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Those of you with dogs that have visiting toddlers...

(20 Posts)

...I need some tips. BIL is visiting in a few weeks with his DF and their 2 year old daughter. Jas has never been around a small child before, and is thoroughly spoiled. He usually has the run of downstairs and his own spot on the sofa. How do I manage the dog/toddler interface? Is it a case of just keeping them apart? The puppy is a bitey little fecker atm, so we will be keeping him at arms length from our grabby niece grin

NatashaBee Mon 27-May-13 21:08:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

He doesn't. The puppy does, though. I'm dreading it, tbh. I didn't choose to have a dog until my DC were older for this very reason, but as a result Jas has never mixed with tiny children or babies. I can't imagine he'll be overly fond.

rubyrubyruby Mon 27-May-13 21:15:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hmm. But the pup really is very nippy atm (12 weeks). Jas will like the toddler if she has food, but will then mug her. He'll assume she's a waitress service. I think I'll borrow a stair gate and give the dogs the kitchen to escape to if necessary.

dufflefluffle Mon 27-May-13 21:22:05

I have a completely gentle retriever but I do get kids coming here who are utterly petrified of her. We keep her away from them. She is used to children (as we keep two of them as wellgrin) but I don't think it's fair on her to be in the line of fire as such and as she is a family member I don't want her to feel too insulted/rejected by their terror of her. If that toddler were to pull at your dog and he snapped or growled he'd be the one in the wrong so don't take that chance. I was bitten by a dog as a child - my parents gave out to me: said I'd got it because I'd invaded the dogs space - I had indeed. I was embarrassed as well as injured but learned to respect dogs and now that my dc do same (ie don't touch unless with the owners permission and then gently and respectfully)

I think you're right, duffle. Argh, it's going to be so stressful. I will have to keep the dogs away, which won't be easy as they're used to being with me pretty much all the time sad I would never forgive myself, though, if the toddler was hurt. Too much of a risk.

Imsosorryalan Mon 27-May-13 22:27:43

Are they staying long? We usually put Alandog in kennels if we're having guests with issues or other visiting dogs! She has a great time for a couple of days and I'm relaxed toogrin

tooearlytobeup Mon 27-May-13 22:28:40

I get a lot of babies and toddlers visiting. We have a nearly 2 year old Springer.

We have stairgates up all the time so start with the dog behind that and play it by ear.

If toddler or their parent are wary we keep them seperate altogether if its a short visit, or if its going to be longer we go out and introduce them while walking the dog. He is then focused on his ball so ignores them, and things are calm when we return.

If the toddler likes dogs we let them go to the gate to say hello. If they are still happy we go in the garden so there is more space and get a football. The toddler can kick this while the dog brings it back, and we drink tea. Generally this carries on until toddler and/or dog needs a nap grin

Obviously we keep a close eye on them to make sure the toddler is being gentle and the dog is not getting fed up.

tooearlytobeup Mon 27-May-13 22:31:17

Oh by short visit I mean less than 3 hours or so. If someone was staying overnight or longer we would definately make sure they were introduced. We do always seperate them though if the child is eating

They're staying for a long weekend. Nnngghhh.

tooearlytobeup Mon 27-May-13 22:42:22

Long weekend is good, it means plenty of time for them to get used to each other smile We normally find the first 15 minutes is the stressful part because dog is very bouncy and gets excited wanting to say hello (he does this with anyone coming to the house of any age)

Once he has done this it all calms down again. He spends most of his time then following them round adoringly and trying to persuade them to throw his ball. Toddlers are normally very obliging with this.

He has also realised toddlers tend to drop food a lot so sticks close to them. Their hands are also generally sticky so we have to make sure first that the parents wont freak if he trys to lick them clean blush

Troubleintmill Mon 27-May-13 22:44:46

We keep our dogs separate from visiting children. We have a 2.5yr old DS and they are fine with him but I could not say the same for other little ones and obviously kids don't always understand being gentle etc so I would hate for anything to happen. We have stair gates and the dogs can be kept in the kitchen if necessary. Do you have a utility room? Maybe gate that off if you do. It's better to introduce them gently and ask the parents to supervise the toddler whilst explaining your puppy is nippy ATM and your other dog is not used to little ones. Sure it will be fine though and might be a good experience for child and dogs in the end?

Notonaschoolnight Mon 27-May-13 23:11:40

We had a petrified 4 year old visit us and our 5 month pup on sun she went from eating her dinner on the trampoline where she felt safe to giving her a pat but it took about 5 hours!

tabulahrasa Mon 27-May-13 23:37:58

I haven't had toddlers stay overnight, but DD's friends have and I have toddlers here playing sometimes...

It depends on the dog really - my last dog you could have had a whole nursery class staying and all that would have been needed was to tell him to go to bed if one of them didn't like dogs.

Monster puppy however <sighs and tries to remember that the last dog was nearly as bad at the same age> all greetings have to be carefully managed because he is not safe around small people at all, he loves them, he wants to throw his whole 6 stones of himself into their arms and lick their faces hmm. That's not just when they arrive, but every time they enter a room, so even if they've just been to the toilet we have to start all over again. T'is a bit trying tbh, lol.

However, once they've been greeted and he's got a stray lick in, he actually just goes back to doing his normal stuff - unless they do something massively exciting. Like wear socks. hmm

If you keep them out of the way when there's a lot of coming and going, or running or squealing, or socks...you'll probably find they just settle down after a while. It might be a good idea to have some kongs or something handy to distract them as well.

barkingtreefrog Tue 28-May-13 09:03:03

My dog is used to small children and is very patient when they wrap him in blankets or pull his ears etc. I look after a friend's two children fairly regularly and they love playing with him but they used to have a dog at home so are comfortable around him. However when we have children visiting that aren't used to dogs I put my dog on a lead and hold him close to me so they can see he's under my control. If the child is willing we gradually encourage them to stroke him (he has very soft fur) and eventually I'll let him off the lead, at which point my dog will most likely lie on the floor and expect his tummy tickled. If the child is still nervous after being in the room for a while with the dog on the lead staying close to me then we just shut the dog in the kitchen as it's not worth the stress. If they're there for a long weekend then I wouldn't avoid having them in the same room for the whole time, I'd just make sure the dog was always close to one of us when the child was in the room.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 28-May-13 09:12:37

My scared of dogs nephew is coming soon. Dog will either be behind a stair gate or on a lead. But he can be a growly, snarly little bastard. grin

Ah, see, niece isn't scared of dogs. They have one. It's more that she's used to playing with her dog. I'm not sure how mine will feel about that. Or rather, I'm not sure Jas will be keen. He'll probably be terrified. The pup will be attached to her trouser legs given half a chance.

tabulahrasa Tue 28-May-13 14:55:27

If they're used to bigger children and your niece is used to dogs, I can't see it being that big an issue...I've had dogs all the way through my DC being young and when a smaller child has come along the dogs have all pretty much gone, ooh a tiny person at my height, nice, lol.

If they'd never met children at all it might be different, but none of mine have been bothered by smaller versions of what they already know.

topbannana Tue 28-May-13 17:56:54

Get a gate over the kitchen door now and start to get them used to staying behind it. Long long walks and hard going chews, bones, kongs etc. to keep them occupied.
Either that or perhaps investigate kennels, it wouldn't be my first choice (especially as they are unlikely to take the puppy as well) but if your fears are that great then it may be an option.

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