Socialization Corner: Nieces & Nephews
I love my nieces and nephews and so does Butter! I cannot help but smile every time my niece yells “Buda!” or when my nephews plays beside her in the yard. We have made it a point to take Butter to visit them as much as we can (still never enough!). This is great because we have time with family, and she gets to be socialized with children.
Even though I trust Butter, I am always next to her when interacting with children to teach Butter and the children how to interact with each other. It is important I observe these interactions so I can intervene if Butter or my nieces/nephews are showing signs of being uncomfortable. It also allows me to work on Butters commands in a social environment.
I have a few games I play with children when they want to interact with Butter:
1. Throw the ball for Butter
We have two balls and I cue the child throw the ball for Butter. When Butter returns the child can throw the other ball. This ensures no child hand/puppy mouth contact. If we only have one ball I provide the commands and get the ball from Butter giving it back to the child to throw.
2. Hide and Seek with Butter
My niece loves this game the most! She calls Butter, Butter comes, and then she puts the treat on the ground for Butter.
3. Pet Butter
Working on Butter learning to lay down and stay, I help children pet her nicely.
4. Read to Butter
I work on Butter sitting/laying and waiting while children read to her. This is not Butter’s favorite since she is a puppy, but she will do it and it is good for her to learn these commands.
5. “Licky Licky”
My nephew gets lots of licks and he thinks it is hilarious! We have taught Butter the command for lick before this game.
All of these activities continue to grow bonds, increase Butters skills and models to children appropriate play with a dog. Remember: no matter how sweet your dog is or how kind your children are, no child should be left alone with a dog.
What games do you play with your dogs when they are with children?