UPEPO DIARIES- STORIES FROM AN ADOPTER
Part 2 – A New Dog with Children
I’ve learned that children and dogs are not the most natural of bed fellows. Children like to pull tails or ears or give out unwanted cuddles which may make a dog feel uncomfortable. They also can’t always see or understand the warning signals dogs give off when they feel threatened or frightened, and if they persist, the dog’s last resort is to nip or bite. The dog inevitably gets the blame – despite showing they were unhappy as best they could.
New dog owners often forget that it’s equally as important to train children https://tnrtrust.org/dogs-and-children/ (and some adults) how to behave around dogs. Training should involve the whole family.
Upepo’s mother was a street dog, and extremely nervous – so her litter was equally as wary, especially of strangers and loud noises. Upepo barked at our staff constantly which became very annoying and we knew that if we were to have a peaceful household, it couldn’t continue.
By asking the staff to drop bits of chicken or cheese on the floor when they worked, she slowly began to associate them with treats too. They are now all very tolerant of each other which is brilliant.
She still barks at strangers, but I don’t mind that. She’s a great guard dog – giving out lots of warnings to people she doesn’t know. But to stop it becoming annoying or developing into aggressive behaviour, instead of telling her off, I call her to me and give her some tasty chicken treats to distract her and then I encourage her to settle under my desk and give her a tummy rub. She wants to protect me and my family because I’m the source of all things good!
And that’s the other thing, she loves my children just as much because they’re messy eaters and if she hangs around under the table at dinner time, scraps inevitably fall to the floor. I of course benefit as well because Upepo makes the best hoover!