Teaching Kid's about Pet's (Article from )

Dogs have long been the storied companions of children. Many of us grew up with dogs and considered them our most faithful childhood friends, and for many parents, the question is not "if" their children will have a dog --- but "when."

Adults do sometimes worry, however, about how best to introduce a new dog to the household, or how to develop positive relationships between their children and dogs. Even families that have children but no dogs -- or dogs but no children -- benefit from ensuring that kids and animals get along safely and happily.

Paul Mann, Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care, a nationwide professional pet-sitting anddog-walking franchise based in Berkeley, Calif., said dogs are highly influenced by the behavior of children in the family and often play an important role in their lives.

"Children often spend considerably more time with the dog than adults do," Mann said. "On a positive note, dogs offer wonderful companionship for children and often give them a sense of responsibility and security. Furthermore, because of their shorter life span, dogs help children to understand bereavement and come to terms with it."

Unfortunately, there can be negative side effects to the child-dog relationship. "Children can sometimes tease and be cruel to dogs, and may inadvertently encourage the types of behavior you want to avoid, such as jumping up, nipping and begging," Mann said.

It is important to educate children about dogs and other animals, and for adults to exhibit respectful, positive behavior toward pets, Mann said. "Pets are now true family members and should be treated that way by the whole family. There are certain ways we want children to treat their brothers and sisters, and those things are clearly articulated to everyone in the family. Well, the same needs to be done with pets."

Following are some tips for building positive relationships between children and dogs from Mann and the American Kennel Club:

  • All interactions between children (especially young children) and a new dog should be supervised, for the safety of both pet and child. NEVER leave even the most trusted dog alone with a small baby or child.  Hiring a dog sitter or a babysitter may help you have extra supervision as the dog and the child get acquainted.
  • Make sure a crawling baby does not pull on a dog's tail or ears.
  • Children should be encouraged to stroke or scratch a dog under the chin or around the throat, instead of patting the dog on the head. Patting on the head obstructs a dog's sense organs and can be misconstrued as an act of aggression.
  • Children, as well as adults, should be educated in good dog training and behavioral management practices (dogs can get confused if they attend training classes and then are given varying signals by different family members).
  • Dogs should be socialized with as many children as possible, and as early as possible in their lives. It's important that they get used to certain behaviors displayed by children, such as erratic movements, excitability and screaming. Remember -- even dogs that don't live with children are likely to run into them outside the home.
  • Helping to care for a dog, or any pet, will teach a child responsibility and build the connection.
  • Children should not hug or cuddle dogs that have not been fully socialized.

One way to introduce a child to a dog, Mann said, is to ask the child to put a dog treat on the palm of his or her hand, with the fingers close together. Let the dog approach the child to retrieve the treat. The child should hold the hand beneath the dog's mouth level, and keep it still.

With proper introductions and ongoing supervision, children and dogs can share a wonderful family life.



Rumor has it, lots are coming in soon. We’re going to need a bigger litter pan!

Mat-Mau for Now!



Outings and Activities with your Pet's (Article From

Dogs are like children -- they enjoy being social and having their own play dates. Before deciding where to go with your pooch, Dr. Kari Foss, an Ohio veterinarian, recommends asking yourself a few questions and consider what your dog will be up for. First and foremost, she says, "Get to know the place/setting you're heading to: are there hazards, like toxins, busy streets, etc., that you need to watch out for?" Another big factor is whether your dog can handle being off leash, or if she needs a fenced-in area for some play time. Of course, always take into account how well your pup plays with other dogs. Once you know your dog's limits, it's time to get out and play. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Play with the Kids
    Dogs are part of our families too, and there's nothing more fun than watching little ones playing with their furry kids. The ASPCA recommends arranging "play dates" between your kids and pets. This helps your children gain respect for your animal and vice versa, much like how play dates between kids cultivate healthy, lasting friendships. Of course, these should always be supervised by you, a babysitter or a nanny.Have your child blow dog-friendly bubbles; the dogs will have a blast trying to catch them, especially if they're flavored! You can also set up a race between the kids and your pup or play hide-and-seek -- have the kids hide while your pooch tries to sniff them out.

  2. Head to the Dog Beach
    Cities throughout the country have beaches that are designated as dog beaches, and these spots are perfect places for your furry friends to cool off in the sweltering heat -- as long as they're swimming dogs. They'll also get to romp around in the sand, too. Longtime dog owner, Carly Carbo of Madison, Wisconsin, adores watching her dogs dive off the pier to go swimming."I take my pups to various dog parks. There is one here that is right on the water, so they can swim and jump off the pier to go swimming," says Carbo.

  3. Play Games in the Park
    Not only do pups get to interact with lots of other dogs at dog parks, but they're also great places for your canine friend to get some exercise. Play soccer, Frisbee, fetch or just let your dogs romp with some new friends. "Keep a close eye on them if they are off leash in a confined area," recommends Tian Shuai, owner of Little Paws Walking, a pet care company in Chicago, Illinois. "You know your own dog well, but you never know how other dogs may react to things." Always check out the park without your dog first, to see if there's a fence. If you have a smaller dog, look for a separate area for smaller animals to play.

  4. Go on an Outdoor Adventure
    Dogs are natural explorers, and taking them on a hike is a wonderful way to satiate their curiosity, whether they're off leash or on one. For more immersion into nature, Dr. Foss recommends becoming involved with Dog Scouts of America, which has programs for owner- pet bonding. They plan trips full of fun activities for you and your pup, such as hiking, learning agility courses, swimming and even some training.

  5. Grab a Cool Treat
    Give in to your dog's desire for some human food by getting them dog-friendly ice cream! Frozen yogurt locations throughout the country offer great fro-yo options for your dog. Many ice cream parlors will have doggy snacks too; just ask for the doggie cone, and your pooch will be sure to gobble it up.Bring the kids for a fun afternoon outing, or have your nanny take the pooch along when she treats the little ones to a yummy ice cream parlor dessert. Or look out for dog-friendly treats at your local bakery or specialized dog bakeries, for a tasty alternative for pups that don't handle dairy well.

  6. Meet Up with Other Pooches
    Dogs are social creatures, and a wonderful way to meet other dogs is finding a meetup in your city via "I have taken my little Yorkie to a bunch of meetups with the Chicago Yorkie Meet Up Group," Shuai says. "It's a nice way to get them to socialize with their own breed and same-size dogs."

  7. Train Your Dog at an Agility Course
    Who said training has to be all work? Agility courses and clubs like Clean Runare located all over the country, and are great ways to focus your dog's abundant energy while also getting in some exercise.

  8. Challenge Your Pet with Some Games
    Like agility courses, games are a great way to hone your dog's skills, while also having some fun. One such game suggested by the Whole Dog Journal is "find it!" (Just be sure it's played in a safe, fenced-in area where your dog can't stray too far.) The goal is to make it harder and harder for your dog to find his treats. Simply show your pooch the treat, excitedly tell him to "find it!" then throw the treat in any direction. After you've repeated this a few times, have your pup sit while you put the treat down about 15 feet away. When you go back to him, tell him to "find it!" again. Eventually, you can start using this command to play a fun game of hide-and-seek with your dog. Get your kids involved with games like this, and both your human and furry kids will have yet another way to bond.

Once you know where you're headed, take some precautions to keep your dog safe while she's having fun. "Always bring plenty water with you to make sure your pups are hydrated all the time," suggests Shuai. Another thing to watch for is that they don't burn their paws; in the heat of the summer, sand and concrete can get too hot for sensitive pets. Lastly, no matter where you go, keep a close eye on your pup. You can never predict how your canine companion will react to things, whether he is in a new environment or not. What matters is that, while staying safe, both you and your dog are having fun. You can do fun outings like this every week, or more often with dogs that require more exercise. Your dog will have a blast every time!

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