Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dog Education

Which means, education about dogs... not educating a dog. lol...

Since the dog bite, we have been working on our dog etiquette. She is doing wonderfully. We have had three encounters with dogs since we have talked about how to act around them... and every one, she has followed the safety directions perfectly. It has been a nice variety as well. The first dog she met was very friendly. She was able to ask the gentleman walking the sweet white pup "May I pet your dog?" and he said "Of course, she loves kids." She did it all... the holding out her hand to meet the dog, the walking to the side of the dog so she didn't reach over it's head to pet it... everything... right down to saying thank you to the man who was walking her. It was so sweet to watch. She knew some of that before, but the reasons behind it, and the actual dog etiquette was lost on her. It was nice to see her pull it off so well.

The second and third encounters were at Breeseman Forest.

A very nice, but VERY hyper dog decided to bound on us when we were studying a slug in the middle of a connected path. It was irritating, but great practice for Cyan to "stand like a tree", which is what you need to do when a dog is hyper or frightened. She did it perfectly... although I had a harder time keeping my composure. This dog really needed to be restrained. It was way too hyper to be off a leash in a public park.

The third dog didn't like children. So when Cyan asked to pet the dog, the owner actually stepped off the path and told her no (nicely), and to please go around because his dog was skittish and he didn't want them to spook her. She took that with grace, although loudly asking me why his dog was so frightened... but she didn't pester... just asked.

We have been documenting all of this (and the books we have been reading) in our dog notebook. She will draw either the cover of the book or her encounter with the dog she is writing down, and then write a bit about it. It is not only the first time she has written about dogs, but it is the first time she has written herself without dictating to me first. She is doing a beautiful job, even if spelling errors are an every line occurrence.

Her face is healing well. She may always have a little scar, but it isn't bad, and she doesn't seem phased by it at all (I am a bit upset, but that is a different story). It seems that we will weather this well afterall. I have a feeling we will have a much better time with dogs from now on. I am really proud of her. I feel like we were able to take something that could have been a tragedy (and ended with her being petrified of dogs), and turned it into a real learning experience.
The best book, in which we got most of our dog etiquette education, was "May I Pet Your Dog?".
It was a wonderful compliation of information, and a couple fun things. Very good information. I was thinking of owning it... but it is a better rental from the library since Cyan actually got the lessons that the book held. But I was impressed. It was the only book of it's kind I found. And I even had library people looking for me. Most people write funny books about dogs. Nothing about how to treat them for children. It was interesting that it was so hard to find. Yet another book I have to put in my head to write eventually. ;)

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