C.S. asks from Delray Beach, FL on October 12, 2007
What Would You Do If Your Dog Bit Your Baby?
Yesterday I was watching my son play with my dog like always. Next thing my dog growls at my son and then bit him on the head. It didn't break the skin or leave a mark but, my son was scared. I have a 50lb. Sheltie.He is almost five. He's never bit anyone before. My husband wants to keep the dog which we are. I just wanted to know as a mom what other moms would do in this situation.
K.A. answers from Port St. Lucie on October 13, 2007
I read this because I have a 10 month old and a 12 year old mix dog, we actually have three dogs. The older dog does not like the baby and has growled at her a few times. I NEVER let her by the dogs alone, because dogs are reactive. If the baby pinches or hits the dog, their reaction is to defend themselves. That is instinct!
What we have done, we NOT to get rid of the dog because I feel it is our responsibility to the dog and our baby to give them both a home. We committed to both of them.
That being said, I keep them seperated. The baby does not go around the dog and the dog stays clear of the baby. We keep the dogs bed in our room, which the baby hardly every goes in. We just keep a good seperation. The two other dogs love her and play with her on the floor, always supervised! We are trying to teach our daughter the "right" way to pet the dogs.
You could also look into obedience training for the dog. It does cost money, but with the right type of trainer, you may be able to remedy the situation.
1 mom found this helpful
N.H. answers from Port St. Lucie on October 13, 2007
Similar situation, different approach, because I kept the dog...Here's how!
I have a similar situation. My black lab, who was our baby for almost 4 years before my sons were born, never showed any aggressive behavior. Even when my first baby was born, my dog would sleep by baby's crib and she would come to me when the baby started waking up or crying, kinda to tell me to take care of baby (that was really sweet).
But, when baby started walking and getting into stuff (10 months old by the way) dogie started claiming it's territory.
So, it snapped at my baby couple of times, specially when eating because it did not want baby around. There has been other incidents (and another baby) but they always have a territory or a leave me alone reason.
I don't excuse the reasons, I have always sent the dog outside and let her know it was wrong wrong wrong.
With a second baby within 15 months and all we chose to keep the dogie, and my babies are now 2&3 years old. I wish my dog would have been more baby friendly but it's not. Toddlers make my dogie kinda nervous (I wonder why?!!! ha ha ha)
My sons have learned that the dog has it's boundaries, they have learned that they can not touch it's food or touch it's tail. The have also learned that they have to let dogie know that they want to pet it and wait for dogie's permission to do that. They have learned how to approach the dog (and any dog) with a soft voice and their palms facing up.
I have seen many children at parks or even walking my own dog that just come and pet the dog without knowing how to approach a dog safely and specially asking dogs permission. This puts them at risk and then we all blame the dogs.
During family time, we (hubby and I) make the dog lay down, belly up and ask babies to pet the dogs belly. This puts the dog in a submissive position as we teach dogie that we are the bosses and the babies as well.
Now that babies are talking I have taught them to give commands to our dog like "sit, roll and stay" and it is working pretty well.
In my family, the older my kids get, the better the dog-child relationship is getting. I am so happy I kept the dog!
Each dog is different, each family is different so you follow your heart, because MOMs really know what would work better for their families.
I just shared my story but I know that there have been accidents with aggressive dogs and babies that could have been prevented in many different ways (not leaving dogs with babies without supervision or even giving dogs away, yes I would agree that sometimes is needed).
I would never put a dog down because it snapped at my child though.
Hopefully I was of some help.
N.D. answers from Boca Raton on October 13, 2007
C., I have to say I would get rid of the dog. There is no way I would put my child at risk. I would actively search for a good home for the dog, but I wouldn't keep him. We got rid of our dog right after my son was born because he seemed too aggressive and it wasn't worth the risk (he was my husband's dog so it was difficult for him) I know some people say that you should just watch him the whole time with your son or keep them seperated, but what if.... Poor guy, I'm sure that was a scare for your little one. I hope it works out.
A.G. answers from Port St. Lucie on October 13, 2007
Several years ago I had a similar situation. We kept my german shepard mix at our place of business in a back room behind the counter. A friend was there with his 5 year old daughter who had played with our dog at home many times. The little girl entered the back room where the dog was alone and he bit her in the head. Unfortunately it broke the skin and we had to rush her to the hospital for stiches. We called animal control and they came out to survey the area and evaluate the dog. Fortunately for all the little girl recovered fully and animal control did not take the dog away from us or put him down. If you are in doubt please have the dog evaluated by professionals to determine her personality. You won't regret it!!
E.S. answers from Miami on October 15, 2007
Get rid of the dog.
Find a good home. BELIEVE ME it is NOT worth the risk!!!!!!!
S.L. answers from Boca Raton on October 15, 2007
I absolutely don't think you need to get rid of the dog! The dog was clearly not trying to hurt your child; If it wanted to, it would have. It didn't "bite" your son. Your son must have hurt or scared the dog. Unfortunately, the dog cannot say "ouch that hurt, please stop"; he reacts as a dog. That is why it is so important to watch your child when he is "playing" with the dog. At 7 months old, he is quite honestly just too young to understand the rules, and will be for quite a while. His being a little scared may be a good thing.
It is your responsibility to be sure that he doesn't harass, climb on, steal food, poke the dog in the eyes, etc. I have 3 large dogs, one is a pit bull (and she is the sweetest of all!) Dogs think of your family unit as a "pack". You are higher in the pack - YOU SET THE RULES and teach everyone their limits and what is expected of them.
Your husband is right. There is no reason to get rid of the dog.
A.L. answers from Miami on October 13, 2007
Hi, how are you?
I just wasnted to tell you that you need to take your child to the Dr. right away to make sure he/she did not catch any disease from that dog. You need to be very careful with your dog and make sure it stays away from the child. Maybe you can get one of those screen to make sure the dog stay away from the child. Last but no least make sure your dog is properly immunized.
I hope this helps.
A.M. answers from Boca Raton on October 13, 2007
Wow, that's scary!
We have two dogs and two children (our youngest is 9 months) We love the dogs very much. I am thankful we've never had a situation like the one you describe.
If you want an honest opinion then without hesitation I'd say it's time to get rid of the dog.
If I thought even for a second that one of our dogs was going to growl or show signs of aggression, the dog would be gone. You have to ask yourself how you would have felt if the dog bite had been worse. Dogs are like part of the family, I know, but once babies come along, everything changes. I have a feeling that you must know in your heart what the right thing to do is and maybe you are asking for other moms to validate what already know. I would ask your pediatrician or anyone else who your husband respects to back you up on this one. You just can't take a chance. I know I'd never forgive myself if something like that happened. I am so sorry for your situation- it is a tough one. I hope you figure out what to do in the best interest of your family.