Dear Parents of Human Children,
When your child asks me if they can interact with my dog and I say, "No. She is afraid of children." That means you need to STOP what you are doing and come get your child. That does not mean your child may come up and get into my dog's face. Your child did not listen to me and we didn't have anywhere to go. We are lucky she is just shy and not reactive. I know it's my responsibility to socialize my dog and I am doing that but it is also your responsibility to parent your child. This is not a petting zoo and my dog is not here for your child's entertainment.
I was polite. I didn't scold the child, yell at the child or say anything mean. Children are generally not my forte and I am never sure what to do or say. I asked her again to please leave my dog alone and told her that my dog was not interested in being friends. The child would not take no for an answer and the parents did NOTHING. They stood there and watched me make repeated attempts to escape from their child and they never said a word to her. They heard me tell her multiple times to please leave us be. They actually went back to unloading their groceries from their car! Leaving me to deal with their child. A complete stranger with a dog. I couldn't believe it.
Parents of Human Children, please if you don't teach them anything else, teach them to respect dogs! If someone says "no, you may not pet my dog" then the kids need to listen and you need to take an active role and parent. Over 4.6 Million people are bitten by dogs every year and I really don't want your child to become one of those statistics. Small children move and act differently than adults, they make different noises and many dogs are afraid of them. It's not just my dog! Not only that, a child is generally right at face level with dogs and it's usually their face that is bitten. Any dog can bite, especially if they are cornered. Being on leash in a dog's mind is being cornered. So please keep that in mind. If they cannot escape from you or your child their options are very limited.
Dogs are family members and if a dog were to bite your child, he/she would likely lose their life over it. Someone would lose a family member over your child not listening and because you didn't do your job as a parent. Your child would probably go through a lot of pain and suffering. Many bites require corrective surgery. I don't want any of those things to happen! It is SO important to teach children how to behave and interact with dogs. It is important to teach them that NO means NO. It's important to be right there with your child if there are dogs present. It's important to parent.
Please, teach your children that dogs in public should be admired at a distance. Just because a dog is in public, doesn't mean he or she wants to be petted by strangers. Not all dogs are safe with children and many dogs are afraid of them.
If you love dogs, respect them from a distance.
I'm busy over here teaching and working with my dogs. If you could do that with your kids, too, that would be awesome!
Now let's imagine a world where all the kids did a good job with dogs and no one ever got bitten! Now that's a place I want to live!
Thanks so much!
Dog Mom of Zoe and Phee.