You have probably heard of the nanny dogs, where people supposedly left their children with the dog, it’s an endearing story, but it’s not true. This was a deceitful campaign published in the New York Times in 1971 by fans of the breed involved. The Nanny dog (or Nurse care dog) is a myth and is still being spread around today.
We have to teach dogs and children how to interact with each other, and when we have small children, we should not leave them unattended with our dogs. Children can be unpredictable with dogs, grabbing them, jumping on them, pulling and tugging on ears and of course hugging them. All completely normal behaviours for a child. The normal response of a dog to this? Growling, nipping, and yes, sometimes biting.
We can’t expect toddlers to read dogs’ warning signs, so not only do we have to manage and supervise, we have to be present when dogs and children are interacting. We also have to be able to read our dogs’ body language so that we do not miss stress signals and warning signals. As kids get older, we can start teaching them how to behave safely around dogs. However just telling them what to do, is not enough, we have to help them to rehearse it safely.
I am running practical workshops for dog owners their children, and others who would like to learn how to navigate child/canine interactions. There will be online opportunities as well shortly.
Each workshop is an hour and a half to two hours long. You will receive notes on the workshop and your child will receive the opportunity to practice safe behaviours during the workshop, either with your dog whom you can bring along (please look at the rules for bringing your pet) or with one of my dedicated stooge dogs.
Click here for the latest info on Dog and Child Safety workshops.