This week we have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger:
Deborah Rosen, Founder and Owner of Good CitiZEN Dog Training!
Just like in the movies.
Like Travis and Old Yeller, Timmy and Lassie, Rusty and Rin Tin Tin, dogs and kids have been put together for as long as we can remember. Because of how this is portrayed in the media, we often jump to making assumptions that kids and dogs are made for each other like apple pie and ice cream. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
When you see disclaimers in pet classifieds saying a particular dog is not “kid friendly” you will know these dogs were either not well socialized as puppies or became fearful of children for a variety of reasons. Certainly, these are dogs to stay away from as you look for a new furry family member. What you may not realize is that many rescues come without historical information. It is for this reason that I advocate for adopting either a well documented socialized older dog or a puppy to incorporate into a family with younger children. There are many puppies available through rescue organizations as well.
Socialize Your Pup or Rescue Dog
Many people now know that dogs are not capable of generalized learning. Each new person or dog they encounter is a completely new experience. So, to properly socialize a new furry family member you must expose them to a broad range of social experiences. A quiet teenager is much different for a dog than an exuberant infant or an active toddler and certainly far different than a wild five or six-year old child. If you are lucky enough to adopt a puppy, make sure you expose that puppy to every child possible; every temperament, size, shape and ethnicity and maybe then you can breathe more easily.
What about rescued or older dogs? Be safe – not sorry!
What if you inherit a rescue dog with an impoverished history of socializing— or whose social experiences are simply unknown to you? Let’s say you have an adult dog you thought you could trust but has displayed some signs of discomfort with children: panting more around children, eliciting low growls, snarling or even baring its teeth. It’s time to step back and do some remedial socializing.
Come back next week when we address the proper steps to take for exposing older dogs or puppies to children!
About the Author
Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.