I am just amazed at what well-meaning people allow their babies to do with their dogs. I really can’t blame them, they just haven’t yet learned the dos and don’ts. And they have no idea the dog has been stressed out by the child’s behavior all along. Until a bite happens.
At last night’s Baby Meets Bowser presentation, we spent a good portion of the evening learning what is a bad idea for babies and children to do with dogs. For example, despite what you may see on YouTube, please do not put your dog into a stay, and then allow your baby to crawl right up to them. That is putting them both in a vulnerable position, teaching the dog that the baby is a source of stress from which he cannot escape, and teaching the child bad habits that can lead to a bite. Is this fair to the dog or to the baby?
We also learned what some of the signs of stress are in dogs. When we humans expect our dogs to tolerate anything we or our children do to them, dogs show warning signs that stress is building. The good news is that you can learn to “read” these early signs of stress. Then when you see the signs, you can get your dog out of the situation, coach your child more carefully next time, and therefore avoid being one of those 4.7 million people each year who really believes “the bite came out of the blue.”
The dog in this photo is showing some of the warning signs that come long before the obvious signs like a growl, a snarl or a snap occur. (I count six.) What is the human doing from the “don’ts” list that may be causing the dog to become stressed?