Dogs and Kids

Thank you for the sweet comments on my last post! Reminds me why I love this community 🙂

Side note: I just finished re-reading the Harry Potter series. I’m feeling really sad that I’m done with the final book. And there are no more books coming. It’s like having lost friends! I mean, I know they are totally fictional, but you get so invested in the characters! I’m trying to throw myself into other books, but all I want is to read more about Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermoine. *sigh* Bookworm’s problems, eh?

Back to the topic at hand.
Many of you know that we have two dogs. (Having to have put our dear Radar to sleep before Seedling was born due to old age/health). Having worked at vets I’ve heard so many horror stories of the lovable family dog accidentally injuring a child in play, or being started/scared/hurt by a child and lashing out in self defense. It’s not pretty. It’s not fair to child or animal. So before her birth, I was resolved to be a good mom and pet owner and set fair boundaries for the dogs AND for Seedling.

But the truly terrible not-so-secret secret, is that I’ve been so scared of doing it wrong, I haven’t been doing it. I have pretty much kept Seedling and the dogs totally separate. But with Seedling becoming more and more active I have had to face facts and realize that the child and pets are going to mingle.

So in the afternoons I have been allowing both Seedling and the dogs to be in the living room. On the floor. At the same time.

*cue internal panic*

Honestly, it has gone so well. Glen tends to get over excited and nervous, and start jumping and trying to lick Seedling. And sometimes Seedling gives Emma’s fur a sturdy tug, but I’ve just tried to stay calm and separate tiny human from fluffy mammal as necessary.

I always have my eyes/ears/full attention on them. I have to reinforce that the couch is human-only territory to the dogs, and remind/redirect Seedling that the dog crate/water dish/food dishes are for puppies only.

Honestly, most days I feel like the dogs are more effort and frustration than they are worth. I feel bad they can’t run and play with abandon, or have an outlet for their energy. I get angry when they start barking (usually at nothing!). I get disgusted by the amount of dog hair Seedling finds to eat (as evidenced in her diapers later). But you know why I stick it out?

Because in my experience, kids who don’t grow up with pets struggle when put in the company of animals. They get excited or scared, talk in high pitch tones or squeal, they play too roughly, they chase or run away (Therein causing the dog to chase after them). In short, those kids have a higher likelihood of hurting an animal, or getting hurt by an animal.

It is one reason I’ve had a friend give for not coming over to my house – because her toddler gets anxious around my dogs.

So yea, having dogs and a child is tough. But I’m determined to take the time and energy to teach Seedling how to be respectful and responsible around animals.

That’s not to say its impossible to teach kids how to handle themselves around animals when they don’t grow up with them, I just think it takes a lot of work, intentionally exposing them to opportunities around animals.

That’s what has been on my mind today. Well, that and Harry Potter. sad panda…


5 responses to this post.

  1. We have a high energy border collie who was NOT good with kids pre-Stella (always herding them and nipping, per his nature). BUT, now that he has gotten used to Stella since Day 1 and gotten to adjust to her moving more and more day by day, he is awesome with her (and her toddler friends). It’s made him a much better “kid-friendly” dog.

    That being said, the hair and the barking and such totally drive me insane, much more than they used to!


  2. Growing up on a farm, I was always around animals: horses, cows, goats, cats, dogs, chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, and the occasional rabid wild animal. I can’t count the number of times I have been chased, nipped, gnawed on, and kicked by those animals. I had a rooster attach himself to my back with his talons and beat me with his wings (I was three). I was chased by our cow in heat, kicked by my pet goat (more than once), bitten by every kind of bird known to man…and you know what? I LOVE animals (with the exception of snakes).
    Em, our rescue mix-breed, has a lot of issues with fear. She’s scared of water, scared of cars, and scared of big white fluffy dogs. Before Cadet came along, we exposed her to children, and she was always pretty good with kids. I was initially concerned that Em would feel displaced by Cadet, but I shouldn’t have ever worried. I never separated them or imposed rules (other than “be gentle”). And they have bonded in a way that makes my heart warm! Cadet has bitten Em’s tail, pulled her ears, stolen her food, and Em just licks Cadet’s face and patiently tolerates everything Cadet does. In return, Cadet adores Em.
    I honestly wouldn’t worry too much. It will all work out!!


  3. It gets easier. The girls would beeline for the cat when she came near but in recent weeks, they just don’t care that she’s there. They’ve figured out nice touch and don’t tug anymore (mostly).


  4. funny coincidence: I am also re-reading the Harry Potter series right now! But I am on book 4 at the moment 🙂 still lots to go, although at the pace I am going, I am afraid I will be done with them all in a month…


  5. I agree on all accounts. First, something that … while it’s not actually as good as another HP book, might still make up for it a bit. I hope it lets me post this link…

    Hope that works! And I agree with the dogs thing for sure. Unfortunately, my husband was raised without them and is a little OCD. If I could find a dog that didn’t shed, eat, poop, or slobber (or try to lick you with his “bum tongue” ha!)… then my husband would allow it. Or he’d allow an outside dog, but I am 100% firm against outside dogs. So our kids have to do without for now, but hopefully they’ll be able to whine enough to convince him eventually. 🙂


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