Meeting a new dog is exciting, but it can also be scary. This humorous how-to manual shows kids the best ways to interact with unfamiliar dogs, providing helpful tips about all sorts of dog behavior. Children often don't understand what dogs' actions mean and can misinterpret a threatening signal for a friendly one and vice versa. Kids and parents will return to Wendy Wahman's playful illustrations again and again for useful reminders: Slow Down. Stay very still. And remember, don't lick the dog!
What reviewers are saying...
APDT CHRONICLE OF THE DOG
“When kids and dogs meet it can be a frightening encounter or a chance to make a new friend. Unfortunately, so few dog owners or parents know what to do to ensure a good outcome. They tend to stand by as the scene unfolds, watching either as the dog intimidates a child, or as a child overwhelms their dog. Dogs learn to feel unsafe, even defensive, around children. Children learn that invasive touch and unruly behavior are acceptable. It’s a story that sometimes ends in hurt feelings and dog bites.
Now there is a new story. It is an illustrated children’s book called Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs. The narrator of Don’t Lick the Dog is a pony-tailed lady out on a walk with her six dogs. On their walk they encounter three young kids, who run up to the dogs with their hands extended. The dog lady, who speaks in easy-to-remember rhymes, teaches them what to do instead: “Stand still and let dogs come to you, to smell your hand or sniff your shoe.” One of my favorite pages shows a dog being patted vigorously on the head. The huge schnauzer-type dog is shown on a black background. He stares directly at the reader, clearly annoyed by the many hands flapping near his eyebrows. But after one of the children heeds the narrator’s advice to stroke him gently on his chest, his demeanor is transformed; he raises his paw and gently looks up, and the page color turns to sunny yellow. The narrator’s other dogs have lessons for the kids as well. There are tips for what to do if a dog jumps up, how to coax a shy dog out of her shell, and a dramatic moment, shown in close-up and bathed in bright red, when one of the little girls suddenly swoops in to hug a small, aloof dog. The narrator knows just what to say to keep the child safe and to make sure the dog has her space.
The drawings by Wahman, who is a dog owner, former veterinary technician, and an award-winning illustrator, are unlike those I have ever seen in a childrens book. They are bold, vibrant and modern, and perfectly express the range of emotions that children and dogs experience in each other’s company. There are oodles of dogs of all shapes and colors, each with unique tail and ear positions, and faces full of emotion. With each drawing, there are opportunities for children ages three to eight to learn how to win over the pooches they meet.
One of the best things about this book is the little visual jokes and puns that reveal themselves with each new reading. I won’t give them away, but suffice it to say this book is just plain funny. It will delight your clients and their kids while they are learning all the right things. And, call me naïve, but I like to think that parents will identify with the narrator, and maybe even strive to be like her. She understands all of her dogs’ body language, teaches the kids what to do in a clear, upbeat manner, and leaves them with these words of wisdom: “Dogs aren’t toys to hug and squeeze, or poke or chase or tug or tease. Just like you, and just like me, dogs have personalities.” Thanks to Don’t Lick the Dog, her message may get through to dog owners, parents and kids, one bedtime story at a time.”
“I’m passionate about helping children (and their parents) understand how best to safely interact with dogs, and this book perfectly encapsulates my philosophies on the matter in a really fun and engaging way.” Victoria Stilwell, host of It’s Me or the Dog