Our expert says:
OK, let's take this calmly. Absolutely shocking news for you, CPM, and probably a shocking scene fot the caregiver to come upon. But apparently not shocking for the child. You don't mention her age or circumstances, so I suspect this is a child I already know about. And when such a child is very young in years of developmentally young and not properly developed, the act is very different than had the child been a perfectly normal 15 year-opld, for instance. When you say she skipped along afterwards as though nothing had happened, this is because for her, nothing actually did happen. TO her, it was probably as innocent and unimportant as it would have been had she been patting the dog on its head. to her, it apparently had no sexual or moral significance. However the situiation arose in play between them, she probably thought it felt agreeable, and the dog found it interesting, probably responding to the pheromones in the scent of a woman even if a very young one.
If you make an enormous fuss about it ( and I understand the temptation to do so ) it may be MORE likely to get fixed in her memory and to remain interesting to her. Several separate calm discussions, may help her understand (a) we don't do that sort of thing with animals, and (b) dogs, cats, etc., are dirty and we could become sick with an infection if we let them do things like that. YOu may not be able to concey to her what an appalling thing this is for you, but let her understand it's a bad thing to do which you don't want her to try again.
Maybe help her explore more wholesome ways to play with a little dog, like throwing a ball.
Depending on what other duties the caregiver has, suggest that she keep an eye on things when the child is alone with the dog, and if anything of the sort seems to start arising again, not to react as a catastrophe, but to distract her and the dog with something else to do.
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