Child and Dog Safety

Considering recent events, I have something to say about dogs and kids. I see many people who truly love their dogs, love their kids, but don’t understand how to live with them both safely. I see posts in random groups that state comments like “don’t worry, your dog will love your child, because he loves you”, or “my dog is a good dog, only bad dogs bite”. This is simply not true.

Our dogs have what professionals refer to as “Bite Threshold”. Every. Single. Dog. Has one. Bite Threshold is the point that a dog cannot cope with any more stress and all other methods of communicating with you have failed. People have this too, a point when we snap – maybe verbally, maybe physically – but we snap. Dogs can’t communicate with us in a way that (the majority of) people understand. So physically it is.

Telling people to “Supervise” is useless information, if the adults don’t know what they are supervising for. I see video after video of dogs and kids, the dog visibly stressed. Why don’t they stop the interaction? Because the parent (holding the camera and therefore “supervising”) can’t read the stress signals.

I specialise in working with dogs and kids, building strong relationships. I run programs to prepare the home for a new baby, in home programs to train the kids and dogs together and other age appropriate programs – and do you know what? Most of the time I’m working with a dog that has already growled, snapped or bitten. Why? Because people don’t think it will happen to them. Their dog is a good dog.

Kids change so rapidly, they go from screaming immobile pooping machines, to crawling, grabbing, running, squealing toddlers – all in a matter of months. If you wait, you are trying to outrun Indiana Jones’s Boulder. If your dog is stressed at a new development you are busy dealing with that one, without focusing on the next one.

Start now, don’t wait. Be Proactive, not reactive. Our children’s safety must come first, don’t put it off. Other things can wait, there is only a short time to prepare your dog for your baby.

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