Essential Handouts On Body Language, and Canine and Human Behavior from Dr. Sophia Yin

< Updated 05JUL21 >

< A short link for this page – https://bit.ly/YinBodyLang >

One of our most important responsibilities is to do everything we can to ensure that our puppy or adult dog feels safe. To do that successfully, we need to understand how dogs communicate. As humans, we like to vocalize; however, the dog prefers more subtle visual signals they make with various parts of their body. While a dog will bark and growl when excited or feeling threatened, they are already severely agitated by the time they do so. By learning your dog’s body language and watching them closely, you will be equipped to help them out of a frightening situation before it escalates out of control. Understanding body language is absolutely essential if you have a puppy that is in its critical socialization period (8 to 16 weeks of age) or an older puppy or adult dog that is fearful or anxious at any level.

The late Dr. Sophia Yin was an amazing veterinarian committed to helping people and dogs live in harmony. She created the following visual resources to aid adults and children. These handouts and posters can be downloaded at https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/free-downloads-posters-handouts-and-more/. Everyone with a dog or those that work with dogs will benefit from these resources.

Body Language of Fear in Dogs – A puppy’s critical socialization period ends somewhere between 12 and 16 weeks of age. During this period, it is up to you to gently expose your puppy to the world so that they do not live life in a state of fear. However, to do this effectively, you need to understand a dog’s subtle body language that indicates they are uncomfortable. These signals are equally important if you have an older dog that is fearful or anxious. To successfully rehabilitate your dog, you need to be able to recognize these signals. When you see one of these signals, you need to gently get your dog out of the situation causing their fear before they start barking, growling, and lunging. This handout is an excellent introduction to these signals.

How to Greet A Dog (And What to Avoid) – Humans and dogs are two separate species with very different understandings of one another’s body language. While most people have the best intentions, they often greet dogs with body language and behavior that the dog will interpret as threatening. A single, unintentional incident can lead to lifelong fears in some dogs. By learning what you see in this handout and ensuring people greet your puppy or adult dog appropriately, you are helping your dog and every other dog that person may interact with in the future. Before introducing your dog to your family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else, I encourage you to provide them with a copy of this handout. I have had students who have posted it on the door to their homes.

How Kids SHOULD Interact with Dogs – Children and dogs do NOT inherently know how to interact around one another. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your puppy and children how to live together happily without conflict. That requires time and active supervision. Remember, something can go wrong very quickly. This handout and its companion, How Kids SHOULD NOT Interact with Dogs, provide excellent guidance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Socialization with Other Dogs

How your dog interacts with other dogs will also be important. That is why socializing them with other puppies of the same age, size, and playstyle between 8 and 16 weeks of age is essential. Looking for those same subtle signals outlined in the handout Body Language of Fear in Dogs will be crucial. I recommend that such interactions occur in a puppy headstart class offered by a credentialed trainer committed to reward-based training free of force, fear, and pain.

Daycare facilities with staff experienced in canine body language and behavior may also be an excellent place to help your puppy make new friends in a safe, closely supervised environment. Just remember daycare facilities are not regulated and may not provide adequate training for staff or proper supervision of the dogs in their care.

If you arrange your puppy play sessions with friends, family, or neighbors, I suggest you follow the same guidelines. Ensure that the puppies are of the same approximate age, size, and playstyle. Limit the group to two puppies and make sure each of the puppies has one of their pet parents present. Both pet parents should be familiar with the handout Body Language of Fear in Dogs. They should have all of their attention focused on supervising the puppies. No sessions should last longer than 15 to 20 minutes. If either puppy is at all hesitant about interacting with the other, stop the session and talk to your trainer.

I do not recommend taking a puppy to the dog park until they are at least one year of age. Nor do I recommend taking an adult dog to a dog park if they have not been well socialized. For a dog park to be safe, ALL dogs playing must enjoy the company of ALL other dogs. The dogs also need to be well trained and responsive to their owners. Finally, each dog needs to be accompanied by a pet parent who will be focused entirely on watching their dog; dog parks are not places for people to socialize.

You can find more resources on socialization, canine and human communication, and more below.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com  )

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/06/27/dog-behavior-puppy-socialization-and-habituation/
OR http://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stresshttp://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of ForceFreePets.com, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG). Don is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. He serves on the PPG Steering Committee and Advocacy Committee and is the Chair of The Shock-Free Coalition ( shockfree.org ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://bit.ly/WfMwPodcasts/, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©05JUL21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Recommended Resources on Kids & Dogs

< Updated 28MAR20 >

< A short link for this page – http://bit.ly/GAKS_Kids_DogsResources >

Dogs and children can become wonderful companions. However, do not assume for one second that a dog and a child will automatically enjoy one another and live together harmoniously every moment of their lives. Parents need to teach both child and dog how to interact with one another appropriately.

Most children have multiple caregivers; parents, grandparents, older children, other family members, babysitters, and more. Therefore, ALL caregivers must be knowledgeable about dogs and infants, toddlers, children, and young adults and how to manage their interactions.

Below I have listed resources I believe you will find useful in working with your children and dog. These are my favorites resources on the subject.

Books

A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! By Niki Tudge – 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 this book. This is not a book you hand to your child, but it is a book you need to read with them. You can read our full review by clicking this link http://bit.ly/BkRvw-KidsGuide-Tudge

The Doggone Safe websitehttps://doggonesafe.com/

Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos by Colleen Pelar – This book provides a realistic, down to earth discussion about how to successfully manage the probable mayhem that accompanies a home with dogs and kids. You can read our full review by clicking this link http://bit.ly/BkRwv-LvngKidsDogs-Pelar

Colleen’s website – https://www.livingwithkidsanddogs.com/

Family Paws Parent Education

( https://www.familypaws.com/ )

Working to increase safety and reduce stress in homes with young children and family dogs.

Free Downloadable Handouts from Family Paws
Click on the title to view/download as a PDF

Pet Professional Guild Junior Membership

( https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/Junior-Members )

Is your child actively participating in the care and training of the family pets? If so, I encourage you to consider enrolling them in the Pet Professional Guilds (PPG) Junior Membership Program. The program helps children learn and understand about pet care and training and will be especially beneficial to those contemplating working with pets as a volunteer or as a career. There are three levels to the program; Basic (for ages 8 to 12), Advanced (for ages 13 to 17), and Apprentice (for ages 18-20).

The PPG Junior Membership program allows participants to earn preliminary credentials in force-free pet care. Junior Members receive a membership badge and certificate and a free e-book –A Kid’s Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog. They will also be invited to participate in the Annual Training Deed Challenge. All Junior Members also have access to the Provisional Junior Accreditation Program for their age group, as administered by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB). Junior Members who successfully complete the accreditation process and receive an accreditation card will receive a 50% discount on the Green Acres Kennel Shop training class of their choice.

The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is a membership organization representing pet industry professionals who are committed to results-based, science-based, force-free training, and pet care. Members include veterinarians, veterinary technicians, behavior consultants, dog trainers, dog walkers, pet care technicians, pet sitters, and groomers. PPG represents training and behavior professionals across many species. All members of the Green Acres Kennel Shop staff are members of the PPG.

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

What Is Dog Traininghttp://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

How to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

A Recommended Reading and Listening List for Pet Care Professionalshttp://bit.ly/ForPetCarePros

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/ )

 

Podcast – The Woof Meow Show – Babies, Toddlers, Kids & Dogs with Jennifer Shryock from Family Paws Parent Education, aired 28MAR20 – < bit.ly/WfMw-Kids_Dogs-28MAR20 >

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Book Review – A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge

< Updated 13MAR20 >

< Short link to this page – http://bit.ly/BkRvw-KidsGuide-Tudge >

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.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Especially for New Dog Parentshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/08/20/especially-for-new-dog-parents/

Especially for New Puppy Parentshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/10/especially-for-new-puppy-parents/

Dog Behavior – Introduction to Canine Communicationhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/01/16/dog-behavior-introduction-to-canine-communication/

Book Review – Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos by Colleen Pelarhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/10/book-review-living-with-kids-and-dogswithout-losing-your-mind-a-parents-guide-to-controlling-the-chaos-by-colleen-pelar/

Book Review – On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaashttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/01/10/book-review-on-talking-terms-with-dogs-calming-signals-by-turid-rugaas/

Body Language of Fear and Aggression – Dr. Sophia Yinhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/04/body-language-of-fear-in-dogs-dr-sophia-yin/

Canine Body Language – How To Greet A Dog and What to Avoid – Dr. Sophia Yinhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/04/canine-body-language-how-to-greet-a-dog-and-what-to-avoid-dr-sophia-yin/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show ( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Dog Bite Prevention & Doggone Safe with Teresa Lewin of Doggone Safe- part 1http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2013-04-06-Dog_Bite-1.mp3

Dog Bite Prevention & Doggone Safe with Teresa Lewin of Doggone Safe- part 2http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2013-04-13-Dog_Bite_-2.mp3

Thoughts on a Kids & Dogs Seminarhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2013-11-09-Kids_and_Pets-Thoughts_on_A_seminar_.mp3

Web Sites

Doggone Safehttps://doggonesafe.com/

The Pet Professional Guildhttps://www.petprofessionalguild.com/

Green Acres Kennel Shophttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/

©10-Jan-18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Book Review – Living with Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind: A Parent’s Guide to Controlling the Chaos by Colleen Pelar

< Updated 13MAR20 >

< Short link to this page – http://bit.ly/BkRwv-LvngKidsDogs-Pelar >

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.

—Katrina Dutra

©13MAR20, Green Acres Kennel Shop, All Rights Reserved
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