For most children, being around dogs comes naturally, especially if their parents help them understand how to relate to dogs.
Adults must ensure that children and dogs both learn to play well together and are always supervised. Children should never be allowed to hurt or tease a dog. Any dog, regardless of breed, can be pushed to the limits of his tolerance if sufficiently mistreated.
Children must be taught not to do things that encourage dogs to jump on or nip at people. Dangling toys, treats or wiggling fingers or feet in a dog's face can be too much to resist.
Children should not be allowed to run and scream around dogs, because their fast actions and high voices may mimic prey and excite a dog so that it may run, jump, chase and even nip.
When children play roughly with a dog, the dog may forget not to use its mouth. Avoid letting children play games with dogs that are based on domination, like tug of war or wrestling. Safe games are hide and seek, where one child holds the dog while another hides, then calls to the dog to find him. This is even more fun if the child takes the dog's favorite toy with him and tosses it when the dog finds him. Fetching a ball, stick or Frisbee are also safe games for children and dogs.
When dealing with unfamiliar dogs, children should be taught never to touch a dog without its owner's permission. They should never reach over or through a fence to pet dogs, even if the owner is in the yard.
When dogs are eating, sleeping or chewing a favorite toy, children should be respectful and leave them alone. They should never be allowed to tease a dog with food or toys and never should they pull a dog's ears, feet or tail.
Of all reported dog bites 75 to 85 percent happen from the family pet. It is important to recognize that dogs are more likely to bite when scared, not feeling well, threatened, injured, tired, possessive or poorly socialized. Dogs that are not spayed or neutered, as well as a mother with puppies, may also be more prone to bite.
Teaching children early in life to understand these concepts in dogs makes them better able to feel compassion and consideration for their fellow human beings. This is one of many good reasons to have a family dog!
Check out some of the wonderful adoptable dogs at the Payson Humane Society animal shelter, located at 812 S. McLane Rd.
Sox is a cute, 2-year-old neutered male spaniel mix. He has a medium-length black coat with white trim. One paw is white with adorable black freckles on it.
We love his crazy Beethoven-like hairdo. His personality is just as endearing as his looks. Sox is a pleasure to walk on leash and is exceptionally well-behaved. He's friendly, loveable and very good with kids and other dogs -- in short, he's a winner!
Jake is a spry, 8-month-old neutered male black Lab/ shepherd mix. He is medium-sized and has a healthy, shiny jet-black coat. His eyes are the color of new copper pennies.
Jake is housebroken, a polite car passenger, and a nice, responsive boy to walk on leash. He is used to children, cats and other dogs, so he will easily fit into most family situations.
Claude is a delightful, 9-month-old neutered male Lab/rottweiler mix. His short, black chocolate coat is wavy and glossy. The rottie shows in his brown-streaked legs and his intelligence. The Lab shows in his friendly, happy demeanor. It's a great combination!
When Claude first comes out of his kennel, he gets excited, but when you walk him on leash, he is the absolute best-behaved boy with no pulling whatsoever. We like to walk him on a 15‚ cotton-web lead across the meadow so he can meander a bit. He is such a good boy at 9 months old, you can only imagine what his potential is when he grows up.
Pekoe is the prettiest ever one-year-old, spayed female Australian shepherd/chow mix. Her name comes from orange Pekoe tea -- the colors of her soft, fluffy coat. Her tongue is a deep blue, showing her chow heritage. She's not very big, so she's a breeze to handle.
Pekoe has a happy, friendly disposition (check out the smile) and is the easiest dog to walk because she is light as a feather, responsive and eager to please. She has some insecurity issues and will benefit from a patient family that won't nurture her insecurity, but rather will work with her to restore her confidence.
Ivory is a sweet, 9-month-old, spayed female Shar Pei mix. She is pure white and sleek as a greyhound, very delicate like fine china. Her pink nose and dainty ears are amusingly cute.
Ivory is extra easy to handle on leash. She gets along with other dogs, but is scared of big bullies. She's looking for a warm-hearted family to love and protect her for the rest of her life.