Oy! Read an article today titled, "Tip of the Day: Dogs Don't Like Hugs and Kisses (What?!)." While this article might have started out with the good intention to prevent children from being bitten by dogs, there are some flat out wrong statements. Here are three:
(1) "One of the most important things you can teach your children is that dogs don't like hugs and kisses." WRONG!
(2) "To a child, the family dog is just an animated stuffed animal." NO! I taught my children and grandchildren from the start that an animal is a very precious being--not a toy--and they know this.
(3) "There is no dog that loves hugs from kids anytime, anywhere, anyhow." AGAIN, JUST WRONG!
All my dogs have different personalities. However, they are very loving to family members. More importantly, my kids and grandkids have been taught from the time they were babies that our pets are very precious beings--not toys--and are to be treated with respect. Wait for the dog to make the first move, which is usually as soon as they hear a family member's car pull up. They are excited. They are kissing the family members. They are sitting on laps and demanding their share of attention.
In return, my kids and grandkids know appropriate affection, with both dogs and people, such as it's not appropriate to put a choke-hold on anyone. They also know the warning signs when a dog has had enough. Like me, they also communicate with dogs. So we're not listening to "experts" or just watching canine body language, we are actually communicating with the dogs themselves and what they want.
Please, please, please don't teach children to fear dogs. Instead, teach them to respect pets.