June 10, 2010
Do You Trust Your Gun Dog Around Kids?
By David DiBenedetto
As best I can tell, Pritch loves kids. When we pass a gang of school children crossing the street she sits down and awaits head pats. On the beach, she’s fascinated by kids, often showing more interest in them than other dogs. When friends bring their children over, Pritch is the darling of the get-together. But a recent newspaper article out of Montreal got me thinking about kids and dogs. In the piece a Vet, Amanda Glew, recalls a conference she attended:
The conference topic: Would you leave a child alone with your family dog?
About 80 percent of the veterinarians in attendance raised their hands to signal that they would. Then, Glew said, they were treated to a slide show with more than 100 horrific images, the human carnage from dog bites and maulings.
Many of the dogs had belonged to veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
"It was a visual 'oh my God' moment," Glew, a veterinarian at the Hudson Veterinary Hospital who also teaches at Vanier College, said yesterday.
"I think I had let my own guard down," she said, adding that she altered her behaviour after that conference, crating her dogs rather than leaving them unsupervised in the presence of her own children. Even for a few brief moments.
The piece goes on to discuss how children don’t grasp the fact that some of their actions might incite aggression from the family dog. Nor can they read the signs of a dog that has become agitated (posture, hair standing on the back of the neck, etc). All true.
My wife and I haven’t entered the baby game yet, so I don’t have any personal experience in this realm. But I certainly have friends who leave their children unsupervised with their dogs. And most would be appalled by the notion that their dog would cause harm to the kids. It seems to me that, as parents and dog owners, we’re just as responsible for teaching our dog how to behave around children as we are for teaching our children how to behave around the dog. And then the rest boils down to common sense.
So I’m curious, do you or have you left your kids unsupervised with your dogs?