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Dogs to be seperated from my son as they have history of being volitile

(42 Posts)
Flumaxed Sat 01-Oct-11 22:47:38

im really looking for help to deal with a situation i face with my MIL. She owns two dogs that are very volitile. One doesnt like being touched around the collar and his ears pulled and has been known to growl, bite and snap at his owner. The other dog wants to be top dog and has gone hammer and tong with the other dog over basically jealousy issues. MIL treats them like children, sits them on her knee and cant see how bad they are. I have made it clear from pregnancy how i feel about them and that they are a risk to my child. These have constantly been downplayed and ignored at times. So much so that myself and husband have stopped taking my son over there. this has caused massive problems in itself. However I decided that it had been long enough and thought maybe MIL had got the message re the dogs. So i allowed MIL to babysit my son at hers but she was told the dog gate had to be up. Myself and husband go to pick up my son and dogs are out and running around. When challenged she said a long the lines of "well they were ignoring esach other so i thought i'd let them out". I was so angry, but as usual she makes me feel like i cant even say anything even when its my son's safety! I was so upset i was physically shaking with anger but still we drove off. Meanwhile I have been thinking about this and feel i cannot trust her to do as i ask. and it worries me so much that my son will pull an ear and the next thing i know im getting a call i dont want to hear. My MIL has made a war out of this for the last 2 years. Its as if she cant put her ego away for the safety of her own grandchild.

How do I handle this, I desperately need some advice? Especially as its now causing massive problems in our marriage, Im so angry I could cut her right out but I dont want to do that as my son has a lovely relationship with her even if I dont! Help!

OddBoots Sat 01-Oct-11 22:50:57

Do you have the option of not asking her to babysit at her house or not babysit at all? They can still have a relationship if you invite her round for tea.

FabbyChic Sat 01-Oct-11 22:52:19

Don't leave your son at hers, only allow her to yours without the dogs to see your son.

NestaFiesta Sat 01-Oct-11 23:01:11

I know this sounds weird but every time you hear of a dog mauling or harming a child (or worse), the dog always seems to belong to grandparents, not the parents. Could you find some articles to back up your stance?

I have respect for people who love their dogs even though I am not a dog lover, but some (note SOME) dog owners have a blind spot where their pets are concerned.

I often think it's an idea to hide behind professional advice and say something like "the Health Visitor/Vet/Queen advises that we don't leave child with dog. Can you come and babysit here on Friday?"

I think you are in the right and are being intimidated into allowing your child to be put at risk. Your DH needs to pull his finger out.

Flumaxed Sat 01-Oct-11 23:01:39

She has been babysitting at ours on her days. We had just opened it up for her to have him on her day at her house as we thought we could start to trust her again. I think we are going to have to take it back to babysitting at ours and not go over there again. Its just rubbish I wish she could see how serious i am about this. I do understand that im dictating in her house but this is my son and the dogs could never do anything but they are so volitile. But it only needs my son to pull an ear at the wrong moment or be getting too much attention and thats it! I have a big dog that is never allowed in the same room as him (and he is soft as anything) because i will never trust even the most docile dog but hers make even me nervous and they are only small dogs.
Its so hard because relations between us are not good anyway, which is miserable!

JaneFonda Sat 01-Oct-11 23:01:51

Absolutely stand your ground - she comes to your house to see DS, or she doesn't see him at all.

It may seem harsh, but I would NEVER trust a dog around my DCs - even previously calm dogs can suddenly snap, and I would never forgive myself if something happened.

NestaFiesta Sat 01-Oct-11 23:06:13

She broke your trust, so don't feel bad about going back to square one. She is at fault, not you.

Beamur Sat 01-Oct-11 23:06:24

I'm going to leave aside the fact it's a dog issue as people get incredibly sensitive about this...but I would say if you've identified what is for you an unacceptable hazard at your MIL house and asked her to keep your son away from it, and she didn't. If she can't respect that - and you know she will not respect it again - then I would suggest that she gets to see your son on neutral ground or your home. Some things GP do differently and it's best to turn a slightly blind eye too if no harm will be done. But, I don't think this is one of those things. FWIW - I have a dog, who has never shown an ounce of aggression towards a person and I never leave DD (now 4) alone or unsupervised with her. If we have guests who don't like dogs - for whatever reason, then I will shut my dog up somewhere safe until they go, without comment on my part - I accept not all people like dogs and not all people like my dog.
My Mum, who is lovely, is not good at seeing the hazards in her own home and to boot has a memory problem which means she does not always clearly think through consequences - at her house she used to sometimes put the gas fire on - no fire gate, no surround, it's an inset fire at precisely toddler height, then wander off to make a drink. So I asked her to look after DD in my house instead, which is much more child friendly. She was not offended.

bigbutton Sat 01-Oct-11 23:12:05

YANBU. I have a scar below my eye from being at my mum's friend's house when I was a toddler.

They didn't leave me with the dog, we were all in the same room. The dog was "very well trained" and "wouldn't hurt a fly". Well it hurt me.

You're right to stand your ground. I was lucky enough to avoid being blinded by millimetres, don't let anyone expose your son to that risk, even his grandmother.

I'm about to have a baby and can see the same battle on the horizon with my own mil. I have no idea how to avoid it. She calls the dog her 3rd child. I'll be watching your thread with interest and hoping someone has an answer.

squeakytoy Sat 01-Oct-11 23:12:31

Dont take your child there unless you are with him. It really is as simple as that.

If you need a babysitter, tell her she is more than welcome to do it at your house, but your child will not be going to her house as her dogs are not safe to be around children, due to their temperament, and she has proved herself unwilling to keep your child safe.

I have a dog, and I love dogs, but any dog can be a danger, moreso if that dog has a history of being snappy.

It doesnt matter what breed they are, any dog is capable of doing serious damage to a child. If the dogs have jealousy issues, it is certainly not safe to let a small child be in the same room as them.

Flumaxed Sat 01-Oct-11 23:15:53

Thank you, I thought I was thinking straight but Id got so emotional and angry i needed totally independant viewpoint. Im certainly going to find the evidence to give her. Perhaps not now but a bit further down the line when i feel that we can trust having our son at her house again. But for now babysitting is going to have to be at our house until further notice. I just hope I can trust her to do just that!

BatsUpMeNightie Sat 01-Oct-11 23:18:38

What squeaky said.

midlandsmumof4 Sat 01-Oct-11 23:19:59

IMOH-one dog is OK-two can be a nightmare. They are pack animals when all is said and done. We have two Rottys who we love to bits. Both of them are gorgeous-on their own together with us thay are fab (they have the occasional scrap). Add a visitor to the mix and they get so excited. We have child gates for when the GK's come tho and we are teaching the grandchildren to respect their space aswell.

DooinMeCleanin Sat 01-Oct-11 23:22:20

I have three dogs. Visitors can safely enter my house. One of the three is snappy. I keep him away from things might agitate him. Pack theory is tosh.

But YANBU Op. I would advise MIL to get a behviourist in and get it sorted out. Tell her once she has done that your son will be allowed to visit.

squeakytoy Sat 01-Oct-11 23:22:35

You dont need to find any evidence. It is pure and simple common sense that children, particularly small ones, are not left alone with unpredictable animals.

Birdsgottafly Sat 01-Oct-11 23:24:01

She also needs to watch 'it's me or the dog', Victoria Stilwell explains, in easy to understand terms, why dogs need to be treated like dogs and know their place, not like humans. She also shows how they are happier when this happens.

squeakytoy Sat 01-Oct-11 23:25:31

Doooin, I am sorry but I would have to disagree with you. Dogs are very much pack animals. I have seen it many times. A child who is not much bigger than the dogs can also easily be dragged into the middle of a fight and seriously hurt.

No amount of training or behaviour therapy can ever take the possibility away that a dog may suddenly snap. The dog could be ill, having a bad day, or simply taken unawares, and suddenly try to defend itself. You can never ever leave it to chance, no matter how well trained a dog is.

Vallhala Sat 01-Oct-11 23:27:38

I'm a dog owner as well as a mum, I rescue and foster dogs too. They're my life and I'm very pro dog but if you are concerned, especially as your wishes are not being adhered to - and it's very wise not to allow dogs to be unsupervised with children - then I think that the only thing you can do is keep your DC away from this pair.

I will say this though - IME keeping the family dog (ie your own) away from DC, unless he too has issues, even when you are able to fully supervise, may not be the best way forward. If kept apart, how will your DC ever learn to behave properly with the family dog and how will HE learn to behave with DC? You could even be setting yourself up for causing issues of jealousy and concern about your DC with your own dog.

I personally would advise careful supervision and integration between DC and the family's dog. Admittedly, as one who has owned dogs since before the DC were born and who has always had at least 2 since they were born, plus foster dogs, I go the other way and have been far more laid back than I'd advise other folk to be, but there should imho be a happy medium.

Birdsgottafly Sat 01-Oct-11 23:28:11

The pack instinct can take over at times of aggression, because the other dog will pick their side and join it, it is a survival instinct. It is something that you are aware of when you are training working dogs. It can depend on the breed and how the linage of the breed has been developed.

DooinMeCleanin Sat 01-Oct-11 23:30:08

I have never seen any evidence of that. My family have owned two or more dogs since I was three years old.

Victoria Stillwell does not believe in pack theory. Boundaries, yes, pack theory, no.

Children should never be left alone with animals but can be allowed to interact with them under supervision so long as they shown how to do so safely.

99.99% of dogs that have shown a history of aggression can be rehabilitated safely.

LikeACandleButNotQuite Sat 01-Oct-11 23:31:46

The simplest solution to this is to invite MIL to yours for tea / babysitting etc etc, and not send DS to hers.

LineRunner Sat 01-Oct-11 23:40:00

OP, You say you yourself have a large dog, which you keep in a separate room. How do you know your MIL wouldn't let your dog into the same room as your child when she is babysitting at your house?

I'm wondering how it all works, logistically.


Birdsgottafly Sat 01-Oct-11 23:43:35

I used VS as an example because she is easily available to view. She works with pet dogs, i have seen one episode where she had to seperate the dogs to do individual work and didn't want them all taken out together (US show). There were dogs that she could do nothing with and were destroyed.

She doesn't deal with working dogs or many working breeds. I have seen a dominance (it doesn't matter what it is called) amongst working dogs, with one older experienced dog taking the lead. If 'the lead' is attack, other normally calm dogs will join in. I have seen dogs that will work in a pair but not hunt alone, they don't all follow the rules, a bit like children, really.

Vallhala Sat 01-Oct-11 23:46:40

Birds, pack instinct has been widely discredited by peer reviewed study. .

DooinMeCleanin Sat 01-Oct-11 23:49:40

Ah I see what you mean a bit more now. I just don't like seeing the term 'pack' being bandied about as pack theory based training is harmfull and dangerous.

I have dominance in my group of dogs, but it's fluid. Generally the grey is in charge of bones. The Devil Dog is in charge of who is allowed to sleep where. Whippy does as she is told, but go into her crate without her consent and she will eat you alive grin, even Devil dog will not dare go in her bed. They do follow one another but again that is fluid. If one starts barking they all will, it doesn't matter which dog barks first.

It's never led to any dog fights, however, scuffles yes, full on fights, no. They are not a danger to be left in the same room as my dc with adult supervision. They are all trained to follow me from room to room. The dc are trained on how to interact appropriately with them.

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