We are (I think) making good progress in teaching the boys to respect the animals in the house. We've managed to teach Chris that pulling Macula's tail is not acceptable, but if he wants to stand where he will get whapped in the head by the wagging tail, that's his choice :-) Still needing work is teaching them that the cats are to be left alone when on their tower, but tomorrow is (yet) another day.
Hubby and I are trying to clarify one thing, though; so that the boys get a consistent message: how hard is too hard when petting an animal?

We've found that it is not as straight forward as we might wish: with all the grandparents in the house this last month, we've discovered that everybody seems to have a different idea of where "gentle" ends. The animals, being highly tolerant critters, don't seem to be helping: they'll stick around and tolerate "pats" that sound louder than a wrestling smack-down. Can't ask them to be as gentle with the pets as they are with each other we've entered the push-shove-knock-down-drag-around stage

When you are training, how do you define "gentle" in this type of situation?

Marie
Alex is on the mend, Chaos abounds. All is Right With The World.
When you are training, how do you define "gentle" in this type of situation?

I recall a post where Janet trained kids that only open hands were allowed when petting the dogs.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
We've found that it is not as straight forward as we might wish: with all the grandparents in the house ... Can't ask them to be as gentle with the pets as they are with each other we've entered the push-shove-knock-down-drag-around stage

I didn't let my kids pat the dogs when they were that small. They could only pet, so they had to touch softly and then move along the fur. When they pat a back, they tend to get harder and harder with time without even trying to. If they are trying to move the hand down the fur instead of just patting in one spot, they tend to have a more gentle motion to it and not get rougher over time. At least this is what I found with my own kids, my nieces and nephews and various kids that have run in and out of my house.As far as other peoples' definitions, I hold my kids responsible to my standards. If they do something they are not supposed to do when they are with grandpa or Auntie Robin or whoever, they have to answer to me. So, I would say that you should teach them what you think is gentle and hold them to that. This actually came up this past weekend. My ex borrowed my vehicle because it is larger than his and he was helping his sister move some stuff. He took one of my daughters with him.

They went to a drive-through to get something to eat and he bought her a drink. Even though he tried to tell her it was okay, she insisted that she could not drink it in my car because she was on drink restriction (she and her sister got sticky stuff in the cup holders, so now they can't drink in the car). She knows that if she gets caught, she will be on restriction twice as long even though her dad said it was okay because she has to follow my rules in my car, so she did the right thing.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
Hubby and I are trying to clarify one thing, though; so that the boys get a consistent message: how hard ... each other we've entered the push-shove-knock-down-drag-around stage When you are training, how do you define "gentle" in this type of situatio

Stroking. Patting can too easily become hitting. Pet from the neck to the base of the tail only. No other place unless an adult is helping (tummy rubs).
Faces are too easy to make mistakes (although one little boy I took care of used to crawl up to Teddy, put his fingers in Teddy's nostrils and gently lift to look at his teeth. This was under my supervision though, and very limited).
Lucky Macula is a girl - boys on their backs get way too tempting for toddlers at times. Noo - don't grab THAT!
If the boys want to kiss her - back of head only IMO. Never face to face, no matter how much you trust her - the twin factor does make them a little more intimidating and overwhelming in my opinion.

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
photos
I used to demonstrate - take their hand in mine, unfold it (if necessary) and guide them exactly how hard or soft to do anything, all the while saying "This is gentle. This is how you should pet a dog." It does take a while to sink in. And you do have to interrupt when you see it happening too hard.
We still practice, and probably will until the day I die, asking permission of owners to pet dogs. A few months ago, we actually encountered someone who politely responded "no, she's not friendly with strangers". It was great - no bitten people, no angry owner, win-win.

-Shannon
I used to demonstrate - take their hand in mine, unfold it (if necessary) and guide them exactly how hard or soft to do anything, all the whilesaying "This is gentle. This is how you should pet a dog."

Yep. That's how I taught my eldest niece, starting when she was about a week old. By the time she was 2, she was pretty good at it. Interestingly, as an adult (she's now 24), she's not into keeping pets herself, but remains very good at interacting with them - mine all adore her.