Happy National Pet Day! This is a day where we honor the animals that add so much joy and love to our lives. Like most of you with pets, we consider our dogs part of the family. Don’t know what we would do without our 2 beagles – or as they are known around here – our CEOs (Canine Executive Officers).
Children also love dogs. It is very important to teach children the proper way to interact with a dog and how to recognize canine body language.
50% of dog bites/attacks happen to children under 12. A lot of these injuries could be prevented by educating children about dog behavior. No one is suggesting not letting your dog interact with your kids or vice versa, just please be aware of the signs that your dog is, or may be, uncomfortable. Dog’s generally don’t like being hugged, some do and some tolerate it, but hugging is a primate behaviour, not a canine one.
The vast majority of dogs are absolutley solid around kids, nearly all the time, but it just takes one moment when the dog isn’t feeling well etc and it may react. Be aware of what your dog is telling you.
A good way to test this is the “5 second rule”. Pet your dog for a maximum of 5 seconds and release. if your dog comes back to you for more, he is happy with the contact and we can repeat for another five seconds and then test again. If your dog walks away or turns his/her head away, he is disengaging and doesn’t want you to continue. Respect his wishes, we don’t always want touched and would rightfully object or feel uncomfortable it this was the case.
Teach your kids this too. It is a good way to teach them how to interact with dogs and respect them. We should never force our dogs to do something they don’t want to do unless it is to absolutely necessary for their well being. Hugging doesn’t qualify in this category.
Please refer to the picture below for warning signs that your dog may not want to be touched or bothered.
Thanks to Doggone Safe for the picture and Aunt Penny’s Pet Sitting for the information.
Three excellent poster for kids – they show what to do and not to do around dogs. The last one shows examples of dog body language – It is very important to educate children on canine behavior and warning signs.
Many children love to kiss dogs, however it is important to teach them that there is a right way and a wrong way to do so. Most dogs do not like being kissed or touched on the face, while some dogs will tolerate it most do not and it often results in bites to the face or neck. This is a very cute and well done video by two kids on how to properly kiss a dog.
Children may also be interested to know that dogs see colors differently than people. Here is a nice visual that compares what we see to what dogs see:
Lastly, it is important to know how to help our canine family members in case of an emergency. We recommend attending a pet first aide class to learn the proper techniques, but here is a visual of the Heimlich Maneuver for Dogs: