There are so many things to consider when you are trying to teach your kids about dogs.
If you are someone that grew up without dogs, you are probably more than cautious.
On the other hand, if you grew up with dogs, you are probably not cautious enough.
There is a fine balance between the two extremes and it is important that you teach your children about how to approach dogs. You children will see dogs in the park, in the city, or even on your sidewalk.
When I have been out with my dog, I have been surprised at how many people allow their children to run up to my dog and start petting her. My dog is a sweetheart, and she has never harmed a flea. The parents of the children, however, don’t know that about my dog. She could be a vicious killer on a leash.
Rules for Approaching Dogs
Here are the rules your children have to know about approaching a dog. They are not difficult to learn–especially if you will take the time to practice them with your kiddos.
- Never approach a dog that is unaccompanied by an owner. This is a very dangerous situation for small children especially. If the dog is not familiar with you, it might perceive your approach as an aggression.
- Always ASK PERMISSION from the owner to pet their dog. This gives the owner of a more aggressive dog or immature puppy either prepare the dog or tell you No.
- Let the dog sniff your hand before your reach to pet their head or back. If the owner says yes, let the dog sniff the back of your hand to let it become familiar with your scent. Dogs use their noses to identify different dogs and people. This is a K-9 introduction.
- Pay attention to the dog’s reaction to your hand and initial petting. When you start petting the dog, usually the back is agreeable to the dog. Some dogs like their ears or chest to be rubbed, but others do not. So, if it is a dog that you do not know, stick with simple strokes up and down the dog’s back. Pay attention to the dog’s tail. If it is wagging back and forth, that is a sign that it is happy and all is well. If, on the other hand, the dog goes stiff or you see the hair on its back start to rise, then you need to be wary. Something is bothering the dog. It might not be you, but best be careful.
- Always be gentle. Don’t ever grab the dog or pull its tail. The dog may interpret this as an aggressive behavior and feel compelled to protect itself.
For other tips on being around dogs, or even training dogs yourself, check out this website: www.easyretrievertraining.com