lack of

Canines and kiddies interacting

Elsa is obviously happy about this interaction but I am still there to protect her and the child if need be. 

This video was passed by me via Facebook, (dog attack video) it should have never happened.   Yet these type of things happen often due to lack of supervision.  It makes me so mad that people allow this to happen.  The owner in this video even brought his dog to the vet to be euthanized before this happened.  He already knew that his dog was not good with his grandchild.  He cannot blame the vet for it, he did not supervise his dog and grandchild's interactions.  This never had to happen, it could have been completely avoided.

"Sherri, our dog has growled at the baby," is what the person on the phone is saying.  People who allow their dog full access to the baby, everything seems fine until the baby starts to move and everything changes.  I have got a lot of these exact calls.  When I go to the home to discuss the issue with the owners they are often dismayed by their dog's behavior.  Sometimes they have been coaxed to call by another family member.  I had just such a call a couple of years ago.  The Mother in law was extremely worried for her grandchild, the parents not so much.

When I got to the home I sat and chatted and watched.  Watching the typical interactions is a great way to know what is going on.  In an instant I stood up and asked them to pick up their baby.  Their very large Akita mix dog was growling as the baby crawled closer and closer to him. The parents watched and did not seem alarmed, that is when I started my warning seeing that no 'danger signs' were going off for them.  "Your child is going to get bit," was the first thing I said.  "Your dog is most definitely going to bite the baby."  They looked at me like "what?"  So I picked apart what was going on and more than likely going to happen.

When babies are little and new they cause no concern to a dog typically.  They don't move around, they are no threat except that they take some of our attention.  Once on the ground and mobile, everything changes.  Of course there are lots of dogs that are fine with crawling babies and never see them as a threat.  But this blog is still for all dog owners, I don't care how friendly and wonderful your dog is.  Once a baby starts to crawl it can be considered a pack member and if you (the owner) do not rule the pack, then your dog will.  Your job is to protect your child and to protect your dog.  If you do not, then your dog takes over the job.

I've sat at many first time meetings with dogs and children and shuddered as a parent.  I am an extremely protective parent and it boggles my mind to see how some people see no danger.  I believe it is the "my dog would never" attitude.  Which is indeed a very dangerous attitude to have.  Any dog will, all dogs have a breaking point. But the fact is that dogs and children should never be alone, NEVER.  I remember a vet tech telling me years ago that she didn't buy the whole supervision thing.  "If she couldn't trust her dogs alone with  her baby then she wouldn't have them," is what she told me.   Sadly this is not a good attitude.  Of course it is great to know that your dog loves your baby or child.  But even still you should never leave the two alone.

Things happen, children and/or babies can do some weird things.  They pull ears, bite, crawl on top of and any number of other things.  If you don't see what happened then you have no idea, you are blind as far as the situation at hand.  One client told me that she continually told her three year old son that their dog was going to bite him as he manhandled her.  She then told me that the same dog and three year old spend a great deal of time in his room with the door closed.  AHHHHHHHHHH   I have made many people cry on behavior calls, yep.  I bring reality to them so that things like the video don't happen.  A wake up call so to speak.  The crying comes as they have their ah ha moment; the instant that they realize that they were not protecting their child. 

It is can be a very dangerous situation, lack of supervision and there is simply no need for it.  Had the man in the video supervised his grandchild and dog appropriately this would have never happened.  Dogs often need a great deal of time getting used to a crawling baby. It is our job to make it clear that this is not someone that they can boss around.  Only we as parents/grandparents can do that.  Babies need to have a great start with a dog, that means making things when they are together positive.  Spending time with the dog and baby in a safe manner.  Both dog and baby need to learn how to interact with one another.  You cannot just leave it up to them to figure it all out.

By not offering appropriate supervision with dog/baby interactions you give your dog permission to deal with it.  Your lack of supervision lets your dog know that they need to punish and teach the baby on their own terms, not good.  You are the parent, it is your job, not your dogs.

NEVER , EVER LEAVE A DOG ALONE WITH A BABY OR CHILD.  It is just not worth the risk.