this has always been a topic which has confused me. everyone always says that no one should ever leave a child alone with a dog, that if they do and the child gets hurt it is because the parent is lacking brain cells. i dont think i agree with that at all. and i wonder if that saying stems because of all the talk about BSL and people wanting to find some reasoning behind why the dogs attacked without actually putting blame on the dogs themselves.
if no child is ever to be left alone with a dog then it is gonna be a rough life for all involved. either the dog spends the majority of its time in a crate, or the kid does, or you dont get anything done because you are always going to have to be there watching both of them, or you put both on a leash and drag them room to room as you do chores. at some point the kid and the dog are gonna be left alone and you have to be able to trust your own dog that something is not gonna happen. i mean .... why have a dog if it cannot be a trusted family member ?
i have always taught my dogs that they have to deal with whatever comes up from my son. while my son is taught how to behave towards dogs and animals in general ......... he is after all a kid. and a very impulsive one at that. growling, nipping, any of that type of behavior is completely unacceptable towards my son from any of my dogs and they learn that immediately. with thunder it took him a while to get it thru his thick head. but he finally did. he never acts towards my son like he did when he was a baby even tho occasionally he will test us out or give a slight growl if we want him to do something that he decides he doesnt want to. but aggression towards my own children is not tolerated by any animals in the house.
now strange kids, or my son in another house with someone elses dog is a different story. i expect my dogs to behave with children in the house ......... but i dont have the same trust level with other kids as i do with my own son. thunder is always crated when kids are over because him i dont trust at all with strange kids. scout likes to lay on the couch with all the kids. she loves to be right in the middle of whatever they are doing. salty has shown that she enjoys having kids over also but if they were to get rowdy i dont know how long or if she would put up with that. so i watch her when kids are over.
i tell my son he needs to respect animals in other peoples homes because those dogs are not like our dogs. he cannot do the same things to strange dogs and not expect them to react to it even though our dogs dont. hopefully he remembers that when he is visiting someone elses home and the parents at that home have the sense to realize and watch their dogs and the kids also.
i just cannot imagine not trusting my own dogs with my own kids to the point of being called brainless for leaving my son and scout alone watching tv together while i am washing dishes in the next room.
i think it depends on the age of the kid and the temperament of the dog, too. i don't know at what age i'd let them be alone now, but in the past when my daughter was born we had a 2 year old golden retreiver. i never gave a second thought to leaving them alone in a room from the start. but if i had a pit or another breed with high prey drive i'd be very careful, knowing what i do now.
i think alot depends on the age of the kids. a 2 or 3 yr old, no. but a 10, 11, or older, sure. especially if that kid has been watched around animals and knows what is appropriate and not. melinda was 9 when we got snowball. she immediately began puppy class with her, and took on part of the housebreaking responsibility. now, she gets the dogs up in the mornings when we sleep in, and comes home after school with them. snoopy has bit her twice, and after discussion, we determined it was a result of her actions, and him not handling it well. hes a skittery rescue. so she has a different set of 'rules' in handling snoopy than she does for snowball. the dogs are never allowed unsupervised with her and her friends. even the friends that have dogs. partly because i dont trust the kids. especially her best friend, who has a 115# lab, and their method to get him off of things is to hit him in the head. i'd break that kids arm.... but also because, i KNOW snoopy would get excited or scared and nip. he doesnt know how to play, and chase, with people. he thinks it snowball and gets mouthy. snowball, i trust 110% around kids, even little ones. but never would i leave them alone. they are small and easily stepped on and such. and since the kids dont want US hanging with them, theres very little doggie play time. in the yard, maybe...we've discussed snoopy's issues and she is getting better about deciding he's had enough, or i'll let them out for 15 mins or so, watch from the house, and bring him in when i notice he's getting antsy with the kids. but a kid who is never left with animals, or around them and taught how to behave, will not know as a adult. i have no doubt that the kid who hits the lab now, will be an adult that hits a dog. she also told me they keep a rolled up newspaper to bop him when he's bad.
i agree with you scout on teaching the dog tolerance, but i also more firmly believe in teaching the kid maners. i think until boh have been accomplished, they are best not left alone. after all, if you banish growling you have created (possibly) a dog who will snap without warning . best to teach the dog to tolerate, and ALSO the kid to back off when th edog growls. then correct each problem ie, "when you did XYZ and scout growled, this is why. you should have XYZ instead." i haven't tried to banish the growling, i have tried to determine the cause and rectify that. once a kid and dog bond, most times, things are ok. after melinda got bit, she knew exactly why, and vowed never to proceed that way again.
***Edited By: ESKIEGIRL on 11/8/2005 12:34:51 PM*** Reason: .
Have to especially agree with scout's first paragraph. When I see 'it's the kid's fault" (maybe that he got bit--but NOT that he got mauled to death!!!!) it's the owner's fault (but not me, my pit is special"), Chi's can bite too--that is why BSL is NEEDED. You can't own lions without a license--but you can own a tabbycat. Just because a person has a lion and sits their kid on for pictures does not make it safe for the rest of the world. (and I have lived in towns that had just this problem and now I live a mile away from a person who has lions--and you can bet the fence and license is a serious thing) A person who REALLY knows about pitbulls does NOT want the average fool to own one. The lion owner cannot take his 'cat' for a walk to impress the neighbors with his "bad a$$" cat--which is exactly why pit owners do not want regulated. Pits are a man made breed and now man has to control the mess he made. Spay/neuter. special license--YES those DO make a difference in who owns a pit and all of the argument against BSL are by those who need regulated because they refuse to accept the danger they present to the neighbors.
I know that I have made refernces to children, dogs, and adult supervision. And as much as some people think their dogs and their children are one and the same, it still remains that dogs are dogs.
I was never implying that you could not leave the family dog and a child alone in the next room to watch t.v. But I'm saying it's not smart to leave an infant unattended on the floor, on a bed, or anywhere where the dog is able to make contact with it.
Unless you can actually read what a dog is thinking, don't be blinded to the fact that a dog can become fearful, poccessive, agitated, confused, or just decides that it don't like kids, and bite. Dogs don't have reasoning abilities, that's why they drink from toilets instead of their water dishes.
I most definitely would not leave small kids alone with multiple dogs. Leaving a kid in the middle of a floor eating a bologna sandwich surrounded by several dogs, who's to say that dog-pack instinct won't surface. If you ever notice with dog fights, it takes only one dog to start it, and all of them to join in, whether they know or not what the fight is all about.
If you look at cases where children are hurt or killed by dogs, most of the time it's the family pet. Other times they're dogs belonging to an acquaintances. Sometimes, not a lot, stray dogs attack.
But if you go and research dog attacks, you will find that the majority of the attacks could have been avoided if adults would have acted more responsible.
I agree with most of the posts here - the parent must teach their child and train their dog. They must teach their child, too, not to touch other people's dog without supervision.
I cannot stand going into petsmart with Sassy and having a little toddler running up to her. I know my dog, and I know her goods and bads. I would never allow my child to go running towards a strange dog - no matter how cute.
I agree.....it is called being a responible parent. My 6 year old daughter is not allowed outside in the back yard with any of my dogs. Not that I think they would hurt her but because until they can talk and tell me otherwise I would not risk it. Any dog can bite. I do trust them in the house with them while I am there but that is the extent of it. If I or another adult is not there then the dogs are in their crate.
I believe it depends on the child and the dog.Mine ( 5 & 9)are left alone w/ our 2 bassets and golden all the time.My golden sticks to them like glue when they are outside.My kids also know how to treat dogs.My youngest had high fever last night.He slept on the couch and Flash was right there w/ him.She was fussin' at me for waking him up to take his temp. I do know people who have what I like to call "super nanny kids."They had a min. Weenie dog.She had to rehome him cause she though the kids were going to hurt him. If you have kids I think it is best to get a breed that is known for there friendliness.Not one that is know for wanting to eat them. I wanted and toy dog before I got the bassets.But I have ruff and tuff little boys.One fall and the dog has a broke leg.So that is why we have the bassets.Flash and Roscoe roll and wrestle right w/ them.They have even tought Flash how to play tag.Although she does cheat.She don't tag,she tripps them.LOL
I love dogs a lot, but I also know that dog is an animal, with animal instincts. One only has to read the papers from dog bite stories and read the repetitive quotes from parents saying, "he loved my kids, he never would have hurt my kids, this wasn't like him, he never was aggressive to any of us". Meanwhile their child is laying in a freezer on a gurney all chewed up because they failed to realize one major realization, he's an animal.
In my opinion all dogs have in some level, all the drives needed to survive in the wild. That means it has a drive to hunt, chase, and kill prey items. It has a primal drive to defend itself against anything it feels is a threat. It has a drive to climb the status ladder and take rank over smaller or less aggressive members of the pack. You just never know what can put a dog into drive and in a moment of indiscretion, do something that cannot be undone. It only takes a moment and it is a very real possibility. Watch the news. Lots of people “never thought he had it in him.” That's a foolish delusion that often ends up with a severely injured child, and a dog getting the needle. ALL dogs have the ability and the capacity to be dangerous around children not only pit bulls or some specific breed.
If you leave your dog alone with your children you are risking the loss of a child, no matter how slim the possibilities of the dog attacking the child are. I would never risk it. I love my dog with all my heart but I trust him with the children and with everyone else only when I am around.