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Do any of you know of any good booklets, videos or even simple checklists that can help teach young kids (and their parents) how to behave around cairns?

We havd a "bonus granddaughter" who is now 6.  She is the daughter of the daughter of my best friend, who died suddenly a few years ago. I have always been close to my friend's daughter, and agreed to step in as a grandma and Steve has agreed to be a grandpa. 

Neither of the parents has much experience around dogs and the husband is a little leery of dogs generally.  (And spiders and insects and the out of doors - generally just not that kind of guy, though we love him dearly)

Oban is laid back for a cairn but he IS a cairn and a young one at that. We have had a couple instances when he got excited and jumped on the granddaughter and one in which he nipped her. I can't blame him totally for any of them. He jumps when she sudddnly yells and runs around. Once she hid and jumped out at me - I yelped in surprise and Oban started to bark and chase her. He nippped when she leaned over him and reached for his eyes.

They think we should just jail the dog, who in their opinion is "not nice." The husband makes jokes about it.

I have decided I need to confront this gently and help them work to teach their daughter how to behave around dogs - she is afraid of most due to her parents. Maybe I can educate her parents this way?

Help please, cairn friends!

Edited by Kathryn
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This is timely information Brad.  DH and I are going to be first-time grandparents later this year and we have had many discussions about how to handle the dogs around the little one.

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I don't have any ideas for teaching your granddaughter how to behave, but you could also work with Oban to get used to the things children might do around him.  I've always pulled my dogs tails and fur, played with their feet, touched their face, jumped out at them (Kirby loves this game), etc. from the first day I got them.  I wanted them used to things a child might do by accident or just by playing.  It's worked well for us and they've been exceptionally good around kids.  That said, I think 6 years old is old enough to start learning how to behave around a dog.

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Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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41 minutes ago, kjwarnold said:

 I've always pulled my dogs tails and fur, played with their feet, touched their face, jumped out at them (Kirby loves this game), etc. from the first day I got them.  I wanted them used to things a child might do by accident or just by playing.

I have always done this as well.

I do have children, I've also worked in schools, school cafeterias, a daycare for children, and I teach Sunday School children of all ages.  The best way to handle children around pets, is number one and foremost they have to be in the same room with each other when you can supervise. Teach the child and the parents at the same time. Be blunt, honest, and talk in a nice respectful tone, (do not talk baby talk to them as if they are adults). If child pulls dogs ears, say something along the lines of " dogs are animals that need to be able to hear all different sounds. It helps them to see and hear what is going on around them and they don't like for you to pull their ears for that reason." I told that to my children from the time that they were babies. "It works".

When the child is running around a dog tell them " dogs are prey driven animals, they can hunt for their own food and running and jumping around them are not a good idea, they could see you as food".  

Teach the child that if the dog is sleeping it is off limits. Tell the child " a dog is an animal and has to protect itself and if you touch it when it is sleeping it could hurt you out of instinct" !

I have always talked to children like they are adults. If I use a word that might night be in their vocabulary I tell them what it means. I have always tried to teach many lessons in one. Children like to learn and they like to be talked to like an adult. They also like to know WHY! haha If you don't tell them they will say why.    Just remember they are young and they forget to, so you may have to tell them more than once.

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When I was born (1985), my family had one Golden and two Jack Russells. My parents and older siblings made it very clear to me from the beginning of my life that:

1) I was responsible for respecting the dogs' boundaries

2) I lost the privilege of spending time with the dogs if I couldn't respect those boundaries

Even as a baby, my parents were very clear with "NO" any time I put myself in a risky situation with our dogs (grabbing their tails, plopping down on them, chasing them, etc.)

My family also were pretty accepting of the fact that dogs are animals and you can't always get them to ignore 30,000 years worth of instincts living a lifestyle far from their ancestral purpose, and therefore accidents will happen. The key is minimizing risks. 

When I was 5 or 6ish, one JRT jumped up and licked my eyeball. It turned incredibly red and painful. My parents took me to the doctor, treated it, and told me to be more careful when getting my face near a dog. 

When I was about 9 years old (I think, memory is hazy here) I stole a treat right from my JRT's mouth because I wanted her to play with me instead. The dog bit my hand. My sister (she's 12 years older) yelled at me, cleaned my wound, gave me an ice pack, and made it clear the altercation was my fault. 

If I were you, dealing with a parent who doesn't necessarily value the positive interactions with dogs over the risks associated with them, and a child who perhaps doesn't always behave in a way to help her avoid the risks, and a situation where you can't discipline the child:

  • I'd remove Oban from any situations like the jumping incident you described above
  • I wouldn't treat Oban like he was being put in jail, cause he was just protecting you or himself
  • I'd explain to the little girl (with her parent present) that dogs are born with different types of behavior than humans, that they react to interactions differently than humans do, and if you want the chance to have fun with Oban you need to keep those things in mind. Maybe even phrase it in a way to act like you're teaching Oban how to act around kids, when in reality you're teaching the kid how to act around Oban (not that the kid or the dad need to know that). Like, if Oban starts to jump on her, teach her to ignore him. Or, if you 're too excited around Oban, he gets really excited, and then I have to take him into another room. If Oban does things the dad doesn't like, have the girl practice tricks (sit, stay, down, anything else he can do) with Oban. 

Or you could institute rules in your house that wouldn't seem Oban-related to the kid and the dad, but actually are. Like, no running, no yelling, no jumping. I feel like if this dad is a well-loved member of your extended family (just one who isn't fond of dogs) he might respond better to "Rules on How to Act in My House" as opposed to "Things You Have to Do Around the Dog." You could have house rules that would be the same with or without Oban. 

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"as far as i am concerned cairns are the original spirit from which all terriers spring, and all terriers are cairns very deep down inside." pkcrossley

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