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Dogs jumping up at my DC - what should I do?

(31 Posts)
JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 15:39:55

I was walking down a public footpath over some common land with my small 2 year old DD. I don't usually take her this way because of dogs but I was in a rush.

A woman with two dogs off the lead (fair enough, it's a nice place to walk them, no playgrounds etc) came over the hill, about 200 yards away. As soon as I saw the dogs I stopped & picked DD up. One dog came bounding over to us and started jumping up. I'm only 5ft so the dog was able to jump up and lick DD's face. Luckily she didn't mind but for one horrified moment I worried it was going to bite her. :-(

The owner was calling the dog and I was saying 'down' but it just carried on.
With hindsight I thought I could've dropped DD's bike and held the dog down by the harness but I didn't think quick enough at the time.
The dog owner did apologise.

So, any advice for what I can do next time this happens? DD is just getting over a fear of dogs because this keeps happening and I'd like to be able to find a way of dealing with it that avoids the jumping up etc or getting the dog distracted from my DD or...something.

I don't blame the woman for having the dog off the lead but the running to us and jumping up is no fun. I'll also avoid the path in future!

Ollivander84 Fri 28-Apr-17 15:44:37

Stand still (as a tree!) don't wave or make any loud noise and turn your back on the dog
I wouldn't grab harness or collar as you may startle them and risk getting bitten

Ollivander84 Fri 28-Apr-17 15:46:17

Oh and despite being a dog person and growing up with them, I do have a little fear but it's breed specific! Best thing is lots of introduction to nice dogs, point out guide dogs, lots of time/pats with friends who have quiet dogs etc. Make it normal
Turn it into a game of "no thank you doggie, I'm going to turn around so you can lick my hair instead" type thing rather than "arghhhh DOG"

Pardonwhatnow Fri 28-Apr-17 15:47:26

My so. Also has a fear of dogs because this happens all the bloody time. (Some) People just don't control their dogs and let them jump all over kids, knock them over, steal food from picnics etc.

Doesn't seem to matter where you go, there are always some irresponsible owners who seem to think it is funny that the kids are scared.

He is 11 now, and still scared to death when near dogs, and was chased by one on his bike the other week.

No advice unfortunately, you can't even go to areas where dogs are banned as they are very few and far between and the sort of people who can't be arsed to train any recall just let their dogs loose anywhere anyway.

Pardonwhatnow Fri 28-Apr-17 15:49:26

f "no thank you doggie, I'm going to turn around so you can lick my hair instead" type thing rather than "arghhhh DOG"

Nice. So they get knocked over face first and jumped on instead.

We need more woods, beaches, parks etc that are strictly dog free. There would still be plenty of places for them to go

Wolfiefan Fri 28-Apr-17 15:50:57

I'm so sorry this happened.
Picking her up actually makes a dog more likely to jump up.
Don't grab the dog either. If it's nervous it could even bite you.
What SHOULD happen is the owner sees you and calls the dog close it puts it on a lead.
If they don't I would place myself between dog and child. Both of you stand still. She can cross her arms in an x across her chest. Dogs may think hands will feed or cuddle them. Be quiet and boring. Dog will go past.
But if the owner was responsible you wouldn't have to. Grrrrr.
And yes. I'm a dog owner.

Ollivander84 Fri 28-Apr-17 15:52:08

hmm I'm not saying I agree with it but I'm giving an idea for if it happens
I've never ever been run at by a loose dog apart from ones I know (so at a friends house), but it always comes out on these threads that it's common
You can't ban dogs, so you need solutions to deal. Dogs should be trained to recall, and there are times when they should be on a lead but in the real world...
Screaming if it happens or giving a toddler a massive dog phobia isn't great hence the stand still. Dog will likely sniff and walk off

JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 15:52:12

Thanks ollivander...I'm not too keen on the idea of turning my back...would rather see a bite coming! Does it put them off? I did stop dead still and picked her up as I bloody hate when they run past you really quickly.

I always point out 'sensible' dogs to her so she knows it's not all dogs #notalldogs and in fairness most dogs round her are sensible. I think that cut-through must be where the bouncy dogs get walked so I will avoid in future (it's just so bloody handy!)

Wolfiefan Fri 28-Apr-17 15:54:19

You could take a ball. Throw it away from you and allow you time to get past while dog chases it.
I wouldn't turn my back but would "ignore" with my body language and avoid direct eye contact. Be boring!!

JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 15:56:33

wolfie My dd would try to jump up into my arms screaming if it comes close so I pick her up to reassure her. It didn't stop to sniff us and walk away - it jumped up at us straight away. It seemed very interested in DD - I was trying to turn her away from it but it kept jumping.

Wolfiefan Fri 28-Apr-17 15:59:15

It will jump up if you pick her up. It makes her more interesting.
She needs to appear completely boring.
You moving her makes her more interesting.
Can you tackle her underlying anxiety?
If all dog owners were responsible it wouldn't be an issue.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Fri 28-Apr-17 15:59:57

We need more woods, beaches, parks etc that are strictly dog free. There would still be plenty of places for them to go

We all need more green spaces. For all of us, dog owners included.

isupposeitsverynice Fri 28-Apr-17 16:04:26

Yes turning your back usually prevents jumping up. I can see why it's a bit of a leap of faith though! My dog gets over excited with visitors sometimes and I can see the scepticism in their eyes when I tell them just to turn their backs to him and ignore him. Works a charm though

CheepAndOrm Fri 28-Apr-17 16:05:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Fri 28-Apr-17 16:08:52

What are you on about Cheep?

You were given the tree advice. Also, the dogs in your case we're doing fuck all to your DC.

NotOneThingButAnother Fri 28-Apr-17 16:10:50

I came across a family walking 2 dogs - mother, grandmother holding leads and 3 year old (I guess) who was running on in front. I was walking my puppy with my own daughter, he was on a lead, it was on a footpath. As we came closer to them, the child ran back to her mother, who then grabbed her daughter by the shoulders and pushed her onto the verge, face against a fence then covered the child with her body saying "its ok, its ok!!" over and over. My dog never even looked at them. It was the the oddest thing. The grandmother slowed down and waited whilst this went on. Her dogs never looked at anyone either. You can imagine all the dogs thinking WTAF.

Anyway, just sharing that as it was so bizarre. But I HATE it when dogs jump up at anyone, my dog does it occasionally so if I see anyone coming I put him on the lead. Mind you he's only 6 months old but its just not on. I think the stand still and look away option is the best one, I don't see any other option. Definitely don't put your hands out even to grab the harness etc.

Or you could throw your DD face first into a fence

Ollivander84 Fri 28-Apr-17 16:15:05

Juni - you could always turn sort of side on if you didn't want to turn your back smile

JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 16:22:46

Dammit notone there was a load of nettles next to the fence, if only, huh? wink

Not sure what you mean about underlying anxiety wolfie? She doesn't like big, fast hairy things with big teeth running at her. I don't like it much either but I'm old enough to keep my emotions under control. As I said, I point out that it's not all dogs and she's much better than she was but these situations don't help.

I think I just need to avoid this cut through with her and will try to turn to the side/my back when it happens again. I do appreciate it's mostly a friendliness thing but to people who don't like it it's very intimidating and to a parent, quite worrying.

CheepAndOrm Fri 28-Apr-17 16:32:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 16:41:04

cheep I think some dogs just jump up regardless of what you do, tbh. It wasn't responding to its owner which to my mind is a greater indication of what's going on than anything I did, IYSWIM. Some dogs just get a bit over excited.

If all threads were the same for the same problems Mumsnet would not continue to exist! wink grin

Wolfiefan Fri 28-Apr-17 16:41:51

Juni sorry if that came across as snippy. Wasn't meant to.
I have a dog. But I also have two children who were scared of dogs. Various reasons.
I do think a fear of dogs needs addressing. No one has to love the hairy beasts (though I do) but they can be hard to avoid. We read books, got a cuddly soft toy dog, met calm dogs and attended a session run by the Dogs Trust. I don't want my child to be so anxious about a dog that they want to leap in my arms. That is excessive and needs addressing.

Barnes79 Fri 28-Apr-17 17:02:50

OP - my dog isn't typically a jumper, but if a child screams/squeals/runs/waves their arms around he pays a lot more attention to them, whereas if they ignore him and keep their arms at their sides he may, at worst, snuffle a hand and then carry on his merry way. I typically keep him on a lead in areas where there are children e.g. parks, and only let him approach the child if they a) try to approach him themselves or ask to stroke him or b) the parents are telling the child he's not scary and they try to approach my dog, and I can control how close he gets to the child and encourage him to go to the child's parents first to reinforce the parents message.

I've had people pick up their children in the past and my dog will then want to sniff the child even more - I guess they typically smell different to adults, especially if wearing nappies or have recently eaten.

Perhaps spend some time in an area such as a public park, where dogs are typically well behaved if off lead, so your DC can get used to dogs and walking past them holding your hand. Ask dog owners if their dog is good with children and, if they are, ask if you can stroke it or practice holding out your hand for the dog to sniff. Once the dog has sniffed yours or your DC hand they will often leave you alone (our hands smell a lot to dogs and often give them all the info they want). You can't control what other people and their dogs do, but you can try to influence your DC's behaviour in a way which will increase both of your confidence as, to be honest, it sounds like you are also wary of more boisterous dogs.

My dog is actually scared of most other dogs, so when they come bounding over to him, I often try to be the distraction and great the dog by talking to it (just random "hello, aren't you bouncy," whatever pops into my head chatter) and holding my hand out to be sniffed. This often gets rid of a lot of the other dogs exuberance and reassures my dog that it is safe. You can play a similar role for your DC (and hopefully as she understands what you're saying it will have more impact).

JuniDD Fri 28-Apr-17 17:28:43

Barnes thanks, some good advice there. But to be clear, we were no where near the dog when it ran up to us. We were walking along a path, minding our own business - no screaming/waving arms/running when I saw the dogs come over the hill & one ran down towards us. The other dog remained with the owner and wasn't interested in us in the slightest.

I'm interested in your comment that I sound wary of boisterous dogs - a pretty natural reaction in most people who don't own boisterous dogs, I find.

Barnes79 Fri 28-Apr-17 17:51:16

Juni I agree it is a natural reaction to be wary of boisterous dogs if you don't own one, but you'd asked for advice on what to do and I wondered if your own feelings about boisterous dogs was being noticed by your DC (I know they pick up more than we realise). My suggestions were ways of you both getting more comfortable with dogs in the hope it would help. My dog isn't an extremely boisterous dog and I'm wary at times especially if the dogs come charging over full pelt sometimes barking, but I know I have to reassure my dog that everything's okay by remaining calm and trying to interact with the new dog as I would with my own.

My DH had a fear of dogs when he met me (and I had a dog). He's overcome this by learning more about dogs and their body language and now uses my approach of holding out a hand for an unknown dog to smell, whilst standing still if he is unsure. His confidence has increased so much.

I understand you want to protect your DC and I can't imagine how it feels to have your DC be scared of something and to not be able to make it all immediately better (although I may understand more in a few weeks on the arrival of my first LO). I know you said that you saw the dog coming and picked up your DC - could this be saying to your child there is a reason to be scared? I admit I don't have the answer for what to do instead of picking her up though, and, in a couple of years my reaction may be identical if in the same situation, so if you do come up with a solution to the picking her up, please let me know wink

tabulahrasa Fri 28-Apr-17 18:21:47

"What i meant was i was told dh should of picked DC up."

As a better option than what he did do, the OP is at a differently starting point, so different advice.

OP, dogs jumping up are trying to get closer to your face to say hello, so it's not really a need to see a bite coming situation.

If it's just you, crossing your arms and turning side or back on is usually enough to stop them...but of course children are mostly at dog height, so not so practical for them and quite hard to co-ordinate if you're needing to pick a child up.

I'd block access to your DC, with myself, that's way you're still mobile enough.

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