Archive for the ‘Kids & Dogs’ Category

The Best Way To Socialize The New Puppy With Your Kids

Peter | November 11th, 2011
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Having a new puppy in the house is a very exciting and memorable experience, especially when you have children in the family. However, every interaction between your child and your new puppy must be closely supervised, especially for the first few days after your puppys arrival.

When meeting the puppy for the first time, have your child sit on the floor with her legs crossed. Slowly bring the new puppy up to her. Tell your child to lay out her gentle hands as she reaches over to the puppy with palms down and knuckles up so the pup can sniff them.

Give the puppy some time to sniff, but dont force him to do it. When hes done smelling her scent, pick him up and put him on your childs lap while she is sitting on the floor. Let your child pet the puppy, always using her gentle hands.

Your new puppy will do one of two things. First, he may stay on your childs lap while enjoying every second of being pampered. He may even fall asleep after a few minutes. Second, he will leave to walk around and explore his new environment. If he decides to explore, let him do it while you are watching to make sure that he doesnt get himself into any kind of danger.

If the puppy decides to walk around, tell your child not to chase or pull at him. Your child will likely be very fascinated with the new member of the family that she will want to grab him and put him back on her lap. Remind her about using gentle hands when petting.

Be sure to tell your child not to pull, grab, squeeze, drag, or poke the puppy. Doing so can hurt the little dog or result in him reacting aggressively to the child, which could injure or cause the child to fear the puppy.

Gently grab the puppy again and place him back on your childs lap. If he tries to bolt, let him walk around for a few minutes. Keep in mind that he may still be in shock from being separated from his mother and the newness of his surroundings, or he may just want to explore his new home.

If your child seems discouraged about the puppy continually escaping from her lap, make sure she understands that it is not because the puppy doesnt like her.

After a few minute of letting your new pup run around, pick him up again and place him on your childs lap. To make sure that he wont try to escape, bring a few of his favorite treats along with you.

When he starts to show signs of escaping, show him the treat and have your child gently feed it to him. Your child should place the treat on her palm for the puppy to lick, not on her fingertips where the puppy can accidentally nip her while he grabs for the food.

Remember to stay calm and positive and keep your voice low. This is an exciting time for everyone, an experience that will set the stage toward a happy and healthy friendship between your child and your puppy.

How To Combine Playtime With Obedience Training

Alan | December 15th, 2008
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Puppies are like children in many ways. They need constant care, supervision, and a lot of affection. Having both together, your kids and your dog, especially during playtime, require extra supervision and patience. The key is to teach your child how to play with the puppy and for the puppy to understand that he needs to listen to the child the same way he listens to you and the other adults in the family.

Always Use The Same Commands

It is important for your child to use the same commands that you and the rest of the family use. Doing so teaches your child to use the commands with respect toward the dog. At the same time, your puppy will realize that he needs to obey the childs commands, thus teaches both to respect one another.

It sounds like it can be quite a handful, but it is also a lot of fun. Combining training and playtime helps to create a closer bond between your child and puppy. Let them run together and then see how fast your child can command the puppy to stop and sit. The puppy needs to learn to sit and wait while your child to throw a toy for your puppy to retrieve. Your child can also train the dog how to roll over by rolling in the grass while having the puppy mimic him.

There are many other ways you can incorporate training and fun between your child and puppy.

Some helpful rules to keep in mind

1. Your dog should understand who the leader is. If he has an instinct to herd, dont let him herd your child. Doing so will make the dog think that he is in charge and will not obey your childs commands.

2. No roughhousing whatsoever. Discourage aggressive play at all times. Do not let your child drag, pull, wrestle, hit, or poke the puppy, even in a playful way. Your puppy may react differently and may jump and bite. At the same time, do not let your puppy jump on your child. A four year old German Shepherd can easily knock down a 6 year old child.

3. Teach your child to respect the puppy, and vice versa. Your child should learn how to properly treat the dog, which will then earn him the respect and leadership from your puppy.

4. Establish consistency. Puppies learn through repetition. Your child needs to understand that commands that we teach him are firm and absolute. If the puppy doesnt obey the command, the child should repeat the command until the puppy does what he is told to do.

5. No squeezing. Hugging the puppy too tight can result in injury.

6. Always be there to supervise playtime, especially if you have a young child and/or you have a new puppy. This way, you can easily intervene if things get out of hand.

Keeping Your Children Safe From Strange Dogs

Gemma | December 10th, 2008
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Children are amazingly loving and carefree but too much friendliness could get them bitten, and in some cases even killed, when coming across a strange dog while playing outdoors. Teaching your children to approach new dogs in a calm, controlled manner can help prevent these problems.

First, children need to ask for permission from their parents and the dog’s owner before approaching any dog. If the owner isn’t nearby, avoid any contact with the dog.

Second, children should approach the dog slowly, offering their hand palm up for the dog to sniff. Depending in the dog’s size and age, children may need to squat down to the dog’s level so as to avoid appearing dominant by towering over the dog. Because dogs view a pat on top of the head as a threat, children should scratch under the chin instead.

Finally, children should never try to pick up the dog or stare directly into its eyes because the dog can perceive these actions as threatening. Speaking in a soft, gentle voice can help the dog see the child more favorably as well.

Well Behave Dogs May Still Be A Threat

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is trusting a dog that seems to be well-behaved (showing signs of having been training by sitting or staying put), but although a dog may be well-trained, if it has not been socialized (accustomed to being around children), then the bite risk is still high. This is why you should teach your kids never to hug a strange dog.

Hugs can be dangerous. Some dogs feel hugs intrude on their personal space. During a hug, a child might also accidentally squeeze the dog too tightly around its neck or body, causing the dog harm. For a dog that isn’t comfortable around kids, even direct eye contact could be seen as threatening.

What To Do If Your Child Is Bitten

What if despite your best efforts a dog does bite your child? The very first thing you should do is wash the bite immediately with soap and water. Make no haste in contacting your child’s pediatrician (unless it’s only a scratch) and the dog’s owner to let them know what happened.

If you don’t know who owns the dog, try to find out. Follow the dog home if necessary. This is especially important if the dog is acting like it’s unhealthy. Rabies is more prevalent in some areas than others, but it’s a reality and needs to be considered.

Once a doctor or other health professional gets involved, they are required by law to notify the local animal-control agency. The dog will probably be quarantined for 10 days. Usually this is done under house arrest. However, some states may require the dog to be kenneled at the animal-control or veterinary facility for observation (in case it starts showing signs of rabies).

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 6

Samantha | December 9th, 2008
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In every instance where a dog is used within the family household to teach children important life lessons – lessons of responsibility, lessons of care, and lessons of sharing, it has been the dog’s similarity to us that has done the teaching.

His differences can helps us grow, too. You can use the unfamiliar to widen a child’s view, tickle his curiosity, exercise his senses, and encourage two soft spots understanding and respect.

Curiosity exercised can establish a love for knowledge. You can begin to form your child’s learning habits before he enters school. Let his dog be a focal point for his natural curiosity.

Search with him for the dog’s differences in behavior and appearance. Some interesting facts and insights can be found in like-minded dog books and videos how a dog reads with his nose, how a dog’s ears make him a remarkable eavesdropper, how a dog can fight with his eyes, how a dog has a tail that talks, how a dog loses the battle to keep peace.

These facts and insights can answer the child’s questions and stimulate new interests. They are fascinating enough for bedtime stories. It could be a running series of: Charlie, the dog who…

Make the illustration even sharper by using the dog’s name. Help him see the answers to his questions. Use the word like to put a picture in his mind. Explaining a dog’s acute hearing you could say, ears like scoops. Then make the picture move: that can tilt and reach out to dip into sound.

Involve the child actively in an illustration. It doesn’t always have to be scientific as long as it gives him the feel of it. Charlie wags his tail because he can’t smile. It won’t fit on his mouth. Now show your child by stretching the corners of your mouth back as far as you can pull your lips as tight as you can. That’s the shape of Charlie’s mouth. His mouth was not made to smile so he wags his tail.

In stories like these you can give your child a valuable approach to the unusual. He can learn that there is a reason behind behavior. That what appears funny, or dumb, or even ugly can look differently when we know the purpose it serves.

He learns from seeing you actively seeking reasons behind the dog’s behavior. You are showing him the beginning of understanding. A child that is involved with animals soon learns there are different types of intelligence used for different ways of life.

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 5

Samantha | December 4th, 2008
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Not only does the new addition of a puppy into the home make children happy, it also creates an unexpected learning center that can teach the kids care, tenderness, responsibility, and ironically sharing.

I stress the word ironically because you probably feel that this would be the last result of adding a dog to a family. Would a dog be the spark to further ignite sibling rivalry? Would one child wind up with the dog’s ears while the other held onto the tail?

One fundamental element can help you cool off sibling rivalry and create a real sharing experience.

A dog is not a toy to be shared, but a coexisting being who expresses his personality and has a fill of his own. It is not easy to manipulate a dog. You have given the children something not just to play with, but to reckon with. You have taken the emphasis off each other and diverted their attention to the dog.

A True Story

I asked my friend Heather if I could use her story. She said yes but to change everyone’s name except the dog he’s the hero.

Heather’s problem was not unusual.

After three sentences, a conversation would be broken. The two boys responsible (her kids were not even in the room with us. The constant interruptions came over an intercom that linked the kitchen to their bedroom. Heather’s two boys (age 2 and 3) were in constant competition with each other, classically called sibling rivalry.

Suddenly, there was a scream and crying.

Heather said, Christopher, are you making Paul cry? The polite answer came, Yes, mother. Heather, on the far edge of exasperation said, Please don’t hit him. That’s your brother!

One month later, there was a change.

Heather, reasonably free from interruptions, gave her answer, We’ve got a dog. He was a stray. I said to him, ‘Look, Brown Dog, I give you a week. If you can take the kids, you can stay.’ Heather thought, God bless you dog, and introduced him into the children’s circle.

Look, we gotta help this dog. He’s a stray and he needs us. Now Paul, you choose a place for him to sleep. Christopher, do you have an old shirt for him to sleep on? Let’s decide who can do what. Can you give some time to walk him? We’ll alternate, but Christopher, you can feed him tonight and at the same time show your brother how, so he can tomorrow? Now, what should I do go buy him some food?

Heather’s Method Worked

She took the boys by surprise. She gave them several things:

1) An honest approach told them the problems they would have and exactly how to solve them. She made it their giving and their suggestions that made things right.

2) She diverted their attention. What had been riveted on each other in competition was now dispersed. Something else demanded their attention. They were too busy at first and too involved later.

3) The sibling rivalry cooled off and sharing developed because they had a go-between the dog was the object of their giving and receiving but, in fact, they were learning to give and take from each other.

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 4

Samantha | November 30th, 2008
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As a parent who brings home a new puppy for the joy that the children will experience, your role is also to use the puppy as a teacher-dog, which simply means using the pet to teach your kids morals and responsibility. Specific situations come up all of the time in the home to take advantage of this opportunity.

A Real Life Example

My neighbor, Irene, did not like dogs to begin with, but a Basset Hound was being abandoned. It was scruffy and had rickets. Irene took him, saying all the time she didn’t want that dumb dog messing up the house, but someone had to take it.

Now, one of her sons, Eric, is knee-deep in chores. He is 8 years old and exercises the dog, finds the places outside of Irene’s flowerbeds for the dog, Lily, to dig holes. Little boy Eric sees Irene preparing Lily’s food. She fries fat, adds it to the dog’s food, and mixes in vitamins.

Eric sees the medicine and the care…

… and he sees a change in his dog.

Her coat glistens from the food and her personality opens up. At first, Lily would not even move. Now she chases Eric with a fast, bow-legged waddle. At first, she would not even respond to a scolding. Now when Irene gives commands, she obeys but grumbles under her breath.

Irene sees not instant companionship but a growing bond between Eric and the dog. The eight-year-old does not consider this as a responsibility, but just a new kind of loyalty he never felt before.

Being put in Eric’s situation having something weaker dependent upon you is a rare experience for such a young child. It gave Eric his own place in the family. He has an older brother and sister, and although they get along very well, there is a five-year gap between their adolescence and his childhood.

Eric’s association with the dog gave his brother and sister an opportunity to truthfully admire what he was doing without talking down to him. It was something Eric could do that was not just a child’s accomplishment it was considered important in the adult world, too.

Eric also solved a problem he was having with not being able to play ball with his older brother. He would not play with Eric due to his age and lack of coordination that a 13-year-old just could not have fun with. Now Eric can play ball with Lily. It’s not the best – Lily can’t throw and neither of them can catch – but it evens out.

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 3

Samantha | November 28th, 2008
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By using your dog to teach a child, positive life lessons can formed and crafted that will last forever in your son or daughter. This works by getting your kids involved in activities that not only take care of the dog, but teaches your child at the same time.

They keys to this practice working effectively must revolve around verbal and physical coaching. Always follow a pattern. You do it with the dog, then let the child do it. Skills are learned by imitation. At the same time more than physical actions are imitated.

Connect The Dog & Child Together

Connect what the child does with how the dog responds, and how the dog looks or feels after it is done. This encourages the child to work for natural rewards as opposed to being paid for chores with money or privileges.

Stress this accomplishment by pointing out that the dog is happier or healthier. Be specific as in the example of showing a child how to brush the dog’s coat. The dog wags his tail more often now or his dull coat is now shiny, and that the child made this happen.

Use Failure

As well as success use failure to teach a realistic sense of responsibility. In failures, show the child that the dog is not a toy but has a mind and personality of his own. Explain the dog’s bad behavior.

Show the child, since he or she is much more intelligent than the dog, that he has inherited the responsibility for making the relationship work or not. (Of course, there are times when this would not work when fundamentally there is something wrong with the dog or the problem is too difficult the solve.) When problems arise, trace them with the child to their root.

A Common Example

Take the instance of a little boy playing with his new dog in the back yard. Both are strangers to each other. Both are trying to play before they properly know what to expect from each other. The boy shouts and pretends to shoot the dog with a toy gun. Then the boy runs around the yard.

The dog gives warning signals of being scared and uncertain. The boy doesn’t know how to read this so he runs away, while the dog makes a choice that the boy wants him to chase him. That is what the boy wants except the dog catches the boy by the seat of his pants and holds him against the wire fence.

The boy screams, the mother runs out, the dog backs away everybody is confused.

Find out how this could be prevented: Let a new dog settle down first smell around, explore the yard, meet the boy under quiet, calm circumstances. Have the child play slow games with the dog at first, so both will know what to expect.

Then, turn the frightening experience into understanding. It can save this from being the first of many bad incidents and bad feelings toward animals for the child.

Guide the child into re-establishing the relationship. Let him solve the problem by going back out in the yard, approaching the dog slowly, giving him food, patting him and reassuring him in a soothing voice.

Explain to the child this was a misunderstanding. And if he gets through the hard times, it will help him understand his dog better, he will have a better pet and they will have more fun together.

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 2

Samantha | November 27th, 2008
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Every person who buys a puppy, or adopts a new dog, does so with the intention of teaching the new member of the family dog tricks, training plans, and such – but it is also common to use them to help teach the children.

How Can A Dog Teach Your Child?

Not only have I seen teaching-dogs in homes all around the country, but many progressive schools use animals as an integral part of their programs. Marie Montessori, the famous Italian doctor and educator, filled her books on the Montessori Method with fruitfulness of animal/child relationships.

Psychologists, too, use dogs as one way of teaching children who are lost mentally into a deep world of fantasy. The dog is sometimes the only reality that these children will respond to. The basis for this method of communication no matter how serious or light-hearted is an age-old recipe. It is the simple, uncomplicated friendship of child and dog. This simplicity frees the child to learn.

Missing are two natural ingredients found in human relationships complexity and competition; a child’s relationship with brothers and sisters is normally fraught with rivalry, and parents are seen as symbols of authority.

A dog simplifies by acting out his feelings whether joy or shame. You can explain to children the dog’s motivations and reactions. In fact, dogs are a teacher’s ideal a living illustration.

How To Teach Responsibility

Dogs are an excellent tool in teaching your children about responsibility. Remember not to make your child feel that he is doing a chore, rather suggest the activity, then give him the skills to handle it.

Let’s take brushing the dog as an example. Don’t forget that your child may not know how to use a brush properly and the dog may not know what the brush will bring pain or pleasure.

Aquaint both of them. Tell the child that the dog has never seen the brush before and that since he recognizes things through his sense of smell, letting him smell the brush and any other equipment you use will make them familiar.

Demonstrate brushing against the dog’s fur and then back with it. Break down the brush strokes into different lengths one to use for long hair, another on the dog’s chest, and another near his head. That way you give the child more control and the chances of his unintentionally hurting or scaring the dog and the dog scaring him are lessened.

Point Out Verbally To Your Child

Point out the purpose of brushing - You brush with and against his fur to loosen dead skin and stimulate the new skin. You are really dressing him in a new coat one that keeps him warm, and keeps the rain from getting through to his skin or even helps him to be cooler in the summer.

Relate it to the child’s own experience - Brushing makes him comfortable. Like how mommy irons your clothes to keep you comfortable, dogs feel good when they have been brushed.

Point out how the dog is responding - See how he lies on his back. He’s showing you he enjoys it.

And finally, make good use of the times that do not by-the-book – He’s wiggling to get away because he’s not sure what you are going to do. Do it easy and be persistent. Give him a chance to see how nice it is. Maybe then he’ll be still.

How Dogs Teach Our Children Responsibility – Part 1

Samantha | November 24th, 2008
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I’ll never forget the time when I was just a six-year-old child, some 30 years ago, and my pet dog, Buddy, was laying limp all day under the living room chair – her eyes moving only occasionally. But I could care less, as I played with my toys all day.

To the eyes of a child, Buddy’s behavior was nothing to worry myself about, nothing that I needed to be concerned with, that is until my mother came into the room and disturbed the quiet.

She said, Your dog has been dozing all day. Look at her. She rarely gets up. And when she does, everything droops her nose, her ears, her tail. Would you like to change the way she looks?

Mother Turned The Family Dog Into My Teacher

With that question, my mother began her experiment. Her plan was to take my pet dog and turn her into my teacher.

My mother continued, Do you know that your dog needs your help? She needs you to make her happy. My mother asked me what things make me happy. Was it being part of the family and doing things with mom and dad? Yes. We’ll try that on Buddy. Let’s let her help us and see how we make her feel.

Mom suggested that Buddy help us take out the garbage. She put a little garbage in a small bag. I gave it to Buddy and said, Carry. My dog sniffed it, and then picked it up and started down the long apartment hallway.

That small bag changed my dog. He was no longer a shambling wad of fur, but a sleek wolf. Lazy muscles tensed, his nose stuck up in the air. He tried to walk with us but his walk slipped into a prance, then a gallop, till all we had was a bouncing back view with a tail wagging above. Buddy became a part of something and learned to enjoy it, while teaching me something in the process.

One day, by the time we made it down the hall, Buddy had delivered the garbage into the incinerator and brought it back to us four times!

What I Learned: Responsibility

The dog’s response and enthusiasm had introduced me to my first lesson responsibility. I became aware of the needs of others. My mother guided me in finding those needs and filling them. My dog encouraged repetition. I was not performing a chore, rather, I was giving something to my pet.

Lessons like this went on for 17 years till I was a junior in high school. That year Buddy died. The next year I graduated and left home. But some of the attitudes I have today can be traced back to my childhood relationship with a dog and my mother’s awareness of that potential.

How Dogs Can Help Teach Your Children Responsibility

Gemma | November 21st, 2008
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I feel bad for those parents out there who do not believe in having a dog as a family pet. Some people just do not understand how beneficial it is to have an adorable and loyal companion as a member of the family. Puppies and dogs bring an atmosphere of love into the house and in many cases, promote emotional well-being and even physical healing to people who may be experiencing an ailment.

What’s more important is that dogs are also an enormous benefit to children of all ages. Owning a dog is a great way to engage your kids in the process of responsibility. Teaching your children to be responsible is probably one of the most important aspects of being a parent. And why not have a little help in this department with the assistance of a brand-new puppy?

Once a puppy comes into your household, there are a lot of responsibilities that need to be taken care of so that the dog can be raised with good health, cleanliness, and training. Unfortunately, in this busy day and age, most of us are working eight to 12 hours daily and do not get to spend a lot of time with our children. When they come home from school and have no pressure towards completing household responsibilities, their work ethic and confidence may be shortchanged. This is where having a dog can help.

How can a dog help kids become more responsible?

Simply put, it takes a lot of work to maintain a dog in the house. And this work can be equally shared amongst your children. So long as they’re physically capable of tending to certain activities, your children will be able to help with walking the dog, feeding him, help with keeping the dog clean, play ball, etc.

It is important to also give your children the idea that the time they are spending with your puppy, and the responsibilities and which they participate in, all lead to a positive outcome. To get a better idea of what I’m referring to here, imagine that you are getting your children to help out and take care of the dog. Sure it may be a struggle at first, but eventually your kids will take part every day in cleaning up the dog’s potty mess, making sure he has food and water, and brushing the dog with a little grooming now and again

Now imagine making it clear to the kids that all of these things that they are doing are making the dog healthy and happy. Take the kids to the veterinarian with you when the dog needs his regular checkups. Explain to your children that your dog is healthy and happy all because of them. Your kids will feel good knowing that they are a part of the entire process of being responsible for the family pet.