This week’s guest blog comes from our lovely Explorer Dorothy! Dorothy is living with three toddlers, one in the human form and two in the furry form and BOY does she have some stories to share. Dorothy shares her experiences and lessons learned. This is a great read, especially for anyone considering getting a dog with a toddler in the mix.
Juggling Toddlers and Dogs
I’ve always been around dogs growing up, whether it was the family pet/working dog when my parents had a small holding or the neighbour’s dog I walked as a teenager. Dogs have a been a big part of my life and still are.
It’s the same for the small human, who currently at 3 years old has two rescue canine buddies. I’m basically bringing up 3 under 5’s (1 human and 2 canines) to live, communicate, discover, learn to play together and respect each other. I’ll be totally honest, I’ve stuck to the same constant teaching of right and wrong with a mixture of verbal and dog sign language especially to respect each other during meal / snack times, own space and time to sleep (as not every dog wants to have to listen to a special live version ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Car’ in succession).
During the day whilst I’m at work the dogs are looked after by my parents and the small human is causing havoc at Nursery. I’m happy knowing they all have time out from each other. Out and about, I’m wary if there is a dog about that’s not on a lead and remind the small human not to approach because some dogs can be scared, shy or just don’t like other dogs or people that they don’t know.
Unfortunately there have been those times, that have called for unconventional interventions;
I purchased an all terrain 3 wheeled twin pushchair which I put the small human and the dogs in. It came as a surprise to people who stopped to have a peek at the other twin only to see a toddler, a Staffy and a small yappy dog with huge ears strapped in staring back at them.
The time when the small human refused to go into the bath but would happily help me wash with the dogs in the bath. Therefore my mad cap idea was to wash them all together. Yes, I can hear the shock/disgust in your gasps, but I was desperate, plus it worked. Now small human goes happily into the bath…but as long as the dogs are sitting on the bathroom floor with me.
Going for a walk with dogs and small human on a harness linked to a canicross belt.
Moments I’ll always treasure (after the initial shock):
Finding all 3 had escaped through a hole in the hedge to our posh neighbours very manicured garden only to be spotted all having a pee together in succession.
Making cakes then having to answer the door to a delivery only to step back into the kitchen to find that everyone was covered in margarine (a nightmare to remove from toddler hair and dog fur).
Finding all 3 asleep in the indoor play house on a blanket surrounded by soft toys and 6 half eaten Mini Milks, a tub of dog treats and a full bread baguette covered in teeth marks.
Whilst on a beach clean, the small human started to shout in a very loud Peppa Pig style voice…’Doggy not flushed the toilet, POO’ whilst pointing at a dog walker who was obviously not going to pick up their dog’s poo, another beach cleaner walked over and handed the dog owner a bag.
So what have I personally learnt so far from having a toddler and 2 rescue dogs growing up together?
- All 3 need space and respect, plenty of praise and love, discipline and time out
- Constant supervision and being able to take a step back but still watching
- Every day they are learning something new about each other
- Team work and looking out for each other
- Being outdoors whether just in the garden or on the beach together is good for leaning, play, physical and mental health
- When your toddler learns to count to 10, hide the dog biscuits or remind again it is 1 biscuit each not 10.
Oh, and there is never a dull moment!