Introducing Young Children To Your Dog

We just recently had a 1.5 year old little girl come to our house. So far we have only had a little baby and a 5 year old boy come to our house. This is what we do to ensure success:

Pack Structure in Place – Dogs that know their position in the Pack do much better with children. Spoiling dogs leads to the biggest chance of bites and aggression toward children. Having a dog work and understand their rules goes a long way towards being good with children. It can be very difficult for a dog to view children as higher ranking and respect them. By following Pack Structure rules you really help to ensure success.

Premack Principle – Associating good things to children. When we had the 1.5 year old girl here we did a number of things to associate good things with her to our German Shepherd:

  1. Fetch – Delta loves fetch so we will play fetch while the little girl is present.
  2. Find your ball – Delta loves to find her ball in the house so we would play that game with the little girl running around.
  3. Tracking – We had the little girl and her mother go and hide on our property and off our property with Delta’s favorite ball. Delta loves to track after we taught her how to last summer. Delta found them in short order and her ball was tossed to her.

No Petting – Many people think you have to have the child pet the dog. This is one of the biggest chances for a dog to bite a child. All that you have to do to socialize a dog to a small child is play their favorite games next to the child. Delta was walking right passed the little girl playing games. The little girl could reach out and touch her but this was not necessary at all. This whole petting idea to socialize a dog can create a lot of problems.

When Delta was a puppy we would play a CD with the sounds of children playing while we played a game with Delta. I would also take Delta around schools and daycares on the opposite side of the fence just slightly away from the children playing and I would play games with Delta there and work on obedience.

I would also do things to Delta that a child likely would not do. I would practice playing a game and pull on her ears or her tail or legs. I would grab a handful of hair and pull a bit. We would also put Delta onto her back and wait for her to calm. I would hold her upside down and also cradle her like a baby. We proof a dog up for all of these things just in case a child does something to the dog it is not a surprise to that dog. However I always closely monitor dogs and children. If I cannot then we keep them separated.

Dogs can easily bite children. Some dogs are naturally good and some are naturally not good with children. The higher the pain tolerance a dog has the better they generally are with children. If a child grabs a handful of hair it won’t hurt a dog with a high pain tolerance. If you do this to a dog with low pain tolerance it can hurt the dog a lot which can elicit a bite.

Dogs that bite children are often put down. In almost all of these cases proper prevention and socialization can ensure harmony between dogs and children.

If you have a puppy or dog that you want to be excellent with children, give us a call. We would be more than happy to show you the proper techniques.

Profit Versus Your Dog

There are many excellent companies out there but one of the biggest problems is that they are often Profit driven. We as consumers have the ultimate say by voting with our money. It is our responsibility to speak up for what we truly want. Let me give you some examples in the Dog World:

Red Moon Pet Food is our preferred choice of kibble and it is what we recommend to anyone in search of a better food. Red Moon up until recently was fully customizable. Let’s list the things that will remain top quality in Red Moon:

  1. Human Grade food ingredients.
  2. Shipped to your house for free (included in the price of the food).
  3. No fillers (corn, grains, gluten)

However it used to be even more awesome when it was customizable:

  1. Supplement Selection – You could select which supplements you wanted (immune system booster, joint reviver, digestion aid, coat health, grass defender {keeps the urine from burning your grass})
  2. Made fresh the day you ordered it – Since it was made in micro batches it would be made fresh and shipped out that day or the next.
  3. Protein Selection – Higher for puppies and lower for adult dogs.
  4. Calorie Selection – High energy or low energy dog.
  5. Name Your Food – You could call it “Rover’s Food” and the food would show up at your door saying “Rover’s Food” on the side of the bag.

So what changed? Red Moon is an Alberta based company which has also expanded into the United States. There are several States that require pre-approved AAFCO labels. Since Red Moon is customizable there are a couple thousand different combinations which would need to be submitted. Red Moon decided to make a more standardized kibble (non-customizable) so that it could be shipped to all of these different states. This was done to help the company grow and increase profits and margins. It is still a good food and we continue to feed it to our dogs but it is not the super awesome food I once knew.

I have sent the owner several e-mails to help sort this problem out to try and get the best possible kibble back for all of the dogs out there. The owner has been very good at answering my questions and is a very nice person.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer quality over a cheaper product?

Here is another example:

Vet Food often has some of the highest filler content I have seen in any dog food and it sells for a premium. I was told by a Veterinarian that when they go through Vet School, the company that sponsors their education on Pet Nutrition is Hills which is the same company that sells Science Diet. The Vet food often has specialized ingredients that really help a dog out with different health problems. Some I have seen even create more problems for the dog. So why not make a Vet food with no fillers? The most simple answer is profit.

I myself support top quality products whenever I can. If a company is putting people and nature before profit I always try to support them. The problem is that this can be expensive. When you are making less money you try to go the cheapest route possible. In my first years of Dog Training I know exactly what that is all about. If you have the extra dollars to support these companies I urge you to do so.  If you are on a budget you can help spread the word about companies that you want to support.

In our business there are several things I know that I could do to be able to produce more profit for us. The issue is that I know this is not what is best for our clients and their dogs so we do not implement these ideas. People often say we are crazy to offer additional support and coaching as well as any questions answered for the life of the dog. Sure this may take up more of our time but money plays a secondary role. It is true that like everyone else we need to make enough money to be able to allow us to live and continue to help other dogs. However we always ensure dogs are first in any decision we make. Any increase in profit is a bonus.

So my question is: Do you prefer to support companies that put people and nature first or profit? What do you think about Red Moon removing their customization? Would you prefer to see customization back in effect? The more people that do, the better. I will continue to ensure we look out for what is best for dogs. We would be very happy with any support we receive from you. Just voicing your opinion goes a long way.