I have trained a lot of dogs for a lot of families over a lot of years. I am a big believer in getting the kids in the family to participate in the training and care of the family dog.
First, I think that dogs offer a lot of positive benefits in the socialization of a child. We want our kids to do well, today and into the future as they become adults. Well socialized kids do better in all aspects of life. Children can learn a lot about life through the proper ownership of a family dog.
Properly socialized children become well liked by their peers and by the adults they encounter. Those important social relationships will boost their abilities to do well in life. Loners are rarely very successful in having a well-balanced life. If the parents do it right, a family dog requires a child to become more interactive, more in tune with the feelings of others, and helps develop responsibility over the home and their lives.
Second, kids will be safer if they learn how to properly interact with dogs. This techno-wonder world we are creating for our kids is removing them from the lessons of nature. Kids that can’t relate to nature will eventually be in situations where they might be endangered. Your child will encounter dogs, and a child that knows what to do, and what not to do, is less likely to be harmed by a dog.
Lastly, kids who participate in the care and training have an easier time around the family dog. I think you start them, age appropriately, in dealing with a family dog. You’d be surprised what a child can learn and do. I regularly see kids in public areas that are terrified of dogs. I often wonder if the parents realize how they are stunting their development by not addressing these fears. Yes, owning a dog is a sacrifice. You have to put some skin in the game, and so do the kids, in order to have a proper dog-child relationship. But all good things in life are that way.
Thus, instead of shielding kids from dogs, a dog should be made a full family member, and the kids should learn the lessons of proper dog ownership.