Thursday, July 7, 2022

A guide for your child to pet dogs

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Shreya Christina
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The relationship between children and pets is unique. Dogs can be anything for youngsters, from playmates and crime partners to teachers and comforters. However, there is a learning curve in any new partnership.

Children who do not understand how to handle dogs may unwittingly agitate them, resulting in a bite or attack or a stressed dog. Even the most loving dogs have bad days, and they can only have so much compassion as a toddler pulls their tail.

Dogs can suffer as a result of such incidents. Jennifer Shryock, a licensed animal behaviorist with a special education degree, stated that people would call to drop off their dogs due to incidents involving children. That’s why she started Family Paws, which provides “customized training and assistance for new and expectant dog parents.”

According to Shryock, the more knowledge that is delivered to people, the more comfortable they are with dogs. “Children and parents gain confidence when they become more confident and know what to look for.” She believes that teaching kids about dog safety is never too early. “It’s like learning a new language.”

It takes more than a parent to teach children how to pet pets properly. It’s something every dog ​​owner should be aware of to prevent or de-escalate future accidents. Here’s everything you need to know about teaching kids about dog safety.

Ask for permission and don’t assume the answer will be “yes”

Teaching kids how to pet dogs is primarily about instilling consent. It all starts with asking for permission, but experts say there are some restrictions on who to ask for permission in the first place.

“Ask the owner’s permission before exposing your child to a new dog,” says Daniel Caughill, co-founder of The Dog Tale. “They will have a thorough understanding of how their dog reacts to new people, especially children. You need to be sure this isn’t the case, as some rescue dogs have had traumatic experiences before that make them hostile to children.”

Since even the most honest and compassionate dog owner may not know how their dog will react to your child, says Kevin Ryan of Superb Dog, it’s always better if this person is someone you know and trust.

“If the dog owner doesn’t have children of their own and has never had a problem with adult friends and family petting the dog, having a pup can be a new experience for the dog and you don’t want to be the one figuring out how they will react. It’s ideal if the dog is used to being around young children and relaxing with them,” said Ryan.

Shryock believes that asking to pet a stranger’s dog is generally too risky because you are essentially making a lot of assumptions about that person. “Since when do we trust a stranger with our security information?”

In general, she believes that it is not a good idea for unfamiliar youngsters to approach unfamiliar canines. “There are too many variables. Dogs have bad days due to the context of the environment, other stimuli present and a lack of understanding.” Instead, Shryock prefers to signal that her dog enjoys performing tricks, which is a non-contact option.

Pay attention to the dog’s body language

After permission, watch the dog’s body language for signs of nervousness or discomfort. This is how a dog expresses its aversion to being petted. “If the dog runs away, puts its ears back, or otherwise seems scared or hesitant,” says Megan Marrs, a dog trainer and founder of the dog grooming website K9 of Mine. “We always seek enthusiastic consent from dogs.”

When Shryock teaches this to kids, she calls it “doggy detective work.” “We’re talking about ‘looking at the ears, eyes, tail and muzzle to solve the problem’.”

Collecting all available “clues” is critical as different dogs express pain in different ways so just looking at their face or tail couldn’t reveal anything.

“Believe what you see,” Shryock generally advises. That may seem obvious, but some people think they are the exception. “People seem to believe that they can convince the dog to change their mind. That’s not your job if you’re not one of their trusted individuals.”

Invite the dog to come with you

If there are no warning signs, the next step is to stroke your leg and coax the dog. Instead of you approaching the dog, inviting the dog to you allows them to unsubscribe.

If the dog refuses to be petted, Shryock suggests offering alternatives to touch. “We can kiss, wave and talk about how beautiful the puppy is, but to sign out is to sign out.”

Pat/pet, pet, pause

Once the dog has enthusiastically accepted the invitation, the next step is to pet the dog using the “pat/pat, pat, pause” technique. It remains to be seen if the dog will continue to play, as “that third pet could be a problem,” Shryock added. “So let’s take a break and see if the dog still wants to play?”

“As the dog approaches, you can pet the dog,” Marrs added, referring to it as “pat, pet pause,” because the “pat” refers to touching your thigh as an invitation for the dog to to approach. “Pause for a few seconds and wait for the dog to respond. Make sure the dog is nosing at you, looking at you, or leaning towards you, indicating that it wants to be petted. We can interpret the dog’s movement, or even its passivity, as a ‘no thanks’.”

Remember, according to Marrs, that a dog’s comfort level can change at any time, which is why it’s critical to stay in control. “One minute he might be happy with head crunches, but five minutes later he might not.”

Children learn how to pet the right way

Every dog ​​has their own preferences for how and where they want to be petted, but it’s critical to teach children how not to pet them first as these guidelines apply to almost all dogs and breaking them can be fatal.

  1. Avoid approaching from behind or making abrupt movements – “Tell your child not to make a sudden lunge or loud noises and to stay still and calm. Noise and movement are both exciting dogs, so keep it to a minimum,” Ryan said .
  2. Don’t go in their face or make eye contact – Making eye contact is a sign of respect for humans, but it can be perceived as a threat by dogs. Getting too close to their face is also a no-no.
  3. Don’t brush their hair – “It can be scary for dogs when a stranger puts their whole hand on and over their head. Imagine being attacked by a huge “said Marrs.
  4. Don’t pull their tail or ears – hopefully this goes without saying.
  5. Don’t Hug Them – Did you know that dogs don’t like to be cuddled? Putting your arms around your dog may seem like a loving gesture, but it actually makes them feel trapped and insecure.

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Thanks for your time. Keep reading!

Resource: Mashable

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