West Putnam Volunteer Fire Department #20
March 12, 2005
Fire & Life Safety Instructor
K-9 Handler T. Jennings

Remember that the dog must be on a sturdy leash and under complete control of the owner.
 The owner should put the dog into a sit before the child reaches over to give it a scratch.  If
the dog is not well behaved enough to sit then it is not ready to meet strange children.  
Puppies can be excused from this requirement.

While a child is getting a lesson on proper introductions, the adults are being shown how to
hold the leash during an intro. The first picture shows a firm hold but not much room for dog
to lean forward without feeling slight leash tension.  When a child present it is not the time to
do any corrections. Dog must not associate the child with bad things. Adults present are
then shown to allow a little more freedom on leash. Person holding leash must be award of
possible actions of both child and dog but must be relaxed and not convey tension to the
dog via the leash.
You cannot gauge a dog's attitude by just one signal.  Ears back can mean different  things
depending on their position.  The dog being used in this demo is FD K-9 Axel vom
Riverhaus CGC, Tracking, KsKs Therapy and Demo Dog, aka "Karl."
Karl is showing how much he enjoys these encounters with children by his soft relaxed
ears, closing his eyes part way, and leaning forward so that he can lay his head into the
child's hand.  He tends to then give little gentle "kisses" with the tip of his tongue.
There is no tension showing anywhere on Karl's facial expression or in his body language.
This page in no way shows all the
steps that are to be taken in an
introduction.  It is only a simplified
version of some of the things that we
do in our workshops.

After the child sees that the dog has accepted them as a friendly being and is willing to be
friendly in return, then the child may open their hand (fingers down) and start to touch the

In the pictures above we are working on the proper way to pet a strange dog. The
children are told never to touch the dog on top of the head but rather to stroke under the
chin or on the upper chest.

We explain that many dogs do not like to have a person stand over them. The child is
shown how to stand in front of the dog and not to lean over the dog.

When speaking to a group of children, we work with one child at a time with the dog. We
tell the children to make sure that the dog is always aware of their movements. The child
is told not to try to make friends with the dog if another child is already petting the dog.
They must quietly wait for their turn. While the dog is in contact with a child, care must be
taken so that the dog is not startled by any sudden movement from any other source.
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Like all other non-profit organizations, Karl's Kids Program, Inc. relies upon charitable
contributions from private citizens and corporate sponsors, fundraisers, and grants.
We accept personal or business checks and money orders.
Karl's Kids Program, Inc.       P.O. Box 1989      Interlachen, FL  32148