I am very lucky to have two amazing dogs at home. Don't get me wrong they do have their moments - Charlotte eats poop (the topic of our next Wellness Wednesday post) and Tega... not much to complain about she's just a big cat trapped in the body of a Ridgeback. Bringing a baby home was never a concern of mine. Well, babies quickly grow into toddlers and this may get me into some trouble here but I am about to compare toddlers to puppies, after all this is my first toddler. Puppy training is a matter of equipping the pup with the skills he or she needs to function successfully in life situations. We know it's important to teach our dogs how to behave around children, this part of puppy training. It's equally if not more important to teach our children how to behave around dogs.
Just like puppies, toddlers need to learn what is acceptable behaviour and what isn't. This is especially important when it comes to interacting with their 4 legged friends or as it is in my household, 4 legged siblings. Dogs are part of the family and as such they deserve the same respect we show to one another.
Learning how to respectfully treat an animal should be a part of all toddler "training" not just those with a dog at home. Here is a cute reminder of how to treat our friends and family members.
DON'T STEAL TOYS
RESPECT MEAL TIME
DON'T HANDLE ROUGHLY
RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE
HUGGING IS NOT A LOVING GESTURE IN DOG LANGUAGE
ENCOURAGE GENTLE AND CALM PETTING
OPEN HAND REWARD FOR CALM, POLITE BEHAVIOUR
ONCE EVERYONE UNDERSTANDS HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY INTERACT ENCOURAGE APPROPRIATE PLAY
Larayna and I often play hide and seek with Tega and Charlotte, it's super fun!
Give it a try:
First have your toddler (with your assistance) put the dog in a sit/stay.
Then with a treat in your hand go hide, try not to take too long.
Yell out "find us" when you are ready. The dogs will come racing to find you.
Once you are found have your toddler ask the dog to sit then offer the treat with an open hand.
It's a fun game to play inside during these very cold days!
Enjoy more respect, love and happiness in your mulit-species household.
If you are looking for a more elaborate version of this post check out Animal Behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin's website.
photo credit to the wide world of the internet.