Why I’d never leave a baby alone with a dog…

19/02/2014

dog baby 4

Before Olly came along I had another baby, a fur baby, his name was Mikey and was a West Highland Terrier. We had Mikey since he was just 6 weeks old and to think back, I can’t quite believe that he was small enough to sit in the palm of my hand.

When I was pregnant I was worried how he would react to a newborn in the house, after all he had been our priority for the last seven years and was used to getting all our attention. I was worried that he might get jealous and try and compete with the baby for our attention and ultimately I was worried that my very docile Westie would become aggressive.

As we brought Olly home for the first time, Mikey was sitting on top of the sofa watching out the living room window as he often does. He watched us get out the car and bring in the car seat with a very tiny baby in it. As we put the car seat down on the floor, Mikey went up to the car seat and sniffed at it. We watched him intently to see what his reaction was and made a fuss of him to make sure he knew we still loved him.

BabyDog3

Over the passing weeks, Mikey became quite protective of Olly. He would sit under his crib as if he was on guard and wasn’t fazed by Olly’s loud newborn cries for attention. On most occasions as Olly began rolling around the floor, Mikey would just move out of the way and find his own peaceful corner.

dog baby

One morning as Olly was on his play mat, the postman pushed some post through the letterbox and it startled Mikey. He jumped off the sofa and ran towards the front door in the hallway, only narrowly missing trampling on Olly as I sat in his way. In that instance, I was scared enough to worry that no matter how much Mikey appeared to care for Olly, he was still a dog and his instincts were to protect his territory.

dog baby5

Dogs can injure and in the worst case, kill. Even the nice ones.

In recent weeks, there has been a number of tragic incidents where family pets have mauled small babies or children. Just yesterday, in the news there was a shocking story of a family pet dog (the breed of which wasn’t on listed on the Dangerous Dogs Act) who had mauled a six day old newborn baby to death. The full story has yet unknown but a newborn baby has lost its life. It’s terribly upsetting.

Dogs behaviour can change instantly

It might sound patronising but never ever leave your baby or small child alone with a dog. No matter how docile they are around you or your family, their behaviour can change in a split second and that is all it takes for the worst to happen. Let’s not forget dogs are animals and have animal instincts.

West Highland Terriers are lovely breeds as are Cocker Spaniels and Bichon Frise, although need a lot of nurturing unlike the Goldendoodle.

If I need to pop to the toilet or answer the front door, I always separate Olly and the dog. I’d never leave a baby alone in the same room as the dog. It’s not worth the risk. We have dog gates on our living room and kitchen doors to ensure we can keep them apart and when Olly was younger I made sure that the dog couldn’t jump onto the moses basket or into his rocking chair.

Dogs best friend

If you could see Olly and Mikey together today, they’re friends. Olly likes to pat Mikey’s back and Mikey loves the leftovers that come his way as he sits under the highchair at dinner time. I’m pretty sure that Mikey wouldn’t harm him but I’d never take the risk of finding out.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Susan Mann 19/02/2014 at 5:17 am

    An interesting post. I don’t have a dog, but after all the tragedies recently it has put me off getting one. You just never know do you. Xx

  • Reply Emily @amummytoo 19/02/2014 at 11:30 am

    We don’t have any pets except the caged kind and I can’t imagine how challenging it must be to have an extra little furry bundle to worry about when you’re looking after a baby. I think that most family dogs are probably very considerate of little ones but I agree, you can never be too careful where a child’s safety is concerned.

  • Reply Globalmouse 19/02/2014 at 12:20 pm

    What a great post. I love the relationship that they have but I completely agree, a dog’s instinct will be to protect its territory and while it is unlikely he will ever hurt your baby you really do never know and that tiny risk just isn’t worth it.

  • Reply Keri-Anne 19/02/2014 at 12:31 pm

    I saw the news yesterday about that tiny baby and felt so sad. We have a dog but we only rehomed him 4 months back. I was so scared of having a dog and a tiny baby x

  • Reply Fritha Strickland 19/02/2014 at 1:18 pm

    I’ve never really thought about this (we are cat people!) but I sometimes see pics of newborn with big Alsatians and think yikes! x

  • Reply Emma Shilton 19/02/2014 at 1:56 pm

    Thanks for your comment Charlotte, I grew up with dogs too and have seen first hand how they can instantly change when reacting to a loud noise or a stranger. I don’t think for one minute, Mikey would harm Little Mr but as I said, I don’t want to run the risk of finding out.

  • Reply anna 19/02/2014 at 2:54 pm

    I’m not a dog person at all and I have to admit I wouldn’t really want a dog to be nearby my young baby at all, I’m quite scared of them myself but definitely for those having dogs – even if they look friendly, being safer than sorry is always better and it’s not worth it to leave them alone. There are so many upsetting stories with dogs recently, its awful

  • Reply Kirsty 19/02/2014 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for writing such an important post. You just never know so it is better to be safe and never find out. My husband was bitten quite badly by the family dog when he was younger and he bears the scars on his arm as a reminder that no matter how much you think a dog is safe, anything can and might happen. It is lovely to see that you help to foster a loving relationship between Little Mr and Mikey under your sensible and watchful eye.

  • Reply You Baby Me Mummy 19/02/2014 at 4:08 pm

    I have a fur baby too. I was there when she was born and hand fed her etc. I never leave Baby with them, or let her play with them. However much I trust them they are dogs after all x

  • Reply Pippa Ainsworth 19/02/2014 at 4:15 pm

    I completely agree with you. I cringe when I see photos of dogs with babies. I do believe people can train their dogs, and can know them really well but no-one has any way of knowing if they might snap and it is simply not worth the risk.
    I’ve grown up with dogs and would like one for our family at some point but I’m going to wait until my two are older.

  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily 19/02/2014 at 7:06 pm

    My last comment got eaten I think so I’ll just say that I completely agree with everything you say x x x

  • Reply Charly Dove 19/02/2014 at 8:06 pm

    Great post and of course topical after recent events. We saw some friends with dogs recently, it unnerved me – especially the neurotic one that was the same height as POD! That said, I grew up with Labradors and although we’ve not had one for years, it would be lovely for POD to have one too at some point. Maybe as a puppy so they get used to each other. You’re so right in what you’re saying about animal instincts :)

  • Reply Kara 20/02/2014 at 7:04 am

    I would never have a dog, especially when the kids are small, but then I don’t like them anyway. The kids seem unfazed by them but I always make them ask for permission before touching one when we are out. The news has been full of horrific stories and I feel for the parents – they must feel horrendously guilty

  • Reply Emmys Mummy 20/02/2014 at 5:42 pm

    I’ll go against the grain and say I have left mine my dog with both mine when babies – I’ve a border collie and he sleeps near the kids – he guards over them.

    I was definitely vary though and did always keep a very close eye

  • Reply Sportbilly 22/02/2014 at 2:06 pm

    I completely agree. My dog is my baby and I love him, but wouldn’t leave him with a child. Dogs and children can have great relationships together, but absolutely shouldn’t be left alone together. I think a lot more dog owners also need to learn the subtle signs that dogs can show when they are not comfortable, as a lot of incidents can happen when the adult is present, but they don’t stop the child from taunting the dog or recognise when the dog isn’t happy. It’s not fair on the dog.

  • Reply Emma Shilton 25/02/2014 at 9:48 pm

    So glad things have worked out x

  • Reply jenny 26/02/2014 at 2:19 pm

    What an amazing post, a tribute to the love and friendship Mikey and Mr have but also to warn other dog owners the risks and dangers. It’s so tragic what’s been on the news. I can’t even imagine. Thank you so much for linking up with Share With Me. I love to get to know other bloggers and lovely blogs like yours! Hope to see you again soon.

  • Reply Emma Shilton 28/02/2014 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks Rachel, I couldn’t take the risk.. x

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