety rules to avoid accidents and injuries. Although the American Bully is very kid friendly, overexcited play, bad manners, and unmonitored interactions can be unsafe both for children and your American Bully.
These are a few ways to ensure both kids and your American Bully are safe and having positive interactions together.
Make The Proper Introductions
Making the proper introductions with an American Bully and kids is very important. We want to ensure that both your dog, as well as the children, know how to greet each other in a calm and friendly manner. Too much excitement, hesitation, fear, or eagerness can lead to bad first impressions.
My American Bully is allowed to meet any kid he wants but I always expect him to patiently wait to be approached and ask the child to follow a couple rules. Firstly I ask any kid wanting to meet my American Bully to wait a second or two before petting him.
My dog needs to have a sniff first and remain somewhat calm in this initial interaction. Once he has had a good sniff I tell the child they can put out the back of their hand for him to approach and smell. Once he is comfortable with that they can pet him.
This way of introducing a kid to a dog is the best way to ensure your American Bully is comfortable with the interaction, and the child respects the boundaries of the dog. Rushing up to a dog and petting them can startle them and not create a positive interaction.
As a parent you should always teach your child to ask a dog owner if they can say hello to the dog first. This is good manners from the kid and allows the dog owner to control the interaction as they see fit.
American Bullies are very playful, sweet and affectionate dogs. Spending time playing games with family and friends is something American Bullies enjoy the most in life. Because they are such kid friendly dogs, they will love to engage with children and the energy that they bring to activities.
Monitoring playtime and interactions in general is a must with any dog. Accidents can happen when adults are not present to control playtime between children and American Bullies. Always monitor interactions to ensure everyone is conducting themselves in a safe and positive manner.
Even with my American Bully, who is 100% kid friendly and very reliable I still watch him like a hawk when around kids. I leave no room for potential accidents or injuries to the kids or my American Bully during playtime.
Keep Play Calm and Gentle
As part of the monitoring you are doing during playtime, you must ensure play is calm and gentle. Rough housing, overexcited play, and general carelessness can quickly turn into bumps, scraps, bruises or worse. Manage the level of play at all times.
An over excited American Bully can knock over a full grown adult if they are not paying attention. For a child this could lead to a serious bump and fall. Try to keep your American Bully from getting rowdy, and never allow for rough housing.
Teach Kids How To Treat Your American Bully
Kids can sometimes be a little rough with dogs, especially big dogs like American Bullies. Teach kids how to properly interact with dogs and make sure you stop any activities that are too rough or unkind.
Pulling ears or tails is something that should never be done to an American Bully. Despite them being strong and tough dogs, this can be painful. Even the most kid friendly American Bully might react out of reflex to a really hard tail pull leading to a bite or scratch.
By showing your kids how to treat and interact with an American Bully you are ensuring the safety of the dog as well as your children. Teaching a child how to keep play calm, gentle, and fun with an American Bully will keep interactions fun and enjoyable for all. Not to mention it will build an even stronger bond between the kids and the dog.
Teach Your American Bully Manners
Every dog needs to learn manners when it comes to interacting with people. Especially when interacting with kids. Things like jumping up, getting over excited, pushing their way past people, and barking excessively are all bad manners. These bad behaviors need to be discouraged and training needs to take place to prevent them from occurring.
Positive reinforcement training is great with American Bullies. They are very eager to please their owners, so teaching them good manners around kids can be relatively easy. Anytime they display good behaviors during interactions they should be praised and rewarded.
Whenever bad behavior occurs, play should stop and only start again when your dog has reached a calm state. This is where the monitoring of playtime becomes very important. Immediate praise and immediate ending of play must occur when good and bad manners occur.
American Bullies are by nature bred to be kid friendly. Though the nature of being an excellent family companion is built into their DNA as a breed, we must remain attentive at all times. This is something every dog owner of every breed needs to do. For the safety and well being of the kids and the dogs.
Following some of the basic principles outlined in this post will ensure the safest and most positive interactions you can have between kids and American Bullies. Calm and gentle interactions and playtime need to be managed and monitored by parents and adults as a whole.
Making the right kind of introductions, and teaching both American Bullies and kids how to interact in a friendly, well mannered way, can lead to incredible fun and strong bonds. There are few things sweeter than watching the love an American Bully has for children. Make all interactions positive and you will see just how kid friendly American Bullies can really be.
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