Friday, November 20, 2009

Living with dogs and kids

I’ve always loved animals. That’s my first dog King. He was my protector and my friend. I was always the kid who asked for cats and dogs – anything furry would do. For a while, my parents said “no” to pets, then I started keeping baby field mice in our porch. That's how I got Kitty and my dog Chuckie.

If you watch movies – especially Disney movies – dogs and kids always get along. In real life, it’s not always that way. Dogs are not people – every one of them has a bite threshold. For some, it’s short, for others, it’s long, but any dog can bite.

If you’re bringing a new baby into your life, you can prepare your dog for baby’s arrival in a lot of ways - read up about the topic, get into a post-baby routine before the baby arrives, tug at the dog as a child would, and scent the dog’s toys with almond oil to distinguish them from baby toys. Groups like Dogs and Storks have lots of useful information and tips.

And it’s also important to teach your children how to behave around dogs. While your own dog may be fabulous with kids, it’s best that they know what to do around strange dogs.

If you’re worried that your dog will hurt your young child, it may be in everyone’s best interests to find another home for your dog. Living in fear is not an option. Our own dog Buddy came to live with us because of that kind of situation, and its turned out to be the best thing for that family, our family, and for our Buddy.

If you’re interested in this topic, here are some additional resources:

Canine IQ test

Regarding Rover Podcast

Wall Street Journal article

DogGoneSafe Bite prevention rules

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Learning about pet first aid

Last weekend I taught the Walks N Wags Pet First Aid class to a group of dog lovers – pet sitters, kennel operators/breeders, a dog sledder (who has 60 dogs of her own), a pet retailer, dog trainers, and a bunch of folks who simply love their pets.

Taking this class is a great way to learn about preventing health problems, and to stay calm and have confidence when dealing with illness and injury. A lot of people access pet first aid information, but there’s nothing quite like concentrating, practicing and talking about it for 10 hours to really understand it and feel comfortable in an emergency.

The next Regina class is February 20 and 21, 2010. To register, call the Regina Humane Society at 543-6363 ext 221. If you’re in BC, Alberta, Ontario and New York, check out a complete list of dates.

You can also check out more photos from the class.