Sometimes, the coolest ideas come to you out of the blue. A little while back, I got a Linkedin message from a woman named Heather Szasz, who’d created a great product for pet parents with human children. Called My Puppy Box and My Puppy Rescue Box, they aren’t boxes delivered to your door each month for your dog to salivate over. Instead, they are fun, educational boxes to teach children ages 6 – 12 about dogs, how to be around them and how to care for them. And, with 77% of dog bites happening to children between the ages of 5-10 years of age by the family’s own dog or a dog they know, the message here is, we need to do a better job of teaching our children how to “read” dogs.
This is a giveaway! I have one My Puppy Box and one My Puppy Rescue Box to give away to two lucky Bark & Swagger followers, so if you have kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews who live with or want a dog, this is a great gift for them and the entire family.
Learn how to enter below, but first, what is My Puppy Box and what comes inside? Read on!
Teaching children how to read a dog’s behavior and body language and how to care for a dog is where My Puppy Box comes in. This is a great video I found on Heather’s site called The Dog Listener. I’m telling you, upfront, it’s a bit long, but so worth viewing, especially with your children. These kids give wonderful tips and information on a dog’s behavior, body language and what to do about it…hence, learning to be a dog listener.
I got tired of seeing dogs euthanized at the shelter…
“It was my 2nd year of volunteering and being a professional dog trainer, when I realized something had to change regarding the intake of dogs in shelters,” shared Heather Szasz, about her reason for creating My Puppy Box. “Each time after volunteering, I would cry in the car driving home, knowing most of those dogs would be euthanized before I volunteered again the following week. It still makes me sad, and as I write this, I am tearful. At the same time, I would go to first time dog owners, who were so frustrated with their dogs, that they were close to giving them up. That’s when I realized making this world a safer place for dogs to live in was through educating children. I didn’t know how I would achieve this. I created my mission statement: Educating the children of today to be responsible and safe with dogs, creates a safer world for dogs to live in. Six years later, My Puppy Box was born.”
Heather Szasz has been a professional dog trainer for nine years and, as you read above, has volunteered at a local shelter. As a trainer, she’d witnessed children coming so close to being bitten. “The reason is that children do not realize how to respect a dog or read their different body language,” Szasz explained. It was this observation and her visceral experience with the shelter dogs that were the catalysts for creating My Puppy Box.
Heather has chosen the best informational children books she could find, that will have the whole family involved in raising their dogs. And, she says this education is with that child, forever. The family pup will be furever grateful, too.
What comes in My Puppy Box?
Lots of fun, educational and creative stuff for learning and play come in this box. In the sample My Puppy Box box Heather sent to me, there was:
- a box of colored pencils
- a Scholastic book called Goldie by Ellen Miles, one in The Puppy Palace series, “Where every puppy finds a home.”
- My Dog! A Kid’s Guide to Keeping a Happy & Healthy Pet. This is an awesome guide by Michael J. Rosen, that tackles everything from how to choose and plan for your first dog, a reward-based training system, grooming, feeding, DIY treats, toys and costumes, understanding a dog’s body language and barks…and more. A veterinarian consulted, as well, which I liked. This is a great resource!
- a safety guide for kids called Be a Dog’s Best Friend, by Renee Payne, CPDT and Jennifer Gladysz. There’s great info here on learning and reading body language and barks and the illustrations by Keith Gladysz really help drive the messages home.
- a wonderful I ♥ Dogs! activity book, containing more than 100 stickers. It’s billed as “Pup-tacular stickers, trivia, step-by-step drawing projects, and more for the dog lover in you!” Even I (not exactly a kid) could see the hours of fun to be had here.
- The final item is, perhaps, one of the most significant, based on the reactions and testimonials of parents of My Puppy Box kids. It’s a plush stuffed dog toy, intended to become a kid’s best bud. Children are encouraged to name their puppy and to keep it nearby as they interact with the items in the box.
One mom, Lauren, had this to say: “Omg, Heather!! It was like Christmas, we got them about two hours ago, the boys were crazy, they both named the dogs, read and read and read. I’ll get some pics as soon as they come back, HUGE HIT!!”
Another option, My Puppy Rescue Box, educates kids about dog rescues, shelters and the adoption of dogs. And, a percentage of sales of each My Puppy Rescue Box will go to a dog shelter or rescue of your choice.
In my My Puppy Rescue Box, I received:
- a different plush puppy
- a box of crayons
- the book, Bear, another in The Puppy Palace series, where every puppy finds a home.
- the book Pablo Puppy’s Search for the Perfect Person, about adoption
- The Too Cute Coloring Book of Puppies – big, small, all breeds doing all sorts of things. Very adorable.
- the book Radar’s Dream, which is about a shelter dog named Radar and the dream he keeps having that he’s flying. But, on this day, everything changes.
- the book, Let’s Get a Pup! Said Kate. A great story about adopting the perfect dog(s) for you.
The stories are charming with great lessons. They’re perfect to stimulate conversation between parents and their kids.
My Puppy Box and My Puppy Rescue Box are great educational tools to help kids learn how to be around dogs and to read dogs’ behavior and body language. When you know that, you’re already a much better dog owner and the chances of getting bitten by a dog you know, because you weren’t listening to the signals they sent, decrease dramatically. And, that’s a win/win.
You can find out more about My Puppy Box and purchase here.
The giveaway will run from Saturday, July 29 at 8am EST until Friday, August 4th at 11:59pm EST.
It’s easy to enter. If you’re not a Bark & Swagger follower yet, you have to join our email list to enter.
Then, just follow @BarkandSwagger on Instagram, Like us on Facebook and Like My Puppy Box on Facebook and you’re in!