If you are a regular reader, you know that my passion is to educate about behavior. I assume that most people reading this blog are adults. If so, then how do we reach children at a young age to teach them how to treat animals? It’s a source of frustration for me. Yesterday and today, I saw children walking dogs alone – no parents in sight – and doing things that were inappropriate. As you can guess, that makes me crazy!

And I feel so badly for the dogs because this improper handling may change their behavior for the worse. The dogs may then lose their homes.  In both incidences, the dogs were barking at my dog and the children yelled at the dogs to stop. More than likely, they learned this from their parents. Either because their parents yell at the dog or yell at the children, or probably both! Remember my post about yelling at dogs?? Yelling very likely will increase the behavior, not stop it.

I was soooo tempted to correct the children but I didn’t. They wouldn’t listen to a stranger and would probably call me a bad name J Besides, it’s not easy to explain to a young child in a quick minute that yelling increases the adrenaline that is already pumping through the dog, causing the barking. Yeah, never mind!

So then, how do we reach children? Some animal shelters have people called humane educators who go to schools to teach about animals. Sadly, due to economic constraints, these positions are often the first eliminated. Dog training classes are a great option. I believe all dogs should be enrolled in at least a basic training class with all family members attending. That way, everyone can hear and learn about the best ways to treat your dogs. Training classes are also a great way to bond with your dogs.

If you have kids, are you teaching them what you’ve learned in my blog and through other reputable experts who believe in humane training methods?  Please comment and tell us what you’re doing!

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