If your family includes children and a dog, if you have children that spend time with friends and family members that have a dog, or if you have a dog that spends any time around children, you, your children, and your dog will benefit from your reading A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge.
The goal of this new book from author Niki Tudge and Doggone Safe is to provide a resource that anyone can use to teach children how to be safe around dogs by teaching them how to “speak dog.” As a dog training instructor that teaches both adults and children how to train their dogs, we make teaching canine body language part of our classes. What I have learned over the past 22 years is that before taking a dog training class, even most adults are not aware of most aspects of “speaking dog,” which is why I believe this book will be of value to both children and adults.
A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! is written to be used as an interactive resource and uses cartoons and photographs to illustrate body language dogs use to signal when they are happy, afraid, and angry. By teaching children, and adults, how to read and respond to these signs the book helps keep people and dogs safe. The world is full of children and dogs, and it is essential that we teach them how to interact safely. A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! combined with a parent or teacher does just that. I give this book five paws!
You can purchase A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! at Green Acres Kennel Shop.
Colleen Pelar, CPDT and author of Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos, deserves a huge paws up for her wonderful book. This trainer/author recognized a need for a realistic, down to earth discussion about how to successfully manage the mayhem. Colleen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose focus is on family based classes and she has personally survived the chaos that ensues when trying to raise kids and dogs together.
For many, it is a deeply ingrained belief that kids and dogs belong together and that no childhood is complete without a dog. Reality however is often very different. The simple fact of the matter is that sometimes children and dogs do not mix well. There is much data out there discussing dog bites and children, however very few books give us good, positive solutions. Yes, we all know that you should never leave a child and a dog together unattended, ever. If only it were that simple! Colleen looks at reality and accepts that kids will be kids and dogs will be dogs, and works with that premise. She does a great job in her discussion of solutions to the many problems faced by parents when trying to handle chaotic situations, and helps to lay the foundation so that your child and dog can build a positive relationship.
The chapters are broken down nicely and cover whether or not you should get a dog (if you do not already have one), the fundamentals of assessing the dog you have (if you do already have one), and looking at growth stages of children and the various approaches that you will need at these different ages. Time is spent on teaching your child how to interact appropriately with all dogs and becoming your dog’s advocate. Colleen discusses “deal breakers” such as resource guarding and how to prevent bites. She explains the equipment you will need to train and manage your dog, and introduces ideas such as boundary ropes. Also discussed is the difference between your children and their friends and how you should handle situations when your kids have little visitors. Colleen tries to hammer home the idea that this pet, while you may have your children in mind, is ultimately going to be the parent’s and thus the parent’s responsibility.
The final chapter of Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos covers the topic of how to help your children say goodbye to your dog, whether it is because your dog has lived a full life and passed on or if it is because you have made the decision that your dog would be better off in a home that does not have as much activity. I must admit that this chapter put me in tears.
While Colleen does not go into the fundamentals of training with her book, she does give an overview of how to train each behavior she introduces so that the average reader would have the ability to implement these behaviors on their own. She also includes games the kids can do to help them learn how to behave around dogs and exercises for them to assist with training. The author indicates times at which families should seek professional help with their pets. At the end, there is a nice listing of resources for those that want further information or assistance.
The important points of each chapter have been graciously summarized at the end so that you can glance at those first to determine your need for that chapter. This is not a cumbersome book and is one that you can easily read when the little one is down for a nap.
I highly recommend Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind. It is by far one of the best books I have read in a long time, fills a long standing void and is a must have for anyone who has children and dogs living under the same roof.
If you have a new puppy that is 8 to 16 weeks of age, this is the article you want. If you have a dog older than 12 weeks of age, you may also wish to check out this article – http://bit.ly/EspNewDogParents
A puppy does not come with a user’s manual; at least none that are complete and accurate. This article and series of links to other articles and podcasts are meant to get you started on learning what you need to know about caring for your puppy. However, it does not take the place of enrolling yourself, and your puppy in a puppy headstart or kindergarten class that is under the direction of a professional dog trainer, accredited by an independent certification body and that is committed to pain-free, force-free, and pain-free training. If you prefer to absorb information by listening, rather than reading, you may want to listen to these three podcasts.
A new puppy can be a great addition to your family, but they will also require some work on your part. You will very likely have questions about; housetraining, socialization, play biting and nipping, chewing, training methods, wellness exams, nutrition, vaccinations, babies and dogs, kids and dogs and more. This post includes links to articles and podcasts that address the most common questions people ask me when they are thinking of getting a new puppy or that have just added one to their home. While we strongly encourage everyone to attend a Puppy Headstart class while the puppy is between 8 and 16 weeks of age, these materials will provide you with some additional information. You can read or listen to them in any order you choose; however, I believe you will get the most benefit if you go through them in the order that they are listed.
My first word of advice; “patience.” It is very easy to want the ideal puppy immediately, but just as “Rome was not built in a day,” Your puppy will not be the perfect companion in a week, nor in all likelihood in a month. Training is a process, and as such it takes time. Yes, there will times you may become frustrated, but when you look back in a year you will realize it was a precious time for you and your pup, one filled with learning and fun!
I encourage you to read the following shared blog post, all about patience, by dog trainer Nancy Tanner. Read it, print it, and then post it on your refrigerator, or somewhere in your home where it is close at hand anytime you are feeling frustrated with your puppy. –
Enrolling yourself and your puppy in a reward-based dog training class designed by a Certified Professional Dog Trainer is the best thing you can do for you and your dog. Not all trainers and dog training classes are equal. Because dog training is currently a non-regulated and non-licensed profession the quality of instruction and practices used can vary widely, sometimes into the inhumane. The following article will provide you with information on what to look for in a dog trainer and dog training facility.
Do not try to teach your puppy everything at once. In class, we will teach you certain behaviors, in a specific order, for a reason; to make training easier.
During the critical socialization period, between 8 and 16 weeks of age, it is far more important to work on planning and appropriately socializing and habituating your dog than it is to teach them to shake or any other behavior. This is a limited period, and you want to make the most of it. Inadequate or inappropriate socialization is a common reason dogs develop behavioral problems such as aggression and anxiety.
If you are already having problems with your dog guarding food and other items, stealing things, or growling, make an appointment with us for a Help Now! session as soon as possible. Punishment in any form will likely make these behaviors worse and could result in someone being bitten.
Dogs and children both need training and supervision to learn how to appropriately and safely interact with one another. Dogs and children will not automatically get along. If you do not have children, your dog will still need to be socialized with children and learn how to interact with them. If you have children and a dog, you will need to spend time working with both. I highly recommend the book A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge. You will discover some things that you probably did not know about dogs while learning how to teach your children about interacting with your dog and any other dog they may meet.
Think carefully about what you teach your puppy; intentionally or unintentionally. Un-training a behavior takes a whole lot more time and energy than training a behavior. A trick like “shake” is cute, but think long and hard if you want a dog that will always be trying to get every person they see to shake, even when they have muddy paws.
If there are multiple people that will be interacting with your dog, discuss what cues, visual and verbal, that you will use for specific behaviors so that you are all being consistent. Do not be in a hurry to add a visual (hand signal) or a verbal cue to a behavior. We do not start using a cue until we are confident that the dog understands the behavior in multiple contexts and environments. If you start using the cue to soon, you may need to change it. We will talk about that more in class.
If you have questions that just will not wait until class starts, contact us and make an appointment for a Help Now! session.
The blog posts listed below will all be very useful for anyone thinking about getting a new puppy or for those of you that just added a puppy to your family.