Category Archives: kids and pets

Tips for Teaching Kids How to Act Around Unfamiliar Dogs

By Laurie Darroch

Children are curious and fascinated with everything. Unless they have a fear of dogs, naturally they are curious about them as well. They are likely to simply walk up to a dog that is wandering around or being walked by a human companion, without understanding that there are etiquette and safety issues involved when approaching an unknown dog. It’s important to teach children the ins and outs of their own behavior around unknown dogs, as well as how to interact with both the dogs and dog owners.

Approach or Not Approach?

Unless an adult is accompanying a young child, it is a good idea to teach kids not to approach a dog out for a walk with its human without knowing if they should or not. So they won’t be tempted if they come across a dog when you are not around, make sure your child understands not to approach a dog that is running around loose unless they know the dog and the dog knows them. They won’t be bringing home any stray dogs that way either. Sure, the pull is powerful when a child sees a cute dog that they want to meet or play with, but for safety’s sake it is best to teach them not to approach strange dogs on their own, or as an alternative to find an adult they know who will help them.

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Great Games for Kids and Dogs to Play Together

games for kids n dogs julie c OKBy Suzanne Alicie

Having a dog and being a responsible pet owner can be a very rewarding experience. When you have children, your dog can be more than a pet – it can be a playmate and a furry family member. Your dog needs exercise, fresh air and fun just like your kids do. With a well-trained dog and children who love and respect the animal, you can supervise a variety of fun games that everyone will enjoy.

Dog training may not be your personal specialty, but simple basic obedience training is all your dog will need to learn to play with your kids safely under your supervision. Linda Cole has shared 8 positive dog training tips that work to help you get started!

Not only are games for kids and dogs fun, but they can help improve the health and fitness of your progeny and your pet.  Exercise, agility, hand-eye coordination and a good, healthy sense of fun are great for your kids; playing with the family dog can prepare them for many types of sports and activities as they get older. Your dog may not need paw-eye coordination, but games can also improve their overall coordination as well as all the other high points mentioned above.

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How Dogs Make Babysitting Easier – and More Fun!

By Tamara McRill

Living with dogs doesn’t just make me a better babysitter – it also makes the job easier and way more enjoyable. At least that is my experience from watching a passel of nephews and other young ones. Of course there are safety issues to consider, but on the whole it is a win-win-win, for me, my pets and the children.

Here a several ways my dogs and I share the work that comes with babysitting:

Turning Off the Cartoons

This is a big one for me, since I don’t like to watch most things twice and kids seem to love watching endless repeats of their favorite shows. I also worry about too much time spent in front of the television. Turning off the TV requires coming up with activities, something that isn’t easy if you are unexpectedly pressed into service.

With a dog, however, there is always something to do. That is a big help when parents are in too big of a hurry to bring anything for their child to play with. So the dog toys become “kid toys” too, and everyone gets some quality playtime.

Safety tip: Don’t let a child and your dog play in an open yard if your pet has protective tendencies. Any stranger that walks up could be seen as a threat to the child, and your dog could get aggressive.

Playing Companions

I was in a situation a few years ago where my nephew Isaiah would be at my house through the day, but the neighborhood children were in school. While we enjoy playing together, he would get sad that there wasn’t anyone young to run around the yard with him. Enter Wuppy. My chocolate lab was just a pup then, full of boundless energy and surprising antics that delighted Isaiah.

And frankly, that delighted me too, as I wore out a lot quicker than my nephew did and way before my Wuppy did. I could supervise the two of them running through the backyard and not be too exhausted to work when done babysitting.

Safety tip: Make sure your pet is trained not to jump on people, especially children, as they could accidentally knock them over or claw their playmate. Also, don’t let children play tugging games with objects close to your dog’s mouth or with sticks. This is to prevent a dog bite or getting your pet’s gums injured.

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Kids & Pets – Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

By Suzanne Alicie

As a responsible pet owner, I have to be diligent in making sure that my dog Bear doesn’t bite someone. When we go for a walk most adults know how to approach a strange dog, or at least know better than to run up squealing and jumping around. Children, on the other hand, are naturally exuberant and excited to see a dog and they all want to pet her; she’s big and fluffy, and just draws them in.

Unfortunately, Bear is not very social and really does not appreciate the excitement of children that she doesn’t know. This can lead to heart stopping moments when I’m praying that Bear won’t snap at someone, or that the parents will take charge of their children so that I don’t have to tell the child, “STOP, don’t touch the dog.” Because then children cry and parents get angry because I’ve yelled at their child. They don’t realize that I’m trying to protect them.

I’d rather yell at their child than have my dog cause them to be hurt or even scared of dogs. Sometimes her barks and growls are pretty scary too, and she does get vocal when she feels crowded or threatened. I believe children should have a healthy fear of many things, but especially dogs. This is different from a real fear, and is more of a respect and knowledge of the possibility that the dog could bite.

As parents, it’s important that you teach your children not to approach strange dogs and if you have dogs and children you must teach your child to respect your dog as a member of the family. They have to understand that they could harm the dog if they play too rough, which could also make the dog bite them. Children aren’t mean intentionally, but sometimes they forget that their dog isn’t a stuffed animal and may try to pick him up by his tail or pull his hair while they are playing.

Feeding time is the time to keep your kids away from the dog completely. Even the most well trained dog could give in to instinct and snap at a child who gets too close to them while they are eating. In your own home and with your own children, all it usually takes to prevent dog bites is to accustom your children to being around a dog and respecting the dog’s space.

When you take your dog out, it may be wise to consider a muzzle to protect children from bites and always make sure that your harness, leash and collar are in good shape. An escaped dog running to-and-fro incites people to help you by chasing him. This could lead to strangers getting a bite for their efforts, especially children who think they are helping.

Even if you have a nice dog who likes children, it’s always important to make sure that strange children approach the dog calmly and give your pooch time to sniff them before they reach for him. Always carry a few CANIDAE dog treats when you go to the park so that you can help children become acquainted with your dog and reward your dog at the same time for being so well behaved.

Top photo by Ernst Vikne
Bottom photo by Mr. Dtb

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at Summer Gatherings

By Bear (Canine Guest Blogger)

I just love summer, don’t you? There’s swimming and running around, playing ball and of course, lots of cookouts and people to play with. Yep, it’s a dog’s life that’s for sure! Today I’m taking a break from the social whirl to talk to everyone about some safety rules to keep us doggies healthy and happy through the summer. Summer get-togethers can be dangerous for dogs, so we count on our people to keep us safe.

Small Children

I’m a good dog; I love the kids at our house and I like to play with them because they don’t get too rough and don’t treat me like I’m a pony. I may be a little on the heavy side but I’m definitely not a horse! My mommy knows that I don’t have a lot of patience and may get snappy if a little kid pulls my hair or climbs on me, so she makes sure to let everyone who has small children know that I’m off limits. If there are going to be a lot of little kids around, my mom will put me on a run in my own area or keep me in the house so I can get a little peace! My mom definitely doesn’t want me to bite someone’s child, so she makes sure that I’m kept at a safe distance from small children who probably don’t want to hurt me, but might by accident. You might also want to read our article “Teaching Kids How to Approach an Unfamiliar Dog.”

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Ten Great Reasons to Have a Pet

By Julia Williams

This morning I was sitting at my desk when my dear sweet Belle came in to ask for some love. Of my three cats, she’s the one who most enjoys having hugs and kisses lavished upon her, and I was happy to comply. As I held her close, I told her that I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. It’s the truth.

There are so many great reasons to have a pet, I knew I could easily come up with ten. Naturally, this list barely scratches the surface of all the many reasons people love their pets.

1.  Pets make wonderful, loving companions for people of all ages. They don’t criticize our faults, our looks, or the things we lack. Pets are good listeners, and they’re always happy to see us and greet us when we come home. Single people with pets can live by themselves without feeling lonely or alone. Everyone benefits from the special unconditional love of a pet, but teenagers, the elderly, the anti-social, and people with disabilities are especially helped through difficult times when they have a pet by their side.

2. Pets amuse us with their silly antics. Pets are natural born comedians, and they make us laugh every day. They provide countless hours of entertainment, and alleviate boredom like no video game or TV program ever could.

3. Pets protect us and our home from intruders. Dogs are good low-tech home security systems, but cats can be too. My current felines alert me to visitors by making a mad dash into the bedroom. Many years ago, my cat Binky sat on my dresser facing the window and growled nonstop. When I looked outside, I saw the Peeping Tom who’d been annoying the neighborhood.

I feel a bit smug when I hear about people with “rodent” problems, because homes with cats don’t have them. That is, unless you have a cat like my Rocky, who once brought in a rat and turned his back, whereupon it scampered behind my stove. This did require human intervention, but still – cats are great for dispatching rodents.

4. A pet might save your life one day. Stories abound of pets that wake their owners to alert them of a fire in the house. I’ve also read about a cat that saved its human family from carbon monoxide poisoning, and a dog who performed a canine version of the Heimlich maneuver on his choking owner. An accidental discovery of a dog that could “smell” cancer on his owners leg has led to scientists training them to detect various types of cancer cells, with remarkable accuracy.

5. Having a pet can improve both your mental and physical health. Pets help people overcome depression, anxiety, pessimism, melancholy, mood swings, shyness, rebelliousness and loneliness. These amazing animal healers can lower our blood pressure and pulse rate, calm frazzled nerves, reduce the effects of stress on our bodies, and help us live longer, healthier lives.

6. Pets make great lap warmers and bed warmers on cold winter nights. Who needs an electric blanket when you have a furry form heating up your bed naturally?

7. Pets can help you find friends and partners. You might meet “Mr. Right” at the dog park, in the vet’s waiting room, or on your daily walk around the neighborhood. While Fido plays with his four-legged friends at the dog park, you can socialize with other owners.

8. Pets are great workout partners. Walking or running with a dog, and playing games with our pets provides the beneficial exercise we all need. With the hectic lifestyle so many of us lead, it makes sense to incorporate the family pet into our workout regime. Besides the daily walk, there are many things you can do to get fit with Fido. For starters, you can take a Doga class together, which is basically yoga for dogs and their owners, and read this article for other fun ways your pooch can help you lose your paunch.

9. Caring for pets can teach children valuable life skills like patience, consistency, goal setting, perseverance, leadership and communication. Encouraging children to take an active role in the care of their pet helps them learn about responsible pet ownership too.

10. Pets can inspire us be better human beings. Like Jack Nicholson said to Helen Hunt in the movie As Good as It Gets, “You make me want to be a better man,” pets can encourage important qualities such as compassion, playfulness, nurturing and kindness.

Readers, now it’s your turn – are there other special reasons why you love having a pet? Tell me why having a pet brings you great joy!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.