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!

most children misinterpret dog body language, for example take fearful body posture for "sadness"

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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Do not shout at your dog – pt. 2

Let’s recap: I was walking my dog off leash and talking on the phone. She walked onto a street. I shouted at her to come back, in response she lied down in the middle of the street. Not good. But why? The answer is of course: body language. Let’s have a look.

The human side: what was I doing?

I was standing tall, probably with my arms outstretched to some degree, leaning forward somewhat, using a loud, unpleasant tone of voice. Dogs can learn the meaning of verbal commands, but they’re hard-wired to respond to body language and it’s hard for them to overcome it.

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