A Girl and Her Dog

This is not a relationship that started off so harmonious, but instead was ran by a tyrant bully. What you are thinking probably isn't right either.....

Lydia is my daughter. She is a beautiful and fun loving 18 month old. Lydia has 16 teeth and has for a while. Her bite strength puts a pit bull to shame.

Toke is our first rottweiler. My wife and I bought him from a backyard breeder in Cullman, AL when he was 7 weeks old. He is 37 months old now and, although not fully seasoned yet, he is a very well behaved dog. We can always trust him and rely on him to obey when we need him to. He is a big dog at around 120 pounds. There is one thing we hear all the time, "I just can't believe you let your daughter around that dog." Some people, like my wife sometimes(no one let her read this), would get mad in these situations and let the other person have it. Or some people might say something like, "My kids can do whatever to that dog and be fine" or "I'd kill that dog if it bit her". I always take that moment to educate and to invite that person to learn more with a quick exchange of a business card, as I'm always willing to "talk dog".

Toke is probably one of the "she could do anything to him" type of dogs. He has always been good natured and calm around the babies. Even when they are not behaving themselves. That is where the bullying comes in. Enter 13 month old Lydia, cue the bad guy music. Lydia is mobile! Big time too. She can walk extremely well and gets into everything. Like mentioned before, she has a ton of teeth already. Now Toke has always been very attached to Lydia. When she is playing in the floor he lays next to her and that was never a problem because he still gets up and walks out of the room with me when I do. Lydia has become old enough to have a temper and thanks to the combination of her mother and myself she has a good one. When Lydia gets mad at Toke she uses her teeth and her bite strength for evil. The first time I saw her bite him she was playing with blocks, or some other stackable toy. Big guy stepped a little too close, knocking everything over. Lydia stood straight up and bit him right on the rear leg. With her being only 13 months old, I was unsure if she had intentionally bit him or didn't really know what she was doing. Until the next day. We are in the bedroom with the coloring books and markers scribbling away. Enters Momma and Toke. Toke walked up and, with his massive head, cast a shadow over Lydia's beautiful artwork. Lydia scram at the top of her lungs, grabbed him by both ears, and latched on to his forehead. She knew what she was doing.

Toke did nothing at all and probably never would. Like I said he is that exact type of dog that will let a child do anything. That shouldn't matter though. I tell this story to start a conversation about teaching our children the appropriate way to treat a dog. I immediately got on to Lydia that night and we have closely monitored HER behavior around the dogs since. We can't expect our kids to learn these things from TV, or books, or anything else in the mainstream. We must do it ourselves. It isn't right to expect your dog to just take whatever a toddler can dish out. Every dog is different, just like every person, but there should be clear rules to what is okay and what is not. We basically use similar rules for petting the dog and Lydia touching her little sister, minus the sitting on him thing.