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Dog and childminder - what to ask/expect?

(81 Posts)
MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:19:01

Hi all

I am not keen on dogs generally (more a cat person!), but as a result I don't know much about them and so assume they are probably fine. But a CM I am very interested in does have a jack Russell dog who I believe roams free and is a much loved part of the family.

I am nervous about my 9 mth baby dd with a dog though. Various sites feature childminders with dogs who all seem to say dogs should never be left unsupervised with babies etc, and that even if peaceful for years can always unpredictably snap - I was startled to read that from dog-owners themselves!

What should I be asking about how much access the dog will have to my baby? In sine ways my total dog ignorance might be making me too relaxed here. My utter priority is her safety. I am HARDLINE about that.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 14:59:56

Met her today -she is totally lovely

But dog and babies won't be segregated at all as most of you advised. He interacts with all the children - he does seem gentle but I am apprehensive. The here hear old boy there was encouraged to give him his play bone and to feed him dry do food from his hand and the dog did take that very meekly.

The cm said there is a crate so if she leaves to go downstairs to answer door etc dog will go in crate. But segregation definitely doesn't happen at all

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 15:01:06

Three year old boy (feeding from hand)

Theas18 Tue 04-Jun-13 15:15:16

My CM had a dog/dogs. They lived in the conservatory behind a dog gate. They went with the kids for walks on leads etc All was well. The very bouncy black lab was only around when the kids were junior age, before then it was a couple of rather hairy cushion type dogs!

Actually I think the kids benefitted from the dogs being about.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 15:22:36

Nanny share appeals but I don't think we can afford it :/ we are at our max with the nursery or cm option

She is WONDERFUL - the most warm and loving person - I can totally imagine my little one happy in her arms and she ADORES he children. A really lovely CM. PERFECT except for the dog worry.

The dog came up to my baby while she was sitting in the floor. My baby tried to reah for it and they called it away a foot or so. It was totally calm even when eating its play bone, which the childmindee boy was giving it.

Oh dear. I wish the dog wasn't an issue. She is so ideal and lovely.

debduck Tue 04-Jun-13 16:24:16

I have been a childminder for many years and have an old staffie cross which is the softest brush ever, but he stayed upstairs during minding hours, occaisionally coming down for supervised petting. I now have an old Westie and wouldnt trust a doll in it's presence. Bloody snappy old git. If I was still minding it would go to my dad's for the day. The childminder probably has a policy and I would go and visit again when she is working and see how she manages it. Dont be put off immediately. It's a tricky one.

suckmabigtoe Tue 04-Jun-13 16:34:47

i have a dog and he is part of the family- which means his effect on the family i staken into account on a daily basis just as much as my eldest's behaviour with my newborn son was taken into account. this means i dont leave him ever in a room with my dc unless i am there. i have a stairgate between my livingroom and kitchen and the dog automatically comes with me when i leave the room, even to the bathroom! (sometimes he lies outside the door but cant get to the living room or kitchen from there). when we are in teh house, the dog is in the house. when we are in the garden the dog is in the garden. if we are cooking or eating he goes in the back hall. if we are having messy play or something he would get in the way of he goes in the kitchen. if dcs are having a snack in the living room he goes in the kitchen. it is just habit now that we know where he needs to be when we are going to do certain things. he is never left alone with my dcs or any of their friends that come to the house. i am registering as a CMer and these will be the rules i follow when i have mindees. any prospective families will be told them upfront. it really isn't very hard to keep him separated from dcs if you want to. i love my dog and he is so gentle but i dont trust that he will never snap- he has the ability so i dont take the risk.

Thurlow Tue 04-Jun-13 16:44:01

I think this would be a dealbreaker for me too. I wouldn't be keen on a CM with a dog overall, but there are certain breads I would find more acceptable - and a JRT isn't one of them, sorry. They are ratters, their natural instinct would be to bite and shake and really hold one. MiL has a JRT and even though she dotes on her, the dog is away in another room when our toddler is there.

Obviously it is entirely down to you, everyone has different dealbreakers. The fact that the dog interacts so completely with the mindees would be a concern for me personally. A larger dog that was outside a lot, or in the kitchen behind a safety gate, for example, wouldn't be so bad. A small, nippy dog like a JRT, one that is generally considered to need a lot of training, has the ability to really snap.

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 16:46:03

I completely understand that you think she's a lovely childminder but I wouldn't put my toddler in her care.

When we adopted our dogs we had to go to training sessions. The trainer told us about two dogs she knew who had suddenly turned on children and had to be put down. They did post mortems on both dogs because their behaviour was so out of character. One had a couple of inches of pencil through its eardrum and the other had several staples in its back.

It isn't just about the nature of the dogs. It's just as much about what the children can do to hurt them. The trainer pointed out that the second dog had clearly put up with a lot if it didn't turn on the first or second staple. They can all turn if the right thing happens when the adult's back is turned.

tabulahrasa Tue 04-Jun-13 17:00:20

I'd have no problem with a dog being around children as long as it's under responsible supervision.

I've had dogs the whole time my children have been alive, it's never been an issue.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:01:05

Wow Gold - v good point re the pencil/staples. Obviously I would hope my LO wouldn't be horribly cruel like that, but she can pull my hair out and really kick me painfully and not at all realise it hurts (she is still v small) and I would worry she wouldn't realise need to be very delicate. If dd were older and could talk - not a baby - then we could explain it a bit more easily.....

Thurlow Tue 04-Jun-13 17:02:31

I'd be much happier with older children and a dog. Babies/toddlers just don't have the language skills for you to explain to them, and could easily accidentally hurt or anger a dog.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:03:48

Some added info - she is new to CMing (but a natural - I can't describe how lovely and warm she is!) - been doing it less than a year. And the JRT is a year and a half old I think - I thought older but no. Has been raised with children from the start. (I sill think segregation would be pref tho)

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 17:05:13

Thurlow exactly :/ especially since there will be other little ones all aroind the dog too all at once.

NarkyNamechanger Tue 04-Jun-13 17:43:42

Why not ask her if it were possible to segregate? Let her know it's a deal breaker.

ReetPetit Tue 04-Jun-13 18:58:17

Everything you've said in your last post makes this even worse, she is new to cm and the dog is young. However 'nice' you think she is, it just isn't worth the risk.

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 19:12:25

The thing is toddlers and pre-schoolers don't always have the insight to realise that they are inflicting pain. Even with an adult in the room they can stick fingers in ears and eyes causing the dog to react to protect itself.

mamadoc Tue 04-Jun-13 20:52:35

There's no way the baby or the dog can be responsible for their behaviour it is down to the adult to supervise.

It is basically up to whether you can talk to her and get assurances that she will keep the dog away from your baby and whether you trust those assurances.

A 3 year old is quite different to a baby. I still wouldn't leave them alone together but I think they could be trusted to have more interaction because the 3 year old can be explained to and understand how to interact with animals. It may be that she is willing to make different rules for your baby.

If you are starting off a CM relationship then trust and communication are really the most important things so if you are able to have a good discussion about it and come to a compromise it could bode well for the future.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 10:20:18

Well, things have moved on a bit. My DH has pointed out that despite my wide-eyed enthusiasm for the CM there are other issues beyond the dog, namely the other safety issues but marble fireplace without any edge proofing (a rug sometimes put over the edge but not always and that's it), climbable bookcase display thing not attached to wall, big glass coffee table with no corner proofing, big upward flight of stairs with no gate, bathroom with no gate or toilet lock. I still love the CM but her house isn't set up for babies yet and she didn't mention any further child proofing plans - so far her CMs have been 4-4, the three year old there now is very new. Also baby would sleep on sofa sometimes wedged in with coffee table and I think dd would crawl off and fall because she is very mobile - already taking free steps at 8.5 months so likely to be even more mobile at 12.

Cm is still the person I wish we're caring for her though. She is so warm. The safety concerns seem real to me though - our house is massively childproofed and I know I am a bit PFB about hat so I assumed that as a professional she hasn't done it because she knows more than I do. But I think that I would need a lot of safety adjustments. I will talk to her, but she has said already that the dog qouldnt be segregated

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:06:56

Ok, that is a lot of things wrong with the house! Just picturing my CM's house, everything is gated, no open bookcases, the main room is definitely set up so that if the kids are on their own for a minute (lets be reasonable, the CM has to pee sometimes grin) there is nothing dangerous. Your CM's living room sounds genuinely dangerous for looking after a group of children.

And I actually don't have words for the idea that an 8mo baby is going to be expected to sleep on the sofa shock I know plenty of older kids will nap for half an hour on the sofa, but a baby? No way. Travel cots don't cost much.

MummyOfSunbeam Thu 06-Jun-13 11:17:12

That is helpful to hear Thurlow! I was thinking of starting a thread to see if I was being unreasonable to expect more child proofing - as I said, I am weirdly assuming she must know best since I am just new mum and she is professional cm (albeit for less than a year and not w baby/#oddler mindees yet).

So it IS weird not to have more childproof ing then. Hmmmm.

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:32:08

From what you've described, I would expect the fireplace to at least have those little rubber corners on, the bookcase to be screwed to the wall, a gate on the bottom of the stairs, and probably change the coffee table for something safer - though I could be wrong on that one, maybe decent glass coffee tables are actually unbreakable?

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:33:47

Another thought - are there any other CMs you can visit to just see what their set-up is like? Or maybe start another thread asking for the standards of safety that should be expected. I know what I think, but I only saw two other CMs before we met the right one, so I could be wrong!

ReetPetit Thu 06-Jun-13 11:36:29

omg op - don't go there! shock

that is crazy - baby sleeping on sofa wedged in by coffee table and all the other things you have mentioned, no, no, no...

very surprised she hasn't set up any safety mesaures. ofsted would not allow this - i'm assuming she hasn't had an ofsted yet??

don't look at this through rose tinted glasses or with desperation - don't put your baby at risk - she sounds very unflexible - not segregating the dog is wrong too. Don't use her, there must be another option.

Where are you??

Thurlow Thu 06-Jun-13 11:59:29

She obviously doesn't realise/remember the vast difference between a 3yo and a new cruiser. If you are certain that you want her as a CM, I'd make a few things non-negotiable:

Childgates on the stairs and the kitchen/bathroom doors
Travel cot for the baby to sleep in upstairs (every CM I saw had babies sleeping in one of the bedrooms)
Bookcase bolted to the wall
Toilet lock
Possibly lagging etc around the hearth, though I suppose that one depends - we have a hearth and have never protected it (well, we did try once but DD ripped the rubber corners off and ate them...) but I would probably expect more from a CM

Also, as she's a bit crap on these things, I would ask to see the pushchair and car seat she would be using, and also her Ofsted report to confirm she can have babies, not just toddlers.

But the dog mixing with the children would still be an absolute dealbreaker. As others have said, a 1yo just won't understand enough to control themselves.

ReetPetit Thu 06-Jun-13 12:04:24

the problem is Thurlow, op can't insist on any of these things, the cm is self employed and running her business as she sees fit. Personally, it doesn't sound good enough to me but the op can't actually request or put in force that she does anything because she is not employing her - and won't witness what she does with the dog during the day. just because the dog is in the garden at drop off/pick up, doesn't mean its there all day!

And unless op is willing to pay for stair gates/travel cots etc (all of which cm should have anyway) she can't insist on them... she just needs to take her business elsewhere.

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