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Don't Be Afraid To Say "Stop!"

It’s a parent’s responsibility to not allow their young children to hurtle towards dogs. Despite this, children will often become little missiles when they see dogs - launching themselves, full of excitement, to get some doggie love.

Child-Unfriendly Dogs

When a child launches herself at your dog, it’s sometimes a case of the child being quicker than the parent, and other times it’s a case of bad parenting.

Either way, it won’t end in disaster if your dog is child-friendly, but it can be a problem if your dog is child-unfriendly. Particularly as the second type of parent - ie. the non-attentive type - tends to have a habit of blaming everyone else for the mishaps and catastrophes that occur because of their lack of attentiveness.

I suggest that if a young child is charging towards your child-unfriendly dog you stop the child in her tracks with one word: the word “STOP!”. Say it in a loud and commanding voice, and hold up your hand in the signal for “stop” to reinforce what you’re saying.

Explain To Both Child And Parent

Doing this will stop the child in her tracks immediately, and once the child has stopped, you can go from being firm to being friendly.

It’s sad for the child to be told that she can’t pat your dog, so try to ease her hurt by explaining why she can't pat your dog in terms she can understand. You might say something like: “My dog gets upset when children touch him.”

I also suggest that you explain all this to the child’s parents, so that they understand exactly why you had to break their child’s heart. This way the child has been told, the parents have been told, and the parents have witnessed the child being told. In other words, you’ve been responsible.

With any luck, the parents will learn from the experience, and will hopefully do more in the future to educate their child about the correct way to approach dogs.

But Wait, There's More!

For more on this topic, see: Attention Parents: Teach Your Child How To Interact Safely With Dogs and Parents, Teach Your Kids About Safety Around Dogs

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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