Wow - it's already Thursday and I haven't even touched on the crazy weekend we had!
This weekend was monumental - there were two more kids visiting the house, bringing the grand total of human beings in one household up to six! My dogs are used to adults, but kids??? Since the arrival of my niece two and a half months ago, they've adapted remarkably well. So here I go, inviting two more kids over to play with my niece. And these kids are much more loud and squealy because they are a couple years older.
Sarah is such an old girl. She's a no-fuss kind of dog. If she were to have a human job, she'd be a hall monitor - the strictest one you've ever met. No running, no squealing, no playing, no wrestling, no squealing. You! Put down that vase! Don't touch that! No, we're not watching T.V. at that volume and for heaven's sake - someone stop that kid from squealing!! It was quite a lot for me to ask her to accept the chaos that swept through the house in a size 2T and 4T. But she performed remarkably and I'm so very proud. She hung out long enough to determine she'd rather be napping, so she retired early to her sun spot upstairs.
As an icebreaker, I taught the kids a really "cool" game - toss treats to B. B loves to catch food - she's a fast little piranha when it comes to flying food. The kids were too scared to offer food from their little hands and B is a little creeped out by kids. So, to keep everyone at a comfortable distance, I introduced the game "Toss-the-treat-as-fast-as-you-can-and-see-if-she'll-catch-it" (I'm working on the name...that one isn't catchy enough). Within minutes, B was thrilled that the kids were there. Because they weren't giving her food from their hands, she was smartly sitting before every food toss instead of mauling their fingers. The kids got more comfortable with crazy B - she has a tendency to move so fast, it freaks kids out. Everyone loved this game and got to know each other at the same time. I was feeling rather proud!
If you're introducing dogs to kids and vice versa, take it slow but keep it fun and interesting. Watch your dogs body language and remember: your dog depends on you to run interference. If the kids are getting too rambunctious or too handsy, have every one take a little break. If things go well on the break, you can return to interacting at a level that makes everyone comfortable - and never fault a dog for wanting to leave the situation, just let them go in peace.