Children and dogs 3: learn canine body language together

The fact that children can’t read body language properly is really problematic. Aurea Verebes, a German trainer specializing in dog-child relationships and bite prevention showed three pictures to 103 children and asked them for their assessment. Practically none of the children got it right. If the child thinks that the dog is smiling, while they are actually threatening, that’s a “bite out of nowhere” situation waiting to happen!

Children where shown pictures of dogs that were threagening, afraid or trying to create distance. Almost all children misinterpreted the dogs' behavior.

Luckily neither you, nor your child have to be experts in order to read canine body language. There are some general indications to follow that even small children can understand. These are general recommendations, only you know your child’s cognitive capacities and can determine what makes sense to teach them at the moment.

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Children and dogs 2: teach your child the do’s and don’ts

As I wrote in my previous post, the way children behave is pretty much the opposite of what dogs like: children are loud, unpredictable and often know no boundaries. Their motoric skills are still developing so they might play rough with the dog. Or grab their toys or food. It is our responsibility as their guardians make children and dogs alike feel safe and comfortable at home. And who can teach your child better than you?

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Children and dogs: a perfect match?

The internet seems to have an endless supply of “cute” dog videos, especially involving children. While the audience usually reacts with hearts and likes, most dog professionals watch them with a sense of dread. And then there are the “shocking” videos, where the dog bites “out of nowhere”. Dogs never bite out of the blue – and this is what this post is about.

Here are some USA statistics about dog bites:

80% of dog bites happen at home
77% of victims are either a family member or a friend
69% of bites to children occurred at home when there was no adult present1.
51% of all dog bites are to children aged 12 and younger

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