Help! My kids’ friends are afraid of dogs…..
Dear Pet Lovers,
I have a nine year old Lab who is the sweetest, most affectionate (aka, pathetically needy) dog ever. We got him as a puppy, pre-children, and he was truly our baby. I came home from work to walk him. I talked about him constantly. I showed people photos of him (clearly ready to have children:-)). I even had puppy playdates.
Here we are, nine years and three kids later, and he has unfortunately fallen to low man on the totem pole position. I love him dearly, but wish I had more time to lavish him with affection like the old days. My kids love him/tolerate him, depending on the day.
One issue with my sweet and lovable dog is that many of my kids’ friends do not have pets and their opinions on dogs range from dislike to extreme terror. Two friends will not even come in the house until he is safely out of sight, which means I often put him outside, even though he would much rather hang with the group. I try letting the friend(s) give him a dog treat or I have him lie down quietly so they can pet him, but often even these attempts do not help the situation and I end up putting him outside again, and feeling sorry for him!
It seems like this could be a perfect opportunity to show children how sweet a dog can be and teach them not to be afraid. Many times it’s just because the children are not familiar with dogs that causes the fear.
Don’t forget-it is important to remind kids to always ask the pet owner if it is okay to pet a dog before running up and making contact (some dogs really are not that friendly with strangers).