Friday, May 31, 2019

Dogs & Kids: Assume they aren't listening ...

Assume the worst. Assume they know nothing. Assume they do not absorb anything. ... I'm of course talking about the kids! I had a recent picture I posted on my Facebook timeline of my refrigerator which adorns many things but one of them is a set of kid and dog posters. I leave these up, they are laminated and stay there at all times. I do this because kids should never be given as much credit as "oh they know they shouldn't do that ... or they know they should do this ..."

When you work with kids and dogs you need to assume that your child needs to be reminded, molded and trained daily just like your dog does. Just because you showed your child, or told them, once that pulling Fido's tail isn't nice doesn't mean they will think about this each and every time they come near a dog.

It's really important that kids are reminded often and given opportunities to practice what they have been previously taught. I have 3 kids –– a 10 year old and a set of 6 year old twins. The 10 year old is definitely getting better about having to be reminded and having to practice as much education on dog behavior and body language than my 6 year olds. However, that's because I've been doing this with her for a long time. 

I'm a Certified Dog Trainer, a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator and a trainer with The Family dog. However, this doesn't exempt me from teaching and training my kids all the time on dog behavior and body language. 

Download on my website
Each dog we encounter is a learning opportunity. I will stop and say "what does that dog seem to be feeling?" "What body language can you identify?" "Do you think he wants to be approached or left alone?" It's so important that parents understand that dogs are sentient beings and can change from one minute to the next just like children ... and adults! This means we need to always be aware of what a dog is "saying" or trying to "say" with its body language and actions. This is how we make Dog Aware Generations –– generations of kids that learn how to always read a dog and stop and think before acting. This will almost always ensure safety and a pleasurable experience for both dog and child. 

So be sure you are practicing educating your children on canine body language and what their actions may mean. But don't stop at one lesson. Use dogs you see or are around as learning opportunities, use your own dog as a learning tool. Go over pictures of dogs and their body language. Do this as often as you can. Learning is on-going!

I have several resources on my website for kid and dog education and training. One of my favorites is the poster above for kids that is from and The Family Dog.

Copyright© 2019. All rights reserved. 
Stacy Greer, CPDT-KA
Sunshine Dog Training & Behavior 
servicing Dallas/Ft Worth, Texas

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