Living together: Dogs & HUMANS

Guide for dog owners


Living with humans

For dogs and humans to cohabit harmoniously, it is important that social contact between them takes the appropriate form. Within the family, a dog also needs clear rules to which it can adhere.

Owners and dogs

A dog’s human owner should demonstrate that they are the master through calm, composed and consistent behaviour. They should provide security in everyday life, particularly in decisive situations. Once established, rules (e.g. taboo zones or given signals) should be applied consistently. Shouting is not acceptable whatsoever when training a dog, and that applies even more strictly to corporal punishment. The owner’s body language must be clear for the dog and not confuse it. What might seem to humans like a friendly approach (approaching each other directly, making direct eye contact, hugging) may be interpreted as threatening and disrespectful by a dog.

Children and dogs

For a child and a dog to live together harmoniously and without problems, the child has to know how to treat the animal respectfully. It is vital for children to under-stand the need to observe the essential boundaries when dealing with a dog (e.g. leaving it in peace while it feeds, not interfering with its sleep, letting it withdraw). They need to be aware that a dog is not a toy but, rather, a living creature with its own special needs and that these must be respected. Children need guidance from a grown-up when learning these principles for dealing with dogs.

Visitors and dogs

Visitors, especially children or people with no experience of dogs, may make serious mistakes when dealing with them. The owner should constantly be concerned with the dog’s welfare, making every visitor aware of the dog’s needs and intervening if necessary to protect it from thoughtless and inappropriate behaviour.

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