Prevention

domesticate1 do·mes·ti·cate
Pronunciation: do-‘mes-ti-“kAt
1 : to bring into domestic use : ADOPT
2 : to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans.
3 : to make domestic : fit for domestic life
4 : to bring to the level of ordinary people do·mes·ti·ca·tion /-“mes-ti-‘kA-sh&n/ noun

Preventative Exercises

Dogs are not born “domesticated,” but given the right guidance they can adapt to our way of life. This is what has made them our best friends over the years, their ability to follow our guidance and adapt to our environment.

There are behaviors that dogs will do naturally that can cause problems. They are all avoidable if you spend the time to show your pup an acceptable alternative.

The objective of preventative exercises is to condition some of the “wild beast” out of your dog. We are not referring to changing the dog’s personality or natural spunk.

Just because you are not experiencing problem behaviors now and you can’t possibly believe that your dog would ever act in an unacceptable way, does not mean a thing – they can and they will!

Combine these exercises with a thorough socialization regime, effective structure and boundaries and you’ll have it nailed.

Think prevention versus cure.

Children and Dogs
Children

Never ever leave a baby or child unattended with a puppy or dog: not even for a fraction of a second.

It is very important to include children in your puppy’s upbringing. If you have children, you have a responsibility to them regarding the puppy and you have a responsibility to the puppy regarding the children.

4.7 Million people suffer from dog bites each year. Children make up more than 75% of all dog bite victims.

If you don’t have children, you have a responsibility to find some and introduce your puppy to them. You need to ensure that your puppy learns about kids. Teach him how to behave around children. If you have kids, you need to teach them the acceptable way to handle and interact with the puppy.

Children have a way of bringing out the beast in our dogs. They move erratically and screech and shout. Puppies want to chase, jump up, and grab. A child’s energy excites puppies. Kids can also be very rough with animals. Be sure that your children (or any children that are involved with your puppy) are 100% supervised by a responsible adult. It is unfair for a dog to suffer the wrath of a child who shouts commands and yanks his leash, or otherwise torments the puppy.

Child Manners

Take the time to teach your children and any other children that are coming in contact with your puppy how to interact with him. Just as you teach your pup in short and sweet sessions, do the same with the kids, too long could prove to be too much.

The family dog (of the victim) causes over 40% of injuries. The face, head, and neck area are the most frequent sites of injury.
What Every Child Should Know

Use calm, quiet intonation with the puppy.

Use a gentle hand when handling the pup or the leash, collar, or harness.

Have the supervision of an adult when dealing with the puppy.

The pup is not their play toy, but another living creature that must be respected and treated kindly.

Teach them that dogs do feel pain.

If you have children, involve them in the raising of the puppy in a way that is reasonable and practical. Set the kids and the pup up for success; keep the sessions short, simple, and fun.

While some dogs may not mind being treated like a play-thing, a pillow or a horse, some children may learn poor skills around dogs that are more tolerant. It is unreasonable to think a child can judge between dogs that will tolerate this type of behavior and dogs that will not. Just because your dog is a sweetie pie does not mean you should let your children do these things. It is not appropriate for children to treat the dog roughly.

Janet, Stella & Nicole

If you walk to school with your children regularly, taking the puppy along can be a great way of socializing the pup to other children and the activity of a school ground.

Be certain to teach the pup to sit as he meets children. Ask that the children behave in a way that is gentle to the puppy, have them offer the puppy a treat for good behavior.

Thinking About Having Kids?

You may already know when you get your puppy that at some point over the next few years you will want to have a baby. Take that into consideration now while socializing and kid-proofing your puppy. Find helpful friends or family who have a baby or children and introduce your pup to them.

Child-Proofing the Puppy

Although it is paramount that we teach children how to treat animals, we must also be realistic. There may come a time in the dog’s life where he is faced with a less than ideal child. We need to ensure that he knows how to cope.

Child proofing is what we do with our puppies to prevent them from reacting negatively to the advances of an over-zealous toddler or child.

These exercises consist of manhandling the pup in the same manner that any little kid might. But we add something else to the equation: treats. The idea is to turn an uncomfortable situation into a rewarding one for the pup.

Child proofing is a very important precautionary measure that helps to ensure against your adult dog biting a child. Remember, kids get wild and kids can be rough. This can be enough for a dog to react aggressively from fear or lack of socialization or a “natural predatory” reaction that could result in injury to a child.

Everyone in the family who is responsible and capable of taking part in this exercise should do so.

You can do these exercises at home.

Systematically go through the following exercises using tasty treats to turn the situation into a fun and light-hearted game. Although we are going to handle the pup more aggressively than usual, do not be overly rough.

Think of the way you have seen kids handle dogs. Handle the pup in this fashion as you use treats. Simulate the way a toddler may handle a dog. Poking, prodding, and grabbing at the puppy. Use treats to turn this into a positive experience for your pup.

Think of the way you have seen kids handle dogs. Handle the pup in this fashion as you use treats. Simulate the way a toddler may handle a dog. Poking, prodding, and grabbing at the puppy. Use treats to turn this into a positive experience for your pup.

Pull at his fur, treat. Gently pull on his tail, treat. Pat him on the top of the head, treat. Tug on his ears, treat. Tug on his jowls, treat. Poke and prod him, treat.

Pull at his fur, treat. Gently pull on his tail, treat. Pat him on the top of the head, treat. Tug on his ears, treat. Tug on his jowls, treat.

child proofing 3

Poke and prod him, treat.

Objective

The objective is to get the puppy comfortable with potential rough handling or encounters that he may have with young children over the course of his life. It is not our objective to handle the puppy in an unnecessarily rough manner and or startle him or make him uncomfortable or skittish.

1. Websters New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 2nd ed. (New York:William Collins + World Publishing Co., 1977)