Shelter-in-Place – Preventing Incidents with the Family Dog

advice during shelter in place for the family dog
During this time of shelter-in-place, you’re spending a lot more time together as a family.  Most of the extra time together is good, but there may be some negative consequences as new routines are being established.  Recently I was informed of an incident involving a family dog biting a five year old child who crawled into the dog crate while the dog was sleeping.  After hearing this, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how some of these new daily routines could impact your child and dog.  Let’s  help educate your child about making good decisions with the family dog, and avoid potentially bad incidents like a bite.
 
Children who are normally gone for many hours of the day, expending energy at school, are now spending their days at home.  The routine for the dog is probably different too. They may not have as much time to rest as usual, and there is constant sound and movement in the house from family members.  Some dogs may love the extra family around, but others may not.  
 
All this extra togetherness just increases the likelihood of a potential incident happening. Supervision is always important when it comes to dogs and kids, but realistically you just can’t watch everything all the time. So what else can you do?  Try taking some time to establish clear boundaries and rules with your children regarding your dog(s).  Looking back on the incident with the young child mentioned earlier, it’s likely that the dog was startled while asleep and reacted. It could also be that the dog was protecting its space.  It’s difficult to prevent all bad things from happening, but this is a good time to be proactive with basic child/dog safety tips. 
 
If your child is old enough to have a conversation, go over some basic tips to help your child learn when to give space and undisturbed rest time to the dog. Space should always be given when a dog is eating and sleeping. Don’t assume your child knows all of the basics. If you need a simple child/dog safety tool that covers many of the basic tips, the Stop, Look & Paws sticker set, that was designed for parents to use with children, can be a big help.  It’s also something fun for your child, because they get to sort 12 reusable dog stickers into safe-to-pet or not-safe-to-pet sections on a game board.
 
So, take some time to sit with your child and review basic safety tips with the family dog.  If you need some help, you can read some of the Kids-n-K9s.com blogs and/or get a Stop, Look & Paws sticker set.  Enjoy the extra family time and be safe!

Kids-n-K9s Helps Provide Humane Education

humane education, north bay animal services

Humane Education is an important part of animal shelters.  Our local shelter was in need of a program to bring more humane education to the 4 cities that they cover for services.  The cities include Petaluma, Healdsburg, Cloverdate and Calistoga, all in California.

Stop, Look & Paws setsIn January 2020, North Bay Animal Services, Petaluma’s local animal shelter,  became aware of the current word that Kids-n-K9s was doing in Petaluma and asked to be a sponsor for the kids-n-k9s dog safety campaign that originally began in 2017.  This is very crucial because as of December 2019, even with the help of local businesses, I only had half of the schools sponsored for the children to receive Stop, Look & Paws sets free of charge. As I have mentioned,  It is very important that in addition to my visits to the classrooms, the children get the learning activity to take home to their parents to play and learn together.  If parents don’t have the same safety information to support the decisions that their children make when interacting with dogs, children will continue to get bitten.

North Bay Animal Services believe in the dog safety program so much that they have decided to be my sole sponsor for providing the Stop, Look & Paws sets for part of their Humane Education services starting in the 2020/21 school year.  They also covered the remaining schools for this year so all of the schools in Petaluma that have requested this program will now be receiving Stop, Look & Paws sets.

However, if it wasn’t for local Petaluma businesses funding the program for the last two years this campaign would have never survived.   I want to give a big thank to the local businesses who sponsored half of all the Petaluma kindergarten classes for 2019/20 school year.   Thank you to:

Bertotti Landscape,  Xandex,  Petaluma Veterinary Hospital,  Petaluma Kids Dental,  Lakeville Eye Care,  Rip City Riders, Dr. Frasersmith DDS,  Brixx Pizzeria,  The Glass Shop of North Bay,  Hollingsworth Jeweler. 

Teaching Your Dog Hide and Seek!

Playing hide and seek with your dog and child

Why play hide and seek with your dog? 

– It’s a great way to teach a dog to come to his name

– It’s a fun way for children to interact with their dog

Playing this with your dog and child is fun for all.  Initially, you will need to guide and participate, but after a couple of times playing, your child may be able to do this without your help.

This is an indoor game to start.  You may be able to play outside once your dog knows the game.

You will need:

  • Kibble or small dog treats (slightly larger than a pea)
  • 4-6 ft. leash and collar or harness on your dog
  • Your child wearing clothing with pockets to carry treats

To start:

 Step one:  Prime the dog!

Hold the leash loosely at the handle, say your dog’s name and “come!”, in a happy voice and as soon as your dog looks at you or takes a step towards you, give a piece of kibble and say, “Good dog!” Now have your child copy you and practice calling your dog.  Its important to give immediate positive feedback to your dog when they respond to the person calling their name.  Have your child practice giving the treat on the palm of their hand. Repeat this 4-6 times. If your child is uncomfortable about handing the treat to their dog, they can drop kibble on the floor. The most important thing is to do it as soon as the dog looks to you.

Step 2: Playing the game:

Parent holds leash initially to keep the dog from following the child.

Child hides, (this can be behind a door(keep the door up and have the child step behind), in an open closet, under a table, beside a bed, etc.) somewhere that the dog has access to reach the child.

Have the child shout “ready” followed by “(dog’s name), come!” 

Hopefully your dog will immediately start to go to your child’s voice. If not, you are holding the leash so if the dog doesn’t understand this first time, you can guide until it finds the child, but the dog should lead the way after he understands the game.  Every few seconds, have child repeat the call to help the dog locate the sound.

As soon as the dog finds the child they should immediately praise (“Good dog!”) as they give the dog the treat!

Repeat in a new area.  Play this no more than 4- 6 times as you want both the dog and the child to stay excited to play!  You don’t want the dog to get burned out on being called.  If you teach the command “wait” your child can use this to have the dog wait to be called each turn.

Repeat the next day and you’ll soon have a dog who likes to come when called and a happy child.

Have fun!   By  Lesley Zoromski