Starting a new kids' book...I want your input.

Discussion in 'Chit-Chat' started by Bailey's Mom, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    Hi folks, I need your help. Recently I had an uncomfortable interaction with a child in my area and later a discussion with his dad who had been watching nervously from across the driveway. Simply put, I want to write a kids' book aimed at the three- to six-age range that deals with the proper way to meet a new dog/any dog for that matter.

    I've always tried to reassure small children that Bailey isn't dangerous...oh, she's large and heavy, but not dangerous; however, large and heavy in connection with small children is potentially dangerous. When they run up to her (which many of them do), she starts running towards them, and the collision between 120 lbs of mastiff and 30-60 lbs of kid can be intense. Most of the children know to stop before they reach her and let her adjust her bulk/speed and their proximity.

    Children delight in Bailey. And there is something so right, so beautiful when these little humans are face-to-face, eye-to-eye with my girl. She loves them so much. With the little kids, Bailey is generous with her affection. She lets them hang over her and on her and she stares deeply into their eyes. It's a love fest! Truthfully, I think Bailey thinks she's one of them. And I know from her heartfelt whimpers and whines that she's confused that she's not allowed to run and play with them. But...well...back to my point.

    Every child needs to know and be hard wired with the knowledge of how to approach any dog. OR whether to approach any dog. I've always thought it would be a good exercise to have the Safety Officer at the schools give a talk about pet/dog safety and what to do when meeting a dog on a leash OR a dog off the leash, or a friend's dog when you visit the friend's house, and the potential dangers of child/dog interactions.

    Note: Dogs off the leash really don't happen here too often. The law is precise in this matter and the penalties are stiff and can include your dog being euthanized if you can't pay the fines or satisfy the Court's Orders. Still, it is a skill which parents really aren't teaching any more. And I'd bet that many of you have had difficult moments with neighbourhood children, and have either worked through it or have found unique and positive ways of teaching around this issue. May I Enlist Your Help and Your Experience In Framing This Book?

    I must add for those of you that don't know...I have a visual aid that helps me help children understand.... The scars from a few of my 28 stitches that closed my head wound can be seen...I almost lost an eye. SO...Yes, there are some dogs that you should NEVER approach. Lesson learned, time to pass it on in a positive manner.

  2. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    I love this idea!
    I love books. :)

    You could include lots of illustrations of different dog body language positions as a child meets different ones in the town & out in the country: big dogs, little dogs, confident dogs, guardians, yippers, scared/fearful, anxiety-ridden, high-energy, those with high prey-drive, herders, workers, police-dogs, etc, etc.

    We had an incident just here in our neighborhood with a well trained herder (border collie, I think)... when out with the owner, the dog is perfectly behaved and listens to his person. But... the dog was out with a dog-walker who thought he was just a friendly pup (which he is... but he's also an intense herder)... so the dog walker let him approach a small dog at speed, and the little dog did not take it well and after a tussle ensued, the little dog got hurt - everyone's ok now, but it was an easily avoidable confrontation... if the dog-walker is ever educated on herding behavior and how other dogs have limits (i.e. personal space requirements).

    You could also include a "DINO" dog - with a yellow flag on his leash to indicate "please don't approach... this Dog is In Need Of Space"
    And therapy dogs... and service dogs... oh, the list is long! You might have to make it a series of books! :)

    We have a "Reading with Rover" program here in the Seattle area... this kind of book would be perfect for an introduction for kids who want to read with the dogs... and, also perfect to take INTO the classroom, as you mentioned, to teach all kids about dog-human interactions and how to do it safely. I know we have a high population of dog-fearful humans here, and if their kids could get an independent view of dog behavior without a fearful parent around that would be a HUGE help.
  3. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I think it's a great idea.
  4. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    You've given me some great ideas DeannasMom. It is obviously a deeper, more difficult issue, but, it needs to be done, so...maybe multiple books...a series.
  5. 7121548

    7121548 Active Member

    What an awesome idea! I've seen videos and articles about this very subject, but I think an actual children's book would be even better and easier for children to understand.
  6. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    This is a timely post. My daughter and I were just discussing doing a children's book on service dog etiquette. A children's book that is also aimed at teaching the adults. The behavior of the adults is almost always worse than that of the children. You can't believe the number of mothers with infants that lean over Otis to "show" him to their baby. As most dog people know, leaning over a dog is not only threatening but encourages jumping. Especially an adolescent boxer. We were just discussing working on training an incompatible behavior. Possibly training him to drop into an immediate down when someone leans over him. It's very frustrating. And people get nasty when you tell them that they can't pet your dog because he's working.

    Do it, Bailey's Mom. For now I think I'm going to work on a pamphlet explaining service dog etiquette that we can hand to people when we're out and about.
    Nik likes this.
  7. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    I can believe you that people become irate when you warn them off. A while back, while walking with my neighbour and her Border Collie, we were approached by a woman and her two children. We moved over onto the grass to give them a wide berth. The boy ran far ahead and was bearing down on our dogs, and I yelled, "Stop, not all dogs are friendly, and this dog here isn't friendly." His mother went ballistic, the whole, how dare you speak to my child or tell him anything, etc., etc., fill in the possible swear words. I can't print what she said, or, what I said for that matter (fueled by a pre-walk vodka and tonic.) However, it went the distance from explanation and a request for agreement...i.e., a teachable moment, to an extremely vicious verbal exchange. I'm not proud of myself, especially the where to go and how to get there part, but it points out just how difficult it is to warn some people to not touch, not approach a volatile dog like my friend's Border Collie. And parents ARE THE PROBLEM. Some parents are unteachable, and their children are a liability because they haven't been taught how to correctly approach a dog.

    I think teaching your dog to go into a down position is a great idea, and the pamphlet idea, it's great too. Go For It! And if you have any other tips or ideas you'd like to share with me, I'd really appreciate it.
  8. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Boxergirl - Wow. I can't believe people would get mad at them for telling them your dog is a working dog. But, then again we have had ample proof of how many idiots there are in this world so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. But, really. Your dog has a job to do and for people to not respect that is unacceptable.

    Bailey's Mom - Wow you warn her off your dog for the safety of her own child and she gets mad at you. Did she want her child to end up hurt? Not the brightest woman in the world. Ugh. I understand your anger at her and I agree that parents are the problem. Selfish entitled idiot parents typically produce selfish entitled idiot children. Ugh. Would that a license was required for the breeding of humans too (I know not a popular opinion).

    I completely understand the desire to want to pet every dog I see. I am the person that always stops dogs owners to comment on how beautiful their dog is and if they don't seem to be in a hurry or put off then I usually ask if I can pet their dog. If they say no I always respect that. Always. If it is a working dog with a vest I typically never even ask to pet the dog because I know the dog is working. But, sometimes the trainer will ask if I would like to pet the dog after we chat and I of course always say yes but clarify that it won't interfere with whatever training they are doing and make sure I interact in a way that helps the training not hurts it.

    I swear some people are so entitled. Other people's dogs are not their for the entertainment of the rest of the world. Ugh. And I can't even imagine people trying to lean over Kahlua like that. She is super people shy and wary. Not mean just not eager to meet new people. I would go all Mamma Bear on anyone who invaded her space like that. When people ask us if they can pet her when we are out and about I always let them know she is very shy but if they want to be patient and kneel and try offering a treat they might get lucky. Even then Kahlua is super selective. We were at a pet store last weekend. And two employees asked to pet her. The first one she wanted nothing to do with. Even with the treat in the offering she just didn't want him to touch her. The second lady she went to instantly as soon as she had a treat in hand. Kahlua makes her own judgments about which people have the right to pet her and we respect her desire for space and we require anyone who interacts with her to also respect her desire for space.

    Now Diesel is another deal altogether. He is such a happy friendly dog and he wants to make friends with the world (except when he feels he has to be on guard -- at home or if he thinks someone is a threat to me, usually a man). But, I dont' let people approach Diesel for interactions because he is too excited and happy to meet them. The only time I allow anyone to approach and pet Diesel is if he is calm and relaxed and not overly excited... which is almost never. Funny thing though everyone thinks Diesel is terrifying looking so very few people actually want to meet him. Whereas everyone wants to meet Kahlua and she doesn't want to meet anyone.


    Anyways I can completely envision both book ideas with beautiful full color adorable illustrations. I am a creative type so my mind is going in all sorts of directions when you say that... I am actually working on a book of my own right now. But, it is not about dogs or for children. Definitely not for children as there are lots of deaths involved in my story and my main character is literally insane.
  9. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    I commend you, Nik, for getting a book underway. It's hard work and I've only completed a few small kids' books. Unfortunately, none are published. I placed in the top 10 once with the Writers' Guild National Contest, but follow up meetings with publishers didn't pan out. I did receive a very nice note and a signed copy of Robert Munch's new book that had just come out. Mr. Munch had been one of the three judges that year. I had been told by the coordinator that she had a private message for me that if he had had his will in the matter, I would have won. WOW! Ah, but time marches on and I just couldn't pull a rabbit out of my computer. So...moral of the story, Nik...keep typing, keep creating, you will do a great job, you just can't give up. And don't let life's changing landscape change your desire to write. That happened to me.

    I wish I could tell you that I'd read the finished product, but...I hate horror and murder and mayhem....that's why I write kids' stuff...young kids' stuff. But I'll buy one and lend it to friends...DEAL?
  10. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Aw thanks. I've always loved writing. I won a state wide competition when I was in grade school for a story I wrote. Granted that was just grade school but it was pretty cool because as a winner from my state I got to attend this huge writers conference and workshop. I also had a professor in college that encouraged me to write more and even gave me a book on how to get published. But, the business of life got in the way.

    I have a few half started stories from recent stories but then this new one popped into my head and the main character was just so noisy that she demanded that I write about her. So now I am about 60 pages in... which isn't very far we are still just starting out the story. The book isn't really a horror book and so far none of the deaths are clearly murder... It's a bit of a mystery. When I started writing it I didn't even know the answer as to how it was going to end up. But, then I was driving to work last week and the ending two paragraphs popped into my head and so then I thought i knew the answer. As it turns out a few days later portions of book two (apparently there will be a sequel) popped into my head and I found out I was wrong about the answer. In any case it has been fun watching the story unfold and the whole process is pretty cool. I've always written with the feeling that a muse is sitting on shoulder and whispering in my ear. But, this is the first time it has been quite so loud. The darn muse even insisted I create a Pandora station and a YouTube play list for my main character. My husband says that is insane but when I'm writing or need inspiration I turn on the station or the play list and it helps me get inside her head (it's a a first person story).

    Do you do all the illustrations on your children's book's as well or are they for older children? That is absolutely awesome that you won the national contest (much more impressive then me winning a state wide competition in grade school lol).

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