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to think if you have a giant rottweiler you should say so when you invite children to play?

(240 Posts)
kawliga Tue 26-Mar-13 10:10:23

Or is it up to me, whenever my daughter is invited to play with schoolfriends to ask their parents 'by the way, might you happen to have a giant rottweiler the size of a small tractor in your house'?

This was a friendly dog and dd is not frightened of dogs, but we don't have dogs ourselves so she is also not used to them. This dog, the sheer size of it, could knock a grown man over even if it's just playing. When I arrived to pick her up DD was cowering in the corner sad although later she told me she had fun playing there, so no harm done. Just feel a bit uneasy. I feel like I should have known so I could say something like 'there's a big dog there but it's friendly so don't worry' before she went there to play. AIBU?

bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 07:29:12

Yes they should tell you.

We have one little friend who can't come over to play as he's very, very allergic to animal dander and our home is a shoebox. I don't want to make anyone ill! Some children are terrified of dogs and I will not be the one to force them.

From my perpspective as a dog owner it is very helpful to me to know if a child is "dog trained". our whippet is as gentle as anything but even the gentlest most docile animal could potentially turn if poked in the eye by a child who just doesn't know better.

If I know the child is not used to animals I can do a proper introduction - showing the child it's nice to stoke gently but not to prod the animal with pointy things etc. I also let all children know that if the dog retreats to her bed after a game they must not follow and disturb her as she needs a wee break.

I can basically ensure that the experience is a fun, pleasant one for animal and child. Unless I'm sure a child is "dog-trained" after observing a series of visits, I ensure that the dog is NEVER left alone with the child if I need to pop to the loo or anything. As the adult I'm 100% responsible for what happens in my home, not the child and not the dog.

It might sound like I'm being overfussy but people forget even well-trained, superb family pets feel pain & can react.

AlanMoore Wed 27-Mar-13 07:29:35

Can I ask why? If you're ok with bull breeds what have you got against GSDs? As a breed they tend to give plenty of warning if they're going to bite...

AlanMoore Wed 27-Mar-13 07:31:24

sorry, that was in response to DumSpiroSpero's post - not having a go, just interested! (as a child I used to get most offended to people's reaction to my beloved Sabre (it was the 80s!), he was huge but the most lovely gentle dog).

olgaga Wed 27-Mar-13 07:55:46

bochead, if only all owners were like you!


Yesterday's tragic case is similar to others in recent years in that the child killed was not resident in the home where the dogs attacked.

This is a key issue. However "family-friendly" the dog, IMO they should always be kept well away from visiting children.

As I said earlier, it's the dog owners who insist their dogs are gentle, soft and friendly and couldn't hurt a fly who are the most dangerous to know.

kawliga points out that

It jumped on me when I arrived to pick her up, not in an aggresive or scary way but I felt how strong and heavy it is and that was a new experience for me, not unpleasant but also not very comfortable.

The dog was not locked way, it was running about the house while I was there.

I was shocked to be met by it at the door.

All of these points illustrate that these dog owners are simply not responsible. They are not putting the safety of visiting children first.

I think OP has been very reasonable in her description of this event, and in her concern. In circumstances like that, I would make a point of having playdates with this friend at my house and explain to the owner that I simply wasn't comfortable with DD being in a set-up where playing children had to encounter a large dog wandering around. You are allowed to be polite and assertive about these things!

In fact I do always ask whether DDs friends have a dog. Many of her friends do, but they are usually small, manageable family pets and a few of them are very old and very quiet. But I always make a point of telling the friend's mum that DD is very nervous around dogs so they can either introduce them carefully, or shut the dog away from the children.

Our local craft shop has a resident dog which is really sweet and we have made many visits there as I have encouraged my DD to realise that not all dogs are the same as the one who gave her an early terrifying experience. However the damage is done - she will never be comfortable around dogs.

FourArms Wed 27-Mar-13 08:00:50

Interesting reading. We've got 2 dogs this week as we're dog sitting but haven't mentioned this to parents of visiting children. They're both dogs who are familiar with children.... One (old lady whippet) will take herself away from the children. The other (Alaskan Malamute - Husky type) is younger and much more playful. One visitor who is not used to dogs did say the malamute wouldn't leave her alone but she was (unconsciously) giving the dog signals that she wanted to play. My children are used to this dog and don't do this. Thought provoking.

Emilythornesbff Wed 27-Mar-13 08:01:32


MeerkatMerkin Wed 27-Mar-13 08:58:02

MidniteScribbler what a joy your dogs sound! You must be so proud. smile

theodorakisses Wed 27-Mar-13 09:16:57

I don't think the breed is important but as the owner of 3 dogs and fosterer of a billion strays, I would never, ever have the dogs around visitors with or without . I am lucky in that I have plenty of space for them to be kept separately without having to resort to locking them in a spare room. I can't think of anything worse than any accident, even a child just being bowled over and am fastidious about it. Not everyone likes dogs and I would never expect my lifestyle to be inflicted on other people.

Snowme Wed 27-Mar-13 11:22:39

Dogs aren't fully domesticated. They still have wild animal base instincts.
The people who claim 'Oh my dog's a softie, he wouldn't hurt a flea!' have the kind of complacency that puts my guard up.

I wouldn't allow my children into a house unsupervised with a dog.

As children, we had German Shepherds, and no matter how familiar or 'family friendly' they were, they still had no qualms about nipping us or growling terrifyingly if we irritated them.

Suggesting a breed has a defined, guaranteed behavioural pattern is about as stereotyped as suggesting the same about humans. Even dogs have off days.

And yes, although the sheer size of large breeds makes me wary, our Nan had a teeny weeny chihuahua that gave a nasty nip!

DumSpiroSpero Wed 27-Mar-13 18:39:30

Can I ask why? If you're ok with bull breeds what have you got against GSDs? As a breed they tend to give plenty of warning if they're going to bite...

Purely personal experience - the bull mastiffs and staffy have never attacked me.

I was attacked twice at ages 11 and 13, both times by German Shepherds, neither gave any warning whatsover.

On the second occasion the owner was not known to me and was at fault. Bruised and lacerated ankle, A & E & tetanus jab.

On the first occasion, I was attacked by our neighbour's family pet who I had known for over three years. I was friends with their DD and constantly in and out of their house during that time with no issues with the dog at all. On this particular occasion it followed it's owner to the door and went straight for my stomach. Thankfully I had a chunky belt on and thanks to the owner grabbing it's collar in the nick of time it got a mouthful of thick leather. A second or two later and no belt...not so good.

DumSpiroSpero Wed 27-Mar-13 18:42:30

Alan I have just realised the friend's dog in question was also a Sabre and it happened in the 80's! shock

orderinformation Wed 27-Mar-13 18:45:04


bochead Wed 27-Mar-13 19:17:36

Our cat was stung twice on it's bum last summer by a wasp. For about 3 weeks afterwards he was absolutely lethal and more than capable of inflicting serious damage on a child. Frankly he was scary for me, and I'm his owner.

Cats aren't that big, yet becuase he was sore, for a while he was dangerous. The law does not hold a cat owner responsible, while the dog owner is called to account. A 10 stone dog in similar circumstances would have been more than capable of killing a child. Often fighting dogs are often in some sort of pain from the effects of their "training" (I've seen the poor things being beaten with metal chains in our local parks to encourage aggression).

There's a good reason the scum of the earth use strong, powerful dogs instead of guns on the streets. (Lower prison sentence for walking down the local high street with one). In the wrong hands they can be lethal weapons. Only a complete idiot fails to recognise this. I say this as a dog lover.

Owning a dog requires the aquisition of a sense of responsibility over the actions of that animal. My first dog was a rescue chihauhua who had to be kept muzzled in public for the first year I owned him, while I waited for the work we were doing with the behaviorist to take effect. (He'd been VERY badly abused). Given the chance he'd have bitten everyone in sight bar me. Yet a few years later with the right training and supervision he went onto become a therapy dog - capable of being taken onto a children's hospital ward.

Complacency on the part of the owner can result in a much loved family family pet having to be put down. Sadly some children nowadays are virtually feral and have no idea at all that animals feel pain. How to treat animals is as much a life skill as cooking, or reading yet I'm always a bit suprised at how some otherwise very nice parents fail miserably to teach children not to torment living creatures.

I suppose I'm trying to say there is a sensible common sensical medium between "all dog owners are evil!" and "all those who don't like strange dogs slobbering all over them are completely irrational".

AlanMoore Thu 28-Mar-13 13:55:44

DumSpiroSpero I swear that wasn't him! He was a right softy, certainly never bit anyone, I think he was the failed police dog but that could have been Sultan blush

runningforme Thu 28-Mar-13 21:23:46

This just happened. Sickening. And why I still believe that even 'family' dogs and 'softies' should be properly supervised.

family dogs maul toddler to death

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