We are thrilled to introduce our guest blogger Laura Vissaritis, a qualified dog behaviourist and trainer based in Melbourne. Laura is an expert in behaviour modification and has successfully helped countless owners and their dogs across the world. In this blog post Laura provides us with some fantastic advice on how we can foster good relationships between our kids and our dogs.
When it comes to our children’s education, dogs are the best teachers! From responsibility and care to kindness and empathy, there are countless things our children can learn from them. But what about our dogs? What are we teaching them when it comes to our kids?
As a dog behaviourist, I am lucky enough to be able to work with dogs every day. I also work with children, as many clients call me about their concerns regarding the relationship between their kids and fur kids (dogs).
To many peoples’ surprise, I reveal that kids are scary! How is that possible? Well, kids are usually the same height as the dog, they wave their hands about and squeal unpredictably. Children pose a great threat to dogs and as a consequence, dog bites occur mostly to children aged 1-5 years of age. Does this mean that children are incompatible with our furry best friends? I think that having a dog in your family is as essential as a roof over your head. They make us healthier, happier and, as I mentioned they are our educators on how to be good people. What I would love to see is dogs living in homes as members of the family, where adults in the home understand their dog’s needs and behaviours just as they do their own. Below are the top 5 tips to ensure dogs, kids and grown-ups can all live happily, safely and respectfully together.
1.) Create a safe zone for your dog where children are NEVER allowed. That way, if your dog needs some rest time away, they know they can find it.
2.) Get to know your dog’s body language and their threshold. Every dog is different. Some dogs can’t tolerate a child running around, where as others are very relaxed by this behaviour. Listen to your dog and act accordingly for their comfort and safety.
3.) Never allow your child to approach. Teach your child to call the dog to them instead. If the dog chooses not to come over, teach your child about respect and space. Children should never follow, chase or corner a dog.
4.) Teach your child to feed your dog – create a relationship based on cooperation and kindness.
5.) Never leave a child unsupervised near a dog. Ever. No excuses.
These points are the beginning to a healthy and happy relationship as a family.
For more information, get in touch www.laurav.com.au