Kids and dogs

Good morning; I had a great day yesterday with my two daughters, we headed down to the beach for the afternoon. With the temps in the high 80s it seemed almost unimaginable that Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago. We first stopped at the Montage which is where I had my most recent poodle walk. It was glorious but there were not many dogs out; I think because of the heat. It makes me happy when people consider their dogs in the heat. We did see a man playing with his dogs in the surf, they were having a great time.

Both my daughters are huge dog lovers; but they weren't always interested in dogs. When they were small they pretty much considered our dogs to be pieces of furniture and it was not until the arrival of my son that the dogs ever really intereacted with kids. My son was different than my girls, as soon as he was mobile he made a b-line to the dogs. I remember the growling and the look on poor Clyde's face. As a Mother a growling dog is not something you want to hear but from Clyde's point of view he did not want to see a smelly small human crawling his way.

So with work and time Clyde and my son got use to each other and learned how to appropriately interact. This is one of the most important things you can teach your dog and your child. Often when I am called in to work with a "problem" between children and dogs it is simply a lack of supervision and boundaries created by the parent.

I don't know how many times I've heard a parent say "the dog is going to bite you." If you think a dog is going to bite your child; whether it is your dog or someone elses dog then you should stop your child. It should never, ever be left to the dog to discipline your child; which is a very dangerous situation. It takes time for dogs to become accustom to children, especially small crawling children.

But even older kids can freak dogs out, it amazes me how dogs can tell the difference between a teenager age human and an adult. Luke grew up with teenage kids and after a couple of years my sons friends look very much like grown men; at least in their size. But Luke could always tell the difference, he loved this age kids but grown men he wasn't really fond of. He acted differently and more guarding when a grown man would come in the house vs. a teenage boy.

It is of the utmost importance to socialize dogs with children and if you can do it when they are puppies; all the better. Kids can freak dogs out and dogs can freak kids out causing them to act silly and not dog friendly. Babies, toddler, kids and teenages smell different than grown humans. And they act very different at every age; to expect a dog to be okay with each you must socialize them with each.

And never leave the disciplining of the kids to the dog, NEVER.

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