Did you know that dog bites are amongst the most common form of injuries among children in the United States? As a dog trainer, I've seen firsthand how this can happen even in households with loving and well-behaved pets and children. That's why it's important for parents to be aware of the risks and take steps to keep their children safe.
During this episode, I was joined by Tanya Lim, a Doggy Doula at Family Pupz who specializes in working with expecting families and new parents to help prepare their dogs for the arrival of a new baby. Together, we discussed the importance of recognizing dog body language and understanding the potential risks associated with young children and dogs interacting.
One of the key takeaways from our discussion was that many dog bites actually occur in the home, and often involve a family pet that is familiar to the child. This can happen when children engage in behaviors that make the dog uncomfortable or when the dog is feeling stressed or overwhelmed. As parents, it's our responsibility to teach our children how to interact with dogs in a safe and respectful way.
Tanya and I also discussed the myth that certain breeds are more likely to bite than others. The truth is, any dog can bite under the right circumstances. That's why it's important to focus on individual dogs and their behavior, rather than making assumptions based on breed.
To help prevent dog bites, Tanya shared some of her tips for preparing dogs for the arrival of a new baby. This includes introducing the dog to baby-related sounds and smells, creating a safe space for the dog to retreat to, and setting boundaries for how the dog and child should interact. By taking these steps early on, parents can help ensure a smooth transition for everyone in the household.
Overall, this was an important conversation that I hope will help raise awareness about the risks of dog bites and the steps parents can take to keep their children safe. If you'd like to hear more from Tanya about her step-by-step plan for preparing dogs for a new baby, be sure to tune in to our next episode. And as always, don't forget to rate and review the show on your favorite podcast platform!
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[00:00:00] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And I remember talking to his mom who was just so distraught and upset, and this is their first family dog. And she said, but he's a doodle, so doodles don't bite. And that's a really common thought. These different mixes aren't thought of as, that's not the aggressive breed, but as long as a dog has a jaw Yeah.
Like they can and will bite if they are cornered and don't have another. Yeah, absolutely. And and we can blame them. I know we will blame them, but if you were a neutral observer of how situations progress over time, that there have been so many opportunities to make things better that. Because of lack of knowledge and education have skipped on until we find ourself in a situation that is too far gone, unfortunately.
Let's talk about what does work.
Doodle breed. Dogs are easy to love, but can be challenging to parent. I'm Doodle Expert Car Gearhart, also known as the Doodle Pro, and I'm here to help doodle parents have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience with their doodles. No one has professionally worked with as many different doodle breeds, or has more experience with doodles than I have, and I love to share my expertise in a fun, compassionate, and non-judgmental way.
From my years of work and education in the pet care and dog training industry, I have an incredible network of skilled training. Grooming and veterinary professionals to share their knowledge with you and give you the doodle-specific answers you are looking for. I hope you enjoyed today's episode as I help you parent your doodle like a pro.
[00:02:02] : This is part one of my interview with the doggy doula, Tanya Lim. This interview is fantastic for parents of young children of all ages, who also have a furry family member.
In this episode, you're going to, Why we should care about how our children are interacting with our dogs, even if our dog seems to just let them do anything,
[00:02:25] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I am so happy to have our guest here today if you are expecting, and I mean expecting in the traditional sense of adding a little human baby to your family. This is the episode for you today. I have a doggy doula. Here to talk about planning to bring your new baby home, and if you just have or recently have, this will be helpful too.
My guest, Tanya Lim is a certified professional dog trainer, knowledge assessed, and the co-founder and head trainer at Family Pups. Based here with me in Denver, Colorado, she specializes in positive reinforcement, puppy and adult training, as well as her two signature and award-winning doggy doula services that help prepare families and their dogs for life with their baby and or their toddlers.
Her doggy doula work has been featured on multiple local news channels, and in 2022, she presented on the subject at the Doula Conference. Tanya's mission is to help dog parents build the most fun, stress free, and rewarding relationship with their furry best friends. Thank you so much for joining us, Tanya.
[00:03:42] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: so much for having me, Karina. I'm so excited to be here.
[00:03:46] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: One of our listeners from Maryland here in the US is one of my dearest friends, and she is a human doula. Not everyone is familiar with what we mean by the term doula. Can you share what doggy doula means to.
[00:04:03] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Sure. Yeah.
First off the real doula professional is someone who provides physical and emotional support to families during the pregnancy, during the birth and after during the postpartum period as well. I felt that was very suiting to describe what I was doing with my clients too.
It was a bit of a process with coming up with this term. We had a bunch of different phrasing and such that. We're doing the best job of explaining. Yeah. And the one added bonus of being a doggy doula is that it can actually be a conversation starter, because That's true. Yeah. People either don't know what a doula is, so they ask me and I can ex.
Playing to them. And more often than that people, think that I help dogs give birth
[00:05:06] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: for the breeders that you come on. Always.
[00:05:11] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: I wish
[00:05:12] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: would,
[00:05:14] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: I would love to come to this world, right? Yes. But instead of that, what I do as a doggy doula, Is I have designed a service that prepares expecting families who live with dogs one or more for life with baby.
Preparing them with skills, tools, exercises that they will need in order to feel most confident and comfortable. When they bring their baby home. And having a certain set of skills or experiences that they can draw from in order to feel confident and also to be able to focus on the.
Most important right now, their new baby, instead of stressing out about their dog's behavior.
[00:06:09] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And my in-person clients, I am, I feel blessed that I'm often one of the first people they tell of their pregnancy because their dog has been their child. With them and their partner or them on their own for all of this time.
And just like with my firstborn son, when I found out I was pregnant with my second and I didn't have family around, I was like, who's gonna take care of Ethan? You know when I go into labor and I'm in the hospital and so in-person, clients will do the same. Who's gonna take care of Charlie or Max or Fido?
And so I am blessed that I'm one of the people they first tell cuz they're like, how do we arrange this? But they often say I hope my dog's gonna do okay when I bring a baby home. I'm really worried about my first child, this dog. When I'm going to bring home the baby. And do you hear that a lot?
[00:07:10] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes. I, yeah, I find that there are a few different categories of people. Some people. Just feel like their dog is very good overall. And they're like, everything's gonna be fine. Or maybe it's because of the experience of having their dog be around infants and babies and their dog has done really well.
And then we have the other main category of people whose dog may be dealing with some behavioral issues, fears, anxiety, reactivity, and so on. And I find that they may be on the spectrum of being a lot more worried about their dog's behavior, ones being home. And as such, being more proactive when it comes to seeking help as well.
[00:08:03] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And my guess is this is a specialty of yours that people reach out to you when they have had more problems with their dog before and management's a lot easier when it's one or two adults in the home versus toddlers opening baby gates and, grabbing bones and stuff. Whereas people are chatting with.
Kind of not reaching out for help from a specialist on this. So I can imagine it's a little different, the conversation there.
[00:08:34] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah, it is. And really a lot of the work that I have been doing for the last few years has been to bring light on this because as I mentioned earlier, we all know or have heard about bringing home the baby blanket and.
That's what we all do. But what else is there besides bringing home the blanket? It, can be the zone of no understanding, not necessarily a lot of widespread knowledge that is. Presented out there and my goal has been to really put a highlight on, that aspect of, hey, there is actually a lot that you can do in order to prepare your dog for life with babies so that.
You don't have to stress about it.
[00:09:26] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yes. And I'm mentioning the first thing that people are saying is, I hope my dog's okay with less walks and attention. Yes. Cause they've had our sole attention. But when you're saying bringing awareness, what I don't hear a lot about is, my baby going to be safe?
It is my young child going to be safe with my dog? How am I going to manage their interactions? Yes. A lot of, people, their dog hasn't interacted with a infant or a young child before. Especially not prolonged and certainly not unattended. And so there's some kind of lesser known statistics to share that you to help bring awareness.
[00:10:08] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah. Yes I do. And this is. A little bit of the older side of children. So not necessarily bringing home a newborn. We don't have as much information in that regard. And thank God there, there aren't that many incidents that really happen with newborns because there are a lot more stationary, a lot more easier to manage the whole situation.
So really unless. There, there's some specifics with like predation or anything like that. We see this space typically going pretty smoothly, but once the baby starts crawling, if I had a dollar for every email that I received that said my dog and baby were okay, but now that my toddler is mobile, and then the problem is being described.
It's so common. And the other aspect was that during the pandemic we actually had a huge increase in the dog bites in children. A few statistics to keep in mind. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that half of all children, 12 years of age and under, have been bitten by a dog.
Wow. Yes. Then we have a study about facial dog bites of children at the Children's hospital in Denver that showed that 68% of those bites occurred in children of five years and younger, with the majority of cases being three years of age. And then during the pandemic in 2020. Study from the Children's Hospital of Colorado came out that has shown that there was a threefold increase in the cases of visits because of dog bites and.
What we also know is that majority of these cases with bites is the family's dog or a dog who is familiar to the family. So it's not unknown dogs out in a body in the parks, but those are the dogs that the, families are navigating space.
[00:12:38] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I had just read a recent study that when parents were shown a picture of a young child's behavior with a dog, if it was their own dog, they say, I wouldn't intervene.
I know they're safe together, but if it was a stranger dog, ooh, I would break them up. I wouldn't let my. Pull on that tail or lay on their face or what have you. And so I can imagine, my guess with the pandemic, tell me your thoughts. The daycares were closed, people were working from home. I know my kids were studying at home doing remote learning, so just the amount of time our children and dogs were together, yes, was just so much.
[00:13:19] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah. Yeah. Everyone staying inside for a lot of the time together and you can see that the buildup of stressful events over and over that is going to lead to an accident. And yeah, as you were saying, it's there can be a. We actually had a researcher who studies pediatric dog bites in children from the UK on our podcast, and I haven't listened to it.
It's been a while since we had that, but I remember that there was a bias to where just what you were saying. People would see signals from their own dog when the dog is feeling uncomfortable and requesting space. However, because people had this history built with the dog, , they don't believe that their dog is able to bite them.
Which is obviously not true. Any dog can bite, but I can see how that type of mindset can transfer to. How the dog interacts with children. What I usually say to people when they tell me that that phrase is so common. My dog is so tolerant, they just let my child do anything to them. Yes.
[00:14:46] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I hear that all the time. Yes, it's
[00:14:48] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: such of honor. However, what if you know your dog is fine? That's good. What if your child goes to a friend's home and there is a dog there, and now your child has all these habits of interacting with me That may be really straightforward or making that dog uncomfortable.
What would happen? Because maybe your dog is very tolerant and that's great, but not every dog is going to be that tolerant. Still by not intervening or yeah. Interacting as needed may end up with a problem on our, on your hands. If the child is not aware of how to best interact with dogs.
[00:15:31] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Because you're training, not only are we training the dog, but you're teaching and training your child. This is how we behave with dogs. I think that's brilliant of when they go to a friend's house.
[00:15:42] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: And.
[00:15:44] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yeah. To me, tolerant isn't the bar we're aiming for. No. So my dog tolerating something means to me he doesn't like it.
But he's holding back. And just getting through it. And that's not the relationship I want or the life I want for the dog that I love in my home.
[00:16:07] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes, exactly. And if we're talking about studies also there, studies have been done to where children and adults can be so unable to recognize dog body signal.
Because, for example, young children would say that a dog is smiling when a dog is growling and showing their teeth. So I find a. Big part of what I do is educating everybody on dog body language. So my expecting families I want them to know their specific dogs stress signals and not deescalated ones where they're already.
Stiff and still, and frozen and growling. But also when are they looking away? When are they yawning? When are they breaking off? When are they just subtly moving away from something and being able to recognize that in adults with adults and then teaching. Start to translate it to their children, no matter how young they are, you can start to be like, Hey, did you see how the doggies ears moved back when you did this?
The doggy doesn't like it. And that can start to bring all this awareness to the child from a young age to where they can start to understand the dog's body language better as well. And this can help keep them.
[00:17:41] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Knowing as much as you do about dog body language, you probably have a similar experience to myself and other trainers when you're on social media.
And you see this adorable toddler climbing the crate with their dog or ride them like a horse or lay on them while the dog's sleeping and pulling on their ears or. Do you have that experience as well?
[00:18:09] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: It's it's very scary actually, to me, and it was when I was going through my education when I first began the journey of working with.
Expecting families and those with toddlers, with the family, foster and education. A part of what we were doing was watching YouTube videos, for example, dog meets baby for the first time, or dog and toddler interacting. And it just became so apparent to me that the things that the public perceives as cute, funny, and adorable.
Can be just so dangerous. It's just not a good idea to put dogs in those positions and to put children in those positions. And what we are doing is unknowingly just filming it and thinking it's so funny and adorable and it always expresses itself in the commons too. Like the cutest thing people have seen all day.
Yeah besides awareness for dog body language I really dunno how we change this
[00:19:23] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: and to share. I have a, client who their dog had some issues with resource guarding and body handling. This Adorable loving mini bernadoodle. And unfortunately he has a bite history now.
And I remember talking to his mom who was just so distraught and upset, and this is their first family dog. And she said, but he's a doodle, so doodles don't bite. And that's a really common thought. These different mixes aren't thought of as that's not the aggressive breed, but as long as a dog has a.
Yeah. Like they can and will by if they are cornered and don't have another option.
[00:20:09] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah, absolutely. And and we can blame them. I know We will blame them. But if you were a neutral observer of how. Situations progress over time. That there have been so many opportunities to make things better that we, because of lack of knowledge and education have skipped on until we find ourselves in a situation that is too far gone.
[00:20:47] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And the only advice, let's talk about what does work. Sure. The only advice new parents and expectant parents are taught is we'll have somebody bring the baby blanket home that smells like your newborn from the hospital. Yeah. Before you walk in that first is the only advice that's usually given.
And then second, it's not. This magical blanket that I don't know where. I wish I knew where it came from, but that bl Go ahead. You share a little bit more. My soapbox about the blanket.
[00:21:23] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah, the blanket. I think it's just the idea of scent, right? Presenting. The baby sent to the dog.
But then we also need to be mindful of what the dog is actually doing with this blanket. We don't want it to be like tearing it apart and tossing it around and thinking it's some sort of a tug toy. So yeah, I, I don't know the roots of this. Of this advice, but I can walk you through what I typically do with my ideal client who would have gotten in touch nice and early in the beginning stages so that we can move forward before baby.
Yeah. Or as soon as they know that they're expecting, now let's work together. Let's make sure we have enough time in order to address what needs to be addressed and to set everybody up for success.
[00:22:21] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Perfect. Tell us what you would, this unicorn client, how would it go?
[00:22:26] : Catch next week's episode number 46 to hear Tanya's fantastic step-by-step plan that both expecting parents can start now and for people who have young children and dogs in their home to get started so they can have the best relationship possible.
[00:22:45] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Doodle Pro Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcast. And I invite you to follow me on Instagram at the Doodle Pro for behind the scenes peaks at all of the adorable doodles I work. With daily.