Doodles & Kids

Episode 24 · February 24th, 2020 · 1 hr 2 mins

About this Episode

Kids & dogs provide some of the cutest moments. But the combo can also be a major liability.

For this episode we are discussing doodles & kids with DK member Karen. It's not really a "fun" episode because it's more of a warning on what to watch out for so that your doodle doesn't get displaced.

Kids are actually a huge risk factor for dogs and, as Karen mentions on the show, families with kids are the most likely to end up rehoming their doodle. Not because kids or doodles are inherently bad, but because when these two wonderful beings are combined, if you are not prepared a lot can go wrong.

If you are new to dogs, new to doodles, or are considering a doodle AND you have or might have kids in the future, this is an important episode to listen to find out how to keep both your kids and dogs safe!

Episode Links

  • Stop the 77 — 77% of dog bites come from a family or friend’s dog. That means that these aren’t crazy, stray, vicious dogs — they’re are OUR pet dogs! This website offers videos to educate kids on how to approach dogs and how to prevent dog bites. Great resource!
  • Do's and Don'ts on How Kids and Dogs Should Interact — Great visual graphics and explanations to help prevent dog bites and teach kids how to interact with dogs.
  • Factors Affecting Behavior and Welfare of Service Dogs for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder — Interestingly, Burrows, Adams, and Millman (2008) studied the impact of autism dogs on the dogs themselves. The authors conducted a series of interviews with members of 11 families who used dogs for their children with ASD. Parents were interviewed at three different time periods – when they were receiving training about their new dog, and every third month for 6 months. The authors reported that generally the dogs were loved and bonded well with all members of the family. However, the dogs were placed under significant stress. Typically, service dogs are trained to bond primarily with the person whom the dog will be helping. One difference between autism dogs and other service dogs is that autism dogs are trained to primarily bond with and take instructions from the parent(s), but must also work with the child with ASD. Families reported that dogs developed a primary relationship with one or both parents, and to a lesser extent, the child with ASD. Only four of the 11 children with ASD showed interest in the dog, with interest defined as petting or initiating any sort of social approach. Thus, dogs seemed to prefer interactions with parents and were more likely to follow their commands. Generally, the children with ASD provided less attention and social contact with the dog than the other family members. Additionally, some of the unique features of ASD (e.g., disrupted sleep schedules, aggression) placed the autism dogs under significant stress. For example, some dogs could not sleep for long periods of time, if the child with ASD went without sleep. Some dogs spent long hours “working” when accompanying a child to school, which inhibited urination and defecation. Some children engaged in aggression towards the dogs, causing dogs to startle and move away from the child. Thus, dogs often received mixed social signals from the child with ASD, but were then still expected to respond appropriately to commands from the parents and bond with the child. Thus, if autism dogs are to be used, the caregivers should consider the physical well-being of the dog as well (e.g., ensure appropriate rest-recovery time, recreational activities).
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