Remember when you were a youngster, and if you were lucky enough to have a dog, how pet dogs were treated? They were given basic meat and biscuit, had one dog basket, and everything seemed simpler.
I recall my Dad watching Barbara Woodhouse on television, amazed at how abrupt she was not only with the dogs but mostly, their owners. We might say that they were the good old days. I am sure the dogs would not agree. The days of yanking dogs around have been replaced with much more intelligent, kind methods. And yet, some might say this has led to problems. Does this kinder approach mean poorer behaviour? Does kindness mean no control?
We need to make sure that our children treat dogs in ways that do not put the children themselves at risk. I know from experience that harsh ways of trying to force dogs to do things leads to biting. Instead, train any dog to do something properly, and he or she will understand what is expected, along with the boundaries of preventing what we do not want.
Children copy us, so we can educate them to show respect towards animals whilst also maintaining control. We can:
l Involve children in puppy class. A good instructor will cater for all ages.
l Remember that boundaries include everyone. We all have to be consistent and make sure the dog does not make mistakes by teaching the right way.
l Always supervise children and teach them all every moment they are together.
Let’s see the next generation have a lot more control over dogs, but in the kindest way possible.