DD 4 is going to get bitten by a dog...what should I do?

(49 Posts)
rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:02:43

She loves dogs and is not great at impulse control. So any time we are out and there is a dog (all the bloody time, I.e.) she takes off to pet the dog. First, this isn't safe and one day a dog is going to attack her. Second, it isn't fair to dog owners. No amount of explaining that the dog might not be friendly, that she shouldn't run off (also a problem at times) makes any difference. It's like she doesn't even hear us. So I have explained yet again, and told her that if it happens again I will have to put her in reins which she will hate.

I don't have any other options do I? She is often oblivious to instruction at the best of times, but this is a particular problem because it is dangerous and it is our responsibility. Most of these dogs are on leads, not just roaming free.

Sounds very difficult and alarming. I'd certainly have to stand between her and my dog if she came rushing over, as ours isn't keen on small persons rushing up to her.

Talk to her about dogs' teeth and how much more sharp they are than ours. Repeat and repeat this, and your warnings about not all dogs being friendly.

Do you know any dogs that are friendly? That she could be allowed to approach and pat?

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:10:43

Yes, we have friends with a dog and she isn't in any sense aggressive with the dogs and pets them gently. It's the fact that she runs up to them and won't come back when called. But she can't seem to get that whilst most dogs are ok some dogs are not friendly, so I have spoken to her today about what has happened and her response was 'but it was a nice dog, mummy'.

It must be frustrating trying to get across to her that some dogs aren't 'nice dogs' or are nervous dogs around children. If she were older I'd suggest some carefully selected photos of dog bites, but you don't wnat her to become scared of dogs, particularly as she knows how to pat them gently and treat them well when she gets up to them.

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:14:36

Yes it is. Many things about her are quite frustrating...

InNeedOfBrandy Fri 26-Apr-13 16:18:02

I stress and stress and stress to my ds (who is 5 and sounds like your dd a couple of years ago) even now always walk up and always ask first. I think because most owners say yes and well done for asking now in his mind thats how you stroke dogs and asking has became routine now. It took ages of grabbing his hand and getting him to slow down and ask first though.

Wallace Fri 26-Apr-13 16:18:31

My ds2 is very similar. He is now six and it is almost drummed into him that he has to ask the owner before he strokes a dog.

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:20:00

Good to know we are not alone at least...

Would sanctions work as a strategy for her? If she rushes up to a dog she loses something she likes to do or play with that evening. Apologies if that won't work for your DD.
I know it seems harsh, but not as harsh as getting bitten by an unfriendly dog.

Although, most dogs are friendly, or have owners who will deflect your DD's attentions as they know their dog won't like it.

LookingForwardToMarch Fri 26-Apr-13 16:22:21

Reins...its just not worth it.

Our old dog was fine with adults but hated kids. We would tell parents if their kid came near him.

He had a muzzle on most times but not when we were just taking him out to do his 'thang'

He was not nasty. Any adult could stroke him. But very very nervous around children for some reason so therefore unpredictable.

Shudder to think what would have happened if an uncontrolled 4 yr old ran up to him.

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:27:15

beer true, but it I am responsible for my dd, the dog owners aren't. Sanctions do work, but this is too unpredictable, you don't know when a dog might appear when you are out and about.

Slubberdegullion Fri 26-Apr-13 16:35:35

Lots and lots and lots of little conversations at neutral times during the day (when no dogs are in sight) about what she should do when she sees a dog. Get her to tell you what she needs to do rather than you just lecturing her. Let her visualise the new rule (whatever that might be... When I see a dog I stop and ask mummy if I can pet it, then we walk calmly over to the dog's owner, then I ask if I can pet their dog, then I stoke it gently down beside it's neck).

Repeat ad nauseum.

Praise like hell when she gets it even a bit right
'you asked the owner if you could stroke their dog, that shows you are very responsible and thoughtful'

filthypig Fri 26-Apr-13 16:37:09

try it from another angle - tell her that some dogs are frightened of people coming up to them, that they won't know she is friendly and she needs to ask the owner to make sure the dog won't be scared.

My DS2 LOVES dogs, always has, spent a year claiming he WAS a dog etc. Getting him to empathise with the dog did the trick in the end, he's fine with them now.

GoblinGranny Fri 26-Apr-13 16:37:53

Lots of talking and discussions, as slubberdegullion said.
But a wrist rein whilst that is sinking in.

Branleuse Fri 26-Apr-13 16:45:03

shout at her and say no if she does it, or keep her on reins till shes older.
If shes not getting it yet when you explain to her nicely, then you dont have much choice.

GoblinGranny Fri 26-Apr-13 16:46:49

I used to keep a wriststrap in my bag for DS. Most of the time it just stayed there, but sometimes he just overloaded with glee and excitement and it just wasn't safe for me not to be connected.

Timeforabiscuit Fri 26-Apr-13 16:50:42

There is a book called "don't lick the dog" which is really good.

Aimed at kids about "good dog manners"

Video of a bit being read
www.youtube.com/watch?v=exoQtUxpHR8

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 16:51:42

Shouting and saying no absolutely doesn't work, have tried it dozens of times grin

TigerSwallowTail Fri 26-Apr-13 16:55:26

Rather than putting her in reigns could you not just keep a good hold of her hand when you are out? DS is 6 and is a bolter too, although he doesn't like dogs so we don't have that danger he still runs away and gets lost. I need to keep a good hold of his hand whenever we're out as the minute I let go then that's him running off again.

If she gets annoyed by you holding her hand then explain every time why you need to do it and until you can trust her to act like a big girl (any mention of being a 'big boy' gets DS's attention!) and not run up to strange dogs then she can't walk on her own.

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 17:02:13

tiger she's a bolter too...little but very very strong!

tazzle Fri 26-Apr-13 17:04:01

Echo others... since the frequency / risk is high....( Every time you go out ).. I would carry out the action you have already said will happen. ..reins. This in conjunction with the repeated discussion of "what we will do when we see a dog" before leaving house.... I woukd tell her that once she has shown she will walk slowly she can go without reins.

I empathise will the thought of her reaction to having reins on..... I well remember the screaming and kicking mine did at their appearance !

Def loadsa praise for calm apraches to reins and dogs .....

lurcherlover Fri 26-Apr-13 17:10:43

Definitely reins. My rescue dog is lovely with children in our house but very nervous when our on a walk. I never let him off the lead and keep him well away from children. If she ran up to him suddenly and tried to stroke him he would definitely bite her. Until she can learn some impulse control she definitely needs to be physically restrained from the dogs.

Well done OP - without wishing to sound patronising, thank-you for being so responsible. I have had to warn so many children away from my dog while their parents just smiled indulgently and let them run up to him without saying anything.

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 17:21:16

lurcher dog owners are very tolerant, often more tolerant than ideally I want them to be! So mostly they will say, 'it's ok, dog is friendly', but that's not the point. If the dog is on a lead, then as far as I am concerned the owner has taken responsibility, their dog is restrained. They can't be held responsible if my dd isn't yet able to see beyond her own desire to stroke the dog.

Emperorsnewclothesshow Fri 26-Apr-13 20:52:56

Restrain her, hold her hand. Surely you are stronger than her?

If she runs away from you when she sees a dog you say she doesn't listen and doesn't stop? There must be a way to teach her to listen? Not sure how old she is, but threaten to put her in a pram? And if she tips really too old for that a consequence that she really doesn't like will follow?

You are the parent...

I feel for you, trying to get on top of my 3 year olds behaviour.. Am also another one saying dogs can't be trusted, unless you had them yourself since small.

Also, some dogs may react even worse to strangers approaching when on a lead... It's a territorial thing about them and their owners. We always had dogs and I know them quite well... Not letting my kids run up to them.. There are also those owners who say "ohh he is a very kind dog..." And then - snap.

Well, good luck!

rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 21:03:05

No, she doesn't listen and doesn't stop because her whole focus is on the dog. If you know a magic way to make her listen, you could patent it. She is 4 so pram not an option as occupied by dd2.

Agree about dogs on leads, they are cornered, of course. Owners can't necessarily predict how a dog will respond either.

This has been most useful. I have a plan now, which is part of a more general effort to tackle elements of her behaviour. Thanks for everyone's input and understanding.

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