A word about dogs.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t like dogs.

I got bitten by a dog when I was three years old.

But that has nothing to do with why I’m writing this particular post.

While we keep hearing in the news about pits and rotts attacking people, and how drug thugs have made pits their mascot and train them to attack random people, and while some breeds do have a bred-in disposition towards aggression,

I believe ANY dog, no matter the breed, to be a danger to children!

I don’t want to hear how your fido is a perfect saint and is on St. Peter’s shortlist for Doggie Heaven admission,

Dogs, of any breed, have the potential to harm people, particularly children!

There are numerous reasons for this:

Children are on an eye-level with dogs.  They often look the dogs right in the eye, potentially triggering latent (or not so latent) instincts to do with pack heirarchy and territorial challenge.

Children, particularly small ones, are not very restrained in trying to ‘love’ an animal.  They will gouge eyes, pull ears and tails, grip and yank on fur, literally rub it the wrong way, step on doggy feet, and make loud excited yells and squeals that would get on even the most saintly pooch’s last nerve. (Lord knows they can get on MY last nerve, sometimes!)

Children are not calm or mature enough to wait and observe the body language of the dog for cues to its mood.  If the dog tries to remove itself from the stressful situation, the child will think it’s all in fun and chase after it.  If the dog, in its own language tries to warn the child that it is becoming angry or feeling threatened, the child will not understand it.

All of this can lead to an ‘unprovoked’ attack.  (Which to a dog’s mind was VERY provoked!)

And what if the dog has been abused while belonging to a former (or current) owner?  It might even have memories of being a child’s first pet, and after being terrorized by the tot, the owners returned it to the pet store, or animal control shelter, where it was subsequently adopted by its current owner?  The new owner might not be cognizant about these facts.

That dog might be a timebomb waiting to go off.  All it needs is to see a child or person that reminds it of its former suffering and there goes another so-called ‘unprovoked’ attack.

With all that said, would I never let my children encounter a dog?  Nope.

But it needs to be an especially patient dog, with an especially savvy owner who can calm the dog or read the signs of stress accurately.

The dog must be restrained in some manner, whether by its owner’s hands, or a leash.

It must be an especially calm dog.  Not those over-excitable breeds, like the pit downstairs.

My children must also be somewhat restrained by me or my husband, and constantly cautioned to be ‘nice’ and ‘soft’ to the doggy.

When the twins are older, I can teach them more fully how to respect an animal, whether it be a dog or cat or little white mouse.

But right now, your precious St. Doggy will have to go unpetted by my little ones.

It’s for your dog’s own good, as well as for my little ones’ safety.

Here are a few of the sites which agree that a certain amount of discretion and proper education is needed to successfully have small children and dogs interact successfully:

http://www.secondchanceboxer.com/IntroNewDog.html
http://www.amazon.com/Childproofing-Your-Dog-A/dp/0446670162/sr=1-1/qid=1156899546/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books
http://www.greytexpectations.org/greyskids.html
http://petsittersbiz.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-handle-dog-thats-aggressive-over.html
http://www.sfdog.org/do/kids_dogs.pdf

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