When we got our dog, I teased my kids that I finally had the perfect child. Because she would never ask me for my car keys. Nor would she ever come home from a date and flaunt a diamond ring and tell me she was leaving. Also, I’m pretty darn sure she will never steal my make-up. And if she comes up pregnant, I can sell her babies.
They didn’t think that was nearly as funny as I did. Nonetheless, she was my baby. That was over eight years ago. Now, we have a pack of grandchildren. And our dog is more than a pet to us. She is part of our family. She fills the empty nest the kids left.
The problem is our dog doesn’t care for kids.
It doesn’t matter to her that they are the most precious children in the world. As far as she is concerned, they are hair-pulling, eye-poking problems. As a general rule, she will walk into another room to avoid a toddler.
If they are here to visit, she will greet them and then leave the room altogether.
There have been times that she has growled at one of them, older kids, that is. She prefers to be left completely alone. The problems usually arise when the kids can’t take a hint.
When our kids were little, I wouldn’t have had a dog that growled at a child. However, maybe I should clairify. When I say “growl” I’m not meaning like its a warning before a bite. It’s more like a “get off me kid you bother me.”
I feel guilty about the fact that she doesn’t care for my grandkids.
But in the end, she doesn’t live with them. She lives with us, and she brings my husband and I a lot of joy.
So this is what we decided to do.
When the grandchildren come to visit, our dog can come out and say hello. That gives her a chance to see who is here. The kids are then allowed to pet her while she is sitting at my feet. She isn’t allowed to growl or grumble at their petting her. They are always sweet to her and genuinely want to see and pet her.
After they have had their fill, and are ready to move on to other things, she is sent to our bedroom. That’s where she usually prefers to sleep anyway.
The idea is to not allow her to be irritable with the children. At the same time, its not in anyone’s best interest to force a relationship. By sending her to our room, and her bed, we are removing the potential problem. But we are not letting her be aggressive.