Children pretending to be dogs

pinkspore

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We went to my parents' house for Thanksgiving, and brought all three dogs. My sister and her husband brought their three kids, ages 1,3, and 6. I had Sisci crated in a closed bedroom because we're still working on her coping skills with non-dog people. Two years ago my sister's oldest kid did really well with Brisbane, Ru, and Josie the ancient GSD. We practiced being a tree when we want to dogs to leave us alone, and making inviting gestures when we want them to come see us.

Apparently none of it stuck. My sister's kids are currently crazy about "puppies", have zero interaction with actual dogs, are easily spooked, and are also utterly incapable of following directions. The kids could not seem to grasp the concept that dogs don't usually bark at each other, so barking at them is rude. They could not seem to grasp "stop barking at the dogs" either. Despite constant, endless directions from every adult in the house, they shrieked, jumped up and down, and waved their arms when they wanted the dogs to approach them, and when they wanted the dogs to go away, but in a slightly different pitch.

Like, seriously kids, I understand that you think you love dogs and find them very exciting and want to pet them, but also find them overwhelming, but please try to use your brains anyway! Stop calling and waving to Briz and then shrieking and crying when he looks at you. Especially you, six-year-old. You were way better at this when you were four.

I'm pretty sure the kids learned absolutely nothing from the entire experience. Brisbane and Ru were reinforced in their secure knowledge that ignoring spastic children means endless treats. I learned that nothing freaks Ru out like a small child crawling on the floor, panting and yapping. I've never seen him hackle up over his entire body and rage-growl like that.

The kids have been begging my sister for a puppy. She keeps asking my opinion when I think they'll be ready. I said at this rate, never. She was relieved.
 

Grab

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#2
I don't really have experience with other people's kids. Mine is 4 (almost 5) and he's been around dogs since he was born and finds them utterly boring.
 

Snark

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#3
My nieces and nephews actually do listen to their parents/adults when told to do, or not do, something. They're all well-behaved and can be taken anywhere, unlike some of my sister's and brother's friends, who have such out-of-control brats, even my 84 yr. old mother wants to slap them (the adults, not the kids, for not teaching their kids how to behave when in public or as a guest). If told to leave the dogs alone and be quiet, nieces and nephews actually do leave the dogs alone and are quiet.

Riley would have been seriously traumatized by your nieces/nephews antics. He doesn't do well with strangers anyway, and shrieking people freak him out. I'd probably have to take him home or, more likely, cause a family rift by disciplining the kids if no one else will do it. (I have no problem protecting my dogs from ill-mannered children, no matter who they are.)
 

pinkspore

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The dogs at least were pretty chill about it. Brisbane was only out for brief periods during which he was following me around hopefully for cookies. Ru sat on my lap and way his usual oblivious self until the kids started pretending to be puppies.

Most of the barking was when the kids were inside watching through the window while the dogs chased a ball in the yard. They'd bang on the window and bark at the dogs, the dogs would occasionally bark back which sent the kids crying to their parents, and then a few minutes later they'd be back pounding on the window and barking. It was clear that getting the dogs to bark wasn't the desired effect, but I'm baffled what exactly the kids were hoping for. Their parents were certainly trying to teach them and equally frustrated at their total lack of comprehension.

My sister wants me to let her know when I'm in her town for dog stuff so we can hang out. I need to find a nice way if saying "Sorry, we can't hang out because your kids are gigantic meatheads."
 

lancerandrara

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#5
I think if children at those ages acted like that at my house, Rara would have bitten them and Lancer would be sent into hysterics. :|

But I'd crate the children. LOL

Man, those kids sound nuts. It sucks that they don't listen to adults? Most children I know are pretty obedient, because adults are supposed to be the highest authority. These kids sound insane.
 

pinkspore

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Maybe they're just really slow learners. I've taught kid classes on animals and how to interact appropriately for years. I do volunteer work with the general public at various events involving animals. I've answered a lot of stupid questions ("are these cheetah feathers?"), but most of the kids I've worked with have had a basic grasp of cause and effect. My sister's kid's? Nope. She also has a ton of child education experience and seems exasperated at the number of times they have to be terrified into tears before they learn to stop doing that ****.
 

BostonBanker

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#9
I often think that my brother and his wife are a bit too tough on their son, and that they should relax and 'let him be a kid' more.

And then I hear stories like this, or spend time around other kids, and I think "Nope. They've got this figured out." Forget my dogs (who would have been closed up in my room the entire time), I wouldn't have been able to handle kids like that without losing it!
 

Slick

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#10
Wow, that's crazy.

I'm definitely selective on who gets to interact with Leo.
I have four nieces and nephews; two who are 4 and two who are 2.
One 4 year old and one 2 year old are allowed to interact with my dog with my supervision. The other 4 year old and 2 year old are kept away and I don't let them interact.

One of the 4 year olds is far too screamy and spastic and scares Leo, while the other 4 year old is calm and does a great job of throwing the toy for Leo without petting/grabbing him unexpectedly. She did put a hand into Leo's food bowl this Thanksgiving while he was eating (she was trying to help out by putting some food back), which scared me for a moment, but luckily Leo was completely chill about it. I was able to have a good conversation with her about why one doesn't do that, and I feel pretty confident it won't happen again, whereas I wouldn't have that confidence with the other one.

Some kids just mature differently and can be in a different stage of maturity even from one year to another. The same "mature" 4 year old was not trusted with the dog at 3, even while one of the 2 year olds is already fairly trusted to not bug Leo. We'll see how he is next year, he could very well return to not trusted status next year if he gets a lot more active/loud suddenly.
 

Romy

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#11
Sounds like a lot of normalish kids on a holiday, honestly. How much sugar did they have that day? lol

Really though, if the kids binged on sugary stuff and then started to feed off each other's craziness, even the most level headed kid can get really weird for an afternoon. The fact that the oldest used to be a lot better makes me wonder if that's the case here.

My dogs live with 4 children under age ten (including 2 four year olds). My kids grew up around dogs. My niece and nephew didn't so much. The nephew is the one who needs the most reminders, but they are kids. The dogs are super well socialized and trained (with one being a retired SD, then another working SD and another in training they need to be bombproof).

Even living with dogs, the kids sometimes have days where they just kind of flail their arms and run around crashing into stuff and yelling, lol. Those days I just put the dogs in a quiet room and manage the kids as best as possible.
 
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#12
Sounds like the children need to learn self control and not be monsters.

Sorry your dogs had to put up with that.
 

taterz

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#13
I have kids. I have dogs. Sometime I have other peoples kids over. Sometimes I have other peoples dogs over.

I'm not sure what you were expecting. The kids don't have dogs of their own, and just like puppies they tend to forget their training.

Some kids are better than others about being around dogs. But if they don't have a dog of their own they aren't really going to know how to act or control the dog.

Their excitement is going to overwhelm them just like a puppy does.

I think those kids should get a dog if the goal is for them to learn how to behave around one, but only if Mom and Dad want one too. No family that has never had a dog live in the house is really ever ready for one. But most figure it out real quick. The rest unfortunately give it back or worse, mistreat it.

Obviously I don't have the insight into your particular families situation as I don't know them like you do. Maybe they are just the types of kids who really shouldn't get a dog.

But some people shouldn't have kids. Some shouldn't have dogs. And some shouldn't have either. I don't think the fact that they were highly stimulated in an unfamiliar situation should disqualify them.
 
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#14
Ha ha, yes, normalish excited kid behavior. My kids have grown up with dogs, both big and small, and are rather dog savvy / appropriate. Meaning they only really interact with dogs when the dogs initiate it.

Our neighbors kids have never had pets, and never been around animals of any kind (allergies in the family). As a result they are ridiculous around my dogs. I am always monitoring them when they are together (all the time), and am very fortunate in that both my dogs are remarkably tolerant of children and really don't react to much that the kids can throw at them in terms of screaming running and flapping. As my shih tzu has gotten elderly, she is much less tolerant and will definitely snap if her tail is pulled, for example. In this case, I always admonish the CHILD. LOL! And no, I don't take tail pulling lightly. But if you have kids around dogs enough, someone's tail IS going to eventually get pulled.

If my big dog so much as looks at the neighbor children, they go screaming away. Sigh.
 

pinkspore

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But some people shouldn't have kids. Some shouldn't have dogs. And some shouldn't have either. I don't think the fact that they were highly stimulated in an unfamiliar situation should disqualify them.
Eh, they lived in that house up until a few months ago so it's not exactly an unfamiliar situation. They've also been great around the dogs before, so I think the issue here was that they recently became interested in dogs and actually wanted to interact this time.

While I understand excitement and overstimulation, I was still surprised at the kids being utterly incapable of learning for several hours. They both very much wanted to interact with the dogs, they had correct behavior patiently explained to them over and over and over again, and all the adults in the house were very careful to model proper behavior.

I never did figure out what exactly they were trying to accomplish by barking/panting/crawling at the dogs. Even asking my favorite question, "What did you want to happen when you did that?" failed to elicit any sort of coherent response.
 

Romy

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#16
While I understand excitement and overstimulation, I was still surprised at the kids being utterly incapable of learning for several hours. They both very much wanted to interact with the dogs, they had correct behavior patiently explained to them over and over and over again, and all the adults in the house were very careful to model proper behavior.

I never did figure out what exactly they were trying to accomplish by barking/panting/crawling at the dogs. Even asking my favorite question, "What did you want to happen when you did that?" failed to elicit any sort of coherent response.
My guess is holiday excitement + sugar. Especially the sugar, and especially if they were bingeing on it to the exclusion of other foods. I have four kids under 10 here. It does weird things to their brains. lol
 

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