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How to I teach my daughter that not all dogs are friendly?

My two year old Alice and my collie Maggie have been best buddies since Alice was born and she spends a lot of time with my mother's dogs as well. She follows her everywhere and they snuggle together and Maggie even sleeps under her crib, but I've been having a hard time explaining to my dog loving toddler that not all dogs are kid friendly. She often runs up to strange dogs and tries to pet them and has nearly gotten bitten twice, once when I wasn't close enough to get to her before the dog could bite her, but luckily Maggie was there to chase him off. I try to keep her away from other dogs but at times it's impossible. I don't want her to be afraid of dogs but she's not old enough to understand "Healthy Cautiousness" Does anyone have any advice.

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Asked by Razzle_Dazzle1 at 3:11 AM on Jan. 29, 2011 in Pets

Level 18 (5,775 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • This is a tough one!  I don't have any solid advice.  You can't "make" her understand, eventually she just will.  Keep her from going up to unknown dogs.  My 3 year old is the same way.  I've tried to explain that not all dogs are nice but it's not registering yet. 


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 3:42 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • At her age, it's something you're going to have to re-enforce a lot - but you just tell her - over and over - not like 20 times in a day, but like every time you get ready to go for a walk, or to the park, or whatever, where ever you think there's a chance she's going to see a dog - you remind her.

    You tell her that dogs are just like people - some of them are nice and some aren't. You shouldn't pet a dog without asking their owner or Mommy if it's ok first, because some dogs don't like to be petted. It makes them mad and then they will bite you.

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 3:44 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • I have the same problem with the horses but even one of our own I don't trust her with unsupervised. Willow, the paint, in very gentle and patient with her but Sparks is high strung and has a wicked since of humor. When she pets Sparks I have to be holding her and sometimes Maggie has to sit there and growl at her to get the point across. Maggie has even bitten Sparks when she was acting like she was going to kick when the baby was too near. I thank God for that dog. Her eyes are always on Alice, even when mine aren't.

    Comment by Razzle_Dazzle1 (original poster) at 4:01 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • very very tough.. I'm still teaching my 2yr old son. Zarek, that not all 4 legged animals are nice.. my 2 cats play dead when he's around so he loses interest but our next door neighbor (military housing unit ) has 2 dogs who always bark at my son, jump on the gate and nip at him if he touches the gate... I'm STILL trying to figure this out. So far when our neighbor lets her dogs out I tell him he has to come inside because those doggies aren't nice doggies. (i'm going to call housing on them soon for MANY reasons including them NEVER picking up dog poop.. it gets to 120 degrees so it stinks BAD!) Right now that's all I know what to do.

    Answer by alinker at 4:14 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • It's hard teaching them without teaching them to be afraid of all dogs. I was the same way as a child. I loved all animals and didn't understand that not all animals loved kids. I would have made friends with the tigers at the zoo if my mother would let me go play with them.

    Comment by Razzle_Dazzle1 (original poster) at 4:27 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • My girls love dogs too. I just explained to them that they have to ask if the dog is nice before they get near because some dogs are mean. I've never had any problems with them just running up on a random dog or getting bit. They aren't scared of dogs because of it either. They have a little cartoon skit on Noggin (I think, if not it's sprout.. it's the moose and zee characters) where they explain this problem. Maybe let her watch that. I think that may have been a help for my 2.

    Answer by jackiec7707 at 4:39 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • I've always just taught mine that we don't pet animals we don't know, just like we don't talk to people we don't know. I've also taught them to identify service dogs and never touch or even ask to touch a dog that is working.

    Answer by fancyjane at 10:46 AM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • Keep telling her that we don't pat animals that we don't know, we need to talk to their owners first. This way if the owner knows the dog may be snappy, she can warn the kids off. By now in our neighbourhood my four year old generally knows that some dogs are friendly and some not... and even for dogs she knows, she always asks if she can pet them.

    Answer by Freela at 2:35 PM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • please keep her away from the sparky horse - that really scares me... why not showing her your fear... idk my son was a thrill seeker and he still is fearless. also those kids can handle to hear the truth. you might have to explain more than other moms - like my son knows to be careful with sharp stuff - why - stiches - he can describe the process because i have had to explain it to him to get him to be careful. at age 2 just watch her and stick with consistent no's - maybe youtube videos on dog safety and try to find some show clips she will watch and maybe understand. if you looked into behaviorism - as a training techique/ teaching techn. for kids they would say do something negative every time she does it to establish the connection... idk

    Answer by AmaliaD at 6:00 PM on Jan. 29, 2011

  • I'm not afraid of Sparks. She's not mean or anything she's just high strung and spooks easily. She lets me ride her just fine. I keep her in her stall when Alice is in the barn and Maggie has no problem putting the fear of God into that horse. Willow won't spook, especially when Alice is around. Alice rides Willow sometimes, either in the saddle with me in the woods or by herself around the yard with me leading her. Willow knows how to behave around the kids.

    Comment by Razzle_Dazzle1 (original poster) at 2:32 AM on Feb. 6, 2011

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