Please note that the blog post you are about to read was written by a dyslexic dog mama with ADHD. Here’s what’s going on inside my brain…
First post of 2023 and it's on a touchy topic.
First, puppies, and dogs are not toys for children. Got your attention?
Yes, those adorable pictures of babies and puppies snuggled together are so lovely. Not! It's just giving wrong ideas that this is okay to do. What the unknowing parent/adult may not know is the children/animals in those pictures are trained(hopefully). Furthermore just because you have seen it in a picture does not mean it is okay to do.
And what do I know about this topic? I'm not a trainer nor claim to be. I do have an understanding of my dogs. I have come to learn their language, yes animals have language and we as humans need to understand it.
Before Christmas, I had the opputintiy to watch my friend's son(Due to privacy I will refer to the child's nickname, That I gave him. Goober). Goober has been to our house numerous times. he met Willow when she was just a puppy. The first time he meet her, I encouraged gentle handling. Gentle speaking as in our household we say inside voice. Every opportunity for positive reinforcement was given and will always be given. When Willow was young Goober only handled her when I was holding her. As they both needed to learn how to be around each other.
In the above gallery, you can see Willow being relaxed and confident. Goober is freely exploring her toy box. While this was going on I said to Willow "good girl, nice sharing your toys"
In the above picture you can see the posture of Goober, he is in a relaxed stance leaning against the sofa. He is holding the tug, his fingers are lightly gripping. Why does this matter? It matters! As the energy is calm and sharing space with respect. Willow is free to play, it may be hard to tell as the pic doesn't show her tail was wagging. What you can see is the fur on her back is laying flat her ears are relaxed and her stance is non-aggressive. Also, I was less than a foot away from this interaction.
While they played I commented with reinforcement of positive actions.
What it comes down to is children need to be taught how to interact with dogs. Yup, I said it. It is up to the adults to teach the proper behaviour of children regarding animals. It does not matter the breed of dog.
When it comes down to training key thing is respect. Every living being is worthy of respect.
When picking a dog trainer they are not all the same or equal. Interview them, ask for references and search for them online. Not just what they may give you either. Also. ask your friends who have dogs and used trainers.
All images are copyright of PaulaSara, Bark'n up the Green Tree Images with child are used with permission.