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Are your kids stressing out your dog?

Researchers have recently found that tantrums, rough play and the unpredictability of children can leave dogs disturbed, triggering aggression or unhappiness.

I certainly remember the look on my dog, Rosie's, face when I took her for a walk wearing a tight crop because I wanted her to look like Madonna.

Lincoln University's animal behaviour cognition and welfare group identified three problems: unprovoked attention and touching, shouting and screaming and being forced to play children's games.

When I am working with dogs and their families I always urge that the children don't disturb the dogs while they are sleeping. Jumping on, handling or pulling anything while it seeks sanctuary and rest does have a traumatic impact and this will see its way through to some form of behavioural response.

So how do we calm the kids around the dogs?

The meditation method that I teach works with the family as a whole. Its a very simple way of getting the family together, with the animals to support them with a sense of peace. I teach the family to be present and calm as a group and connect with each other.

How does this work? When we meditate, our heart rates lower, our cortisone levels lower and the bonding hormone, oxytocin increases. It helps us all feel gentle, connected and compassionate around each other. Its a very effective way of deeply understanding one another's needs, and not being distracted by our own.

I often find that dogs are reacting to the people they live with. They don't have behavioural problems as much as relationship problems. The meditation method cultivates an atmosphere of peace in the house. It will help your kids focus, it will help the adults relax and it will give your pet enough space and support to be happy.

Your pet should be helping your children feel less stressed, so empower your pet to do so. Call me for a consultation and work towards a happier household.

For more information on my Pan Parenting consultations see