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I have two large dogs, both females. One's a black lab and the other a black lab-husky. They both do not like children very much because when they were just little wee pups, one got a toddler's finger poked right in the eye and she has not forgotten the incident, nor has she forgotten the culprit and let's my poor little nephew know it every time she sees him!
Our other dog, the husky-lab (a really big gal!) received a toddler's finger in the "butt-button" and has never been the same since! Poor thing cowers whenever she hears or sees children and trust me, I've tried to socialize them and get them accustomed to kids, but to no avail.
So, naturally I'm afraid of what will happen when we finally do conceive and introduce a baby to our furry family (we also have a cat, but luckily she's agile enough to have avoided any prodding toddler fingers!). Has anyone any experience with this? Should I be preparing myself for the worst and try to find a family who would be willing to take my girls should we have to give them up? Ugh! I'm gutted just thinking about it!
I think that the dogs will come to think of the lil one as family - you're bringing a baby in that can't do any harm to the dogs, and dogs tend to know when they are babies and can become very nurturing. My brother's pitbull slept under my nephews crib and was everywhere that baby went, she loved him and protected him. If your dogs are healthy, I think the transition into toddlerdom (when they may grab and pull on a tail) will be much easier because they know that child as a member of their family, rather than some stranger coming up and doing something like that. I couldn't imagine having to give my pup up, and know what a heartbreaking thought that must be - I would certainly have to see how things go!
I think animals adapt differently when it's something they are exposed to regularly. I 'd try to work on getting them comfortable around children, but not force it. Just regular exposure should help them adapt. Part of parenting though is also training your children to not behave improperly around animals and making sure that they are supervised closely until they can understand the boundaries. I wouldn't worry about it until it becomes an issue.
In, that makes me feel a lot better... More relieved if anything. We will wait it out of course and cross that bridge when we come to it, but it's so nice to hear stories of other's furry family friends adjusting well.. Gives me hope
Family dogs definitely react to a new 'pack member' differently than an outsider person.
But i would be curious what they do around kids? Do they snarl and growl and try to bite, or just walk away? If the dog is trying to get away from a toddler or child make sure to intervene and separate them. I had a husky lab mix that would just walk away, the problems wouldn't start unless the kid wouldn't let the dog alone. Then she'd get nippy. If they are growling and trying to bite, that's much more concerning, and I'd say call a dog trainer when it's time.
Just make sure to watch everything really closely until you are sure they are good and adjusted.
Also, just a note, some dogs, even ones that are great with kids, don't realize babies are people, so its best to not have close baby/dog time until you are feeling really good about it.
__________________ Susan, dh Tom, dd Megan (14), ds Marcus (12), Our new baby Dean
I never knew until that moment how badly it could hurt to lose something you never really had. - Missed Miscarriage at 10 weeks - 3/26
Hi smsturner. Thanks for your reply. To answer your question, both of my dogs act timid around children, especially the younger, more loud types. It's confusing at times because the black lab (Selah) likes to chase them around and play but gets scared quite easily and when she does she hunches down and growls. We certainly intervene and try to reassure as well as keep a close eye when they are playing. I, being a big kid myself, usually get involved in the playing so as to help my dogs feel more at ease, but Selah still has moments of uncertainty and as I said, will growl and get defensive. She has snapped twice when I caught a child trying to grab her when she was scared. The husky-lab (Snoopy) is quite different as she prefers less interaction with the kids. She doesn't seem all to bothered by them so long as they don't poke or prod or scream at her (I mean, really, who would like that, right? Lol). Snoopy is pretty chill and will normally just lay there until a kid gets too close (usually the loud ones) and then she'll growl and move away, normally closer to me or DH. We do let our dogs know that growling is not okay and we do our best to reassure them and try to teach the kids that they need to be calm and respectful a round the dogs in order to build trust, but kids get excited, especially around Snoopy because she's all white and fluffy with a black face and they tend to like her more (she kinda looks like a cute toy despite her size!). Anyhoo, Snoopy will snap if her tail or back end gets touched/grabbed, but only by a child (not that we adults do that, though she doesn't snap at me, DH, any other adult or the vet when being patted, brushed or examined), so we know it's def because it's a child doing that, so of course we try to teach/remind the kids about to not poke or grab the dogs but rather be gentle. The strange thing is, Snoopy loves small children and will always try to lick them, especially their faces. She really is a sweet dog, and so is Selah, who also loves very small children and babies and they do act very gently around them. It's just the older or louder, more rambunctious kids around the ages of 4-7 that seem to bother them.