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Will No One Ever Listen?

Posted on 12/02/2014
Filed under: Dogs Biting Responsible Dog Ownership It's a Dog! Common Sense Behavioural Issues

Silhouetted-Boy-with-Fingers-in-Ears_I’ve just finished another radio interview about dogs and children, in the wake of another tragedy involving a baby, something of a coincidence following, as it does, Tony’s recent blog about dogs and children.

I have the press contact me every single time there is a dog “attack”, involving human injury, for an expert view and it is so very frustrating and exasperating to keep repeating the same thing over and over, when no one is taking any notice.

I am angry that I’ve been trotted out again to say the same things and I’m so angry that another child has lost its life, not because of a dangerous dog but because of irresponsible adults.

Many people voice the opinion that dogs are naturally protective towards children and young animals generally. That is perfectly true but it’s also true of every other group living animal, including us. We all love kids, right? Unfortunately, that’s a generalisation and we are all well aware that, even though we may not be able to comprehend it, there are always exceptions and there are many humans who are not competent enough to be left alone with children. A species’ general predisposition towards a certain type of behaviour is not a guarantee for every member of that species!

I often hear experts, who are trying to quantify a dog’s intelligence, say that a dog has a thought process equivalent to a human three year old, that’s impressive. I would ask though if there are any loving and protective parents out there who would leave a baby alone in the care of a three year old!

We all know how “squeaky” babies can be. Ever seen what a dog does when left alone with a squeaky toy?

Quite simply, in the majority of cases, dogs and children generally mix well, developing warm and loving bonds. Indeed, many of us have treasured memories of such a relationship from our own childhoods. However we can never make dismissive assumptions about the behaviour of any animal that relies heavily on instinct for its existence.

When dog/family interaction is supervised, problems very rarely arise but when a dog is alone with a child, it is put in a stressful and unusual position; it now has to make decisions, in the absence of any other pack members. This new environment is a completely different one for the dog, compared to the supervised one where everyone is comfortable and relaxed.

How can we lower the incidence of these awful tragedies in future?

They couldn’t be easier to avoid; a responsible adult should NEVER LEAVE A CHILD ALONE WITH A DOG!