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Dog Owner Suggests Parents 'Leash' Their Toddler After She Tried To Touch Her Service Dog

Photo: GoodFocused / Blaj Gabriel / Shutterstock 
dog, animal, toddler, leash

A woman started a heated debate on social media after she snapped at a parent whose child got too close to her service dog. 

After the child’s mom attempted to excuse her actions by claiming that she was young and didn’t know any better, the woman made a suggestion that had some people praising her, and others questioning her sanity and compassion. 

The woman encouraged a mother to put her child on a leash after the toddler attempted to touch her service dog without permission. 

Lynne Schmidt, took to X (formerly known as Twitter), to share her unpleasant experience with a mother and her child while she was out in public with her service dog, Zoë. According to Schmidt, while she and Zoë were going about their business, a toddler came charging toward them, intrigued by the dog. Schmidt quickly jumped into action, as Zoë is a service animal, and cannot be pet by strangers while working. 

Putting herself between Zoë and the toddler, Schmidt reminded her that we “don’t run up to dogs we don’t know.” The child’s mother, who was nearby, attempted to excuse her behavior by claiming that she was only three years old. 

That’s when Schmidt said she decided to make a recommendation to the child’s mother to prevent her from doing the same thing in the future. “If she isn’t on voice recall, maybe she should be leashed?” Schmidt said to the woman. 

Her witty response sparked mixed reactions from other X users. 

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Some people agreed with Schmidt, noting that a child’s age was not an excuse for them to act as they pleased. 

“I don’t think you did anything wrong. I have two very unruly boys and I often worry about them running up to a dog that is understandably going to get scared and bite them. It’s important to teach these things early on,” one X user commented. 

“Why do people assume a three-year-old can't be taught? Isn't this a teachable lesson? Don't they want them to grow AND learn?” another user wrote. “Saying, ‘I'm sorry’ and using that as an opportunity TO TEACH rather than vacating reason, seems to me to be a better parent response.” 



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“‘She's three’ is not an argument a frightened dog will acknowledge,” another user noted. 

Some people even shared that they were put on a leash as a child to keep them from running off into trouble and that it actually worked! “As a leashed kid, I approve this message,” one user revealed. “Even though I hated my leash, it was necessary. I ran off everywhere and anywhere to go to the next thing that caught my interest.”

Others pointed out that nobody, even curious children, should approach and try to touch dogs that they do not know. 

However, others believed that Schmidt’s remarks were a bit harsh and that she should have demonstrated more grace toward the mother and child. 

“This was very rude of you,” one X user commented. “She’s a child who didn’t know any better,” another user wrote. 

Others suggested that Schmidt refrain from taking her dogs out in public if they could not be trusted around children, or that she should put a vest on the dog urging people to stay away. “Society is built for people. Kids are people …If your dog is a danger to children it should not be brought to places where children frequent. Kids should not be leashed to make your dog more comfortable,” one user shared. 

It is true that children are a part of our society and should be treated as such. They deserve to be out in public spaces even if they may misbehave. After all, being out in social situations is exactly how they learn how to act appropriately toward strangers. 

It is also true that disabled individuals and their service animals are just as much a part of our society as children. They too, deserve respect and compassion. 

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Dog Owner Suggests Parents Leash Their Toddler After She Tried To Touch Her Service DogPhoto: 24K-Production / Shutterstock 

While dogs are irresistibly cute and your first instinct may be to pet one when you see one in public, ask yourself, "Would it be okay if I pet a stranger’s baby whom I thought was cute without their parent’s permission first?"

The same applies to people’s pets. 

It is also important to keep in mind that the dog could be a service animal who is actively on the job. Approaching them or touching them could distract them from their role, which could not only be stressful for them but dangerous for their owners. 

So if you are out in public with your children and they happen to spot a dog with their owner, you can grab their hand to prevent them from taking off, and gently remind them not to touch animals they do not know without the owner’s permission first. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.