Toddlers and young children recognize a similarity with puppies and themselves and they want to play. The puppy usually wants to play too. However, human children tend to squeak, squeal, run away, and act like the best prey ever--at least that's how I imagine puppies view the matter. So, puppies react to toddlers by jumping, nipping, and otherwise trying to instigate puppy-style play. The energy level amplifies and a scary situation develops. Lauren, one of my group's puppy raising leaders calls this frenetic energy, and I can't think of a better word to describe it.

How do you stop it and protect the child from injury and help the puppy along on his/her training?

(Click on the image for a larger view.)


Lauren suggests using the pnemonic most children are familiar with, Firesafety's Stop, Drop, and Roll. (This might not work for toddlers, since they could get confused.) My daughter, Anna, demonstates below.


Have the child stop whatever he or she is doing and freeze.


Have the child roll his or her head sown.


Have the child roll his arms inward.

These steps should remove at least the child's part of the energy from the situation. I've tried these steps with a couple of toddlers and my high-energy puppy, and the technique worked.