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December 20, 2011

Puppy Problems Solved 6: Winnie learns about children

by Val Reynolds
Winnie listening to Claire

Winnie listening to Claire

Winnie’s Woes – written from Winnie’s point of view

This is a nice walk, I’ve never been this way before. It was nice to be able to walk straight here from our house, it’s quite a long way but I like lots of exercise.

Where’s Claire – oh there she is. I’d better not wander off too far

Oh wait, is that people over there?  I’ll just charge over and take a look.

Hello hello!  I’m Winnie, I love people. Would you like to say hello to me? Look, I’m doing my cutest face!

Blah blah! Go away!

Oh, what’s the matter.  Why don’t they want to play with me?

Children! Hello little children, can I lick you?

Winnie! Keep away.

Oh, no, Claire’s telling me off again. What did I do this time?  Not the lead! Maybe if I lie on the floor she’ll forgive me and I won’t have to go on the lead.

Oh, that didn’t work …

Where have those people gone. They looked quite cross and seemed to shout at Claire.  I wonder why they didn’t want to play?

I just wanted to be friends, especially with the children, I can see their faces so much easier and usually everyone loves me and wants to be my friend!

Come on Winnie.

Well, that was a shame. I wish the people had stayed to play with me and chat with Claire, I like those sorts of people the best …

Note from Claire: This was on a walk when Winnie was still full of puppyish enthusiasm, although she was quite big at the time. Not everyone likes dogs, it’s difficult to tell from a distance who does and who doesn’t.  I thought we were on a fairly quiet walk that didn’t have lots of people on and I didn’t have chance to catch Winnie before she charged off and tried to make ‘friends’. The family were quite alarmed and weren’t very pleased with either of us!


This situation requires little advice on dogs – more on people!  Dogs (like people) have different temperaments, whilst some will ignore strangers, some will want to greet everybody.  As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to teach your dog not to jump up.  However, there is little that can be done about the dog’s natural temperament (although you can try!)  Puppies are naturally inquisitive and most people will welcome a friendly, well behaved puppy and therein lies the problem.  How does a puppy know the difference between the people who welcome them and those who do not?

Sometimes non-doggy adults shout at the puppies and this often results in the puppy trying to apologise – although they don’t know what they have done as usually they are cooed over, stroked and (best of all) tummy tickled.  The puppy now goes into grovel mode and licking mode, which drives the unwelcoming adult into furious mode!

When this happens to me (and it did last Sunday) I usually apologise sweetly along these lines: “I’m sorry she is very friendly, but she won’t jump up and she does love children.”  Sometimes this helps to diffuse the situation – more often it doesn’t!  However, once I have put the puppy back on the lead, I ask if the children would like to stroke the puppy?  Usually not as their parent has now already set an example and, perhaps, a lifetime dislike (even fear) of dogs.

Puppies grow out of this behaviour – although they remain friendly as adults, they no longer rush off to greet all and sundry and if they do, hopefully they have now learned to come back when called.

Pat Thomas bred her first litter in 1971 and has bred Border Collies, Irish Setters, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillions, Labradors and, of course, Golden Retrievers.

Although Winnie is not yet in season most of her litter is booked. This is usually the case, although too many of one sex can be a problem. As a Kennel Club Accredited Breeder, Pat has free access to the K.C. website and if she have any puppies not sold, she puts them on there. However, mostly the pups are sold by word of mouth and families returning for a second, third and even a fourth puppy.

Winnie’s Woes Part 7 – Winnie Moves On
Winnie’s Woes Part 6 – Winnie Learns about Children
Winnie’s Woes Part 5 – Winnie’s friend Henry learns not to eat stones
Winnie’s Woes Part 4 – Winnie learns about other dogs
Winnie’s Woes Part 3 – Winnie Eats too much
Winnie’s Woes Part 2 – Winnie eats a shoe
Winnie’s Woes Part 1 – Winnie finds digging is not a popular activity!

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