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« Very Good Sentences -- Ontario Bill 16 Testimony | Main | Weekend dog bite fatality in Henderson, NV »

April 26, 2012



You have NO idea how many times I have had to intervene in the same situations at the leash-free dog park with parents bringing in their small children to run amok inbetween strange dogs. They do not monitor their children and once I called the park rangers to evict a couple who's 5 year old ran around hitting dogs, throwing toys at them, and screaming at them. And the parents? Chatting on their cell phones.

See the same thing in the vet's office. Don't bring your kids so they can be entertained by someone else's dogs while you facebook on the iphone.

Rant over. See you at the conference.


I don't understand why people don't keep their toddler (or child of any age for that matter) at a distance when two dogs are meeting.
Do you not understand that if the dogs growl at one another, or worse, and your child's hand or face is in between the two dogs, the child may get bit?
The dog can be plenty friendly with kids but in the moment of a dominance exchange between two dogs, accidents can happen and human flesh can be mistaken for canine flesh.


Yes and yes.

Children of that age have no empathy so are unable to understand complex body language. They also are just learning reasoning ability so it's hard to make them understand why they have to back off. They are trainable but a restaurant with a big dog is not the place to start the training. Try a kitty-cat first.

Dogs are rightly nervous around young children since they stare, are small and basically behave in an unstable manner, kind of like drunks.


At least it sounds like the mother was paying enough attention to intervene, but more proactivity is needed. It's so hard to train a two-year-old, and the dog was doing everything right (pushing with the nose and giving a warning growl).

I've got two 50 lb. dogs and a seven-month old daughter who already really loves them. They all get along, but once she starts crawling it's going to be full-time vigilance.

Dianne R.

I think that dog ought to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

My pet peeve is the parents who let a toddler roam around the Strut your Mutt event with a snack bag of goldfish crackers at dog's nose level. I said something and the snacks went into a backpack.

Janice in GA

Years ago we had a German Shepherd who was an excellent, kind dog. One night we had visit from a family with a toddler girl.

The girl was fascinated with Smokey. FASCINATED. She wanted to sit down and play with her and pet her. But I could see that Smokey was a bit uncertain about this wee person in front of her.

So I made sure to sit close by and monitor them, reassuring Smokey that yes, it was ok, and yes, she was a Very Good Dog.

But so many people, even adults, just don't understand dog body language. I knew LOTS less then than I do now, but even I could see my dog's uncertainty in the situation. I'd never have left her unattended with a little kid there.


that is a great dog.
At the first interaction, it took the least action it could to protect itself.
At the 2nd interaction, it growled, an appropriate escalation to the second assault.
It may.. or may not... have escalated further. It certainly gave all the warnings it could.

What's a dog supposed to do when being assaulted, especially a breed whose protection instincts are deeply bred in?

All Natural Pet Care

Sadly, had he bitten the child he would have been blamed and may have been euthanized. The argument would probably be if the dog isn't good with children, he shouldn't be in a place that there are children. Maybe so, but there are so many situations that aren't that cut & dry.


Far as I'm concerned, when the child pulled the dog's tail the parents should have, right then, packed up the child and taken it home. The child is obviously not trustworthy around dogs, and the parents obviously are not in control of their child. Asking a 2 yr old to agree that maybe he should leave the dog alone is not the proper approach, IMHO.


Good grief, who tries to reason with a two year old? Seriously. That's crazy.


Actually the kid was closer to 4...


And when Brent said "the wife" he was referring to me - not the mother of the child. I saw it going down from 20 ft away...

Central Ohio Dog Blog

I have a dog-savvy friend that told me recently that when her boys were little, she had a "stranger dogs are off limits, all the time, no exceptions" rule. Breaking the rule by approaching or trying to pet an unknown dog was a serious offense in her household. She said it did two things: first, it made it so that she didn't have to rely on her own judgment, on the dog's communication skills or the owner's judgement of the dog's comfort, all of which can be fallible. They were just off limits, period. Secondly, when her boys WERE of an age that they could self-restrain and had learned appropriate behaviors around strange dogs, there was already a built-in hesitation from so many years of dogs being off-limits. So they didn't go barreling up to a dog, but rather, they hesitated, asked permission, and then proceeded.

My first is 18 months old, and I'm seriously considering taking this approach with her.


I take every opportunity with my dogs (unfortunately, not many, since they are both hesitant around other dogs and so, being a responsible owner, it is hard to be in "dog-friendly" situations without other dogs!) to teach children how to approach strange dogs and what to watch for in the dog to have a better idea of how it is feeling.

A lot of parents have learned as well.

As stupid as it is not to pay attention to what your kid is doing, it is at least as stupid to not pay attention to what your dog is doing. Owners who don't bother to REALLY know their dogs (and ever single one of them is different) are the ones who end up with problems.

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