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The Child-Dog Dilemma


A common pet problem is a dog snapping at children who haven't been taught how to behave or properly interact with a dog.






by Sherry L Shivley, Journalist Award Winner

Hobby Horse Ranch Paints and Boxers


My mind froze in horror, thinking of the dog, how much pain and fear it felt in its last moments of life. I had nightmares for days.



Its only crime? Hiding in its crate away from a Grandchild who would not leave it alone. The little dog finally nipped at the child, prompting the owner, who was a guard at a local prison facility, to take it out and shoot it.


It took 3 SHOTS to kill the dog- I know that all agents of the law are supposed to go to the range for practice- so this is a double sin!


To torture the dog, killing it because no one would parent the child who was teasing and bothering it unmercifully. The dog went to its crate as trained, to get away, to find peace. The child followed.


Now, who is at fault here? Yes, the dog nipped. But why? The dog could have torn the face off the child, but it did not- the dog gave a warning, saying “I have had enough!! I am in my Safe Place!! Please Leave!!”


But the child still pestered the dog- and the dog paid for the child’s crime. The child was old enough to know better, certainly at the stage where the grandparent should have taken this child in hand and taught it the meaning of NO.



I teach my dogs LEAVE IT. It covers many things- Leave the garbage on the street, the dog coming in the door, the toy, another’s food. If my dogs can understand, why is it so hard to teach a child the same? “Leave the dog alone – it has had enough play and wants to rest.” The child can and should understand that.


If that does not work, redirect with toys or a trip to the park. Or- apply an old fashioned hand to the posterior to get said child’s attention. Sometimes you need to let them know you mean business because it is a safety issue.


It is YOUR home, YOUR dog, so be sure you make the rules before a tragedy happens. Teach your children or grandchildren the proper way to greet dogs- and to never ever run or scream if they see one off leash at the park or on the street.

  • NEVER hug or put their faces in the dogs face

  • NEVER blow in the dogs face

  • NEVER take things away from a dog unless supervised by an adult for training purposes

  • NEVER mess with a dog while eating

  • NEVER try to sit on a dog

  • NEVER pull the dog’s ears, tails or legs

  • NEVER hit, kick or throw things at dogs

Teach your children compassion. Volunteer at a shelter, read stories about animals, and talk about their feelings. Let your family have a pet, and be sure they care for it. 4-H is a wonderful outlet if you cannot have a pet. They have horseless horse projects, as well as Vet Science, and AKC/UKC has JR Handler classes. They can use a friend’s dog and learn how to care for and show a dog.


Sometimes this world is hard and cold. Having a warm loving companion can make a difference. So can you. Teach your little ones to respect the space of others and you will all have many long happy years together. Do this, and you will have raised a fantastic adult we will all be proud to know. EST 1998 © Jul 2015U1682402



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