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  1. #1
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    Default Spinoff: handling the "my child is friendly" types

    How do you handle kids with no ability to read dog body language—the ones who think they're a dog whisperer but have no clue? This isn't an anti-child rant. I have several daughters of my own, but they have been taught how to approach a dog (or not), how to ask permission before touching, and how to understand a dog's "don't touch" language.

    My small dog is afraid of being touched by new children, but loves everyone if she's just allowed to warm up on her own schedule. The other day, I put her in her crate in the bedroom in anticipation of a visit from a pushy child, but my less dog-savvy SO didn't realize and brought her out. I told the kid to ignore her, I told the kid's mom to ignore her, I tried to tell hubby to put her back, and meanwhile kid was crooning and going kissy-kissy-kissy in the dog's face.

    Slow-mo scene: dog in hubby's arms, me across the room holding my broken-legged child and hobbling to the rescue, dog cringing into hubby's chest, and me saying "SHE WILL BITE YOU PLEASE BACK AWAY. SHE IS AFRAID. SHE WILL BITE. TAKE HER AWAY. SHE WILL BITE." Mom said, "oh, dogs LOVE my daughter!" just a few seconds before dog snarled and tooth-punched the kid in the face. It was a closed-mouth smack of a canine against her cheek, which I thought was an awfully tactful thing for my dog to do. It left the girl (a pre-teen) with a red cheek but there wasn't any danger of a puncture or anything like that.

    The mom was apologetic, I was outwardly apologetic even though I had warned everyone in the room several times, and the dog recovered in her crate and seems no worse for wear. The kid was more embarrassed than hurt and no one was mad. Hubby now understands that the dog was crated in the other room for a reason.

    Why the F won't people listen when you say "don't touch"?
    My ears hear a symphony of two mules, trains, and rain. The best is always yet to come, that's what they explained to me. —Bob Dylan

    Fenway Bartholomule ♥ Arrietty G. Teaspoon Brays Of Our Lives



  2. #2
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    People, especially children don't listen. It is 100% your job to make sure your dog is not in a position where anyone needs to listen in order to be safe.



  3. #3
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    Jul. 23, 2008
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    I have a decoy poodle so that the less friendly poodle (she's great, but on her terms) can evade grabby hands. My 'decoy' poodle loves the attention any way he can get it, so it works out for the two....

    Other than that, it's all on my to keep the kids/dogs relationship amicable. This could mean having a tennis ball handy to that the kids aren't trying to pet the shy poodle, or putting her away and letting her nap in my bedroom when company is over.



  4. #4
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    Default

    It is 100% your job to make sure your dog is not in a position where anyone needs to listen in order to be safe.
    how?
    You're walking the dog. The dog doesn't particularly like to be touched by strangers, and has never exhibited any great fondness for children. Suddenly a pack of kids shoot out of the bushes and RUN at you shrieking "DOGGY". What do you do next? Aside from attacking the kids yourself to save the dog the trouble I mean.



  5. #5
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    Default

    Back in the day, kids learned to read dog body language by guessing wrong a few times and getting perforated.

    Now it's as much as a dog's life is worth to teach children dog sense.

    A sad state of affairs. And it makes it damned hard to socialize one's dog to children, too.

    I'm glad the child and parents in the OP were civilized about the whole thing.

    I used to have chows, so I know that panicky, slow-mo, disaster-looming feeling. My chows looked like great big teddy bears. They had the personalities of great big grizzly bears. Children were constantly flinging themselves, lemming-like, into the jaws of death. Luckily I was young then, with quick reflexes. And no assets.



  6. #6
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    Apr. 6, 2010
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    Default Air Horn

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    how?
    You're walking the dog. The dog doesn't particularly like to be touched by strangers, and has never exhibited any great fondness for children. Suddenly a pack of kids shoot out of the bushes and RUN at you shrieking "DOGGY". What do you do next? Aside from attacking the kids yourself to save the dog the trouble I mean.
    No I am not kidding. I actually carry an air horn with me when I am walking my dog(s). I always have a rehab dog and I don't live in the country. I do live in a really doggie area and therefore we encounter lots of people and kids. Since I am usually rehabbing toy breeds I get lots of kids running towards me yelling 'DOGGY'. I am not afraid to use the air horn on the kids and will block dog with my body. I never ever pick my dog up if I can help it. I can't guarantee my charge won't bite me much less the kid. I usually pack a muzzle as well and as much as I would like to use it on people, I will put it on the dog if needed.
    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
    Originally Posted by alicen:
    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.



  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    how?
    You're walking the dog. The dog doesn't particularly like to be touched by strangers, and has never exhibited any great fondness for children. Suddenly a pack of kids shoot out of the bushes and RUN at you shrieking "DOGGY". What do you do next? Aside from attacking the kids yourself to save the dog the trouble I mean.

    Don't put the dog in that situation. Walk him in your yard or around the barn. Most dogs can be trained to the point that they can sit or lie down as you diffuse the situation but if yours can't you have to make sure it never happens. God forbid your dog injure someone I guarantee you that saying I told them no is not going to save his life.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 1, 2007
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    I do farmer's markets on the weekends to sell my goodies and I bring riley with me, a very friendly 2 yr mutt who will happily slobber any willing face. BUT that said. If a child comes up to the dog. (he is tied behind me at the table) they MUST ask me. If they do not I will stop them by grabbing their upper arm and saying firmly but nicely, "you must ask first before you pet". I have never gotten the stink eye from a parent, usually I get a thank you for controlling my child for 3 seconds.

    I then have to put Riley in a sit stay and said child is allowed to calmly pet him on the shoulder or top of his head.

    Honestly, I am training the dog to sit quietly for pets, but the kids dont know that.



  9. #9
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    Jul. 21, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by leilatigress View Post
    No I am not kidding. I actually carry an air horn with me when I am walking my dog(s). . . .Since I am usually rehabbing toy breeds I get lots of kids running towards me yelling 'DOGGY'. I am not afraid to use the air horn on the kids and will block dog with my body.
    Good for you for protecting your dogs, and please don't take this the wrong way, but . .

    Holy Pavlovian response! After a while, do your dogs dive for cover, paws over ears, when they see children coming?



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    Suddenly a pack of kids shoot out of the bushes and RUN at you shrieking "DOGGY". What do you do next? Aside from attacking the kids yourself to save the dog the trouble I mean.
    In this situation, I've had great success (and this works for horse-mad tots flying at horses, as well) barking out in my best stern riding instructor voice: "All stop, NOW!" Repeat if needed. It never fails. I will usually move my dog so that I am between him and the marauding hordes.

    If I am so inclined, I will then begin issuing instructions that are to be followed by any child wanting to pet the doggy. Great chance to pass on a little education. If I am not inclined, then kids (and hopefully their attending parents) are told that this dog is working and may not be petted now. Again, clear, firm voice and short, declarative, brook-no-discussion sentences, usually while continuing my walk.

    I quite like the air horn, too! If my voice should ever become insufficient, that's a great alternative.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus



  11. #11
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    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    Default

    When I had my Mini Schnauzer (the best boy dog ever) I one of three people in the waiting room, and the only one with a dog. A woman and her 3 or so year old girl were waiting to pick up their dog. I had my dog on my lap (they had a rather cold tile floor and that way I avoided the drag the dog to the treatment room routine, or the marauding dog coming in the waiting room out of control and trying to eat my dog), and the little girl comes over, sits next to me and keeps scooting closer. To me it was obvious what the next step would be, which would be to pet or poke my dog who had his back turned to her. He was a good dog, but wasn't around children very much, so I didn't allow kids to come up and pet him. In fact I don't think he was used to little kids at all before I got him (pound puppy at 3 years old), so I didn't let kids near him. It's a real problem when you have a cute, fuzzy dog, and kids (and their parents) seem to think they're some kind of stuffed toy that won't react to sudden assaults.

    It seems so stupid for someone to let their kid go after strange animals at the vet, when even a good tempered animal might be upset about being at the vet, or sick and a lot less patient with strangers. That's why my dog was on my lap or right next to me every second, since some people didn't seem to think their kids had to be limited in their behavior at all.
    Last edited by JanM; Feb. 22, 2012 at 07:18 AM.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  12. #12
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    Jan. 10, 2010
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    Default

    i too, take my dog(s) to my farmers market stand......and the anatolian shepherd,being young,goofey, and hugely powerful, could knock someone over with just his tail.......i thought it would be a great place for socialization...and it is.....maybe kids and adults alike are indimidated by his size, but luckily, most folks DO ask before grabbing him, and i tend to step in front of him and hold his collar (in addition to being leashed) when someone comes close...........come to think of it, it MUST be the size thing, because when i take the toy fox terrier, there is generally squeals, and not much asking for permission......i guess i qualify as a helicopter pet parent,because i am seldom more than an arm's length from my dogs when there are others than family around........course, i am the only sane adult in the household,so no one, NO ONE crosses my directives when it comes to the critters..so at least i don't have that issue



  13. #13
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    Nov. 30, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
    Good for you for protecting your dogs, and please don't take this the wrong way, but . .

    Holy Pavlovian response! After a while, do your dogs dive for cover, paws over ears, when they see children coming?
    This cracked me up! I nearly choked on my soup!

    Neither of my dogs had any problem with kids, thankfully. Both dogs were / are uber cute and fluffy and have that "dog from Babe" border collie thing going on, so kids tended to flock towards them. Nevertheless, I always took care to avoid even a rare and unusual misunderstanding. My typical kid-approach reaction was to turn the dog's head to me, kneel down to have complete head-control, and let the kids pet the less bitey end of the dog.

    Interestingly enough, I've had a lot fewer kid approaches while my current BC wears his Gentle Leader headcollar. Maybe because it has a "muzzle-ish" look to it?



  14. #14
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    Dec. 14, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by dixiedolphin View Post
    My typical kid-approach reaction was to turn the dog's head to me, kneel down to have complete head-control, and let the kids pet the less bitey end of the dog.
    Ditto. The biggest problem I have is with family members' kids.

    Now that I have two small dogs, I have to monitor both at once. Wee kids only get one dog at a time while I employ dixiedolphin's method keeping one hand on the side of the face nearest stranger and one on the neck.

    Child or parent must 1. ask first 2. show restraint or else I keep moving.

    I am educating a 30yo+ adult, my former boss , on how to pet dogs. She is now a mom, so kiddo will learn from her. She never had pets and is afraid of being bitten, so she reaches for the top of the head believing the teeth can't reach. Dog tilts head up to see what the heck she's doing which brings teeth near her hand. She yanks back, then tries again. Classic bite scenario. Sometimes the adults are worse than the kids!



  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amm2cd View Post
    I have a decoy poodle so that the less friendly poodle (she's great, but on her terms) can evade grabby hands. My 'decoy' poodle loves the attention any way he can get it, so it works out for the two....

    Other than that, it's all on my to keep the kids/dogs relationship amicable. This could mean having a tennis ball handy to that the kids aren't trying to pet the shy poodle, or putting her away and letting her nap in my bedroom when company is over.
    Too funny, same here. One of our Standard Poodles is a cuddle ho, the other is more reserved. The cuddle ho takes care of the people who wants cuddling, often by jumping up on them, knocking them over, and snuggling with them on the ground (hey we are working on his manners, but this must be why he went to RESCUE).



  16. #16
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    Don't put the dog in that situation. Walk him in your yard or around the barn.
    Right. A very high-energy dog who needs to run about 15 miles a day is going to "get walked around the barn" just because no one can teach their kids how to behave these days. He has some fancy obedience titles so it's not like he's an ill-behaved dog either, he just doesn't like it when children maul him.
    People REALLY need to get their children under control.



  17. #17
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    Jul. 23, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by IFG View Post
    Too funny, same here. One of our Standard Poodles is a cuddle ho, the other is more reserved. The cuddle ho takes care of the people who wants cuddling, often by jumping up on them, knocking them over, and snuggling with them on the ground (hey we are working on his manners, but this must be why he went to RESCUE).
    My decoy poodle is a 'rescue' too... Some one left him- a freshly groomed, obese creme poodle- sitting on the side of the road out in the country. Lucky for him, my barn was on that road and I was more than willing to add to my poodle pack when no one wanted to claim him.



  18. #18
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    AGH...I just posted something in another thread about this type of thing!

    I have an Australian Cattle Dog..they are not known to be great kids dogs..they are opinionated, nippy, independent, and don't typically like people in their space, even "their people."

    A friend of mine has two young neices. She decided to get an ACD puppy, while the neices were ages 3 and 6 (or close to that). She knew the breed is not generally kid-friendly, especially when they are not rasied from pups with kids in their lives. One day she contacts me when the dog is about 2 or 3 years old, and wants to know if I know of anyone who would want him...she has to "get rid of him because he nipped at one of the neices." So...its the dogs fault you allowed that scenario, and now he needs to find a new home?! OMG! I was instantly irritated.

    My ACD did not "grow up" around kids either, but the two girls mentioned above were around quite a bit when he was a pup. I did not trust him with kids, and would have him on leash when they were around, so the interaction would be controlled. Now, he will be 3 years old, and he is very good with those girls. He doesn't nip their ankles ever, and refrains from biting their bicycle tires They know that they need to leave him alone if he is laying down, and they know to be watchful while playing fetch with him because he will soemtimes get antsy while waiting for them to throw it, and he'll grab (and their fingers are little ) HOWEVER, if any other children come to the house, the doggy gate goes up, and he does not have access to the children, nor do they have access to him. I know he isn't good with people in his space, much less children who are at FACE LEVEL. Not gunna happen while I'm around.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    Right. A very high-energy dog who needs to run about 15 miles a day is going to "get walked around the barn" just because no one can teach their kids how to behave these days. He has some fancy obedience titles so it's not like he's an ill-behaved dog either, he just doesn't like it when children maul him.
    People REALLY need to get their children under control.
    No question children need to behave. That will not save your dog's life when he injures a child however. If you are willing to gamble with his life and your finances by all means go ahead and roll the dice.
    I do have a child phobic dog but have trained him how to handle it and keep him out of situations where handling it won't get the job done.



  20. #20
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    Nov. 18, 2010
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    Since my dog is a search and rescue dog, when he goes in public as a SAR dog I have him wear a vest that identifies what kind of service dog he is and then it has "ask to pet me" on it too. He won't hurt anyone if they just start petting him but I like to think that having that might make people reconsider just starting to pet other dogs on the street. Numerous times kids have run up and started petting my dog and then the parents read the vest and say, "you should have asked her to pet him first." So I'm hoping that some of that carries over to the general population so kids don't get hurt by dogs that are intimidated by little ones.

    However, my biggest pet peeve when I have taken my SAR dog through airports is parents that let their kids hang out with me while in the terminal. I have had parents do this and not even ask! They just assume I want kids hanging all over me since I have a dog! One time it was 6 AM and I hadn't had any coffee yet. All I wanted to do was sit in a corner and drink my Starbucks in peace. In come two children....



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