One sunny day in May, DogBoy and I ventured off the Ranch with our well-seasoned dog trainer of over 10 years, Rebecca Andrews. We were on a mission to educate the children of Dessau Elementary School for their local Career Day. Both of our own kids went to this school, so this career day was a special treat for us. We brought along Rebecca’s faithful sidekick, Murphy.
Of course, everyone wants to pet Murphy. He’s the local favorite greeter at DogBoy’s. He’s easy going, always ready for a belly rub, and wonderful with kids. But besides teaching kids what it’s like to run a dog ranch or be a dog trainer, we felt pretty strongly that there are other important things that kids need to know about dogs. We’re all kids on the inside (right?), so I thought I’d share these things with you too:
How to greet a dog you don’t know:
1. ALWAYS Ask permission! Not all dogs like kids (or people, for that matter), so it’s always a good idea to ask first.
2. Approach with your body sideways (perpendicular) to the dog. This lets him/her know that you pose no threat, and squat down to his or her level, looking away. Watch the dog’s body language to see if the pup is eager to meet you or not. Lick your lips or yawn, even scratch your belly. These area all calming signals that put dogs at ease. If you see the dog back up or give you the “whale eye”, back away and give the dog space.
3. Let the dog smell you first. I prefer an open hand, but some people advocate protecting your fingers…
4. Pet the dog on the chin or chest – not on top of the head or on his back. Never hug a dog you don’t know! Even most of our own dogs don’t love the hugging and kissing that we do.
We also discussed what to do if you see a dog running towards you with no owner present:
1. BE A TREE! Stand still with your arms down and look straight ahead. Don’t look at, talk to or touch the dog, as this will engage him. Whatever you do, DO NOT RUN. The dog will chase you and the dog will catch you!
2. If you get knocked down, tuck in your knees, and protect your head with your arms. Close your hands into fists and cover your neck and ears. If the dog does mean you harm, these are areas you want to protect. It is unlikely that this would happen, but it’s good to know what to do if it does!
Finally, we discussed all the different types of jobs dogs have, and what every pet dogs needs at home:
Food, Water, Shelter, Love and Exercise!
(Shots and Spay/Neuter too!)
We had a blast, of course we were a huge hit with the kids, and DogBoy’s is headed back to another school to do the same thing tomorrow. Who doesn’t want to grow up and play with dogs? We have the best job in the whole wide world!
So if you know a kid, or a parent with kids, pass these tips along. Next week is Dog Bite Prevention Week, so let’s all do our part to keep everyone safe!
If you want more tips on keeping your kids safe, talk to one of our 5 Certified Professional Dog Trainers. We’re here to help you with all your dog’s training needs. And if you have tips to share, please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear them!
Until then, keep those tails wagging!