How Children Learn From Dogs

How Children Learn From Dogs

 A relationship with a well-trained dog  can teach a child

Manners

Caring

Trust

Gentleness

Responsibility

Empathy

Patience

Compassion

However, some important points need to be considered before introducing a pet to small children.

The child must be old enough to respect the dog’s space and to not accidentally hurt him by pulling fur etc. Never leave a child and dog unsupervised no matter how much you feel you know your dog. Animals are unpredictable, accidents happen. Also, a young child can’t understand a dogs behaviour and body language like an adult can.

Dogs have a pack mentality. Usually, they would consider an adult in the family the pack leader, with children lower down the family hierarchy. A dog may perceive a child to be on the same level, or even lower in the pack order, as himself. This might mean that the dog has difficulty taking instruction from a child.

Teach the child to stroke gently, not to go up close to the face and not to poke ears and eyes. Older children can be shown how to help with feeding and to offer a treat. They need to be taught to never approach strange dogs, no matter how cute.

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Matt Cassels researched the relationships between children and their pets. He found that not only would a child turn to his pet for support in times of adversity, but he would do so more than he would turn to a sibling. The study also demonstrated that children who had strong relationships with a pet had better pro-social skills such as helping, sharing and cooperating than their peers.

LauraEmmaWe all remember our first pets and look back fondly on times spent together. Sometimes the loss of a pet can be a child’s first experience of death and grieving,  it is a valuable lesson about the circle of life.

Here is my first ever dog, her name was Dinky.

Dinky

What memories do you have about your first pet?

 

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18 thoughts on “How Children Learn From Dogs

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  1. I grew up with a dog called Lucy and we loved her to bits. I would build my own agility courses out in our front garden and spend what seemed like hours training with her. Absolutely heart broken when she had to be put to sleep when I was a teenager. 💗

  2. Agree with everything you said. The flip side is as a parent it was incredibly hard to put down the dog my children grew up with. Hand on heart, Jasper the dog my children grew up with is the only animal I’ve let go on for a year longer than he should have & was finally put down at age 16. My youngest didn’t speak to me for ages. I left it a few months but only when we had a new dog did he say he realised how old and tired Jasper was. So, yes they did learn but it was very hard & I still feel a little guilty for not making the decision earlier.

  3. A great post full of common sense and logic. Our first dog was a poodle who loved us but loved to wander, he was collected from many houses in North Dublin and his favourite trick was to look sad, so sad, that this idiot would bring him for a walk and return home carrying him!

  4. Sensible, indeed.
    Also, people tend to skate around the need to impress on children that they must never ever exert that spot of cruelty most of them have on a dog, just because they can.

  5. Hi, thanks for following my blog! I’m now following yours too – not because I’m simply following you back, I don’t do that, but because I was brought up with dogs (not in an ‘abandoned as a baby in a forest’ kind of way lol!). My hubby and I don’t have dogs now, we have cats. All our cats have come from rescue centres – just like your dogs. So I’m looking forward to reading your Waggy Tales 🙂

  6. I think exposing children to animals at a young age teaches them so much: gentleness, responsibility, nurturing, just to name a few. I was lucky to live with animals as I was growing up!

  7. I heard recently on the news that a study was going to be done to determine if dogs have emotions. Only someone who never had a pet would question that dogs have emotions. As for me, I have decided that my present beagle is my last pet. My cat died last month. With that grief and the grief I remember from when past dogs died, I don’t want to go through it again after this one. But she is only seven; so I have a few more years, hopefully.

    1. Many experts say that dogs don’t have emotions but I disagree. I can always spot a guilty dog.I recently lost my dog and it is truly heartbreaking and I have another dog who is 13. I just want to wrap her up in cotton wool but I know she’s a very old lady.Hoping your beagle has a long life too! x

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