Our dog is scared of toddlers

(8 Posts)
DeborahAnnabelToo Sun 29-Sep-19 08:29:39

She is almost 2, a rescue of unknown background. We have 2 dc, 14 and 11 who She loves and plays with and they know to respect her boundaries. She is quite fearful is various situations but atm we are visiting family (staying away from home) and there is a 2yo relative who she's never met -lovely little kid, typically noisy and unpredictable (from dogs pov!) Our dog became obviously uncomfortable around her (we were in quite an enclosed space) and barked in a scared way. I took her out of the room and kept them apart the rest of the time. We don't know any toddlers at home to try and acclimatise her to them, do we just keep her away from toddlers/small kids now? I've always instinctively been more alert if we've passed little kids on walks etc as I don't think she knows what to make of them. Does anyone else have a dog like this?

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Lorddenning1 Sun 29-Sep-19 08:39:08

I have 2 dogs, 9 and 10 and 2 DS, age 8 and 2, so i got the dogs before I had children. The youngest dog loves kids, any ages and loves to give them kisses and snuggles, we call her nanny McPhee smile
The eldest dog hates little kids, she started to like my oldest when he was around 5 ish and they are best buds now, she does not like my 2 year old. They can be in the same room, with me present, but she gets uncomfortable when the little one is near her and has sometimes growled at him, she has never gone to bite him as I'm always around and will never leave them together ever. I am hoping it's going to be the same and when the little one gets older she will be ok.
I just think if u don't normally have toddlers around then there is no need for ur dog to have to get used to them. If toddler is visiting just keep them seperate, some dogs just don't like small loud kids.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Sun 29-Sep-19 20:28:28

My rescue is very fearful of children. If they run up to her or get too close, she expects them to hurt her and will go for them to make them
back off. Her fear is very real and I don't believe she can learn to trust them. I suggest you have your dog on a lead if toddlers are around and don't let them come close to her so she can trust you to keep her safe.

pigsDOfly Mon 30-Sep-19 11:53:33

I've had my dog from 8 weeks so I know that nothing has ever happened to her to make her fearful of small children, but she is.

When my grandchildren are in my house she either takes herself upstairs or wants to sit on my lap.

She has never shown any aggression towards them but she's never ever left alone with them and I'm very insistent that they don't annoy her in any way, although, having said that, they're not the sort of children to be mean to dogs and they have a dog of their own.

I think she just finds them scary. Children make more noise than adults, they tend to move more unpredictably and faster.

The funny thing is that she's always been more than willing to be stroked by children we meet outside and she's always calm and very sweet and friendly with them.

I think it's just that when they come into her home and make noise and movement she's not used to she find it hard to understand and deal with.

BrokenWing Mon 30-Sep-19 12:42:56

If off lead our (neutered/placid) lab tries to mount young children, always slowly and gently but nevertheless he's a big dog with hard claws, so is always on a lead and very closely supervised anywhere near any children.

If he was fear aggressive towards children in any way he would be on a lead and muzzled if near unpredictable children (near houses, parks etc) unless you can be 100% sure you are always ready to intervene if a child unexpectedly comes near/tries to say hello.

sillysmiles Mon 30-Sep-19 14:06:57

Realistically this may just be a boundary you have to accept with her and leave her be.
The only other thing I can think of it sitting in a park near a playground and treating for relaxed, focused on you, behaviour.

Booboostwo Mon 30-Sep-19 15:10:42

This is a tough one as the toddler is very vulnerable and can't follow instructions of a de-sensitisation programme. If you can, under very strict supervision, get the toddler to throw treats in the vicinity of the dog, while the dog has the option of leaving the room, it won't hurt and may, gradually, change the dog's view on toddlers. But the toddler has to remain relatively quiet and sedate, which may not be practical.

Other than that, it is best to keep her away from toddlers and young children. Be very weary of the odd young child that might try picking her up or cuddling her - this is exactly the sort of situation that may feel intolerable to the dog.

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DeborahAnnabelToo Wed 02-Oct-19 11:55:07

Thanks all. I will just keep her away from toddlers and leash her when we come across any while walking (this is rare tbh)
Also we only see this particular toddler a couple of times a year. In a way it's better I found out about our dog's discomfort around small children so I can be proactive about it.

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