Kids And Dogs
Being home with my kids 24/7 has prompted me to think about how many families are now home with bored kids, trying to keep them busy, while maintaining a balanced home. Many families own dogs and under our current circumstances, we are also stressed. Dogs absorb this stress also. Bite prevention education is really important. Teaching our kids how to interact safely with the family dog, a friends dog, or a lose unfamiliar dog is key to establishing balance, harmony and safety in and out of the home.
Good Doggy! goes to local schools to teach children techniques and body language cues to help them make better choices when hanging out with dogs. Due to the Covid-19 virus we are no longer able to go to the schools and educate the children. And now our kids are home. This is a good time for parent’s to start the conversation about safety and educated their kids on what is appropriate and what is not. Being proactive is key. Dog bites are ABSOLUTELY preventable.
I have raised both my children, now 10 and 13, (since birth) with dogs in the home their entire life. We own 3 dogs: 2 small and one large dog. Not once have my kids ever been bitten or lunged at. Not once. Besides my personal dogs, I have client dogs in my dog room and home on a regular basis with various behaviour issues. My kids know the signals and cues to watch out for. They respect the dogs space and adhere to my rules. I am their parent. It is MY responsibility to ensure safety at all times and ensure my kids follow the rules. Things are NOT left to chance. Kids are immature and unpredictable. They do not have the mental capability, to always make good choices. they need our support and guidance.
I can remember walking my dogs one day years ago and seeing two boys under age 10 walking a large husky. They stood arguing over who was going to pick up the dog poop. While they did this, the dog pulled and got lose. Running into traffic and charging at me and my dogs. I was able to take control of that situation as my dogs are trained so they sat and let me take over. But under other circumstances it could have been a huge liability. The boys were simply too immature to handle this responsibility. Be very careful shoving off chores and daily routines to your kids. Yes, I say shoving off because if you are too busy to take care of your dog and lead by example, then you do not need to own one. It’s simple. If the husky dog attacked one of my dogs, or got hit by a car the consequences would be high. How would your child handle this experience? If you own a dog, it is YOUR responsibility, as an adult and parent to walk your dog, feed your dog, train your dog, get up in the night and potty your puppy. Not your kids. This is not to say you can not give them some responsibility to teach them life lessons and how to interact safely with your dog. My kids help on a regular basis, but the responsibility I give them is based on their age and maturity level. The key here is SUPERVISION.
You don’t leave a baby unattended with a dog in the room. I don’t care how friendly, what breed, what size or how old the dog is. Be responsible. Dogs are NOT human. They are an animal species. A canine. Dogs don’t talk, they don’t walk on 2 legs, they do not use knives and forks to eat, they don’t watch tv, they do not have empathy, or human emotions or thoughts, they do not dwell on the past, they live in the NOW. They are not human at all. Accidents can take 2 seconds to happen. Babies are not seen necessarily as part of the pack so to speak early on as they make weird noises, smell different, and are unpredictable. Until they stand tall, are more mature, and act and interact more human like, it is our job as a parent to constantly manage and supervise any interactions a dog and child have.
When my kids were little, they were told and forced (meaning I supervised and was proactive) to leave the dogs alone, when eating food, drinking water, chewing a bone, in their crate and/or on their dog bed or pet cot. Now with all this said, kids can have incredible relationships with dogs. My 13 yr old daughter, walks our personal dogs regularly. But she abides by my rules and is monitored. But we need to set the example and the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. Riding a dog like a pony is NOT allowed. Yes, this actually happened and still happens around the world. There are people who think that it is okay to do and then wonder why their dog finally has had enough and tears into their 7 yr old’s face (30 stitches) due to this irresponsible action. As sad as that is, it happened. That child will have to carry the burden of that scar and what it represents with them forever – and the terrible fact is that it was completely the parent’s fault and completely PREVENTABLE.
If you are interested in getting a copy of my parent guide to help you educate your children, learn how to advocate for your dog, including calming cues and signal info on dog body language please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or msg me directly on FB or Instagram and for a small fee of $9.99 I can forward my documents to you. Education is power. Our children are precious. They deserve to be safe and to be respectful towards dogs and all animals. It’s a great time to take advantage of this opportunity as we are all practicing social distancing and looking for things to do. Please keep your children safe, especially during this stressful time.👍✔