My kids knew before they could walk that you do not pull, poke, or prod an animal. That you let them come to you, not the other way around. That you do nothing with them without permission from the attending adult. That you do not let them eat your food or push you around, either. Some folks understand very young children can and do think very well, even though they may not be able to talk for years yet.
We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are. Anais Nin