While the weather up north was really quite disappointing this summer, we had a wonderful time with our family. Spending a week with our granddaughter was such a treat! Early morning kisses, eating meals with her as food was gobbled down and then flung far and wide, fun on the dock, swinging down at the beach, all of it was wonderful.
Today I want to address the issue of children and dogs. Too often people make the mistake of thinking that their sweet tempered dog would never make a mistake and snap at their baby/toddler or cause harm in any way. It is important to remember dogs and children are very similar. Both will do the unexpected in a shockingly fast manner.
A friend of mine posted on Facebook a scary incident. A mom and toddler were walking down the sidewalk in front of her home. She stopped to admire the child and speak with the mom. Suddenly, the child darted out of arm’s reach into the road just as a teenager drove by. The poor teen threw on her brakes just in the nick of time. All three adults were stunned, shocked and nearly in tears. There was no reason the child darted into the path of the car….she just did the unexpected.
Our Maisie loves Eva, our grandbaby. Eva loves Maisie. True cares for her as well, but as a boy rarely demonstrates his love and often gets out of her way. While at the cottage, I kept my eye on baby and dogs. Maisie loves to be wherever Eva is. Sometimes I think it is because Eva feeds Maisie her meals and snacks, but nevertheless, Maisie loves to be where the baby is. Babies, however, grab fur, tails and ears. Maisie has very sensitive ears. If Eva should grab her ears and pull, it would cause terrible pain for Maisie. Instead of biting, she licks everybody in an effort to discover what on earth she did wrong. That is a gentle response to pain. However, when she is lying on the floor and Eva crawls toward her, Maisie HATES it. She has the same response she has to the puppies as they grow. She loves the puppies, babysits them, counts them to make sure they are all accounted for, but when the puppies become mobile and can get under her belly, she growls at them, snaps at them and jumps out of their way. She never bites them but does give clear warning.
We had two low growl warnings and snapping incidents at the cottage. Maisie did not want Eva to crawl up to her and this was how she expressed her feelings. Our sweet, gentle, loving girl actually snapped at our baby! Everyone was surprised, but I was not. No matter how nice a dog, you should never, NEVER leave a baby or toddler unattended. Babies can be ferocious with their pinching and pulling. The only way a dog has to protect themselves is to snarl and snap.
Maisie was fine when Eva walked around the furniture, but put the baby on the floor where she could crawl up on sleeping dog and the story was different. So, to have a safe playtime, the dogs were locked behind our bedroom door. Now everybody was safe.
Doodles are known for their gentle, sweet dispositions and strong emotional intuition. However, do not make the mistake of thinking they are not dogs. We know there are certain breeds of dogs known for their nasty temperaments and hopefully the humans involved would have enough sense not to leave a baby alone with them, but even the most gentle of breeds, like the doodle, need to be watched carefully while interacting with children. Let’s use common sense to keep both our loved ones safe. Eva was not traumatised by Maisie’s growling or snapping, but the story could have been different if she had crawled on top of a sleeping dog and startled her. It is our responsibility as dog owners to use common sense when babies/toddlers and dogs are together. Don’t let your dog make a sudden, uncharacteristic mistake which will affect their future and a child’s. Remember, dogs are dogs and children are children; it is wise to keep an eye on both.Tags: be a wise pet owner, Children and dogs, keep your loved ones safe, never leave little ones alone with a dog, take preventive care with children and dogs, the unexpected can happen