Monday, November 2, 2015

Life with Dogs and Babies: a new workshop at Berkeley Humane

Berkeley Humane offers a broad spectrum of helpful dog training classes from Basic Obedience to Canine Good Citizen certification, with stops along the way at useful skills like nosework and showy skills like tricks!

Berkeley Humane's own trainer, Nancy Frensley, CPDT, CAP2 (who was voted Best Private Trainer in the Bay Area in the 2010 Bay Woof "Beast of the Bay" awards), is bringing another useful class to area dog owners.

In conjunction with Jane Rosenblum, a dog trainer of 25 years who specializes in dogs and kids through The Canine-Kid Connection, we are happy to announce a Life with Dogs and Babies workshop on Sunday, November 15. If you are expecting a baby or have young children, this interactive, two-hour workshop will guide you through child-canine relationships from pregnancy through pre-school.

As a specialist in harmonious relationships between dogs and children, Rosenblum says that among the most frequent calls for help she receives are from families who didn't realize there was tension until someone was bitten. "They’re usually not serious bites," Rosenblum says. "The parents just didn’t know how closely they needed to supervise. The dog feels cornered, the child doesn't know it needs to back off, and the dog eventually snaps." This situation is easy to forestall with a little foreknowledge, she says. "It’s really about educating people."

Life with Dogs and Babies will offer tips and tricks for each phase of a baby's life — an important strategy since dogs must get used to rapid changes in their new housemates.

"If you think about it, there’s very little about a newborn baby that would tell a dog it’s a young person," Rosenblum points out. "Babies move differently, make different sounds, smell different from adults. It can take two to three months for a dog to really get used to the baby, but soon the baby starts to sit up and crawl! The dog’s used to seeing the baby one way and then the baby moves to the next stage. Each of those stages needs a new adjustment for the dog."

Some of the lessons Rosenblum will share include suggestions for helpful tools and short games to keep dogs entertained.
"People are so busy that they may forget about the dog when they have a new baby or a toddler," says Rosenblum. "So I’ve come up with a number of simple things that you can do with a dog to give it a little attention just for a couple of minutes." For example, she recommends a simple bonding exercise that most people are capable of — singing to your pooch. "A lot of dogs like being sung to. Make up a song with your dog’s name in it. It can even be the dog’s name repeated over and over again. Just look at the dog and sing! Sounds kind of silly but the dogs love it."

The workshop will also take a close look at dog body language, with photographs of dogs with babies and toddlers to demonstrate what to look for. "Some photos show safe situations and others show situations that may not be safe," Rosenblum says. 

Interested in learning about preparing your dog for a new baby? Sign up here for our Life with Dogs and Babies workshop. This class is for adults only; no dogs, please. 

Photography credits unknown; we will be happy to provide credit upon request. 

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