Controlling Emotions with Kids & Dogs

I run a lot and during some of those runs I take one of our 3 dogs or if I’m feeling really ambitious all 3 dogs. The other day I was out doing a 6 mile run on a popular local trail frequented by families with my dog Yukon. Yukon loves kids, which is a good thing since we have two of them.  There was a mom on the trail with her baby in a sling and her 3-4 year old beside her.  I made sure Yukon’s leash was short so that he could not reach the family and we proceeded to run past them.  Meantime, mom got a look of panic on her face and grabbed her son pulling him to the other side of her body and wrapping her arms around him. The boy when he first saw Yukon was smiling but now he had a look of alarm on his face just like his mom.  Contrast that with my Basic Obedience Class last night.  We were out in the real world, at the mall. A mom approached with her 4-5 year old son and asked each of the people in my class if her son could pet their dog.  This little boy was licked by my dog Yukon and given a paw by another dog in my class.  This little boy was so happy, mom was calm and he was safe.

I always remind my clients when I am working with them that if they are calm their dogs will be calm.  If they give off nervous energy their dogs will be fearful and sometimes even aggressive.  Energy is such a powerful thing.  If a parent has had a bad experience with dogs they need to get help and deal with that issue.  What they don’t want to do is project it onto their children.  Certainly teach your kids not to go running up to dogs, and teach them how to approach them and to always ask before they pet them.  But don’t panic, because if you do your kids will grow up to be fearful of dogs just like you.