Dogs and children belong together, without a doubt, but without mature guidance and empathetic parenting of both, they can certainly get in trouble. This is particularly true at the moment where we are time plenty and kids are getting bored.
We see so many pictures and videos on social media of dogs being crowded, scared and pushed around by kids. Dogs are often treated like everything else in this disposable world, toys. They are not toys they, they are living, emotional and empathetic unique individuals and should be respected as such.
If we choose to have a dog in our home and choose to expect that dog to cohabitate with our children we really need to know what is acceptable behaviour in the relationship between the two vulnerable individuals we are guiding. Lack of guidance can lead to a very stressed dog and a stressed dog has very few choices. Let’s take a look at some dogs and kids together and check if you know what’s going on.
In this first picture the dog is being stroked on top of his head. He’s licking his lips and dipping his head – both signs of being desperate for space. This dog is worried but the child isn’t listening.
In the second picture the child is staring right into the dog’s eyes. Direct eye contact like this is seen as confrontation in dog language. This is the kind of situation which puts a child at risk of being bitten in the face, and even if the dog is really kind – they will still feel incredibly intimidated.
Pictures three and four show unhappy dogs being manhandled. Dogs require personal space just as we do. Even the cuddliest dogs are entitled to choose to be left alone, ask yourself how you would feel being held tight around your neck? The dog with the boy looks unhappy and resigned to his fate, the dog with the girl is communicating very clearly that they are unhappy. Lips pulled back, ears pulled back and face turned away are all saying that this contact is way too much.
Picture five shows a dog just wanting to be left alone whilst a small child leans on his back and simultaneously pokes a hand in his mouth. I would hate being treated like that, wouldn’t you? But for some reason we think it’s OK to expect our dogs to tolerate it – often over and over again.
Finally let’s look at a good picture. An empathic partnership between child and dog. These two are lovely together. The dog is simply with the child and not the child’s complete focus. See the dog’s happy face, alertness, emotional comfort. These two are great pals and just sharing their space.
We humans like to touch. From the moment we are born and can move our hands we are grabbing and groping our way around the world. We have learned though that the bodies of other people should be respected. We should most certainly extend that respect to the bodies of our dogs.
For this reason and for the fact we are all locked up together at the moment, We have put our dogs and children course on very special offer. It’s packed with information and education on how to teach your child and dog to avoid the worrying communications above and go straight into teaching your dog with love, respect and wisdom.