Squeakers!!!! Parents Beware!
Thanks Twimg for the Photo
I have been spending a lot of time at Pet Expos lately, competing in dock diving events and just kind of enjoying everything they have to offer.
I am on my 3rd Pet Expo of this year and we are ready for more dock diving.
But I have to say I was taken aback at the last Pet Expo.
There was a mom there with her 3 kids, 2 toddlers and a baby in a stroller but one of her kids had on shoes that squeak like a dog toy…
I was kind of shocked as I sat there watching one of the toddlers run around and squeak.
Luckily it was early in the morning and the Pet Expo had not yet opened so it was not yet crawling with pet dogs that might not have dealt with this situation well.
However in my peripheral vision I could see dogs bouncing and lunging and barking at the toddler.
Even a non-aggressive dog is likely to knock down, nip or bite this child because she looked like an interactive toy on wobbly legs.
I have never heard a “dog squeaker” sound come out of anything but a dog squeaker or dog toy.
I have even used squeakers on occasion to get dogs excited and get them to pay attention to me and give me eye contact and focus.
I would never use something that could put children at risk or sound like them!
At First I Was Super Angry
At first I was super angry.
Angry at the mother…
Angry at the makers…
Just plain MAD
But anger doesn’t help anyone, only education will, and thankfully I have that forum here.
I still can’t understand who would make these shoes for kids. I can’t be the only one who associates that squeak with a dog toy. If it is to help children walk or for sheer fun I would think they could find a more appropriate sound that has not been associated with dogs for decades.
Even my dogs would get over excited by a child running around in those shoes (thankfully my dogs were in their crates awaiting their next jump); but at least my dogs are well trained and they do not have aggression issues.
This is not the case for many of the pet dog that come to the Pet Expos.
Any dog on a leash is welcome, and you have to hope that the dogs are good with other dogs, kids, cats, birds, mice (yes they are all at some of the expos). Some people knowingly bring aggressive dogs to “socialize” them and others are just too naïve to know, or have never really socialized their dogs.
Any way you toss the dice, this can be a scary set up; especially for a toddler wandering around with shoes that squeak.
Not All Dogs Like Children
Not all dogs like or respect children as it is and I think some dogs see small children and toddlers as more of equals than as tiny people.
Let’s face it; children don’t act like adult humans as it is so it is harder for dogs to recognize that they can’t play too hard with them or get aggressive with them.
Strapping squeaking shoes to your child around unknown dogs is just asking for a problem.
I Would Love to Do a Study
I would love to do a study with adults in shoes like this, just to see how many dogs get over excited, are more willing to jump up, or who show frustration aggression with these shoes.
But instead I think it is sad to put our children at more risk.
Dogs Should Be Trained to Ignore Distractions
Dogs should be trained to ignore distractions like this; and it can be pretty simply done at home by squeaking a squeaker and telling your dog “Leave It” or having him give you eye contact and focus. But not all dogs have this kind of control or training.
Please pass this post along for those parents who simply don’t realize how dangerous these shoes could be at the wrong place so that we can keep our children safe.
And for more on keeping our children safe click here.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.