You might be wondering what the point of this article is. Why is it important for children to be able to communicate with dogs and to understand the language of dogs? Well, some statistics should help you see that importance. To start with, in the two years between 2010 and 2012 alone, children were bitten a record 359,223 times. In fact, children happen to be the most common victims of dog bites. As you might expect, they’re also the ones that are most prone to severe injuries. Most of those dog bites are inflicted by a dog that either belongs to a friend or the child’s family.
So what could possibly lead to a dog biting anyone, let alone a child? What drives them to aggression? Could it be that dogs are mean and sadistic? We know that that can’t possibly be true. The truth is that dogs have feelings, and they can feel irritation just like humans can. When a human gets irritated at someone or is generally having a bad day, they could end up shouting at someone. I remember growing up one of the things that made me crankiest was having to do my assignment or, more specifically, having to do my math homework. I was very irritable at such times and could easily shout at anyone. Surely, that doesn’t mean that I was a mean and bad person, does it? A dog, in turn, could have all sorts of reasons for biting:
- The dog could be biting as a way of protecting something, such as its space or its food
- The dog could be acting out of fear
- The dog could be having a bad day and lack patience. Yes, that happens with dogs too.
- The dog could be injured or sick, and therefore might be acting out of paranoia or delirium
- The dog could get overly excited while playing with you or your child
- The dog might be the herding type and might be herding you and your child by biting at your heels
The truth is that a dog can have a good day and a bad day, just like any human. The problem is that the dog has no way of speaking and telling the humans around it that it would like to be left alone. The only way it can do that is through its body language, and that is why it is important to learn to interpret a dog’s body language.
The good news is that there is plenty of information all over the internet and other sources on the body language of a door. The general idea is that when a dog is loose and relaxed in its body language, then it is safe to interact with the dog. When it gets stiff and tense, then it is best to leave the dog alone.
What this article is really about is to tell you how to teach your child to read a dog’s body language in order to determine its mood. Well, there are a few tips you can follow:
1. Simplify the Information
The information on how to communicate with dogs is a lot. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be simplified in a way that a child can understand. Take a dog growling, for example: When a dog does that, it is simply expressing discomfort and warning you that it does not like how you are behaving toward it. How do you teach that to a child?
You can try and tell a child that when a dog growls, it simply means the dog is telling him or her to leave it alone. It is a “no,” and the child should back off. A child might be too young to fully grasp the meaning of dog body language. However, when you tell them about the warning signs that things aren’t good, they will be in a better position to avoid getting bitten, and the likelihood of them getting bitten goes down drastically. In my tenure doing research paper writing services in the UK, I’ve come to learn that simplification is the ultimate sophistication.
2. Make the Lesson relatable to the Child
When children play, they tend to have certain things in common. For example, when someone takes a toy away from a child while they’re in the middle of playing with it, they are bound to be unhappy. They will yell or cry. You can use this scenario to help a child internalize why, for example, a dog wouldn’t be happy about having a toy being taken away from them.
Another example is petting. I used this method to teach a child I was offering assignment writing help in Australia once. It worked for me, and it can demonstrate how to make something relatable to a child.
You can ask the child how they would feel if they were walking down the street, and a random stranger walked right up to them and patted them on the head. Many kids will answer that they wouldn’t like it. After all, kids generally fear strangers and are taught by their relatives and teachers to develop a healthy fear of strangers. When you ask the child what they would do if a stranger walked up to them and patted them on the head, then they might say they would yell or run away or demand that the stranger stop touching them.
Once you establish this rapport with the child, you can now move on to the dog. Ask them how their dog would feel if touched by strangers. They will immediately relate and say that the dog would be uncomfortable and even afraid. They would understand that it might react by backing off, growling, or biting, and they would understand that it might be their fault and that they should ask the owner of the dog if it’s okay to pet it before doing so.
The key is to make it relatable to the child’s own life so they can understand how a dog feels by putting themselves in the dog’s shoes and evaluating how they would feel.
3. Make it Fun
You know what they say about a picture being a thousand words. The best part is that there is plenty of visual information on the web about communicating with dogs. Most of it is free, and you can download it and print it. It includes pictures, infographics, and even videos.
The key is to find visual info that your children like and wouldn’t get bored looking at. You can then print them and hang them up on a wall and have your kids look at them and read them regularly. The best assignment writing service in Australia often employs visual representation of information to help readers understand it better.
4. Get your Children to Practice
Encourage your child to apply what they have learned, both with the dogs at home and those in public as well. If, for example, you’re walking with your child and they see a dog with their owner, remind them that they should ask the owner before they can pet the dog. You can remind them about how to pet a dog and then let them do it. If the owner refuses to let them do it, then politely ask the owner to explain to your child why they won’t let them do it. Most owners will do this very gladly. It’s a great learning opportunity for your child.
5. Lead by Example
The truth is that even we adults tend to make mistakes when interacting with dogs. If you want your child to behave appropriately around dogs, then you need to set an example for them. Once your child sees you do this, they will want to do it themselves.
Teaching your child to communicate with dogs is an important step toward reducing the chances that they will get bitten by a dog. You will be doing your part in reducing all the negative numbers surrounding dog bites.
Scott Matthews is a professional writer and blogger at myassignmenthelp.com. He is also a prolific review writer and has written edubirdie reviews, essayshark reviews, and even this australianwritings.com review. When he’s not writing, he likes to hang out at home and teach himself to program over coffee.