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I don't know if this post would be better suited in a dog behavior forum or a child-rearing forum, or both :D

This past weekend, we hosted a 4th of July Barbecue. Among the guests were a few children including a very precocious and gregarious 2 1/2 year old boy. The parents of the boy are unconcerned about his activities and seem to rely on other people to make sure he doesn't get into trouble. My dog, Chewie, was also allowed in the backyard with our guests.

I have several rules about food regarding the dog. Aside from treats used for training purposes, Chewie only eats dog food and then only from his bowl. I don't allow him to be fed from the table while we are eating. I do this for two reasons. First of all, I don't believe that snack food is healthy for humans, let alone dogs. Secondly, it discourages begging for food at the table.

We had several bowls of chips and dips on the table. The boy, let's call him "Huck", would gather a handful of chips and walk around eating them. Chewie became very interested in the handfuls of chips Huck would leave in his wake and realized that he didn't have to wait for them to drop. Huck saw Chewie eating the chips and decided it was a great giggle to feed the dog. I told Huck at least four times not to feed the dog chips. At one point, Chewie wasn't finished wolfing down one chip when Huck tried to hand him another. Chewie was still chewing and as I opened my mouth to say, 'Don't feed the dog" for the fifth time, Huck proceeded to ram the chip up Chewie's nostril.

Chewie barked at Huck and Huck went crying to his mother. I immediately admonished the dog while I listened to Huck's mother tell him that it was okay and that he didn't do anything wrong. Grr.

I asked his parents to intervene, but when they seemed unconcerned, I moved the chips to the sunroom behind a heavy sliding door that Huck was unable to open on his own. However, being of the precocious sort, Huck simply waited until an adult went to get a beverage or a snack and grabbed another handful. So, I sighingly spent the next five minutes or so keeping Chewie away from Huck and his chips.

I wasn't so lucky on Huck's next successful chip heist. I turned around just in time to see Huck and Chewie standing nose to nose. As I was about to say something to the dog, Huck balled up his fist and punched Chewie in the face. Chewie again barked, this time with his teeth a few bare inches from Huck's face.

Huck cried and his mother gathered him into her arms quietly cooing, again, to the boy that he didn't do anything wrong. This time, however, I wasn't so willing to let it go and I said, "Well, yes he did. He punched the dog in the face. I know he's only two years old, but perhaps it's time to start teaching him that it's not acceptable to feed the dog after being told several times not to do so. And, perhaps, it's also best to let him know that it's not acceptable to punch the dog in the face. He's old enough to understand that there are consequences for his actions."

I was told that I had no business telling her how to raise her children. I told her that I wouldn't have to tell her how to raise her children if she followed simple rules as a guest in my house. It ended fairly ugly. They stayed for the rest of the party. The dog was confined to the house and I spent the rest of evening getting the cold shoulder from my wife (who wanted to keep the dog in the house the whole day, anyway) and Huck's parents.

Comments, suggestions and constructive criticism welcome.

Rand
 

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Sorry. I am going to disagree with how you handled it.

Here's how I would approach the situation. I have invited these people to my house. I cannot control the child. I cannot control the child's mother. I CAN control my dog. If I don't want my dog to have party food, it's MY responsibility to make that happen by controlling what I have the ability to control. What if it was chocolate that he was feeding your dog? You would take the dog away to insure he didn't get any. As it was, it turned into a power struggle and you and your dog lost.

I would have kept the dog in the house, put him on a leash in the yard, or kept him in an X-pen in the yard. It's your responsibility to control his access to resources, not your guests. I always take 100% responsibility of what my dogs do. Just because the mother wasn't doing her job is no reason that you can't do yours.

That's how I see it. Sorry. :)
 

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Don't apologize for your viewpoint, Four. I'm still "in the doghouse" so to speak, so regardless of who is right or wrong, there must be a better solution.

Maybe an x-pen is in order. I refuse to sequester my dog in the house (or in a separate room in the house) everytime we have guests who refuse to follow simple rules like "Don't let the kids feed the dog" and "teach your kids not to punch the dog in the face."

I just don't want the kids or the dog to get hurt.

Or I could just put Huck and his mother in an x-pen. Seems like a perfectly reasonable solution to me.
 

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Or I could just put Huck and his mother in an x-pen. Seems like a perfectly reasonable solution to me.
I like that solution. :p

We don't have a lot of company and I don't go much of anywhere either, both by my choice. :D I'd much rather spend time with my dogs and my husband than anyone else I know. My sister doesn't come and visit anymore because we have dogs and I don't sequester them away. But she's an adult. If I invited her and her baby, I would put the dogs away just to keep peace. I wouldn't like it, but I would do it.
 

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I don't think you did anything wrong, RandStrauss. I've always been very...uh...strict when it comes to child/dog interactions. I taught my sister from a very young age what is and isn't acceptable. To tell you the truth, I probably would've been two inches from decking that toddler and mom. However, that won't accomplish much. So you should work on these two things:
1. "Leave it"- This command should be 100%.
2. Give the dog a place of its own during get togethers such as a bed, dog house, or what have you. Like you, I don't want my dog confined when it's not necessary. So she has the porch and a mat. Make this place the absolute best place ever to your dog. Treats, praise, bones. Give the place a command. Start with just a few people and distractions and work your way up to big get togethers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Without a doubt, Ancient, teaching my dog to not accept food from anyone's hand but me is a brilliant idea and I would do so, if I only knew how.

But, that doesn't help with the punch and my dog's reaction to it. And, to say to the child that he did nothing wrong and is blameless is simply irresponsible.
 

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I would have put the dog away for the rest of this party and asked them not to come again unless they can watch and control their child. My sister's daughter isn't even 2 yet and she (and us) have all been working with her since she could crawl to pet dogs nicely, keep hands away from their mouths and not to step on them or hit them. Now she is starting to get it and is usually very gentle and careful around the dogs. When she is not, her mother is right there, or I am right there, to show her otherwise or remove her or the dog(s) from the situation.
 

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Wow, Rand... Sounds like your stuck between a hard place and your wife. ; ) lol!

I somewhat agree with how you handled the situation...

First of all, they were guests in your house, which means, you have every right to declare one or more of your guests as being rude and to either "stop or leave", and that includes kids too. That kids' parents should have been more vigilant with their child knowing there's a dog around... Even if they trusted your dog, they should have made sure their 2 year old wouldn't antagonize the dog, (like he did)...

Two year old or not, you shouldn't have to follow the kid around and repeat yourself until you're passing out from lack of oxygen, (however, I'm biased, I have a low-threshold and level of patience when it comes to children.)

I also agree that you shouldn't have to confine your dog, especially when your dog is so usually well-behaved, that's not fair to you. I hate having to confine my dog to our room sometimes, but I don't have a choice because my dog has emotional restraints that I don't trust. I feel dogs are like children, and just like that little brat had every right to be at your party, so does your dog. : ) (That's just my opinion...)

However, in the future, confining him to a room might not be such a bad idea, especially if there are going to be kids around. At least with adults you can reason with them and convince them to listen to you, kids... Not so much...
 

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I agree and disagree with your situation.

Being a mother of a two year old myself (dont worry im not bias in favor of the other mother)... I agree that their child needed more parent supervision.

I NEVER let my two year old around any animal without 'hands on' supervision. Why? A pulled ear, poke in the eye or even a tight squeeze could result in an injury for my baby, and she's likely to do all three, even when I'm there. If she doesnt stop I remove her from the dog and get her attention elsewhere.

My daughter is used to being around Grandma's dogs, which are old patient, and used to kids who like to play rough, so I am not nearly as concerned as I would be at a guests house.

I believe you were right in worrying and you were right about the mother not watching the little one closely, however if it was me in your situation... I would have just penned the dog somewhere else for the rest of the time and made sure not to re-invite those guests over unless they leave the little one at home.

Hope your wife forgives you soon.
 

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get an extra long leash

run it through your belt loops and thread the clip through the handle.

attach the dog to the clip.

have guests.

dog is contantly under your close supervision yet not sequestered away from socialization opportunities.
 

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Parents of kid were idiots.

You didn't do much better (sorry, just the truth). If you didn't want the dog eating party food, you should have put him away the minute it started happening. Then the kid rammed it up his nose, and you still didn't do anything. Then the kid finally punched the dog. You had plenty of opportunities to do SOMETHING for the dog. Either tie him up or put him away.

Instead you just let it continue. What did you expect, the parents to leash up the kid? Lock him away in the car? Even if they yell at him, or explain it gently, or spank him or take away his birthday, the kid is going to do it again. Guaranteed. That's how 2.5 year olds work, even the well behaved ones.
 

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I'm thinking both of you are in the wrong here. First of all, the dog probably should've been put up the whole time. If the dog is crated, confined to a house, a room in the house, etc... it just makes life easier for everyone involved. That being said, you have every right to set whatever ground rules you choose at your house. If you decide that only guests with white sneakers can come over, then that's your right. It's an unreasonable request in that case, but it's still your house.

That being said, the second you realized that an unmonitored 2 year old would be running around you should've put the dog away. If the kids parents are going to be idiots and not monitor their kid then you have the responsibility of monitoring the dog 24/7 (which can be a pain if you're hosting) or just put the dog away at that point.

The parents should've monitored their kid better, but you should've put the dog away at the first sign of trouble. Judge Hulk has ruled.
 

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Even though I am very non-confrontational, the one thing I am very definite about is how I allow children to interact with my dog, whether that means removing the dog or the child from the situation. Last week I also told my friends 4yo child not to tease their new dog with her chips, otherwise I would take both the chips and the dog away... Her mom was there (I was at their house) and had no problem with it because she would have said the same if she had seen it before me :p

In your situation I would have spoken to the child, spoken to the mother and if the child forgot/paid no attention to the warning I would have removed the dog from the area, either until the end of the party or until you were done with food. A stuffed kong while confined to a room is unlikely to be seen as a punishment by the dog.
 
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