A fellow blogger is introducing a new children’s book called Zara Dogdog. I was keen to give it a read and share my thoughts with you in the form of a book review.
When I was a Child…
When I consider my own awareness of how to behave around dogs, I think back to when I was a child. I wonder if it would have been useful for adults to encourage me to respect dogs as ‘individuals with personalities’.
I remember being quite fearful of larger dogs, and keen to touch smaller fluffier dogs. Now as an owner of a small fluffy Shish Tzu, I can tell you, they are not always in the mood for you to touch them.
As a Mum…
As a parent of two boys under 4, and a dog owner, I feel Zara Dogdog is perfect.
My eldest son Michael is 3 1/2 years old. Over the course of his short little life, teaching him how to treat our dog has been both a priority and a challenge!
Michael has always been an energetic child. Only now do I feel he is ready to concentrate on a book like Zara Dogdog and appreciate the clear message.
Michael spotted the book sitting on the side and asked if we could read it. We sat together and read the book, commenting as we went along.
Book Review from a 3-year-old…
Michael identified that the dog would feel ‘frightened’ by the children’s behaviour, prior to this being outlined in the book. He commented throughout on the illustration, which really helped cement the importance of how we behave around dogs.
The book opened up our conversation about dogs, and we were able to discuss our own dog’s personality- his temperament, and personal likes/dislikes.
When asked for his review of the book, Michael commented that he ‘liked the book’. He commented on the ‘cat behind the tree, and stated, ‘You must ask before you touch dogs’.
I have since used Zara Dogdog to remind Michael of his behaviour around our dog.
My Book Review…
The book has given me a positive tool to reference why we treat dogs the way we do. Previously, I was prone to frustration and continually repeating phrases such as; ‘stay away from the dog’, and ‘just let him sleep’.
The urge to touch a dog (especially one we do not know) is an interesting concept to me. Few of us would be comfortable touching other humans who pass us by, yet many of us would be happy to encroach on a dogs space. Many of us would also be happy to go about our business near a dog without much regard of considering how our behaviour may impact on it.
It may be most useful to educate children to consider that dogs have personalities, and furthermore, respect this.
We all have ‘off days’ when we don’t feel as sociable. This is definitely a great way for children to think of dogs. Perhaps most usefully to look for those non-verbal cues outlined in Zara Dogdog i.e. tail between the legs etc.
Similarly, it is best to acknowledge some dogs when you enter their space. This is something I probably wouldn’t have respected with regards to big dogs as a child.
I think this line of thinking would have made me appreciate every dog, and interact with them appropriately, regardless of their size or breed.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Zara Dogdog to parents with or without a dog in the family. The message is very clear and cleverly delivered, in a fun and simplistic way.