Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Toddler triumphs

Our family has had the opportunity to visit with many different people and dogs over the last month.  I was thrilled to see our 2 year old Kelsyann followed our guidelines with all other animals we encountered.

1.  Admire from a distance instead of approach (wave hi to dog, blow kiss)
2.  Invite them to you with kissy noise and leg pat (invites decreases bites)
3.  Allow them to walk away

Toddlers model what we teach and consistently reward them for doing.  Teaching and practicing these three steps with your toddler at home will help set your child up for success when out and about.

An example of this yesterday on our walk to the park kelsyann was helping me push her two stuffed dogs in the stroller.  A cat came across a front yard.  Kelsyann stopped and immediately invited the cat over with kissy noises and leg pats.   The cat reinforced her by coming straight over and rubbing all over us.  I loved that this cat felt safe and comfortable.  Kelsy did not chase the cat or follow it when it chose to leave.  Teaching respect of space is an important lesson for toddlers when living with animals.
***As always these 3 steps are to be supervised and only done under the guidance of an adult.   
***When we encounter an unfamiliar dog while out and about I encourage only step one for toddlers.  (Admire from a distance)  Unfamiliar toddlers are stressful for most dogs.