|Know your pet - Butterscotch is loving the rubs but others might not|
So who is responsible for keeping kids safe around dogs? The parent or the dog owner? In my opinion both are, with the parent the foremost responsible. One can not rely on the dog owner to be aware of what is the best way for kids to greet a pet. There is not any test on dog care, training and behavior one needs to take before getting a dog. Many people base their knowledge of what to do with dogs on just what they knew from a previous pet. In my experience in our community, I see less than 25% of dog owners actually going through any kind of dog training, so do not depend on the dog owner to knowing what to do. This is your child. Protect and educate them.
Here are a couple of very important points to always remember:
Look at life from the dog's point of view. It does not matter what your child meant by hugging the dog. To the dog they were about to be strangled so that is why they snapped. A common bite
scenario is hugging a sleeping dog. Let sleeping dog lie!!!! Don't disturb them - do you like someone rubbing your back or hugging you all of a sudden when you are deep in sleep?
|leave this dog alone not matter how sweet she looks||!!|
|Glenda loves this but Butter does not|
If a dog goes to growling, staring, not moving, they are shifting to aggression because acting afraid is not helping them. Keep your kids away!!! Ask the owner to put their dog up for the benefit of both your kids and the dog. This is not a bad dog. It is a dog that is overwhelmed and trying to help itself. If it is difficult to remove the dog, get your kids to another area or have them do different activities ( like stop cartwheeling around the dog, or running around ) that may help decrease the stress on the dog.
|humans like hugs and close contact - but not all pets do!|
Where do you start? Right now !
1. Infant to toddler ( birth to age 2) - Children at this age cry, squeal, roll around, crawl, and move around very quickly in an unpredictable way to the dog. All of this activity can look like a little injured squirrel that needs to be eaten. Some
dogs stare - sniff intently over the body of the child. Do not allow this!!!!!!!!!!!! Even if a dog seems very tolerant, you don't know what the dog will do next. If a dog is looking away, turning the head away from a child, moving to another area it is saying "I don't know what this child is going to do and I need to get away".
|Bella keeps one eye on the child - and I on Bella|
2. preschool to school age: At this age, the child can follow your instructions about proper greetings - asking first, avoid petting on the head, and not rushing up to to dog but they need an adult to demonstrate this with them. Few children at this age remember to follow all the rules, so parents remind the child and demonstrate proper greeting. Take the opportunity to ask your child how they see the dog respond to them. If the dog is pulling away, point out that the dog has had enough. This is how the child learns to respect the dog's space. It isn't all about what the child wants to do.
3. Adolescent to adult hood: Parenting never ends. Yes, you still need to remind and at this point keep an eye out for how your child is acting around dogs, especially at family barbecues or parties. When your teenager is laughing loud, looking at their phone and not paying attention this is scary to the dog. If they all of a sudden reach down to pet the dog as they hold an I phone, to the dog they are unsure of what that object is in the hand. All the rules are the same- ask if you can pet, invite the dog in, and touch from the shoulders to the back.
Dog owners certainly need to be in charge of their dogs. Unfortunately not every dog owner sees life through their dog's eyes. They miss the early signs of fear and then aggression results. Information abounds for the dog owner, but some just don't listen.
|reward good behavior|
Okaw Veterinary Clinic www.okawvetclinic.com