Scaredy Pups: Getting Along with Kids Wednesday 11 April 2018 @ 08:46

adorable, blur, childAs part of our series on dealing with dogs who suffer from phobias, our last post discussed how you might go about helping your dog with their fear of other dogs. This is a real issue for some dogs and their owners, who might have uncomfortable run-ins with other dogs on a daily basis. Other fears your dog might struggle with can include:

We plan on covering all of these fears over the course of the series, but for now we’re going to talk about what you might do if your dog is afraid of children.

We all know and love those photographs of children playing and cuddling with their favourite doggy companions. There are thousands of these photos, and hundreds of films and books imagining what these playful pairs might get up to. You may be surprised or disappointed, then, to hear that dogs who are afraid of children aren’t all that uncommon.

A dog’s fear of children makes sense when you think about how they tend to communicate with the world around them. Dogs can’t use words like humans can, so they communicate through sounds and body language. A dog who is used to living with adult humans will be accustomed to the sounds and movements they make. Children speak in a higher pitch to adults. Their steps are unsteady and faster. Their movements can be jerky and unexpected. It’s entirely possible that a child might hurt a dog by accident, or even fall and land on them. When compared to an adult, children and babies could very well appear to be part of a different species entirely.

What might be even more upsetting for a dog is that the presence of a child can also alter the behaviour of the adults around them, making even the most trusted human suddenly unreliable.

How can I tell if my dog’s afraid of children?

Photo of a Girl Playing with the Dog

Indicators that your child is afraid of children are much the same as those exhibited with any fear. The signs below are indicative of extreme stress and your dog should be removed from the stressful situation if they are exhibiting these signs around children. The behaviours a scared dog might show around children can include…

… attempting to hide or escape;
… shutting down or going stiff when children are nearby;
… showing teeth (lip-lifting) and snarling;
… biting or nipping (especially when trapped);
… lunging or yapping;
… lowering of head, increased eye contact;
… shaking, rolling over or recoiling.

In some cases, these behaviours can be fairly subtle so if you think your dog might be afraid of children, watch them carefully!

How can I help my dog recover from their fear of children?

MaidenIf your dog’s fear is of children who visit your home, you need to manage this situation. Begin by identifying an area in your house where your dog can go and where you can prevent children from entering. For example, you may have a room where you can close the door, or set up a baby gate. Make sure children are supervised at all times, as you can’t always trust kids not to open a door or try to touch something through a gate.

Begin training by having children you can trust to behave calmly walk past at a safe distance from your dog while providing your dog’s favourite treats. Your dog should be kept on a leash for safety, but should eventually come to associate the presence of children with good things.

If your dog’s fear is an issue when children are present outside the home, try avoiding parks and schools where kids might be playing.

Always keep socialization fun!

Closeup Photo of Scottish Terrier and Adult Short-coated White and Tan DogAs we’ve mentioned in many of our Phobia Series posts, flooding isn’t generally the best technique when it comes to training your dog out of fearing something. If you want your pup to enjoy something, you need to make sure their experiences of that thing are relaxed and enjoyable. Make sure your dog knows that you appreciate it when they gently check a child out, but don’t force them to do this until all parties are ready.

For example, if their fear of children causes them to act timidly, you can help your dog by getting some quiet, calm children to just sit quietly and spend time making sure your pup is happy and safe. Socializing your dog doesn’t need to involve throwing them in at the deep end with a crowd of noisy kids. Don’t exhaust your dog by forcing them to process sounds and sensations that are scary.

Start by introducing children one at a time, not all at once.

Are your kids animal-friendly?

Long-coated Brown and Black Dog on Focus PhotoIn some cases, the issue might not be with your dog at all. It could be the children who are the issue. It can be pretty difficult to find children who are actually good with animals, especially when they’re very young. Animal-handling skills aren’t generally something that comes naturally to a kid. It’s something that has to be learned, so they won’t always get it right the first time.

Relatively few children will happily sit still, watch another child pet a dog without getting jealous and piling in, stay calm and respectful, pay attention to where a dog actually likes to be pet or take care to pet gently. If your kid isn’t instantly perfect at handling a dog, try learning what works together. This can be a great bonding opportunity for you, your child and your dog.

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REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Tara the cat from Melbourne VIC Australia Monday 09 April 2018 @ 13:00

REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: lost cat found reunited melbourne vic australia

"We were very excited this afternoon to find Tara after 2 weeks missing. We had done all the things you suggested and are very grateful for your tips. The best suggestion was to letter box drop everyone in our long street and the immediate street behind. This gave us several phone calls from neighbour who said they had sightings. We did the posters, kept checking, calling etc etc.

However we found her next door! I had been out in the back yard today calling her name and shaking her tin of biscuits as this is a noise the cats recognise. I really did not think this would do anything as I had done this nearly every day since she went missing and was not hopeful.

We heard a meow and it got stronger as I called her name. Our neighbours who had already looked for her as well heard it and we both worked out finally that it was coming from under their house. We saw her through one of the floor space grills, and then via their crawl space door, I shone a torch, called her name and she came to me.

We don’t know how she got in and why she could not get out. I don’t believe she had been there for 2 weeks as we would have heard her before. She had lost her collar so I suspect something happened and she finally found her way back.

Thank you truly for your site. Your helpful emails and the support of others made a big difference.

Took her to vet today and apart from losing close to 1kg in weight vet says she is looking remarkably good for a cat lost for 14 days. I do know there are kind people out there and maybe someone left some water/food during this time for her. Otherwise how do they survive?? I know I would do this if I saw a cat/dog that looked lost.

I think this proves again for me that all cats are smart animals! It is so nice to see all the 'finally they are home' stories on your sites. Unfortunately I know there are some owners that are not so fortunate, which is very sad.

Here is a picture of Tara, this was taken after we found her yesterday." - Eileen

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REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Katie the dog from Sydney NSW Saturday 07 April 2018 @ 13:00

REUNITED OF THE DAY: Katielost dog found reunited sydney nsw australia

"I received a call from a home owner saying they found her on their front verandah this morning. They think she might have been there for at least a few hours because their own dogs were barking.

She was found 3 streets away from the last confirmed siting. She was the end of a road that ended in a cauldersac. I think she just stopped from exhaustion. She was a dog that only manages walks of 500m but had traveled 2 km so was further away than I thought she would be.

We do know she had backtracked but from where from I don't know. It was her dog collar with her details that enabled the person to contact me. I had her home address and telephone number; my mobile number and The NRMA membership dog tag on two dog tags. She also was microchipped and registered with the local council.

Things I realised throughout the ordeal:

- I had previously pre-registered her details into a lost pet site in case she disappear but at the time couldn't remember the site name. Will now have it close by.

- I didn't have a good photo of her handy for inserting into lost pet sites. Time was lost looking for one.

- She was being minded by my sister in another suburb so was in unfamiliar teritory when she got out. This made her less predictable.

- She had been displaying signs of anxiety before the escape. I chose to continue my holiday instead of attending to it.

- The lost pet sites for your local area are invaluable. Once it's more than a search beyond a street or two bring them in. They can transmit your pet's details quickly and widely to others and the more eyes the better.They also had search suggestions I hadn't considered.

- The lost pet sites are also vital for recording sitings by people. Without sitings there is too much area to search and valuable time is lost. This would be the most important part of a search - being able to receive input by others in real time.

- I was flawed by the number of people on the net who were willing to help. There's an army of fellow pet lovers out there who are willing to help and want nothing more in return than to see you reunited with your pet.

-Having support from other pet lovers helped me psychologically. Knowing many people were looking made it easier to bear.

-Even though my dog's location was rung through via her dog collar tag, using an internet lost pet site was still invaluable. It was the sitings that told me where to look and it was the platform that enabled me to receive that information.

In my opinion internet lost pet sites provide a crucial role in lost pet searching." - Jenny

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REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Cadbury the dog from Caboolture, Moreton Bay QLD Friday 06 April 2018 @ 13:00

REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: missing dog found Caboolture QLD AustraliaCadbury from Caboolture, Moreton Bay QLD

"I had called the Vet’s office yesterday to report Cadbury missing and they got my details and with my consent passed it onto the Council. I received a call from the Council after hours service Officer this morning to confirm that she had retrieved Cadbury from a house two streets away.

Cadbury had wandered 360 metres and dug under their fence and into their backyard. They were wonderful people who have two dogs of their own. They fed him and gave him water and kept him overnight.

They called the Council this morning and reported the incident and Council got in touch with us after matching our description that was provided to them by the Vet’s office and Cadbury’s microchip.

We are so grateful for all the assistance that we received from you guys and members of the public who were very encouraging on the Facebook site. We particularly want to thank the family that housed him and fed him overnight. It was a very anxious night for us.

Having been reunited with Cadbury, it’s the best Easter for us, ever!" - Vinod and Gina

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REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Mindy from Port Stephens, Hunter NSW Thursday 05 April 2018 @ 13:00

Lost cat found and reunited in Port Stephens Hunter NSW

REUNION STORY OF THE DAY: Mindy

"Mindy is one of 3 siblings and along with mother cat they were once owned but when their owners moved out of house they left Mum and 3 babies behind to fend for themselves. After some time a Rescue group found and trapped them and I become their foster carer and later signed over to me after having them all for 9 months.

A lovely couple decided they would adopt Mindy and her brother.

They were on adoption trial when the couple needed to travel to their holiday home as it was flooding and bundled the pair into their large soft crate for the 4 hour journey.

At the half way point the lady decided to offer them a drink of water in their carrier in the car and when a little opening was unzipped Mindy jumped through and ran off into scrub.

I travelled from Sydney to Raymond Terrace the day I found out (day after her jumping out). Before I left I put her on Lost Pet Alert and also paid for the advert to go to the local vets, rangers, pounds etc. I also printed up flyers to put up in the local area.

I was certain I was going to bring her back that day with me…..but was extremely disappointed when I couldn’t see her after 2 hours drive and 6 hours searching I had to leave and make the drive home again through blurry eyes!

The best part is from the Alert going to local vets one of the local Rescue ladies (Kylie from Port Stephens Rescue) called me and met me up on site and she told me that she would continue to stay on the case until Mindy was found! She had such determination, patience of a saint, and would put feed stations out in various areas.

Go looking after midnight. See which food station was eaten etc and concentrate on the area. We had a number of people with sightings but it wasn’t Mindy.

Luckily one day (after 2 weeks being missing) Kylie (from Rescue) was on her rounds and actually sighted Mindy laying in the sunshine in long grass near a timber yard.

Sadly there was flooding and heavy rain from that night for 3 days.

Kylie knew Mindy had shelter and would be safe and kept the feeding up which was taken each night and then knew to concentrate on that area. The food stations were moved closer to an area where she could be trapped.

After 3 weeks and 1 day of being missing she was finally trapped. Kylie took her to the vet straight away who apart from some cuts, dirt and a little gash was in good health.

It was a great team effort as we were constantly on Messenger with updates and keeping Kylie uplifted as she was doing a fabulous job for us. I printed more flyers and letterbox drop flyers that Kylie had distributed.

We emailed the vets, pounds etc even though Lost Pet Alert did this we sent more photos. I had a council person call me and go over the microchip details etc

It was determination and not losing faith that kept us all going. The first light was Kylie sighting her. From then we kept up the hope she would stay in the area.

Mindy was approx 700 metres from where she first went into the scrub and had found a quite, safe place and stayed there.

Had she not had the feed stations she may have wondered further looking for food. We thank god that she didn’t cross the 4 lanes of pacific highway at the scrub where she ran into. We are elated to have Mindy safe and sound back with her brother Mork." - Helen

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