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A puppy? not just for Christmas
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A dog speaks to children

"Un chien parle aux enfants" - a video created by Cathy Var in French - less than 5 minutes.  I strongly recommend both paretns and kids watch as it all makes sense. 

Taking care of a dog is an excellent way of teaching a child to take responsibility, express empathy, get some exercise and to have fun. Dogs can also significantly help to raise their self-esteem.

It is the responsibility of adults; especially parents and teachers, to make sure that these valuable child/dog relationships are nurtured so that one understands the other.

Children need to be taught that a puppy is a LEAVING CREATURE and is not a toy or doll, and should not be disturbed when resting or sleeping, picked up, cuddled, hugged, kissed, carried around, or dressed up.  

However, even older children (and some adults!) can be excitable and inconsistent or over-stimulating the puppy one minute, and then telling him off (and sadly hitting him) the next.

Children (and puppies) are not known for their patience, so both need to be taught how to be gentle with each other.

You and your children should not play rough and aggressive games with your puppy - keep things CALM.

Toddlers and young children often unwittingly encourage puppies to chase and play bite them, so you should only ever let them interact under your supervision.  

Keep them apart (use a baby gate) if one or the other is having an exuberant moment, and never leave them alone together.

Do not play fight with each other or taunt the puppy to make it protective or jealous, because this tends to backfire badly later if the dog ever misjudges the situation.

Most puppies dislike close face-to-face contact, unless they have instigated it themselves, so keep faces away from the puppies', or risk being bitten on the face! 

Never let children ambush or force themselves on the puppy.  If the children want to play and the puppy is not sleeping, the puppy should be invited over, but do not let the children force the issue if the puppy does not want to go to them.

Children must be made to understand the importance of having ‘quiet time’ with the puppy, and give him space and peace and quiet when he wants it.

Puppies will often "steal", chew and swallow children’s toys and clothes for attention, so teach your children tidy habits, or your puppy may spend too much time at the vet's having things surgically removed from it.

Teach your children the Dos and Don’ts

Dog bite injuries are a problem in all societies, but a high majority of these injuries are preventable with the correct education. Most dog biting incidents happen in the home and many parents and/or children are simply unaware of the simple measures that can be taken to avoid problems.

The language used by dogs is subtle and children are prone to misinterpreting it, which can lead to biting incidents (to learn more about preventing this see workshop).

The vocal noises and body postures need to be translated so that parents and children can become conversant in canine behaviour and happily ‘speak dog’.

Children must learn to ALWAYS ask a dog’s owner permission before petting their dog and when the owner agrees ask the dog's name and then call it - the dog does not come then leave it be.

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