Obedience training a dog with distractions around, particularly children can be challenging but it is a very important part of any good dog training school. This past weekend, my dog Tommy performed many tricks and obedience demonstrations as we participated in Cabela’s Spring Expo at the Richfield, WI store. We were in the store representing Dogtra Company and their line of remote training collars.
Tom was a great entertainer for the crowds that gathered, but I was most proud of his wonderful manners with the many children that stopped by to pet him. There must have been a least one hundred kids over the course of the day that stopped by to watch, giggle and ASKED to pet him.
And that was the thing that really amazed me, every single child that came up to us asked permission to pet the dog. How lovely. Parents were very active in teaching their children to ask permission, allow the dog to sniff them and then be gentle.
So for those new to raising children around dogs, let me share a few pointers.
1. Teach your children to ASK permission to pet someone else’s dog. Not all dog’s are comfortable around little ones so if the answer is no, be respectful of that.
2. Allow the dog to sniff your hand before reaching out and petting him/her. This gives the dog opportunity to get comfortable with you first.
3. Scratch the dog behind the ears, under the neck or on the chest, rather than patting the top of his head.
4. Do not allow children to hug the dog or to put their face very close to his/hers.
5. Teach your child to not bother a dog who is sleeping, eating or has a toy or bone.
While your own dog may be used to a high level of excitement, hugging or loud noises, it is important for your children to understand to have calm behavior around other dogs. Too often accidents happen because a child assumes all dogs are as friendly and willing to play as their own. So invest a bit of time in teaching the above rules to your kids. And if your dog displays some inappropriate behaviors like growling, nipping or barking at little ones, make sure you get him/her enrolled in a obedience program that will address these issues.