Teaching Children Respect for Animals

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Children and Dogs can have a wonderful Bond!

I hate moving!  It is one of those life experiences that I despise, the packing…the unpacking and starting life all over again in a new place.  It is hard when you are a business owner and you have to reestablish yourself and your reputation!

When I first moved, I was more conscious about spending every last moment with my dog with cancer than I was about seeking work.  Life is too short and sometimes needs to be spent in the arms, or paws of the ones we love!

But now that he is gone I am desperately trying to get on with my life and life as I once knew it…as “THE” dog trainer in town!  Having run my own business for almost 2 decades I know the ins and outs of advertising and networking, but I believe it is word of mouth that helps propel you into a whole new league.  So I offered my services pro bono for the opportunity to get to know people and get the word out!

As a dog trainer, my biggest pet peeve is when people threaten to get rid of their dog if training “doesn’t work”.  I have learned through many years of experience, it doesn’t matter what you do for these people, most often they have already made the determination to get rid of their dog and all of my sadness, pain and work to keep them together is in vain.

I was emailed by such a person trying to take advantage to some degree of my generous offer.  However, she wanted to make NO changes to her lifestyle and was also unwilling to come to me…I was expected to train her dog and her for free and travel 45 minutes to get there.  She dared me by doubting my likelihood of success.

Although immediately irritated, I couldn’t let the life of a dog slip by without trying to assist her and her family in some way.  This is an excerpt from her email to me:

He has a sweet and affectionate disposition. The reason that we aren’t keeping him is because of the kids. He has never growled or anything and he likes them, but he sees them as puppies, not as human leaders. Therefore, he tends to chase them when they run in the yard or, lately, will grab food out of their hands. We’ve come to realize that the kids just aren’t consistent with him- one minute they command, the next they egg him on- and that the energy level in the house just keeps him ramped up and moving around. It’s completely different when the kids aren’t here or after they’ve gone to bed at night- those times he’ll want a belly rub or something, but then he’ll settle down wherever you are and go to sleep.

I emailed her back in hopes that she would reconsider coming to me and again offered my services for free.  How often have you seen a professional of almost 20 years offer their time and their services for absolutely no charge?

I explained that there must be consistency from the children for there to be success within their home.  The children must be taught to respect and command the dog, teach and play with him in an appropriate way!  This appropriate play and interaction would lead to him respecting and listening to the children, and inevitably he would stop chasing them and stealing their food.

She immediately shot back that there would be no change enforced with her children and she was unwilling to drive to me.  Her children were not the problem!  So I assured her that re-homing the dog was in HIS best interests if she was disinclined to make the children respect and treat him with kindness.

This made me wonder…What is going on with children and animals these days?

Unconditional Love

When I was a child, it didn’t matter whether we had a new kitten, puppy, hamster or newt (we loved our newts) we wanted to spend every waking moment holding petting and cooing to them.  My sister and I often feigned illness in order to avoid church or school just to stay home with a new pet.  I even remember sneaking our pet rat “Mozzle” into grocery stores in my pocket or hiding her in my hair.  Admittedly now in my 30’s I feel the same, I am almost giddy when a new soul enters our family!

The love and respect for animals was impressed on me when I was a tiny girl.  We were taught that animals “break” and to be careful in handling them, never to drop them or treat them with indifference.  We were told that animals had feelings and should always be treated with unconditional love and kindness.

I remember when my sister and I were still quite petite and we liked “holding” our cats for too long, my mother would make us lift our hands and count SLOWLY to ten.  If the cat remained we could continue holding it, but she would not allow us to force the animals to stay on us.

I think all children should be taught and raised this way!!  Animals DO BREAK, they DO HAVE FEELINGS and they DO DESERVE RESPECT (and sometimes the free will to get down ha ha).

In my family when I was a child and now as a step mother, there are repercussions for not treating an animal fairly!  My children must respect them and treat them with kindness at all times!  If I catch them mistreating any of my critters, privileges are lost and punishment is instilled.

I will not tolerate animal cruelty from anyone in my life.  They are like babies, they are sweet and kind and unable to stand up for themselves.  It is up to us as adults to ensure that children are treating animals with compassion and benevolence.

So I stand by my assumption, the dog should go somewhere where the children treat him with love and respect and appreciation for who he is!  He will be happier being respected and not taunted!

And, my hope in writing this is that I touch the hearts of the adults, the moms and dads and reaffirm the fact that children should be taught from a very young age to love and respect animals and to understand that they are fragile and that they have feelings!  Animals are truly a gift and those of us that have them know how blessed we are to have them by our sides as we muddle through this life together!

* thanks to That Mutt for the picture!

 

There are 7 Comments

  1. Vicky says:

    Well put! Couldn’t have said it better myself! Children, whether they have pets in their own household, or visit homes with pets, must be taught from as early an age as possible, that pets are living, breathing beings, with feelings and emotions and deserve to be respected. Everyone will benefit from this mutual respect, not to mention the years of unconditional love.

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  2. Angela Pressley says:

    Amen, amen and amen! In the Old Testament, Balaam’s Ass was given the gift of speech by God. He ask Balaam point blank “why do you beat me, I’ve served you well”. Animals have thoughts and feelings and wonder about things just like we do. Bible proof! My dogs are loved and cherished constantly. I will only have them 15 years or so, and it will be the best years ever for them and my family.

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  3. Larry Perkins says:

    Minette said, “I will not tolerate animal cruelty from anyone in my life. They are like babies, they are sweet and kind and unable to stand up for themselves. It is up to us as adults to ensure that children are treating animals with compassion and benevolence.”

    That’s a good paradigm from which to start; but, the part about being “unable to stand up for themselves” is not always true…

    When I was in grade school, one of my teachers had a “pet” skunk. This “skunkette,” when accompanied by a batch of her kittens, created a nice surfeit in his back yard. They were actually “free ranging” wild critters that just liked his company (no, he didn’t feed them; he just made friends with them).

    On more than one occasion, visitors turning their children out to pasture in his backyard would remark, “Oh, you have de-scented skunks! How cute!” As he put it, “That skunk and her family taught a lot of children to be ‘kind to dumb animals’!”

    –LP–

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  4. Jenny says:

    I couldn’t agree more!!! I have a 7 year old boy & he will often be found in the yard with our dogs instead of out with kids playing. He loves to play with them. But there are some kids I cant’ allow over because they have NO respect for animals & after I spoke with them & their parents, it was evident not everyone feels the same as me.
    I don’t allow teasing (even of toys) or making fun, like bullying–I really believe my dogs have feelings, when my girl (doodle) has been teased, she’ll come to the door to come in, head hung low, it never fails.
    I dont’ allow the dragging them around by the collar like you see some kids doing to dogs — they’ll come with you if you ask, no squirting them with squirt guns (ecspecially in the face) and NEVER are you to sit on or raise your hand to my animals.
    My son hasn’t done this, but neighbor kids have & he simply won’t play with them now, at all. his 7 yr old response was “if you can’t be nice to my dogs, how can you be nice to me?”

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    Joyce Reply:

    This is are great response whether 7 or 70…people who aren’t nice to animals are often bullies!

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  5. Alice says:

    When my children were little, we had a dog and various cats. I taught them to ALWAYS be sure the animals could leave them any second they felt like leaving. Also to NEVER be cruel or yell at the dog.

    I taught them to love the animals, but not to share food with the animals unless it was treats for the animals.

    Result: little kids, walking around with cats hanging around their necks like mink stoles, relaxed and purring, with love in their eyes. And happy kids.

    The female german shepherd thought they were her puppies, or her siblings. They would play “wolf” with the dog chasing them, or the dog and the kids would lounge around all over each other. The dog never chased them when they didn’t want it. They would simply tell her no, and not run, and she would let them be. Exactly as they never forced her to play with them.

    The dog never begged for food, never stole food, and never growled at or harmed the kids. But if they dropped food on the floor they would call her and say, “floor!”. The dog knew that meant a valuable people food item had been dropped on the floor, where it became fair game for her, and she would be praised for “cleaning up” their mess.

    The dog behaved well for them, and did as asked.

    Once the dog was laying down, and my toddler son accidentally backed his small “big wheel” trike over the dog’s rear leg! The dog screamed, and then turned to the child and began worriedly licking the child, comforting the child. I could only gather that she thought since she was hurt, he must be hurt.

    I of course was right there, and was rushing to the dog, to comfort her and examine her to see if she needed medical help. The child was also comforting the dog, because she had screamed in pain. Miraculously, she seemed fine, and didn’t even limp.

    She was a wonderful dog, putting up with her ignorant family. We tried, and we followed “experts” who keep changing their views. But mostly we loved the dog, assumed it was a dog and not a human being, so we presumed of course we were in charge, and the dog accepted that just fine.

    It just worked out very very well for the cats, the dog, and the people.

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  6. Marko Todoric says:

    There are so many benefits of teaching your child to deal with animals with kindness and respect. But that is something that every child has to be taught by his parents. Don’t expect your kids to learn that by themselves.

    Here’s one great article everyone should read: http://parentsupporthub.c

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