A client recently told me that they have a newborn baby that they put down next to their two dogs and the baby pulls their ears and pokes them in their eyes. "Nothing bad seems to happen", so that must be OK.
No, it is not OK. A newborn baby is small, low to the ground, makes quick, forward motions with their hands, and squeals in a high pitch. These are all actions that aggravate the normal dog into a point of "don't bother me". When this occurs, the dog will first give off a low growl indicating that they are done with the interaction.
Guess what? The newborn baby doesn't "speak dog"! They will continue to poke and squeal and approach. Now comes the "bad part". When your dog sees that their verbal communication has not been successfully received, they will ramp it up to a snap. In your dog's mind, a snap is still a passive action designed to passively, yet forcefully explain their position of "leave me alone".
What I have seen too many times is that the snap comes into contact with the baby. This results in a bruise at the minimum and several stitches at the maximum. The point of this discussion is that this does not have to happen.
PARENTS! Manage your baby and your dog!
- Do not leave your baby and dog alone. Ever!
- When you are together, have your dog on a leash and always be between both of them.
- If you feel it is time to let them meet, two adults must be present. One adult has the dog on the leash, ready to remove him from the area. The other holds the baby. Allow the dog to approach and manage the baby so that they don't employ quick, forward movements.
If any form of aggression takes place, separate the two instantly.
For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.