Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Friday, September 17, 2010

toddlers's what they do.

Where does the time go? With 3 kids in 3 different schools and a 14 month old at home time just seems to speed past and I next thing I know weeks go by without a blog post. I apologize. It is life however. Busy and great!
Ok, so there is so much I want to chat about but I think I will first talk about the toddlers amazing skill to imitate!! Toddlers watch, study and imitate all that we adults do. This is one of the most basic reasons you must always be sure that what you do with your dog is kid & dog friendly as you can be sure your toddler is watching and will attempt in some way what you demonstrate.

Kelsyann signals "down" to Windsor.

Photo on the left: Kelsyann "helps" by bringing the pitcher we use to fill the water bowl. Photo on the right: Here she is using the brush to groom her stuffed doggies like we brush our dogs.

Dogs & Storks is dedicated to kid & dog friendly techniques. This is for the safety of the dog and the child. Harsh corrections or physical force being observed by children as a way of interaction with dogs is a set up for them to possibly get hurt. If children observe this type of behavior and attempt it on their own with their own dog or someone else's the consequences could be severe. Calm, consistent and positive interaction with your dog allows your child a good model to follow. When you are feeling overwhelmed (believe me I know those times) allow your dog a quiet place so you can focus on your baby. This is best for all involved. Less to manage for you and only an option of success for your dog. Have fun and enjoy the teachable moments! Your dog and baby will benefit for years to come!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Signing with your baby

As an early intervention teacher years ago I learned the importance and usefullness of teaching babies sign language. I began with all of our children at 6 months to sign with them. It is amazing how signing can decrease frustration and lead to great success for you and your baby. It is also a way to include and build a bond between your baby and dog/s. I personally love using hand signals when working with children and dogs as it is calmer and quieter allowing both to focus. It also eliminates the potential for shouting or frustating tones.
Here are some ways to begin signing with your baby and dog.
1. While your baby is on your lap put your hand over your baby's hand and give the "sit" cue. Then praise and reward your dog.
This is a great way to build a comfort level and bond as the dog is learning to associate manners with the baby and you. It is safe as you are guiding the motion of the baby's hand and the baby is on your lap. Beginning this at 6 months is a great way to exposure your baby to ways they will soon learn to communicate with your dog.
2. Practice the "sit" signals while baby is in the highchair. Reach over your baby from behind and with your hand over their hand (guided teach) make the "sit" motion. Then toss a treat.
Repeat for Down exercise too.
You will see that it does not take long for your baby to imitate the motion. Short sessions will go a long way. When working with 1 yr olds I allow the dog/s to have a "chill out time" following a session. This helps the child shift gears and not keep asking for "sit" or "down" constantly. It also lets the dog have some quite time.

Think of other signals for your baby and dog and HAVE FUN!