Dogs can't talk, you may or may not have noticed. However they can communicate, our job is to be able to understand it especially if there are kids involved. I have a 3yr old nephew and I am teaching him the tell tale signs that the dogs are not happy with his actions. If there is one thing people can learn from my blogs please let it be this.
I think it is important for all dog owners to learn how dogs communicate, you will then be able to tell whether your dog is happy with certain situations or not, by looking at their body language and subtle movements. We can then teach the children the signs of stress or threat.
Dogs try to communicate with us the same as they with do with each other and as they try to learn words and commands from us, then out of mutual respect we should learn their language, plus for the sake of your kids and your dog.
Before a dog gets to a growl or a nip they will have subtle movements to say 'no I am not happy with this situation'. The growl or nip is the last warning before a bite but there are plenty of signs beforehand. If you see dogs together and one dog is not happy and it tries to bite, did you see any tell tale signs before the bite? Well before that their would of been a freeze, warning nip, growl, showing of teeth, headturning, lip licking, whale eye and the dogs stance changes, tail position, fur, ears.
When your kids are playing with the dog, your dog may not want too or they may not appreciate the kids climbing over them or pulling them, so they will probably give a 'whale eye', which is where you they look out of the corner and show whites of eye. They will also continuously lick their lips, yawn, turn their heads. Their faces change, ears, tail and stance from relaxed to tense. These are the subtle signs that you should teach your children.
You can go onto you tube and actually see for yourself, type in Dog body language - what your dog is desperately trying to tell you. It's a nice little video but you can clearly see happy or not. There are many more like Kikopup who explains dog calming signals well.
Often a bite from a dog is the very last resort when they feel as if they have tried everything else, so why should the dog be put down because of our ignorance, they are only doing what is natural to them. Lets stop the ignorance and learn.
Because dogs try to communicate through visual signals it is never wise to leave your children alone with your dog and never let your kids corner your dog, if they have no escape route they will lash out. Dogs react like us but communicate it differently we just need to learn how to understand.
Good luck teaching your kids the art of dog communication........