Let’s be real: Toddlers can behave like real jerks sometimes. That does not mean toddlers are jerks. They are so new here still with only one to three years under their belts.
I’m not one to sugarcoat the reality of raising a toddler. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. And they change dramatically from day to day, acquiring new skills and learning new things, that once you feel like you’re getting a handle on something, suddenly your two-year-old is tall enough and strong enough to open your kitchen drawer and is wandering through the house with a hammer in one hand and a tub of glue in the other.
Toddlers are noisy. They’re messy. They’re hyper-mobile but not yet coordinated. They’re unpredictable. They experience extreme emotions that often include extreme outbursts–of joy, sure, but also pain and frustration and anger and sadness.
I could go on, but you get the point. Toddlers are hard.
(They’re also lovely in a million ways. Watching them discover and innovate with language and their imaginations… priceless.)
THOSE THINGS THAT MAKE TODDLERS WHO THEY ARE ALSO MAKE THEM INHERENTLY UNRELIABLE AROUND DOGS.
When it comes to kids and dogs, the focus should always be on safety. That’s it. That’s the whole of it. Safety for the kids, safety for the dogs. Dog bites are almost always preventable (read TONS more about dog bite prevention here), but I also want to emphasize that avoiding bites isn’t the be-all-end-all of kid + pet interactions. It’s what gets the most attention, sure, because it has the most devastating consequences, but:
You do not want your kids and your dog living in fear of each other.
Whether there’s a bite risk or not (and there’s always a small bite risk), you want your kids and your pets to coexist happily. You want everyone to feel safe and comfortable around each other. So, let’s dig into how to achieve that when you have dogs and toddlers and just want everyone to get along.