Karmadi English Springer Spaniels

  

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Common Sense: Understanding What Actions Might Cause
the Family Dog to Bite
Dr. Sophia Yin
Understanding what can drive a dog to bite the family kids is pretty simple. They are the same things
that drive humans to need a break from their kids.
Reason 1: For instance, most people dislike it when others stick their grimy hands in their meal.
Similarly, dogs want to eat in peace.
Reason 2: We teach children that itís clearly wrong to steal toys from each other. Itís also rude to
steal toys from the dog. Kids should be taught to leave Fidoís toys alone. To build in a tolerance in
case the child makes a mistake when your attention has lapsed, dogs should be trained to give up
their toy for a reward or even a sequence of rewards. That way, they will willingly give the child the
toy instead of feeling possessive.
Reason 3: Kids frequently canít help but get in your face. They often have to be trained to maintain
the appropriate social distance. Similarly, putting your face into a dogís face, even if itís all in the
family, can be irritating to the dog, especially when the dog has no control over the childís behavior.
Reason 4: Most people dislike being disturbed when they are resting or sleeping. But fortunately for
us humans, we can often close or lock our bedroom door. Similarly, dogs need a safe location where
they can be away from kids and excitement. Kids should avoid bugging them in their ďprivateĒ
location or any time they are sleeping or resting. If they call the dog from far away and the dog
chooses to get up and come over to the child, this type of interaction is okay. But if the dog chooses
to be left alone, he should be.
Reason 5: Kids dislike being handled roughly, and so do dogs. Dogs can be trained to tolerate or
sometimes even enjoy this handling, so that they are not reactive when an accident occurs
(See Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, chapters 1 and 6), but in general children should be taught to be
polite.
Reason 6: Itís rude to climb on, step on, or otherwise invade someoneís personal space. Itís also
rude to do the same things with dogs.
Reason 7: Loud screaming can frazzle humans, imagine its effect on the more sound-sensitive dog!
Reason 8: We often forget that even some friendly gestures, such as pinching a childís cheeks, may
be irritating. In general, dogs dislike being hugged, even by family members. You can tell by the
expression on their face. You can train dogs, especially as puppies, to enjoy cuddling and hugging
and other close handling. But even so, itís important for children to know the types of interactions
their pet likes and also to realize that other dogs may not have the same tolerance as their dog does.
Types of Child-Dog Interactions That are Appropriate
With all of these DONíTs, it must seem like kids canít interact with pets at all. In reality, they just need
to be taught to be polite and kind to pets, instead of treating their companion like heís stuffed animal.
Parents should also teach their children to read the signs that Fido is fearful or anxious, so that the
child knows to back-off.
Once the children understand that they should be kind to their pet, they can be taught appropriate
games to play. For instance, fetch where the dog willingly gives the toy and remains polite before itís
tossed is fun for dogs who love to retrieve. Kids and pets love to learn tricks that result in rewards
such as yummy treats or bits of the dogís meal/kibble. All dogs need their exercise, and kids can be
a part of this too, if the dog is well-trained. Hide-n-seek is a great way for dogs to learn to have fun,
and the dog is practicing his search and rescue skills.
Adults should ensure that the dog has lots of positive associations with the kids. The kids can
regularly give food rewards for the dogís calm, polite behavior, such as automatic sits.
Even if the child is generally well-behaved and the dog very tolerant, itís essential for all interactions
to be supervised. Accidents can happen in a split second.
A Final Take-Home Message
The key is to teach both the dog and the children to be polite. Make sure your children interact with
your dog the same way you want them to interact with you. Follow these simple doís and doníts and
everyone will be safer and happier.



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Karmadi English Springer Spaniels

Diane & Carmen Herns

2839 Ardoch Road, Clarendon

Ontario, Canada  K0H 1J0

 

(613) 464-0269

 

karmadiess@gmail.com

 

Karmadi English Springer Spaniels

 

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