I play softball every Thursday night and always bring Sterling with me. (Of course he always has water, ice cubes, and a squeaky toy) This week was particularly hot so we headed to Dairy Queen for some ice cream afterwards. After ordering my blizzard and sitting down, a little boy came running up to him and threw his arms around his neck without saying a word to me. Luckily, Sterling loves kids (a sentiment I don't really share) and tolerated this little boy putting his hands in his mouth, touching his ears, grabbing his face and tail.. He licked his face and was overall very friendly. This kid also had his arm in a cast so he was kind of throwing that around too. The child didn't speak English and the dad was texting and sort of half ass watching.
I neglected my ice cream to watch this interaction because I knew it would be sterling who was blamed if this went bad. Even though it was clearly the boy and his father's fault. Sterling seemed to be enjoying it until he started to back away and try to escape from the boy. He barked once so I picked him up and told the boy that he had had enough. The boy was still trying to reach him on my lap, but I turned my back towards him and blocked him. His dad finally came up and took his kid. He told me thanks and that his kid loves dog. I responded with "luckily, my dog likes kids".
My ice cream was soup after this and I held sterling on my lap like a baby until I was done drinking it. I was irritated with this interaction because it was certainly rude on his part and my ice cream was ruined. However, I was very proud of Sterling. He was really good with that little boy and only gave him kisses and then let him (and me) know when he was done. I'm sure having my girlfriend's kids around helped tremendously, although they know how to behave around dogs. I gave him some extra treats when we got home :)

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Comment by Madeline and Bella on June 27, 2013 at 10:36pm

Awwww! How sweet! But I too would have been annoyed by a sudden ice-cream interruption. One time someone did that to Bella but she cowered and ran away!!! Haha but she's a very friendly corgi as well and corgis are generally a child-friendly breed, except for some minor nipping (lol)!

Comment by Anna Morelli on June 27, 2013 at 12:07pm

If you train him for therapy work and get him certified, you can not only do the volunteering and get him used to the various circumstances before you open your practice, but also have him be an asset to your practice in that capacity once you open it.  The training is also for the person and you'll benefit from that too.  There have been many studies on the positive effect dogs have in getting people to feel at ease and open up in therapeutic settings that would be otherwise stressful.  This is true for both children and adults.  He can also be a good ambassador for the breed.  Many here have therapy dogs and will gladly help.   If you have questions, post them to the forum or do a search for past discussions.  Although I don't have the specifics, i know that some certifying organizations also offer group liability insurance  for therapy dogs and this may be particularly useful to you in private practice.  You can start with checking out Delta Society, but there are others.  Best of luck.

Comment by E.B. on June 27, 2013 at 10:45am
Thank you for all of the encouraging words! I really am very proud of him. It sounds like some of you have had some scary experiences. The dog getting picked up by their head sounds particularly scary-especially when the adult doesn't really know what they're doing. And I agree Linda, I think sometimes dogs react to the poor behavior of humans and have to suffer the consequences for it.
Anna, I had initially thought of doing therapy dog work and I think it is something I would like to get into. He seemed so wild at first I wasn't sure he'd be right for it, but he seems to have calmed down some already. I'm planning on opening my own chiropractic office in a little over a year, and I think it would be great to have him there with me all the time! I will have to start doing some research on it.
Comment by Linda on June 24, 2013 at 11:12pm

You are right to be proud of Sterling, he accepted the child's attention and let you know when he had had enough.  Good breeding and good training will always show.

My first corgi, Arnie, was a rescue. His previous people had a child after he had been an "only child".  Nothing wrong with that but I came to the conclusion that they did not teach the toddler any manners nor did they protect the dog.  They gave him to a rescue saying he bit the toddler tho othey admitted there were no teeth marks.  He probably did nip him but what did the child do to him.  Just as we teach a dog how we want them to behave around others, we have to teach children how to behave around animals.

When we had Arnie he would only tolerate kids around him for a very short time.  I supervised and removed him immediately when I could see he had enough.

Comment by Beth on June 24, 2013 at 8:40pm

This tells me that your dog's breeder did an excellent job choosing his parents, and that you did a wonderful job socializing him;  it takes both genetics and experience to deal with this sort of situation well, so good for you both. I am always watchful with children and if they are smaller or clearly not used to dogs, I stay very close so I can physically intervene if needed.

Our worst experiences have all been with adults.  The absolute worst was when a mentally challenged man tried to pick Jack up by his head.  Yikes!  Very scary for everyone, and we no avoid such situations because I have learned that my good intentions are not enough to manage that situation.   

You should be proud.  I always give my dogs praise and sometimes a treat after we walk away from kids, so they know they handled it well.  Now they look at me and smile when we leave behind children.  I'm pretty sure they are saying "Is there a treat?" but I like to think they are saying "I did good, didn't I?"

Comment by Anna Morelli on June 24, 2013 at 7:53pm

 You are rightfully proud of how Sterling behaved, and you should also be proud of how you handled yourself in that delicate situation!  You can also be happy this happened, because it taught you something about Sterling.  Some dogs seem to have a sixth sense and an affinity for people who have physical disabilities.  You said the boy was in a cast. Many dogs would be spooked by this, not your Sterling. He also related well to a child who spoke a language he did not understand and who behaved in a way he was not accustomed to.  He is a very good candidate for Therapy Dog training and work.  If this appeals to you, I would recommend looking into it.  It can be very rewarding for you, Sterling and for the recipients of his affection and understanding.  That little boy had been through a lot and Sterling helped him laugh, love and just be a kid for a little bit.  With training, you both would know how to handle this type of situation in a more structured manner and you could make a real difference to people who need a smile.

Comment by Nancy Geddes on June 24, 2013 at 7:07pm

Sterling really did you proud!  I am always watchful, too, in terms of child/corgi interactions because they can go "south" in the blink of an eye.  Kids probably don't appreciate it much when I tell them emphatically to leave the ears, muzzle and nub alone - it's for their own protection really.  Sometimes the parents look at me screwy - but it's my duty to protect my three corgis from overzealous children and those who might not have had proper lessons in approaching animals.  I hope you got another ice cream!!!  Share it with Sterling!!!!  Corgi hugs, kisses and high fives from:  Nancy, Bear, Tasha and Linus


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