Last week was kids’ day at OhMyDog! hondenschool Den Haag.
The idea behind the exercise? To expose the pups to as many calm and positive interactions with kids as possible without overwhelming them. This, to teach them that kids are neither something to be afraid of, nor something to get all excited about.
We invited six kids and asked them to pick a pup, and throw a treat on the ground behind the pup’s owner as they approached the pup. If the pup got too excited or showed signs of nervousness, the owner would send the kid back to the starting line and the whole thing would start again.
The contest was to see how many kids could reach a pup, and pet him/her. This was only allowed if the kid hadn’t been sent away by the owner, thus only if the pup stayed calm, enjoying his occasional tossed treats while waiting for the kid to approach.
All kids managed to pet a pup last week, and all pups have had at least 2-3 learning moments during which a kid was neither someone against whom we are allowed to jump up, nor someone to be scared of.
Naturally, this was only an experience with 2-3 kids, and socialisation efforts extend far beyond puppy lessons.by