I started another topic about dogs that bite children, that topic has become very long with a TON of good reading. However, something came up that is the topic here.
Should a child ever be left alone with a dog? Many people think no.
I have left my children alone with my dogs for years. In fact, my afghan hound sleeps with one of my kids, and when we go camping the dogs sleep in the tents with the children. I trust them 100%
My feeling would be, if you do not TRUST your dog around children, and you have children, then why have dogs? Lets us say that you have a new boyfriend, and for whatever reason you do not TRUST that guy alone with your kids. Well, then, would that guy still be your boyfriend?
I grew up in a house where dogs and kids grew up together. In fact, my mother left the family dog in the back yard so that it would protect the children. Today, there seems to be a growing fear that kids and dogs do not go together... not when they are alone anyway.
Is this a dog problem, a parent problem or a problem with kids.
I trust my dogs 100% completely but I remember that they are dogs, meaning that they cannot tell me that my son is annoying them and if that ever happens and he goes too far, their ONLY defense is to snap or bite.....
I am fortunate that this has NEVER Happened but I do not put gasoline next to the fire, know what I mean?
I think you're setting yourself up for failure if you leave kids and dogs alone.
Here are the two responses I put in the other topic on this. I think both sum it up pretty well for me:
Kids and dogs should not be left alone period. I have dogs and 3 kids 2, 4 and 6. And they are never left alone. Accidents happen and I don't want my kids or dogs to be on the wrong end of that accident.
Also parents need to teach their kids at a young age how to respect and treat animals. To many parents allow their kids to pick on, tugg on, pull on and more dogs and that is wrong. Even my 2 yr old knows how to respect animals. Because if you don't teach kids this lesson one day your dog may react and snap or bite because it is tired of being picked on. And the parents did nothing to stop there kids from picking on the animal. Kids and dogs should not be left alone. ********************************************* Not to long ago we went and visited a friend of my hubbys from work. Now they have beautiful Pit/Lab mix. Now my 2 yr was just thrilled to be a around a new dog. But not once did he grab, pull, tug or latch on to this dog. He petted him and threw toys for the dog. I was standing right there watching my som like a hawk and once did I have to tell him how to treat a dog he just knows from what he has been taught at home.
Now my 4 and 6 yr old just wanted to sit beside him and pet him or play fetch with them. Not once was they in any way disrespectful to the dog. Period. When the dog wanted to take a break my kids did as well till he was ready to play again.
And my 6 yr old is a little sponge when it comes to animals. He knows more about them then I did at 6. We were watching animal coops one day and he was telling me how mean those people were to their animals. I am so proud of him.
Some parents today think its perfectly ok to manhandle an animal they see. And that is just wrong. If your are a parent and you want to have pets as well its your job to teach your kids how to respect animals. Not just your animals but all animals. Animals are not around for your kids to manhandle.
For me personally, this has differed from one dog to the other. For example, I trust Caitlin (our 4 year old) with Riddick our labrador retriever but I don't trust her with Bowen, and we didn't trust her with Ramoth either. Bowen is far less impatient with her, an irritible old man at times.
Caitlin does know how to behave around dogs. To Riddick, it's like she cant' do wrong. He follows her around the house, around the back yard. They're 'best buddies'. She feeds him 2x daily, gives him treats, etc. Riddick is also a *very* submissive dog, and is very 'soft'. Dog people will understand what I am talking about when I say 'soft'. We don't leave them alone toether in the sense that .. i dont know, we leave? But he is allowed to go in her room with her while we're in the living room, and we don't really 'watch them like a hawk'.
Some people may think me irresponsible for this, but I feel like I know my child, dog behavior, and my dogs. And I do feel it differs from one dog to another dog.
It is a dog issue, and a child issue, and a parent issue too.
***Edited By: Minniyar on 5/6/2006 10:39:43 AM*** Reason: add
I agree a big part of it has to do with each dog, and child. One dog may be trusted, while another may not. Morgan is 4 and she plays with Kaycee in the back yard sometimes, but I still watch them through the window. Makenzie only being 18 months is not allowed to be with Kaycee unsupervised. It's not Kaycee I don't trust, it's Makenzie. She could accidently fall on Kaycee, and hurt her; yet neither one would be at fault, if Kaycee were to bite in such a situation, she would be put down. A dog is unable to say "hey, you're getting on my nerves" so the child never knows if they are doing something wrong untill it's too late.
It is my opinion that a child under 6 should not be left alone with a dog. It just takes one second, one tiny misunderstanding between animal and child. Accidents happen, and I would feel better if an "accident" happened within my reach, so I could quickly redirect any agression the dog may have. Dogs are just like children. Morgan gets mad at her sister, and before she was taught to redirect her anger, she would hit. The only defence a dog his is biting, snapping, and growling. Most times, they bite before they growl. A dog needs to be taught in these situations how to react. I've met people who teach their children that dogs can't be trusted. Teaching a child to walk on egg shells around the dog, set things up for disaster. If an accident never happens, how will the dog and the child ever learn?
Yes... age has everything to do with it. I would NEVER leave a dog alone with a baby. Then again, I would never leave a bird alone with a bady. I think I started to leave my children alone with my dogs when the kids were eight or nine. But I do not remember having and feelings of distrust when they were younger.
Also - I am a dog trainer so I make sure that kids understand the basics.
I must point out, that dogs CAN and DO tell their owners when they are upset and being bothered. When my dogs feel like the kids are being too much, they come and sit by my feet. They view me as their leader and as such they trust me to control my pack. My children, as far as the dogs can tell, are part of my pack. Being a dogs leader means that the dog will turn to you for help.
Also, all my dogs are crate trained and they know that if they are upset they should come to me or move into their crates "dens". My children also know, by punishment of mother, that you do not EVER, NEVER, NEVER, go into the dogs crate.
This said - my dogs are not allowed to touch the children in any way. Not even a lick. I set up clear rules in this area. My dogs do not jump up on, nip at, bump into or bother the kids in any way. As a mother I am a moma bear and the dogs know it.
ALSO - IF I COULD NOT TRUST MY DOGS ALONE WITH MY KIDS. I WOULD NOT HAVE DOGS. I could not live with the threat of a dog bite or the day to day worry 24hrs a day. That is not pet ownership to me, it's jail time.
It's not a trust issue of the dog. Any dog will bite under the right circumstances. While childern need to be taught how to act around animals, a young kid may not understand the warning signs if a dog is sick, cranky, or doesn't feel like playing or has had enough. It's also dependant upon kids, since a lot of animal lovers are teaching their kids more than their parents taught them about animals, and the attitude towards animals has changed. But, no young child should ever be alone with a dog. It could be a potential disaster you could have avoided. I'm thinkign about 6ish. Could go in either direction depending upon the child though. http://www.canismajor.com/dog/kidsdog2.html
With our dog Roxie, she is a shitzu, I would let her be alone with a child. The only reason I don't is because I'm scared the child will hurt her. She loves kids and other animals. I think that if you have kids and you dogs are great with children I don't think there is a problem wiht it. I mean parents watch there children but they don't constently fallow them every were (depending on age), mothers know best. Trust your motherly instincts. Oh and dogs aren't babysitters!!LOL!! But I think it kinda depends on the dog and the child. Do they respect animals? Are the dogs tolerable of the children...by this I mean you can't even tell that the dog cares when the child accadentialy does something or it just seems annoying to you...does the dog react to that? You kinda have to decide in your own situation. If I found a child that was respectful enough then I would let roxie be with them. That has yet to be seen by me. I love Roxie to much anyways. I alsways want to be around her!!:) All of this is just my opinion, and I understand what everyone else is saying also. I think everyone has some good points here!!:)
I also kind of gave my opinion in the other thread, but thought I would elaborate...
I agree that usually it's kids under the age of 6 that I feel shouldn't be left unsupervised with a dog. But it depends on the dog and on the kids.
Dogs are dogs. People sometimes forget that they all aren't the Saint Bernard from Peter Pan. No dog is going to submit to constantly being tortured.
I don't count basic gentle tail pulling or ear pulling as torture. I'm talking about being smacked by a small child, or hit with a toy, or screamed at... I think a dog that is in a home with kids should stand up to the basic kid stuff. BUT the kids should also understand that they need to respect the dog.
I grew up with a Sheltie and an English Springer Spaniel. The Sheltie would only put up with so much before he went to Mom and tattled on us because he was tired of being our entertainment. The Springer let us do ANYTHING we wanted to her (we put bows in her ears, painted her toe nails). My Mom knew how much the dogs could take and the Sheltie wasn't allowed to play with us unsupervised until my younger siblings were over 8 years old.
On that same note - when I was very young (until I was 4 or 5) we had two Malamute Huskies (my parents bred, raised, and showed them before they had kids). The female let us hang all over her and she loved it. We always knew we couldn't play with the male unless Mom was with us - and she just didn't give us the opportunity.
I think as a parent you have to know which dog is kid safe, what their breaking point is... I still would never let a dog be unsupervised with a very small child. And I stand by the fact that so much depends on the manners of the child.
i don't know. i have mixed feelings about this whole issue. i also have/had dogs that run the gambit on how they interact with kids. i had an old golden mix who would never hurt a fly. but when my son was around 3-4 my dog bit him. my son decided it would be fun to try and ride him. my dog was old and arthritic and didn't think it was so much fun. i warned my son to leave him alone, that he was hurting stosh so he stopped for a second and went right back to doing it again. stosh growled at him the second time and when that wasn't enough he bit him in the face. my son deserved that bite, he learned his lesson, and he and the dog got along for 5 more years after that without another incident.
scout i would trust with no hesitation around any child of any age. i find it far easier to control my own dogs actions then the actions of kids. so from day one i have taught her tolerance and patience. excluding extreme abuse, she has been bomb proofed enough to be able to handle anything a kid can throw her way. i cannot control what some random kid may do to her. kids are everywhere in this world and their actions are so quick at times you just cannot avoid problems even if you are right on top of them.
Depends on the child and the dog. Majority of the time, no. Kids are weird little people and they experiment when noone is around. Dogs unfortunately, can only defend themselves when they feel threatened with a bite.
So I think if it was a stranger child, or one that did not live with, or know the dog...absolutely not. Not only for the childs safety, but for your own animals safety. In case people haven't noticed, society is going down the toilet so I'd rather not take my chances.
Dogs can sense that babies and children aren't necassirly the safest people to be around either. So watch your animal for signs of distress. I see too many times with the neighbors, that their kids are chasing these poor dogs into a corner screaming and hands out while you can see the wheels in the dogs head spinning "Get me the hell out of here."
Some people have no common sense and if there is any doubt, then just don't do it.
It does come down to the child and the dog. Now that my children are older, yes, of course they are alone with the dogs....were they when they were toddling....NO, were they when they were 4....NO, how about at 6....NO.
Dogs are dogs, and kids are kids......my kids were taught from birth how to properly treat an animal and was acceptable and not acceptable....and there was punishments to follow for mistreating them in any way. But kids will do stupid things as part of nature not realizing that the dog may not like it, may be sleeping/tired, cranky, want left alone....and then things can happen. If you take the time to keep your children and pets seperate when you cannot supervise, then problem solved. Someone elses children would NEVER be allowed unattended around my dogs. I know which ones would literally take torture and do nothing, and which simply will not tolerate being pinched, sat on, etc. But it doesnt matter, if someone elses child is here and I am not in sight of them all....they will never be alone with them....the furbabies are put away.
I have also seen parents who sit back and watch the kids bang the dog with a plastic bat and think its cute and the dogs isnt reacting (for now anyway) let the kids pull ears, fur, pinch, push, ride on etc....I want to slap the parent. And the first time the dog reacts, they will blame the dog and euthanize it...idiots.
Some dogs are simply not children friendly, but if you are supervising them at all time like we are talking about, well, you would see all the signs and know for sure what your child is or is not doing to provoke, and take proper measures so nothing happens.
I too am tired of parents who let their kids chase dogs around and aggrivate them. I work in a dog boutique and my yorkie goes to work with me and walks around the store. So many kids have come in and chased her around that now she barks at kids when they come in. She's never bitten anyone and I really don't even think she knows how to bite and she never lets the kids get close enough to her to touch her. And she's just fine with adults and other dogs...that's why she gets to come to work with me to begin with. Almost everyone loves her but a few stupid kids have caused her to bark at most kids now. What makes me mad is that parents bring their kids into pet stores and then get mad because there is a dog in there...it's a pet store for pets! It's not for children. I don't understand why parents bring their kids in there anyway. I'm not a fan of children to begin with but it really ticks me off to see parents who let kids chase and aggrivate dogs.
i think it depends on the kid and the dog when i was a baby my grandma had an akita and if she would have to leave me for a second she would tell kita to watch the baby and she would tell not let anybody near me and she never once nipped or even tried to bite she was a sweet dog i will always love that dog and still miss her she had to put down b/c she had cancer
I trust my dog 100% with kids. But as most have said, I don't trust kids.
However, as I am 26 and Beulah is 2, I figure, she's gonna be my dog during my child-bearing years! lol.. it is a funny thing to plan since I am not planning the actual kids yet! BUT.. I am trying to do what Scout mentioned. "Bomb proof" her. I like to walk her down this one street where there are like 8 little kids out on their front lawn with no supervision. Last time I went one kid had a play sword, and two were on bikes, and one was running in circles screaming at the top of her lungs because she was "afraid" (in a play way ) of the dog.
Beulah did fabulous! The kids swarmed and screamed for about 15 minutes before Beulah grabbed her leash in her teeth and looked at me. I laughed so hard because she had reached her limit and was letting me know it was time to leave.
Anyway... I guess my point is that I will only have a dog around if it's one that I trust with ALL other people.
I will not leave a single one of my dogs alone with my kids. I don't let kids under 10 hold my dogs/puppies either. It's not the dogs I don't trust, it's the kids. Sure most of my dogs are wiggly, so there are lots of things that could happen. A dog could get dropped, there could be accidental scratches, nips, etc. The kids could decide to just drop the dog, kick it, pull it's ears, etc. My dogs love kids but there is realistically only a certain point that a child can push a dog to. My daughter knows how to handle our dogs, but only being 3 years old she can forget herself at times and chase them when they don't want to play.