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So to attempt to make some extra cash, and/or just spread good dog knowledge, I'm going to make a presentation to teach parents about safety between their children and dogs. I want to make sure (with some other dog people!) that I'm covering all the bases. So if anyone is on board this wold be a continuing thread as I make this project.

Does anyone have a photo of a bully breed dog of theirs that's particularly good with kids and/or friendly? I want to show people that judging a dog by its looks is bad and compare it to the adorable, but highly aggressive Doxie I had.

Is there anything anyone thinks I should *definitely* include? I am including basic do's/dont's and what dog stress signals look like?
 

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Definitely that they should ask before approaching or petting dogs.
 
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I have an English Mastiff friend, but no Bully friends. Also maybe include HOW to pet a dog. Kids always bonk dogs on the head, which a lot of dogs don't enjoy.
 
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I'll second the idea of explaining how to pet a dog. I always tell a child who's asked to pet my dog that if he/she just holds out his/her hand that my dog will plop his head right into it. On the other hand, when someone tries to pet the top of his head, he, quite logically, backs up to see where the hand is coming from--he's not hand shy or frightened; he's just confused. Because he's a smaller dog, I tell kids it's like a giant hand coming out of the sky on the top of his head, and if that happened to them, they'd back up to see what was happening too, as they don't have eyes on top of their heads either. That usually makes them laugh, but it makes the point. I've also added that that's why humans shake hand hands rather than patting each other on the top of the head when they greet people they don't know, which they tend to find humorous as well.

Another thing kids who aren't experienced in interacting dogs do is to put out their hands and then pull them back--and then the dogs often just follow the hand back to the kid, which upsets the kid more if he/she is scared. But to the dog, it's just a natural reaction and not a sign of aggression at all. And, of course, kids should be told not to approach a dog from behind--even a dog they know--and suddenly pat them, even affectionately, when the dog doesn't know they're there. Again, it's like being startled by someone you didn't know was behind you suddenly slapping you on the back--it's not comfortable. Oh, yeah, and please, just because a dog is small, furry, cute, and looks just like one of their stuffed animal does not mean the dog wants to be hugged or, worse, picked up. And they should always, always, always follow whatever rules the dog's owner sets forth, including not touching the dog at all if that's what the owner says, no matter how much they want to pet it. They shouldn't just assume it's always okay to pet a dog because they've been told it's okay once either. It's always possible the dog is recovering from an injury or illness and isn't up to playing, for instance.

And, though it should go without saying, it's not appropriate to kick, hit, or punch a dog or take away its food or water or bother its puppies.
 

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I'll second the idea of explaining how to pet a dog. I always tell a child who's asked to pet my dog that if he/she just holds out his/her hand that my dog will plop his head right into it. On the other hand, when someone tries to pet the top of his head, he, quite logically, backs up to see where the hand is coming from--he's not hand shy or frightened; he's just confused. Because he's a smaller dog, I tell kids it's like a giant hand coming out of the sky on the top of his head, and if that happened to them, they'd back up to see what was happening too, as they don't have eyes on top of their heads either. That usually makes them laugh, but it makes the point. I've also added that that's why humans shake hand hands rather than patting each other on the top of the head when they greet people they don't know, which they tend to find humorous as well.
^This is definitely good. The teaching them how to pet dogs and not backing away. The backing away thing happened at the shelter the other day when we had kids visit and the kid got pretty scared when our lazy, lumbering Pit Bull walked towards her hand with a treat.

I appreciate everyone else's input as well. :) I think I'm also going to include some safety guidelines for different ages, like infants should only have the minimal, supervised contact, toddlers and preschool aged should be watched VERY closely and taught how to be gentle early, and never ever left alone with kids, school aged kids need to be monitored and can start to help with dog care if you have a dog, should be taught how to behave around dogs at home and with strange ones, and how older kids can start taking on more dog care and that some older kids and teens still need to be taught not to tease dogs and so on.
 

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My hard and fast rule is I do not let children "disappear" into another room with my dogs and parents should not get miffed because "they have a dog at home".

It is too easy for the child to pull at something, or stick a pen down the dog's ear, then wonders why it got bit.

Yes, the pen in the ear thing really did happen many years ago but not with my dogs.
 

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Signs of a stressed dog could be Panting, Drooling, Ears pinned back, Lip curled, Tail tucked, Backing up, Ducking their head. Also dont have people stare directly at the dog, some dogs can took at it as a challenge. Make sure they move slowly around a dog they don't know. Not every dog is friendly and the asking first comes in handy.

I hope this helps :)
 

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Children--and parents--should also understand that it is not rude for a dog owner/handler to tell a child no about something he/she wishes to do, as in, "No, you may not feed my dog that" or "No, you may not walk my dog" or "No, you may not even hold onto his/her leash." Owners know their dogs better than anyone else, and if they feel something is inappropriate for those dogs, they have the final say. Period. I once had a child run up from behind me and literally yank the leash out of my hand and take off with my dog--which was supposed to be fine, because, you know, the child was just playing and didn't know better. The dog in question had been badly abused before I got him and was not trusting of strangers as a result; he didn't hurt the child, but she absolutely terrified him because he thought she was stealing him from me, someone he trusted (and, in point of fact, she was). I also had a little run out of his yard to fire a cap pistol in the face of that same dog; again, the dog simply turned to me for protection, but it certainly didn't make him more trusting of children. Had I not been primarily concerned with getting my dog out of an awful situation, I would have dragged that boy to his parents and told them what he did, including the fact that when I asked him to stop because he was scaring my dog, he replied, "I don't care. I don't like your dog"--and then fired his cap pistol again. Understand, we were walking on a public sidewalk, nowhere near this kid, who had to run across his yard to terrify my dog.

Oh, yeah, and kids need to understand what normal dog behavior is. I had another child demand that I make my dog stop wagging his tail. I tried to tell him that the way he was wagging his tail was his way of smiling (the dog had shown zero interest in the boy, BTW; he was wagging his tail because he did that almost perpetually, especially when being walked), but the kid would have none of it. The dog wagging his tail was scary so I had to make him stop it. Again, we were on a public sidewalk, the dog was leashed, and the dog wasn't even remotely interested in the child.

Might it be possible to show the kids photos of dogs who were in various postures that indicated whether they were relaxed or tense and explain to the kids the indications of their moods? I know the Pitbull Rescue in my area had some really good handouts at a local event a couple of years ago that explained all that. They also had little toy footballs to pass out, but no child got one until he/she got a lesson on how to approach and pet a dog and could prove he/she could do it correctly by demonstrating the technique on one of the well-behaved dogs that were there as part of their exhibit. I thought that was a pretty good idea. Not that you have to buy anything that extravagant to hand out, but even if you had some dog stickers or free coloring pages you could download for them, that might be an enticement. If you don't want to use a real dog, you could have a stuffed dog with you and have them go through the whole procedure with that: have them ask to pet the dog, show you that they know how to pet it, remember to say thank you for being allowed to pet it etc.
 

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Does anyone have a photo of a bully breed dog of theirs that's particularly good with kids and/or friendly? I want to show people that judging a dog by its looks is bad and compare it to the adorable, but highly aggressive Doxie I had.
I personally wouldn't use a bully breed as an example. Use something different, like a Rottweiler, Doberman, or some Mastiff.

Most people look at any bully breed and think "pit bull", even if it isn't actually an APBT. People are generally ignorant that way. They have gained a negative reputation; I wouldn't necessarily say "rightfully so", but there are things about the breed that do not make them a good pet for most families. They have inherent tendencies towards animal aggression and very high prey drive. They were bred to be pitted against other animals (bulls, hence the name of the breed, and other dogs for sport). They can be soft with people, but a real APBT doesn't belong in the hands of your average pet owner.

The other problem with using a bully breed photo is that there is a HUGE falsity floating around among the "pit bulls are all angels" crowd. They spew the complete garbage that APBTs were used as nanny dogs. This has never been true of the breed. They were always fighting and sport dogs, and perpetuating the nonsense that they are utterly harmless and belong with just anybody will only be more damaging to their reputation because people will believe that utter nonsense and possibly end up with more dog than they can handle with too many problems for them to work out. It's not fair to ignorant people or the dogs that need a more experienced handler.

There are many breeds that look intimidating. I suggest using something else.
 

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I think for little kids it's important to know how to approach a dog, how to interact with a dog, to ask owners if it's okay to pet the dog and ONLY pet the dog if the owner says it's okay, and to not touch a dog while it's eating/chewing or try to take food or toys from a dog.

For parents I think they need to know how to teach the kids these things, to recognize basic body language and calming signals, that ANY dog can bite and kids and dogs should ALWAYS be supervised.

Here's a good chart about different types of supervision:
http://familypaws.com/fpaw/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/5-types-Supervision-HR.pdf

Are you doing this as a program for the shelter you work at, or just on your own?
My shelter regularly does free lectures on basic animal behavior, health, nutrition, and welfare for owners, including this topic. I've always thought it was a good program, it gets a lot of people interested in animal care.
 

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What would I tell a child or a parent....

- I agree with the don't pat on the head thing.
- don't run around dogs
- be aware that dog's can get too excited over children running and screaming or playing ball. Actions vary depending on situation: dog romping on a yard and kids visiting its home go play ball - leash the dog or take it inside if you do not know its chasing instincts. Kids playing on a playground - the dog owner should be aware that kids go to playgrounds and may be noisy.
- don't hug or lift a dog, don't climb on one, don't pull any body parts of it etc.
- don't feed the dog anything without asking the owner. The dog may be on diet or should not accept food from anyone for some other reason.
- a growl is a warning, move away.
- always let the dog have the option of escape.
- don't stare a dog
- never disturb a sleeping dog
- don't touch the dog's food or toys
- never approach the dog whose owner/guardian is not present
- ask permission to touch the dog

A thing I have noticed about children and my dog. Children not used to dogs tend to pet my dog very lightly. My dog is used to adults petting her "heavily" and scratching behind the ears. The light touch of children who did not want to scare or hurt her, actually confused her and made her slightly suspicious. It looked like it tickled her. Nowadays she is used to it and does not flinch at it.

What do you think are appropriate areas to touch a dog and which absolute no-nos? I made a picture about that but I wonder if it needs an update.
 
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