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Dalesman Dog Psychology

The Guild of Dog Trainers

The Guild
of Dog Trainers

Member of Canine Behaviour Centre

Children & Dogs

In the news again is another dog attack involving a child, the dog again will get the blame. The simple truth is children and dogs must not be left unsupervised. This is a recipe for disaster even with children they know well but especially with strange children.

Children must be educated from an early age to respect dogs and not treat them as toys or as their playmates. Whatever the breed, size or colour it is still a dog and must not be humanised. Its thoughts are purely instinctive and should be understood as such. With structured socialisation and supervision many dogs tolerate children and are surprisingly calm under great pressure but do not take this for granted.

Children do a few things that dogs can react to

STARING this can be very threatening to some dogs especially if done in a confined space and by something it regards as a lower rank. The dog usually warns by growling if this is ignored then it could carry out its threat by biting.

SCREAMING usually high pitched which excites many dogs and mimics a captured animal.

HUGGING my view on this is it is a purely human need and children should be discouraged from this habit especially when unsupervised they tend to grasp too tight and the dog tries to get away possibly growls if this doesn’t work then it may snap.

RUNNING children tend to run everywhere waving their arms about, shouting etc. Dogs need to be accustomed to this behaviour and learn to be comfortable with it.

TOYS children should not play with the dog especially tug games without supervision. Many children get bitten when the dog gets over excited and becomes possessive of its toys.

FOOD children should not interfere with dogs when eating and should be careful around their beds.

The simple way to stop these things happening is to create authority over the dog, reduce the dog’s rank, educate children and dogs to respect each other. Do not keep the dog and children apart rather socialise under supervision.

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