to worry about DD's friend's dog and the proposed sleepover

(53 Posts)
koekje Sun 29-May-16 11:34:33

DD is nearly 8 and her friend has invited her and another girl for a celebratory sleepover at the friend's house. Trouble is the friend has a large boisterous young dog, Labrador-cross, just 12-13 months old, which is completely untrained and undisciplined and I am concerned about something happening.

On the plus side of the column, DD is very used to dogs as we have a Jack Russell ourselves and she is pretty responsible in how she behaves around them.

On the negative side, this dog thinks it's the pack-leader, goes crazy barking when the doorbell goes and has growled at visitors. The parents do what they can to correct the dog but to no great effect, and with the best will in the world, they will not have "eyes on" what the dog and the kids are doing all the time. I don't think they see the risk in the same way, on the last playdate there, the kids were unexpectedly left in the care of small, frail MIL.

I just have visions of DD squealing and wrestling with her friend, the dog thinking he needs to "defend" his pack and my next phone-call coming from the A&E.

My gut is that DD should not go to this friend's house whilst the dog is there. But I'm massively conflict-averse and can't think of how to communicate this to the friend's parents without them taking offence, or talking me out of it. To give some context, I live outside the UK and this friend is part of a small group of international families that we hang out with from school so there will be ripple effects to contend with.

Argh! I know I'm right but I just need a script...

Becky546 Sun 29-May-16 11:39:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RestlessTraveller Sun 29-May-16 11:39:12

Actually, I don't think you're right from what you've said. Is there any evidence this dog is a risk? Has the friend not had other friends in the house? Can you speak to the parents about your fears?

Becky546 Sun 29-May-16 11:39:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sun 29-May-16 11:42:03

I'm not sure it would have occurred to me to worry about this

Could you speak to the parents and say "I'm worried about the dog, can I just check the girls won't be left alone with it?"

BeautifulMaudOHara Sun 29-May-16 11:42:36

And just tell your dd to be sensible around the dog

RestlessTraveller Sun 29-May-16 11:44:10

I know you've said that you are 'conflict adverse' but do you seem to worry more than other people about things?

CaptainCrunch Sun 29-May-16 11:44:47

If you're so sure you're right what did you ask on here for.
And you're quite possibly wrong, you've tarred this dog as a risk with no evidence.

Buckinbronco Sun 29-May-16 11:45:47

I don't think you're right. She's 8, it seems unusual to worry about a dog with a child that age. Are you feeling anxious generally at the mo?

IoraRua Sun 29-May-16 11:47:32

I think you're wrong. But talk to the parents about your worries.

WhatALoadOfWankers Sun 29-May-16 11:47:38

I wouldn't let her go . I have had dogs all my life . A dog barking fine . A dog growling , no
Explain why to them
Can the other child come to you instead ?

scarlets Sun 29-May-16 11:47:50

Many of the problems I've heard about, arise from children who've no experience of dogs innocently agitating them in some way. Your daughter, however, knows what not to do, and presumably has a healthy respect for dogs. She'll be ok. Perhaps you could tell the parents that she's unused to large breeds and is a bit wary of them (a white lie which might make them more vigilant).

koekje Sun 29-May-16 11:48:10

Interesting, I thought this would be a done deal.

Hmm, I've seen this dog be extremely boisterous with the kids, knock them over to the floor and climb on the sofa after them. He's big, a lot bigger than our dog, and he's still at the puppy stage of biting. And the growling at visitors is a big red flag for me.

I've talked to DD about this and she has a good understanding of how dogs operate but I'd still not be 100% certain that in the excitement of the sleepover she'd remember to be careful.

Costacoffeeplease Sun 29-May-16 11:49:15

I wouldn't give this a second thought

RestlessTraveller Sun 29-May-16 11:49:47

So has the dog actually bitten before?

koekje Sun 29-May-16 11:51:41

Restless, nope, she is a PFB and only child but I think I'm quite a relaxed mum with a confident and outgoing child.

CaptainCrunch, 'cos it's always good to get a bit of perspective (and I'm always prepared to change my mind), and because I can't ask around in my circle of friends as it'll get back to the dog's owners.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sun 29-May-16 11:53:11

So mention your worries to the other mum?

AnUtterIdiot Sun 29-May-16 11:53:11

The fact that a dog has growled at visitors means nothing without knowing what they were doing. If they were in the dog's bed or bothering it whilst it was eating or pursuing it when it kept trying to move away and had already sent non-growly "leave me alone" messages, then growling is perfectly normal behavior and you should know that as a dog owner and so should your DD.

JRTs are notorious for standing up for themselves. Has yours never growled at anyone ever?

If on the other hand the dog has form for biting people YANBU.

koekje Sun 29-May-16 11:54:26

Restless, DD has said he has bitten before but my understanding was that this was more the puppy-type bite if you see what I mean, more in experimentation than in anger.

I like the dog, I like all dogs in general, but if the combination of three over-excited girls playing with him in his territory that concerns me.

RestlessTraveller Sun 29-May-16 11:55:10

From what I see, I think you maybe need to examine your anxiety levels. I think that you are judging these people as bad parents because have a large puppy (you appear to have experience of it displaying any risky behaviour) and because they left the children with one of their grandparents.

Yet you cannot talk to these people about your anxieties because you're anxious about what they will think.

AnUtterIdiot Sun 29-May-16 11:55:54

PS I'm not saying owners shouldn't train out food guarding etc but it's a predictable behaviour and very different from suddenly biting

RestlessTraveller Sun 29-May-16 11:56:08

*no experience of it displaying risky behaviour. (Damn phone)

LilCamper Sun 29-May-16 11:56:33

You do realise dogs don't try and dominate humans and there is no such thing as a pack leader? That is outdated and debunked stuff. It is good that this dog growls, he is saying that he is unhappy with a situation.

hownottofuckup Sun 29-May-16 11:57:20

Well I think you should go with your gut personally.
I would probably make an excuse.

koekje Sun 29-May-16 11:57:27

AnUtterIdiot, our dog is the most ridiculously passive and non-typical JRT ever. Really tolerant of children, never barks and generally ignores the door. Except for his ongoing life-and-death feud with the liver terrier who lives dead opposite us, I'd be demanding my money back from the breeder under the Trade Descriptions Act.

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