If you are anything like me, from time to time we get really confused about both humans and other dogs. Imagine these situations:
* A child is frightened of you, and when they see you they either scream or run away. If only they knew we are generally nothing to be scared of.
* Another child sees you at a distance and, desperately wanting to pat you, suddenly starts running towards you screaming. This can be frightening for us, but when we bark at them, we are sometimes accused of being vicious.
* As for other dogs who are on their walkies at the same time as us, that’s another thing! Some of them can be over enthusiastic about entering our space, which can cause real trouble.
We’ve all met these problems from time to time, but what do we do? There must be someone out there who can highlight the issues and help our humans to deal with such situations. Good news! There are and I am highlighting three that I have come across recently.
First, a little book arrived on my doormat last week. “What’s My Dog Saying, Keeping Children and Dogs Safe” is written by dog trainer, Nickola Engel. Brilliantly illustrated, the storyline is about a lad named Josh and his friend Sam. After Josh was frightened by a pooch in the park Sam, who has dogs, decides to set up carefully controlled encounters with his own pooches, to get his mate over his fears.
Previously, Josh could not visit Sam’s home, which is a shame because dogs generally love playing with well-behaved children. In fact, they can really enjoy being together.
While some people might expect instant miracles, not so Sam, who was sensible enough to know that you can’t get rid of fear with a single crash course. Sam knew that Josh and his pooches were unlikely to cope with that. Instead, a gentle process is required to overcome a lifetime of fear in both children and dogs. Key to this is getting to know about dog body language, which is cleverly explained and illustrated in this book. Once this is understood, lessons can enter the next stage in the process.
Learning how to offer treats (Yum! I say!) is followed by teaching children how to approach dogs they might want to be friends with. Of course, it’s important to get permission from the owner first, in case there are special instructions regarding a particular dog.
The book also contains tips on dealing with dogs who love to jump up, and on the calming signals we can make, which is always handy to know.
With the information given in this little book, we think it would make an ideal Christmas gift for a child who is frightened of dogs. It could also make a huge difference to many a dog/children relationships over the Christmas period and into the New Year. Available from Amazon in both paperback and kindle.
Another item that came onto my desk recently is from Naturewatch Foundation.
It’s all about dog awareness, and is aimed at reducing the number of children bitten by dogs, either in their own or other peoples’ homes, or in unfamiliar places. To quote the introduction to the article:
“There are many do’s and don’ts within this document, but the following three rules alone will reduce dog bites significantly:
Never, ever go over to dogs; instead always call dogs to you
Never kiss or cuddle a dog
Never leave children alone with dogs”
Oh that’s so hard for some kids isn’t it? But with the guidance of this article young and old alike can learn why dogs bite, how to safely interact with them, and how to tell pooches you don’t want to talk or play with them. Of course, there’s also some good advice on understanding about doggy body language.
There’s not enough room here to go into great detail, but hey, you can find the whole article on this link:
Finally, and here I am blowing my Mum’s trumpet a bit, she recently featured in a video about dogs running up to other dogs without the permission of the owner. This has happened to us several times, on one occasion putting Mum and Emma in a lot of danger from an aggressive dog. It’s unacceptable, and dog owners need to know how to prevent their pooches being out of control when out, however much they just want to play. We need our space without suddenly being confronted by an over-excited pooch we don’t know. It’s all about humans being responsible for their dogs, which is what we should be able to expect of them, of course.
Woofs Josef Teckel, News Editor