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Behavior Around Small Children


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I've had my greyhound, Tracker, for 7 weeks now. He's met kids of varying ages over the course of this time, and there's never been an incident. He's fascinated, and stops to watch, but doesn't get particularly excited. Today, however, he met a 16 month old boy who was being held by his father (in his arms, outside in our yard), and Tracker started getting real excited and wanted to get to the kid, pulling strongly on his leash, wagging his tail slowly (something he doesn't do much of at all otherwise), and in every way was intent about either meeting or eating this kid. He didn't try to jump up. I never let him get too close, obviously. He's done this before when my husband held one of our cats in his arms, as well (this was before he knew any of the cats very well, but he didn't respond the same way to them when they were on the ground, just when he held her). He's also shown this behavior when seeing a baby goat (on the ground) a while ago--he whined and pulled and obsessed, too. A number of weeks ago he's had one nice interaction inside our house with a different kid, more like 1 year old or less, with the kid sitting on his dad's lap--Tracker poked his nose into the kid's face and sniffed and sniffed, but it was very obvious he was calm doing that.

 

The fact that he was that way with the goat makes me think if he's the same way with at least this kid he thinks it edible. He's otherwise, with adults he doesn't know, a very friendly, calm dog, and also mellow with strange dogs, including small ones. Or is he just particularly fond of certain small kids and is dying to greet them?

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I can't say exactly what is going on without seeing it, but I know when working at doggy day cares that if you lifted a small dog, it was fair game for all the other dogs to try to grab the dog. This may or may not be what is happening with the baby.

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One interpretation:

Something small and squirmy, making prey-type noises (whining, goo-goos, baa's), being held up by a food giver. He's obviously interested.

 

Another:

A small, alive thing he's never seen before, that smells different and which is making puppy-like noises, and getting lots of attention from one of his pack leaders. He's obviously interested.

 

Only you can tell which is more likely from his reaction and body posture. If he's whining and has a fixated gaze that you can't distract him from, is chattering in excitement, drooling, tail held high and stiff (could be wagging though too), an upright and forward body position - he's likely having a prey reaction. But a more relaxed and curious posture, wih a low tail and head, maybe still some whining and sniffing - could be more curiosity and interest.

 

If you're unsure about your dog's reaction to small children (or baby animals) then you should ALWAYS err on the side of caution. It only takes one accident.

 

My boy Dude, come to find out, is not small dog or outside animal tolerant. But he LOVES babies and small children and will literally pull me over to strollers and babies in arms. Fortunately, these parents have all known Dude! He just buries his nose and sniffs these reeeeaaaallllllyyyyyyy long sniffs - like you would with a sweet smelling baby! And he loves to lick there feet, mostly because I think it makes them laugh and he loves that too.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Even my hounds who are used to small children (because I did day care for many years) would get excited if one of the parents had a small one in their arms. I'd ask the parent to kneel down with the baby and the dogs would calm down and sniff politely. It's the same if someone stops by with a small puppy in their arms. Once the pup is on the ground, everything is fine.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest redreed

I can't say how Jock would react to a baby in arms (because as pointed out above, whole 'nother kettle of kid) but he LOVES LOVES LOVES walking or strolled little kids. He's pretty gentle with them but his whole body is just happy, tail wagging, ears up, sniffing them, and doing his wiggley dance. I am always cautious though, because God knows it only takes a second and a small misjudgement.

 

However DH says it's because they are usually sticky and smell like cookies... at least DD usually does.

 

:)

Edited by redreed
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Guest Samantha

I can't say how Jock would react to a baby in arms (because as pointed out above, whole 'nother kettle of kid) but he LOVES LOVES LOVES walking or strolled little kids. He's pretty gentle with them but his whole body is just happy, tail wagging, ears up, sniffing them, and doing his wiggley dance. I am always cautious though, because God knows it only takes a second and a small misjudgement.

 

However DH says it's because they are usually sticky and smell like cookies... at least DD usually does.

 

:)

 

:lol:lol

 

Maddison is very interested in my 9 month old neice if she is being held by one of us, not in a agressive way at all, just very excited, yet if she's in her car seat and we put her on the floor, Maddison just sniffs and has afew little licks of her hands then off she goes.

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Guest pennmorgan

Yep, it's all about the baby being in someone's arms. The only time we've had any incident with Olivia at the dog park, it was when someone picked up their little boston terrier and Olivia immediately tried to jump up and nip at him. It's just exciting for them, apparently.

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Yep, it's all about the baby being in someone's arms.

 

Yep. Anything alive being held up by someone is extremely exciting.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest FastDogsOwnMe

It's pretty much been said, so I'll just say please be VERY careful! Which you were... use a muzzle if children come over IMO and get him used to seeing them be carried.

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Guest jettcricket

Even my hounds who are used to small children (because I did day care for many years) would get excited if one of the parents had a small one in their arms. I'd ask the parent to kneel down with the baby and the dogs would calm down and sniff politely. It's the same if someone stops by with a small puppy in their arms. Once the pup is on the ground, everything is fine.

 

My little Hollie reacts the same way if I pick up one of the cats....I kneel down and let her smell them and then she's fine.

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Guest burgerandfrey

Our six-year-old boy Zeke does exactly the same thing when someone holds a small dog or puppy in their arms! When we first adopted him last Summer we were out for a walk when we encountered someone walking a small fluffy dog. The owner picked up her dog when she saw Zeke coming and then stopped to talk to us. Zeke got very excited and watched the little dog, so I reeled in his leash a bit since I hadn't lived with him long enough to know what to expect. He was fine until the other dog started to yip and whine, then Zeke tried to lunge at the dog. Fortunately I had ahold of him. Since then we noticed that he did not try to go after small dogs who were walking on-leash. It definitely had to do with someone holding the dog in their arms.

 

Some months later my brother and his family adopted a new puppy and brought it over to see us. When Zeke saw the small puppy in my brother's wife's arms he walked up and sat right in front of her... lifting his paw. This is what Zeke does when he wants a treat or a toy that he knows you have in your hand. When she did not give Zeke the puppy, he followed her and even tried to grab the puppy! He had ahold of the puppy's foot but let go when he was reprimanded. It was kind of frightening and we should have had him on a leash. We were surprised by the visit, so Zeke was off-leash. We clipped him in after that happened. I think he thought the puppy was a toy, and I can't blame him since it looked like a toy to me too :lol Still... it's kind of scary and we were concerned that he would react the same way with human babies. Fortunately that has not been the case so far. He is interested in human babies, but he does not react the same way... he reacts exactly the way you describe Tracker's reaction. He doesn't sit for them like he wants you to give him the baby. Instead he just wants to have a look and a sniff to see what this little person is who is making weird noises. Fortunately he doesn't react much to the noises either, other than a look of being a bit puzzled. Although Zeke has only been around a few babies, the fact that his reaction has ranged from indifference to friendly interest has been a relief to us since we are expecting our first baby in August. Of course we will supervise all interaction. We have two greyhounds and just ordered the book "Living with Kids and Dogs without Losing Your Mind" to see what advice we can glean from that... but we aren't really expecting problems. Both of our greys are fantastic with kids and spend a lot of time with my nieces. Zeke especially loves attention from kids, and is extremely tolerant of being handled by multiple people at once.

 

Even when Zeke was wanting those puppies/small dogs he wasn't growling or in attack mode. He was just excited like he saw a toy or food that he wanted... which can still be kind of scary. Now that Zeke has learned that dogs come in all shapes and sizes I don't think he even reacts to small dogs in people's arms the way he used to. He just tends to ignore them. We walk our dogs in a park popular among other dog walkers, so this has given us an opportunity to socialize our hounds with other dogs in a controlled way.

 

Our current greys have never been around cats, but we know Zeke is not cat-safe because he was fostered by a family with cats until he tried to go after one. Our previous grey lived with a cat we used to have for many years and they got along very well. I don't know the details of the incident Zeke had with the cat. I know the cat was fine, but it scared the owners. Zeke had passed his initial cat safety test, but for those tests the cat is usually on the ground with the dog. I don't know if the incident involved a cat who was on the ground, running, or in somebody's arms. I would be curious to know though...

 

Sean

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