I see and hear the word ‘tolerant’ a lot when it comes to talking about dog companions; and thought I’d dedicate this post to sharing some thoughts on the subject, and why, even tolerant dogs need human advocates.
Parents, please teach your children about the Do Not Disturb sign above dogs that are sleeping and/or contained. Dogs that are sleeping can startle if touched and should be allowed to sleep in peace. Contained dogs (like a dog in a crate, behind a gate, on a tether, or other enclosed space) have no means of escape from hands encroaching on their space and may feel a need to react with a growl or worse to get someone to back off. This is one important way you can help to prevent dog bites.
Parents, please note, when it comes to helping your children build strong a strong relationship with their dog, it is important to remind them that big bear hugs make most dogs very uncomfortable – and NO ONE likes being around someone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
Parents, please do your part to help your child and your dog’s relationship to succeed. Teach your children that the place to be wild and crazy is away from your dog (and unknown dogs). If your dog (or a loose or leashed unknown dog) becomes overly aroused, movement will keep that arousal curve moving forward. Kids should be taught how to stand still and be a tree with their hands under their armpits to lower the dog’s arousal.
Parents, please remember, you have an important role to play in helping your children and your dog succeed…including preventing dog bites.
Parents…I wanted to share another reminder that Dog Super Heroes avoid head locks and big bear hugs as that can make a dog feel very uncomfortable – and past experiences build future associations. Instead of a head lock, your child can sit beside or in front of your dog, careful not to loom over your dog. If your dog disengages, turns or moves away, and has tense body muscles teach your child to give your dog some space. Your dog will thank you, and that helps foster positive relationships.