|Barked: Mon Jun 6, '11 2:50pm PST |
|Don't feel discouraged! Gunther loves children. He wants to meet them and run up to them all the time. He's never shown even a slight sign of annoyance or aggression, but I know it would be different if we had children in the house. When a child lives in the home - it's different. I know that sounds crazy, but I have a great example.
We also had a rat terrier growing up, and he was a complete Gentleman on outings. He let children pet him, he never even showed his teeth once, he even allowed a toddler to tug on his ear - but when my sister's little boy would go to pick him up in the home, he snapped at him. I'm not sure what it is that makes a dog differentiate like that, but I've seen it happen.
Gunther doesn't even like to be picked up by my husband, who has only ever been nothing but gentle and loving with him. He doesn't growl or snap, but he is CLEARLY uncomfortable. A lot of people think that just because a dog is small, it should enjoy being held - when most of them don't that I've met. I only pick up Gunther when I have to, even though he appears to like being held (only by me).
Your kids need something fun and positive to do with Cookie. The dog's opinion of them would change entirely if they were to teach him some basic tricks with a clicker and some treats. Suggest that they teach him to jump thorugh a Hoola Hoop or to sit on a little stool. There is no better way to bond with a dog than to train it. It would be fun for them both, and it would give the children that outlet and connection they want with Cookie, but can't have by holding him.
What I'm afraid is going to happen is that Cookie will start associating the children with irritation or fear. If he isn't allowed to feel irritated and growl or snap at them to express he's uncomfortable, he will start to resent their presence entirely. The typical reaction is a "NO!" when a dog does this to a child, but that just further solidifies it in the dog's mind that the children are nothing but bad news for him. Think about the fun training, have the kids take him for little walks and give him treats for making eye contact with them. There are a lot of preventative measures you can take now before he gets older. It just takes patience, positivity, and respecting Cookie's boundaries.
Edited by author Mon Jun 6, '11 2:52pm PST