Cress and Eddie were me and my husband’s first (furry) babies. We brought Cress home together and took a zillion photos, laughed after he unravelled all the toilet paper rolls in the bathroom and wondered how long it would take for him to stop chewing the furniture. When we got Eddie a year later we again bonded to our little fur kid and enjoyed that we now had two amazing dogs who loved each other and us!
When our kids came along I always assumed they would be dog people and would love the dogs exactly like we do. In many respects this is the case and Izzy often talks about them in loving ways. But as she interacts with Cress and Eddie more, I realise that she needs to bond with them herself. She can’t just love them because her Mum and Dad do, she has to actively form her own relationship with them.
Izzy’s relationship with Cress and Eddie is already different to ours. She arrived in the house after them, so didn’t see them as puppies. Then she has grown up with them being bigger than her (until now). So, many of their interactions have been dominated by the dogs, whether that be a sneaky lick in the face, pinching her food at an opportune moment or running past her at great speed, sometimes knocking her off balance. Usually Izzy enjoys these interactions but sometimes they upset her or the dogs, and this is where we as parents need to mediate the relationship (and I don’t just mean make sure everyone is safe).
I realised that Isadora and the dogs need dedicated time to grow their relationship and develop a deeper love for each other. Time to play games and have special moments where they really enjoy each other’s company. So we decided to make a resolution around the dogs and the kids. To make sure they have at least two focused play sessions together each week.
Ideas for these kids and dogs games are:
- Positive training sessions where Izzy reinforces some of their commands and we work on a new one.
- A game of fetch at the park or in the backyard with the ball, where she throws it and the dogs only bring it back to her.
- Chasing a balloon in the backyard (a game Cress and Izzy in particular adore).
- And… chasing water from a hose in the backyard. This is a personal favourite of Eddie and Izzy.
By setting aside time to allow for a positive interaction between the dogs and the kids their relationship will become their own. I hope this will allow the kids to grow up loving, respecting and empathising with all animals.