1. Make sure you are 3 feet away from the dog (jump rope length) and standing in a calm manner.
2. Stand still while you say “may I pet your dog?”.
3. Walk up the mini rainbow; this means you should walk in an arch as opposed to walking straight up to the dog.
4. Stand sideways or kneel sideways, never facing the dog head on.
5. Offer your hand to the dog – fingers in and down in a loose fist. This is an invitation for the dog to approach.
6. If the dog approaches, pet him under his chin. If the dog doesn’t approach, he is saying that he’s not comfortable right now.
1. Making sure their dog always has fresh water and filling the water bowls. Fresh water should always be available unless your vet has told you otherwise.
2. Helping to feed the dog by getting the food ready (dogs should be fed at least twice a day).
3. Having two leashes hooked to the dog when going for a walk, so the child can hold one of the leashes. No child under the age of 15 should be holding the leash or walking the dog alone. No dogs should be walked on a retractable leash! There is a risk of amputation (according to their own website), and the company actually says the leash should never be used around children
Do not share with your dog:
1. Candy or gum
1. Touch a dog’s food bowl while she is eating.
2. Touch a dog while he is chewing on or playing with a chew toy.
3. Pet or try and grab a dog while she is in a “hiding place”(like under a bed or couch or in the crate).
4. Put your face in ANY dog’s face.
5. Hug a dog.
When to get an adult:
1. When you see a loose dog outside (no adult and no leash).
2. If your own dog gets something she shouldn’t (one of your toys for example).
3. If your dog seems hurt, frightened or is hiding.
4. If your dog gets out the door and takes off.
Resources for Children & Parents:
The Animal Welfare Institute sells Pablo Puppy’s Search for the Perfect Person by Sheila Hamaka. This book, for children 4 – 8 years old, is inexpensive, yet beautifully written and illustrated. You can also download a free board game, matching game, and coloring pages.
DogGone Safe‘s website has dog bite prevention safety tips, body language flashcards, games, storybooks and coloring books. Also, home to the “Be A Tree” program, teaching children what to do around a loose dog.
May I Pet Your Dog? – The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson and Jan Omerod, teaches children in pre-school through second grade when and how to approach a dog.
At The Family Dog, you can find tips, videos, and an online training program for families, with a special section just for kids. The highlighted video on our website is a short, easy-to-understand body language video for families produced by The Family Dog.
Doggone Crazy sells a board game on dog behavior and body language for families and children.
Living With Kids and Dogs offers all sorts of useful information for parents, as well as a link to order the books, Living With Kids and Dogs…Without Losing Your Mind and Puppy Training for Kids by Colleen Pelar.
Family Paws includes both Dogs & Storks and the Dog & Baby Connection. There are articles and resources for expectant parents and parents of babies and toddlers. Family Paws also runs a Dog and Baby Support hotline at 1-877-247-3407.