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But seriously - toddlers are fast!


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Gibbs and I are at my favorite home-grown ranch/pet supply store, the one where he flew up on the counter a few months ago. I'm about to pay for my undercoat rake, and out of the corner of my eye I see a toddler throwing himself at Gibbs.

 

I'm able to get between him and Gibbs, who is showing a lot of whale eye and has his tailed tucked so tight it has disappeared. Mom grabs toddler and steps back. The kid is disappointed, but still smiles and points and says "Doggeeeeeee" in a hopeful voice. Mom is quite apologetic, (nice to hear), and I am gracious.

 

I've not been around kids that much, really not at all in the last several years. I forgot they were that quick. Glad I saw it, glad Mom grabbed the kid and apologized, glad my dog would rather get the heck out of there than bite. Phew.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs, who might prefer polar bears to toddlers

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Whew - all's well that ends well. Yeah, they're fast. And quiet. And really loud at times, too. I helped my mom take care of 2 of my nieces for a couple days over the weekend. The 2 y/o went back and forth from wanting to play with Kolt to wanting him to back off. The 4 y/o wanted to play with him and test the boundaries ("but I really wanna to shake the stuffed toy next to him and keep him from getting it"). But it was overall a good experience for all. Kolt learned more kid manners and kids learned more dog manners.

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Just last week a friend was over with their well behaved four year old son. Levi always goes upstairs when they come over, my husband still asks am I sure?? Of course I am.

 

I decide to take the dog outside to play and pee, in the seconds it takes me to put my boots on, Levi is sitting at the kitchen door and bam... Kid comes running up to Levi. I block him with my arm and my hand on his chest and instinctually say no. Poor Levi is the same as Gibbs, take tucked and looking just sideways with his whale eyes. I quickly opened the door to let the dog out.

 

No other adult in the kitchen even noticed what happened. Interactions with kids and dogs can happen so fast. Glad to hear a parent recognized what was happening with your situation.

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It's a while back now, but we were at the dog park and a lady come in complete with toddler. We're the other side of the (small) park, but I try to keep an eye on the child. Only a short while later, my foster Sew is standing quietly and said toddler makes a run for her, arms outstretched. Mother looks on with no reaction whatsoever. I'm just far enough away to have no chance of intervening and I was afraid shouting might have made things worse, so I watch helplessly as the little girl throws her arms around Sew and hugs her. Sew had been with me only a short time and I had no clue how she would react. Fortunately, she wagged her tail and was fine with the mauling. The mother was still totally oblivious to what had happened and seemed not to care when I -- politely -- warned her.

[i'm not sure that bringing toddlers to a dog park is even remotely sensible, but if you must, look after them. I have also been witness to two incidents of a toddler falling into the lake -- both close calls.]

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You can't really punish a toddler for something they they don't know is wrong - it sends the wrong message. Punish them and they could start to think dogs are bad. Toddlers take management like dogs do - something goes wrong and it's on the parent, not the child, IMO. And as dog owners we have a bit of responsibility to know that we and our dogs can handle some hiccups when we take them into stores. Wholeheartedly agree that a dog park isn't the place for a toddler though - yikes!

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Yeah, I think I prefer polar bears to toddlers, too!! :P

 

It is good that the Mom was gracious. I got stink face from many a parent when I would not let little kids approach Speedy.

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I doubt Cass meant that she was punished without understanding why. My parents raised us to be careful around animals. We were taught what was acceptable and what wasn't. If we behaved in a way that went against what we had been taught, then we were indeed in trouble for that. It's not hard to teach a toddler right from wrong, within the limits of their understanding, and that choosing to do the wrong thing will have consequences.

 

J.

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Bodhi and I do a lot of library visits in his capacity as a reading therapy dog, and we see a lot of toddlers. Some parents are great, come are clueless, and there are a few (fortunately few) who I don't know what's wrong with them. People who bring their young kids to libraries do tend to be just a tad more responsible with their kids than the general public, though.

 

When there are toddlers around, I always have an eagle eye out watching for their interactions with the dog. They can be incredibly quick and very unpredictable. I don't understand a (very) few of the handlers who are just a little too cavalier in paying attention. I'm just not willing to take any risks that can possibly be avoided by being vigilant. If someone who's talking to me thinks I'm not paying enough attention to them (and this has happened), too bad. I'm focusing on the dynamics between dog and child.

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Yes to all of the above. Gibbs has never bitten anyone, but I believe that if he felt he couldn't move away he would. I don't want a human, child or adult, to be bitten by my dog. I don't want my dog to have a bite record. Therefore I am ALWAYS aware of what is going on in a public place.

 

My favorite toddler/dog park story is from years ago, when I just had Samantha, my first bc. A woman came into this dog park with her dog, a fairly largish one, a toddler and a Frisbee. She puts the toddler down and starts teasing the dog with the Frisbee, trying to get it to jump up. Toddler is toddling around, woman is not paying any attention. I notice that there is a swarm of dogs starting to form around the mom/dog/toddler, and they're starting to circle, and their movement is getting noticeably tighter and faster. Samantha went to join them, and I shouted for her to come back to me.

 

That shout broke up everyone's focus, and the dogs kind of came out of their trance and all moved off to romp and play. The woman stopped and looked at me, like, "What the heck?" I just smiled and said I called my dog away because I didn't want her to knock over your baby. She shrugged and went back to teasing her dog.

 

I still get a chill down my spine when I remember that scene.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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I think people underestimate just how fast things happen. In my story above, it was all of maybe 2 seconds from noticing the kid approaching with arms out and me blocking him and saying no to the kid. The kid took my no very kindly and just walked away. This is a very polite kid who lives with dogs and who has wonderful parents. He just didn't know Levi wasn't going to appreciate a pat on the head from a small child while he was cornered in the kitchen. And how could he? Levi was not growling or showing teeth or running away. I don't know how to explain to a four year old (most adults can't understand) how to read whale eyes, turning their head away, etc as a dog that isn't comfortable.

 

My two year old nephew, isn't ever going to get a chance to be near him, not even a second. That kid terrifies me sometimes. :). And what scares me, is he has a big shepherd mix at home he gets to harass with a very very clueless mom.

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I doubt Cass meant that she was punished without understanding why. My parents raised us to be careful around animals. We were taught what was acceptable and what wasn't. If we behaved in a way that went against what we had been taught, then we were indeed in trouble for that. It's not hard to teach a toddler right from wrong, within the limits of their understanding, and that choosing to do the wrong thing will have consequences.

 

J.

 

I do have a reasonable amount of experience with toddlers and agree that it's not hard to teach them. But they're still super young (me definition is 2 y/o and under) and are going be a toddlers most of the time. Stuff happens fast and I'm not going to blame a random toddler who is just being a toddler any more than I'd blame a dog who is just being a normal dog. A toddler needs to be managed by a responsible adult and not every toddler is able to learn the same way or that their parents have had opportunity to teach them how to act around dogs.

 

I only scold my own 2 y/o niece after she's been specifically told not to do something in a certain situation and she does it again. Other that that I'm just going to remove her and try to turn it into a teaching moment.

 

Now the 4 y/o niece, yeah, she totally understands and gets in trouble when she pushes the envelope around any dogs. I overheard "I don't really like Mara anymore" after I took a toy away she she continued to tease Kolt after she'd been told not to. The response she got from my sister "Well, you teased the dog - what did you expect?"

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Maralynn,

That was my point and why I specifically stated "within the limits of their understanding" (which if course means not blaming the toddler for being a toddler). Of course the parent is responsible for not only teaching the kid but managing the situation. I don't expect two year olds to generalize, etc., or even to respond consistently to similar situations, but I do expect a two-year-old to understand that no means no (assuming they've actually been taught that).

 

J.

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Interesting thing with two year olds. Once they have started on a course of action, they can't always stop themselves even if they are being told no. They can get in trouble for things that are not always in their control. It's like a dog over threshold. For a toddler in motion, by the time they get the information (No. Don't), it is too late to compute, so to speak. They obviously do learn with repetition and in fact are learning at an amazing rate, but sometimes what seems defiant or deliberatively misbehaving is just them being two.

 

Of course, sometimes two year olds are very defiant and misbehave on purpose, :lol: They can be a challenge. I prefer little kids starting at 4 or 5.

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Interesting thing with two year olds. Once they have started on a course of action, they can't always stop themselves even if they are being told no. They can get in trouble for things that is not always in their control. It's like a dog over threshold. For a toddler in motion, by the time they get the information (No. Don't), it is too late to compute, so to speak. They obviously do learn with repetition and in fact are learning at an amazing rate, but sometimes what seems defiant or deliberatively misbehaving is just them being two.

 

Of course, sometimes two year olds are very defiant and misbehave on purpose, :lol: They can be a challenge. I prefer little kids starting at 4 or 5.

Yes. This! Thank you for stating it so much better than I could :)
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I had animals in my house all the time growing up and was taught to respect their space. By trouble I meant getting scolded by my parents and possibly time out. If I continued after that I would have been forced to be in a cart or somehow forcibly removed from the situation.

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Toddlers can also be quiet when they need to be. Friend of mines 18 month old son disappeared one day while we were down in the barn. Quick search found him in with my then 31 year old appy gelding. The kid was standing directly in front of the horse and had a firm grip with both hands on the horse's halter. Thankfully the horse just stood there like the saint he was and never moved even though the kid was tugging on him. Had that been one of the other horses, it might not have been "no big deal"

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I had an experience with Tilly and a child that could have ended very badly.

We were in the line up to pay for our order at feed store.

A child about 5 or 6 came over to Tilly, mother was busy smelling scented candles.

I watched Tilly as we don't see very many small kids. She kind of perked her ears and her tail was wagging.

The kid kept coming I told Tilly "Easy" which is what she gets around bottle lambs, Kittens and any thing else she tries to "play" with.

I told him to stop I kept a tight hold on here leash. I told him to reach his hand out and let her smell it.

She sniffed and seemed quite interested. he started petting the top of her head and back. All of a sudden he puts his face down and kisses the top of her head.

I yelled "don't" which scared him the dog and everyone else. Kid goes back to mother crying Tilly croaches wondering what she had done wrong and I fell like a grade a you no what.

Mother is all upset I try to explain I did not want child bit she tells me if dog is not trust worth she should not be around people. I tried to explain that you should never put your face down to any strange dog and that I was trying to prevent what might have happened. I stopped taking Tilly in the store after that because I don't need the hassle of worrying about some on else's kids.

Tilly has never snapped at anyone but all I could pictures was this kids face being scared for life because no one had told him to be careful and respect the dogs space

 

Dan & Tilly

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When kids approach my dogs, I tell them if they want to pet it they have to bring their parent over. Then I tell them they have to do what I say. And I have my dog turn his back on them until I know they are listening. And I know my dogs love children.

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