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It is that time of year again! School is out for summer; parents are stocking up on snacks and trying to plan things to keep everyone amused. The weather will hopefully stay dry. Getting out and about in nature is a great way to keep children occupied and tire them out before bed. As a result, walking, playing football, picnics, and treasure hunts are all perfect. However, please be aware that you are sharing your space with our four-legged friends.
A Dog’s Eye View
Not all dogs have children in the home; many are living with adults and haven’t met small children. While dogs come in all shapes and sizes, they can all be scared by things they do not know. Children can be loud, unpredictable and grabby, and these are not great for dogs. Even if you have a dog in the home, as a professional dog walker, I would encourage you to chat about dogs you meet in public. We want the summer to be a happy time for all, and a dog bite incident is going to put a dampener on things. It is often a genuine reaction to a dog being scared, surprised or anxious and could easily be avoided.
Here are some really important pointers from a dog’s point of view.
- If I am on my lead and you run right towards me at full speed, I might get scared.
- I don’t like it when children or adults suddenly reach out and touch me. Please ask my owner if it’s ok to pet me.
- I may not be friendly, I don’t mean to be, but things happened to me, and I would rather you leave me alone. Make sure you speak to my owner before you come near me and ask if I like people.
- I take my walk all year; I am not used to children suddenly being in my space, so please be calm and slow when moving past me. I am happy to share the walk but give me some space.
Feeling scared and a dog runs up to you.
As a dog owner/professional dog walker, I understand that not all children (and even adults) are comfortable around dogs and may feel scared if a dog runs up to you. However, can I request that you try and keep calm and still and be like a tree. Trees are boring, and dogs will move on. By jumping up and down and screaming, you will either make the dog panic and so go into a survival state (Fight or flite) and possibly bite, or they will think you are playing and become boisterous
Being a Responsible Dog Owner
As a parent, we need to protect our children while making sure they get to experience life, so chatting about how to behave around other people’s dogs is super important. A dog on a lead should never be approached without permission but conversely, keep an eye on off-lead dogs. They may be friendly, but if they run towards a child and scare it, we are back in a potentially dangerous situation – the child naturally screams, the dog panics and something that could have been avoided happens.
Don’t let the kids walk the dog unattended.
Finally, it is tempting to get younger children to walk the dog, but this can also present a myriad of issues, and we recommend that children walking dogs should have an adult with them at all times. It is unfair for the child to have to deal with a situation where your dog meets another dog, and they do not get on.
Remember that you are legally obligated to have your dog under control at all times, and you don’t want to risk a situation where you are in trouble for allowing a child who cannot control a dog to walk it alone.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and below are a couple of others I think you might be interested in