Beware the Rise of the Toddler

A family adopted a six-month-old puppy who was anxious and afraid. When she was introduced to the family’s young cousins (four-years and eleven-months — TODDLERS) she seemed curious but then barked and lunged at them when they made any sudden movements.

The family tried to ‘firmly correct’ their dog’s behavior, but it didn’t work.

Correcting the dog will NOT teach the dog the right thing to do. Nor will it teach the dog to love the child, it will probably do the opposite.

It is not uncommon for a rescue dog to have no positive experiences with small children. Even dogs who have had good experiences with kids, will still be triggered by the movements of a toddler.

Regardless of new-rescue-dog or dog you’ve had for years, all dogs need to be supervised and taught how to behavior around children. For some dogs this is a quick lesson but for others with fears and anxiety, this can move at a slower pace.

Slow and steady made Pinball safe around Indy

This process will include desensitization and counterconditioning when a dog already has some anxiety around children, or good socialization when a dog is simply unfamiliar with small children.

Please Don’t Bite the Baby and Please Don’t Chase the Dog, excerpt pages 187 – 188

What is it about toddlers that gets to so many dogs? This question should be asked more often. But because many people feel their good dog can or should withstand anything their child has to throw at her (literally and figuratively), the question is not asked, and without questions there can be no help in the form of answers.

I knew even before having a toddler that they are bundles of energy with quick, unsteady bursts of movement. The literature about toddlers is filled with buzzwords that should scare the dick- ens out of anyone approaching this milestone: defiance, pitching fits, tantrums, and getting into everything. From the dog’s perspective many, if not all, of those can be difficult to process.

Quick, unsteady movements are triggers for your dog’s predatory or flight instincts.

Dogs have been honed by nature to react to quick movements for survival. Such movements signal that their dinner awaits. Your dog may not be looking at your toddler as a prey animal, but they are still programmed to chase anything that moves quickly and erratically. Think squirrels, bunnies, and even darting deer, and then ask if your toddler’s play movements resemble any of these animals. In this stage your toddler is triggering a very primal instinct in your dog. Some dogs learn not to chase the child, but they are in the minority. Most homes with toddlers and dogs report multiple nippings of ankles, pants legs, and hands as children move through the house.

So, what can you do?

Brody learning his little boy L is fun and not dangerous

Teach your dog to love your child. And while you are training, keep them separated by baby gates to prevent mistakes. When your dog is watching your child, your dog will get some great treats, toys, etc., so they make the association that when the child appears, they all have fun!

Don’t let you child grab at or run towards the dog – this can scare your dog and they will then have to choose how to respond to that fear. Fight is one of the first choices a dog can make when afraid.

Train your dog to know an escape route so you can quickly and easily send them out of the way of the toddler.

Teach your dog how to settle near your child and PAY your dog WELL for all the little zany things your child might do.

Pinball settling on the other side of a baby gate while my son behaves like a traditional toddler doing zany things. Note that Pinball is unconcerned and gets treats for his troubles.

If you take your time and do this right, your dog and baby can grow old together safely.

Brody is safe and content with his little boy L – and L even has a stuffed version of his favorite dog!!

Please Don’t Bite the Baby, and Please Don’t Chase the Dog has more suggestions than I can fit a blog.

For more helpful tips, on keeping baby safe around dogs, pick up a copy here or…

Visit your local library.

Summer Time Dog Training

Three Dogs Training class enrollment.

Okay maybe summer cooking school is not for your dog. But…

Three Dogs Training is.

Summer session starts Saturday June 3rd 2023
  • Basic – 9:00 am
  • Distract O Doggie – 10:10 am
  • Intermediate – 11:20 am

Then… Your dog will get to wear this kind of hat!

For more information:

click here or contact

“A Dog Named Boo” Discussion on Dog-Eared with Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis brings her twenty-five years of health experience and her love of dogs together in her PodCast “Dog-Eared” to interview authors of dog related books, memoirs like A Dog Named Boo and other advice and inspirational dog-related titles.

Check out Dog-Eared and enjoy.

Dogs Have to go Back to School After Spring Break, too…

Party time is over!!
Post spring break classes begin April 22nd 2023
Every year it’s the same, party too hard, then back to the books!

Three Dogs Training class enrollment.

For more information:

click here or contact

Pet Partners Evaluations

My next set of Pet Partner evaluations is scheduled for April 22nd.

To enroll, you will need to go to the website and go through your account to your registrations. You will be able to search for evaluations in Mahopac, NY.

There are four spaces available, so enroll early.

If you have questions, contact PetPartners directly.

Here’s a peek into a portion of Boo’s last evaluation – 2012.
If you would like to be a volunteer for the evaluations (humans only), it is a great way to get a sense of what is involved in the process. Contact me to be a volunteer.