When my brother-in-law, Ron was about 10 years old, he had an Irish Setter dog named, what else…Red. Ron loved that dog, and they were pretty much inseparable. Ron was trying very hard to teach his dog as many trick as he thought the dog could learn. It doesn’t seem to me that he was having a lot of success with most of them, but when he patted his own shoulders, the dog knew it meant to stand on his hind legs and put his front paws on Ron’s shoulders. It soon became their favorite form of play. Red loved Ron, and wanted to be with him all the time, but sometimes Ron had chores to do.
About that time Bob and I were living on the same property as his parents, while we got our land ready to move onto. Corrie was 2 years old, and Amy was 1 year old. Ron was always playing with Red in the yard, and that was also where the girls played. That was just how it had to be, the yard was a shared space. The girls never minded playing out there, because when Ron was out there, they had a great time. Of course, the girls were interested in the play with the new dog, and they watched intently. But as little girls do, they lost interest pretty fast.
Eventually, they started going out in the yard playing their own games, and this too, would have been fine, except for one thing. Red, had been learning the best way to play with people. As Corrie walked out into the yard, he bounded over to her and…you guessed it, put his paws on her shoulders, knocking her down immediately. As her high pitched screams hit the air, Red retreated…in a big hurry. I think I might have done the same thing if I were Red, because Corrie could really scream.
Amy had a little bit different encounter with Red, because the dog seemed to understand that a crawling child was very different from a walking child. Amy could crawl around under Red’s feet, and was very careful. He never stepped on her or scared her in any way, but with Corrie, he just didn’t get it. Walking kids should be big enough to do Red’s favorite trick. He was bewildered by this problem. Finally he quit trying, because I’m sure those screams were scary. Unfortunately it took Corrie a number of years to trust dogs again…any dogs. I can’t blame Red for this, because after all, he was just playing.