Ask the Trainer: Building trust and respect with your dog

By Nadine Steele

Just as we are individuals, so are our dogs and we must ensure that our children are aware of this, i.e. every dog they meet may not react the same as the dogs they have encountered within friends' and families' homes and, of course, every animal has the ability to have a bad day.

Therefore, it is up to the responsible dog owner to ensure our relationship with our companions is one of trust and respect to have the remotest chance to keep both parties safe. These are skills that are strengthened through training and time being spent with our dogs and education of our children.

The following is a list of nine rules to give our children a solid grounding in their safety.

1. Always ask permission from the dog owner before going up to a dog.

2. When meeting a dog unattended stand still.  It is natural for a dog to want to sniff you but if you remain still they will move away once there senses are satisfied.

3. When patting a dog, always stroke the chin and chest. Would you like being banged on  top of the head?

4. If a dog is acting in a threatening manner, drop onto the ground and be a turtle in your shell. Cover the back of your neck with your hands and tuck your legs under your body. Call for help if you are alone so someone can assist you.

5. Stay away from any dog that is eating. Many dogs do not like to share their bones.

6. Never tease or annoy a dog, they are not a toy.

7. Do not run and shout around a dog, this may encourage chase and attack.

8. Keep your face well away from a dog's face. This may be threatening and results in the dog snapping.

9. If you are scared of a dog, move quietly and slowly away from it. Keep facing the dog but make sure to look above its head to avoid eye contact.

Our Brand Promise at Dog Guru New Zealand is to make every dog child friendly and every child dog friendly. Professional Dog Guru Trainers are available nationwide and I am offering a three day school holiday programme in Rotorua in January.

Visit for full details. If you would like your child to have further guidance in this area,  contact Dog Guru and we will be glad to make the time to assist in keeping both our children and our companions safe so the benefits of positive interactions with our faithful companions continues for future generations.

Paw point of the week:

The Golden Rule: Most importantly involve all your family in your dog's training to ensure every member, young or old, is in full control of the dog.

Contact me for the chance to have your question selected for publication at for further information on Dog Guru visit


- Rotorua Daily Post

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