It is very rare that I have a rant. I’m generally a pretty laid back easy going kinda dog. But…. last week mum and I read something on a pretty popular parenting website about best dog breeds for families. In itself that is misleading. Physically some dogs may have some traits that may be concerning but in general all breeds of dogs can make great family members. However, that wasn’t the bit that really got my shackles up. No it was a list of 4 things on “How to keep your kids safe around dogs”. On this link is their article and their list.
Now mum is no expert in dog training but there were a couple of things that she was really concerned were missing:
1. Respect: yes I need to respect that the toddler is a member of our pack, but more so the toddler has learnt to respect me. I think this is one of the greatest gifts I can bring her as she grows up sharing the house with a pet. That respect includes empathy (a huge deal when she is older and needs emotional intelligence skills) and understanding boundaries. Toddler is regularly taught to not go near me when I am eating. While yes as the article suggests mum can take my food away and I will sit and wait for it to be returned, by teaching toddler respect it will keep her out of danger if she is around another animal and respect of other humans and their belongings and also feelings.
2. Responsibility: this goes for both the toddler and more importantly the example set by mum. Only today did we see 2 gorgeous little 1 yo Cavoodle pups on a facebook page that had been taken to a shelter because the family, with 4 children, realised they were unable to look after them. We don’t know the details behind their story but at a topline level, not fair on these dogs who have been put in a position of having their family not want them and needing to find a new home. Having a dog is a lot of responsibility and mum refers to me as the other toddler. Yes mum does put more training into me than most people would a family pet but let’s be serious that having a dog is taking on another living being. Not only do we need food, fresh water and shelter but we also need physical exercise and mental stimulation. Mum involves toddler as much as possible with looking after me and teaching and talking to her about the responsibility of looking after me. This will involve us all going for a walk together in the afternoon, toddler helping to feed me and her being around to see what is involved day to day. Toddler has also been taught some basic words and hand signals from training although at the point in time I am choosing to ignore her. So the responsibility is equally on the adult humans to train any dog they bring into their home and keep them physically exercised and mentally stimulated. That will help keep kids safe around a dog rather than the horrible stories you hear and read of the dog who has been tied up in the backyard and then is blamed when something happens. I hope that learning about responsibility by growing up with me will put her in good stead for lots of other aspects in life, not only hopefully having a dog of her own one day but also relationships with other humans, jobs, buying a home and who knows what else.
This was never intended to be a conclusive list but just a couple of things that we felt were missing from this article. Let’s put a bit less emphasis on the dog’s behaviour… we are dogs after all, and more focus on owners doing the right thing by the dog and children so we can all live happily together.
Also strongly refute the point about bedrooms….Respect everyone has different opinions on this and love that I am allowed into the bedrooms. In fact beside naps on the bed one of my favourite things is a bedtime when mum reads toddler what is referred to as “The Bodhi Book”. This gorgeous story called “The Way I Love You” not only looks like me but pretty much sums up my relationship with toddler. It gets mum a bit teary every time she reads it. Toddler now insists I lay on her bed when we read it just like in the book (sorry for spoiling the ending)…. ahhhh… she is a good kid!
So there you have it…. I think that is my 1st ever 1st World Dog rant but one I feel I needed to have. I hope dogs out there have their own fun little toddlers to hang out with.