When I was at the park the other day, Luke and I were enjoying the crisp cool air as were many others. We'd made our way around the park once and were just about to cut across the field when I saw and heard a little girl on a bike yelling at me. As we got closer she shouted out "I think that's a poodle, is that a poodle?" First off let me say how shocked I was that she knew that Luke is a poodle; I've had other poodle owners ask me what he is. "Is that a doodle?" NO for the millionth time. This little girl who had to be no more than 3 or 4 knew.
She stopped her bike; then said "he looks different, he's missing, missing his poofs." "Yep I cut them off," I told her. "Oh, you cut them off," she said nodding as though this made clear sense now. How cute is this little girl? Then she says; as we are about 10 feet away at this point "can I pet your dog?" What? Did she really ask me that? Someone has taught this girl well. I couldn't help but smile, this little girl doing it the right way. She never approached us until I told her that she could indeed pet the dog. But of course I didn't tell her this until I yelled to what looked like her Grandma. She nodded so I told her she could pet him.
She comes over quietly and calmly pets Luke's back. Her little brother was on a scooter and he dropped it and ran when he saw his sister petting a dog. He had to be around two and said to me "is that a doodle?" I laughed because I'm pretty sure he meant to say poodle. He too pet Luke calmly on the back as I monitored the situation. Luke was calm and being a good boy. The two children were done in a split second and ran back to their bikes. I smiled at their Grandma and said "great kids." She was beaming of course; as any good Grandmother should be.
This was a great interaction with little kids and a strange dog. Not all are like this and it is completely the fault of the parents. More than once I've had to hold my hand out keeping a child at bay as they swing their arms around attempting to throw them around my dog's neck. Not all dogs are okay with kids; this is a fact. And if you do not teach your children to respect dogs, then they could be the victim of a dog bite which could have been avoided. Some dogs are down right freaked by children; perhaps never having been accustom to them being around. Children are very different than adults; they move differently, faster and haphazardly.
Child/dog interactions also need a huge amount of supervision, adult supervision. Dogs are very clear in their communications but children will not notice; that's your job. It is our job to protect our children and to protect our dogs.