Children and dogs...............

 CHILDREN and dogs…………

I have known pets all my life, I was born into a home with dogs. I have not lived one day without a dog and pets in my home. I honestly could not imagine my life without a pet.  I owned dogs as a married woman, long before my babies arrived, and my Granddaughters have been born into a home with dogs. So all round we are animal lovers.  I get a good few enquiries about suitability of breed for children, the yorkies especially. People feel the smaller the dog the better, less space, less food, more manageable???????? IDEAL for children of all ages??????????? I have also been approached by a Gentleman who has a terrible fear of dogs in particular, and he wants to overcome that, especially for his children’s sake. He does not want his children to live with the fear he has had to deal with all his life. – Jonathan this is for you. 

I believe a child involved with animals and knowing animals is a much more emotionally stable child than one with no animals. I may be totally wrong, but to see children from babies interact with their pets, and learn how to behave around pets and handle pets from an early age. To also learn to love and be loved by a dog from a baby upwards, is a wonderful experience for both child and dog. 

Hygiene of course is very important, and it is therefore of prime importance that your dog/s are kept worm free, parasite free and clean. If some simple rules are followed your child is not in any danger of PICKING UP ANYTHING…….  Do not however encourage the dog to kiss or lick on your mouth -  to kiss and lick on the face is no crime. PROVIDED you have taken the necessary precautions. 

I have been quite dumbfounded over the years, being involved with rescue – how some people feel babies and dogs and cats do not mix. The baby arrives the pets are banished, kicked out of the house. Rehomed.  Why? The cat will smother the baby? OLD wives tales. The dog will lick and kiss the baby. Okay possibly not the best, but let your baby obviously an older baby, interact with the dog. Let the dog smell its hand, and in turn rub the babies hand on the dogs coat. You can wash the babies hand after this.  The baby will automatically learn to love and trust the dog.  There is nothing worse than seeing a child of any age, petrified of animals. Some adults as well, they are scared stiff by dogs approaching them. The worst of that, dogs can sense that and pick up the fear and will most certainly approach the child/person concerned, NOT to eat them alive but to investigate.  I would far rather as a parent invest the time in my child, to learn how to behave around animals, and love and respect them, than my child never know an animal, and be emotionally unstable when an animal is close by. 

I witnessed a friend of my daughter-in-laws, her little girl, scream uncontrollably at the sight of a dog in the shopping centre. Total fear.  Why? One can not expect one’s child to go through life never encountering an animal of one kind or another.  My grandchildren have spent a great deal of time with us on our small holding since babies. They are still babies mind you 2 and 4 years of age. They have such a love for animals, it is something to see. 

I do believe children from a young age, must be educated that certain animals are dangerous, like snakes etc that could be in the garden, and when out in public not to approach other animals they do not know, unless they get the okay from the owner, that the dog is child friendly.  This I feel is most important, as so many people with a fear for dogs, have at some stage or another, been bitten in their life, be it as a child or adult.

IF a dog is brought up with children or a child, in turn that dog will protect that child. The tiniest of dogs will protect what they treasure. 

Choice of dog – you need a dog with a fairly calm temperament.  Maybe you choose a rottweiler or a poodle. Maybe a yorkie. If you as the adult or parent, are insecure with dogs, then you need to get a dog, that is gentle natured and known for a good temperament, do not go for breeds that are known for aggressive traits.  Irrespective of what you choose, you need to make sure the dog, is gentle with a baby for sure.  DO not let your child pull on a dogs fur or inflict pain, as some dogs will not be too forgiving, if a child does this and is allowed to continue to do this.  This is where dogs become snappy towards children. 

If you as an adult or parent, have not been too involved with pets, dogs whatever in your own life, and are concerned about introducing your own children to animals, dogs etc. You should possibly ask the professionals for assistance.   The animal Behaviourists are becoming more and more popular.  If you are unsure of yourself or how to react around a dog, make contact with one of these professionals. Explain the situation you find yourself in and ask if they can help you at all.  I am sure they will be more than happy to advise you, what dog will be suitable in your own situation. Lap dog, large dog???  These professionals will visit you in your own home.  The next step will be to take the pup concerned for puppy classes. This is purely socialisation and they touch on the obedience side of things. Once you have been to puppy classes you will progress to obedience classes. This is most certainly a positive step in the right direction. You will find your feet, you will notice how other people interact with their dogs, you will learn from watching others and everything will fall into place, and you will not feel like a fish out of water. You will also meet some very nice people and share your dog experiences.  Your children in time can also learn how to train.  A few of my clients with yorkies train them. I at one stage thought that would be a waste of time, but seemingly not, some yorkies are star pupils. 

Regarding yorkies and the correct size for children.  The tinier the dog, the more in demand it is.  People think the tiny dog, will be suitable around small children, no fuss, no bother. How wrong could they be?  

The really small yorkies, are very hands on to rear and maintain.  They are not sickly if bred correctly, but are delicate – if your child drops that dog, and it hits its head, you could end up with a dead dog. If the dog should fall and is unconscious, if you do not know how to administer CPR to a pup/dog, you will never get it to the vet on time. Dead pup/dog. We breed the tinies and in the majority of cases the buyers are Ladies, who have NO children, or their children have left home – grown up, and they want that special little something to carry around and spoil. The ideal companion.  It is not to say, if you have children you can not have a real tiny dog. It is up to you, as the parent to teach your child, how to behave responsibly around a dog. However, I will NEVER sell a teacup to someone where the child it intended as the caregiver. 

If you have no pets, a dog, for your children, possibly now is a good time to consider getting a family dog.  Please do the necessary to ensure the family are equipped to deal with the new member of the family.  Remember the vet is vitally important as far as the health of your pet is concerned. Sterilisation is a must.  The dogs temperament will be that much more stable when sterilised. Remember that owning a dog brings responsibility. The poop scooping not to be forgotten and done regularly. 

Best of luck – owning a dog, brings such happiness into a home, if handled correctly.