I received a telephone call from a distraught mother recently who was concerned about her dogs behaviour toward her eighteen month old daughter. After listening for a few minuets I asked her to describe to me again exactly what had happened. She told me ‘ My husband and I have two dogs which we have done a lot of training with including agility, we now have an eighteen month old daughter and we would like our dogs to be well socialised with her. So yesterday evening we went into the dog’s run and were interacting with the dogs one of which is a bit nervous. My husband put the baby on the dogs back, you know to get her used to being around the dogs and the dogs around her….well the dog jumped away and made a snap at my daughter. With tears in her voice she told me how shocked she was as she loved her dogs and asked if I could help? I explained to her:
Firstly they went into the dog’s safe area.
Two they put the child on the dogs back!!!!! Dogs are not horses. They should not have to learn to accept a child on their back. Are you teaching your child that is normal to climb on a dog’s back?
The dog they chose was the nervous one. Nervous dogs need time and space. They must initiate the contact. The dog was pushed beyond its limits and capabilities. The dogs trust in the owner has now been broken and will take time to repair. The owner’s trust in the dog is also broken but the owner now blames the dog who was defending itself against a perceived threat.
They disrespected their dog’s need for space and forced it into a frightening situation in which it naturally tried to flee from.
They unintentionally put their child at risk….Professionals only use dummies.
This sounds to me like something that was shown on television. Television is not real. As a famous Irish Televison chef Darina Allen used to say…..’and now by the magic of television’
The word socialise simply means to mix with others. Dogs and Humans are different species. Dogs cannot be made to behave in a way that individuals require. As far as I know we as a society have not yet required our dogs to carry people on their backs. Dog bites can be prevented if we show respect to the integrity of the animal and respect their boundaries and limitations.
I gave her my advise, and told her that I was not shocked or concerned about their dog’s response. The behaviour displayed was normal in the circumstances. I was more shocked and dismayed at her lack of respect and understanding of her dog’s behaviour, their safety and welfare.Dogs & Children