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AIBU to worry about this dog with DS?

(29 Posts)
ButterMelonCauliflower Mon 22-Apr-13 16:46:37

My MIL has a staffie, she's very sweet and has never shown any sign of aggression but she's a rescue dog and she's big. They don't know her history as she was picked up as a stray. She is very affectionate and licks people constantly, and is so strong I have trouble getting her off me if she jumps up. But she is also quite obedient and well trained.
MIL looks after my 1yr old DS one or 2 days a week, occasionally at her house. She knows I'm concerned about the dog, and has said she would never leave the baby alone with it.
But at Xmas she was holding DS, talking to someone else and didn't notice that DS was pretty much holding onto the dog's tongue – which made me worry that she's not really paying as much attention as she maybe should. I've also just seen a video she posted on facebook of my son at her house. The dog is sitting on the stairs and DS is repeatedly poking it on the nose through the bannister and laughing, while being held by my SIL. The dog, amazingly, is not reacting.
I don't know whether to bring it up with MIL, I've already spoken to her about it so she knows my concerns. I just worry that she's teaching my son to poke dogs in the face! I'm not anti-dogs, but I just don't think that's sensible. And I know she says always in the room with DS when the dog's there, but it's so strong that she wouldn't be able to do anything to stop it if it decided to go for the baby. Am i just being overprotective and daft?
It's kind of her to look after DS for me – and I know she loves having the time with him. But I'm really uncomfortable about this. Should I just trust her to look after him, and trust that the dog is trained well enough, and is good natured enough to not attack the baby?

Spero Mon 22-Apr-13 16:52:28

I have a staffy and I doubt very very much she would ever do anything to a child other than lick it.

BUT I would never leave a small child unsupervised with ANY dog because I couldn't possibly promise you that my dog wouldn't react for eg if a small child pushed a stick in her eye/ear.

Maybe it would just be a warning snap? But it could disfigure a child or maybe even kill him.

As long as she is there with child, I think all will be ok. But it is bloody stupid to teach a child to poke or prod any animal - the next dog he meets might not be so soppy.

So I think you are right to be concerned. It's highly unlikely the dog will just 'go for' someone unprovoked, but there should be no poking or prodding with or without supervision. That could be really dangerous if he tries it on dog of unknown temperament.

wibblyjelly Mon 22-Apr-13 16:53:04

I would. My DH was bitten by a dog when he was younger, because he provoked it (he bit it). It only takes a split second for a dog to decide its had enough.

wibblyjelly Mon 22-Apr-13 16:54:15

Sorry, my first sentence should be I'd ask for your DC to be kept away from the dog, and certainly not be allowed to provoke it in any way.

Footface Mon 22-Apr-13 16:58:50

This is an interesting website about dogs and children

Footface Mon 22-Apr-13 16:59:11


Jinty64 Mon 22-Apr-13 16:59:42

YABU. I would tell your MIL you are not comfortable with it. Say what you have said here.

I have had dogs all my life. I currently have a huge black Labrador bought as a puppy when ds3 was 3 months old. He a big softie and has grown up with ds3 (6). My other boys are teenagers. I am always in the same room as ds and the dog. If I leave the room I take the dog with me or put him in the kitchen. If we have other children round the dog goes outside (where he has a run and kennel or to his bed in the utility room which has a baby gate on the door. In the last year ds has played in the garden when the dog is out as I can trust he won't be rough with him but only now he is bigger.

It is not worth taking the risk.

Footface Mon 22-Apr-13 16:59:42 3rd time lucky

cathan Mon 22-Apr-13 17:00:01

I think you have every right to be concerned and some reason. However patient and restrained this particular dog usually is, it's a very bad idea to allow your son to behave this way with any dog. As you say, not all the dogs he meets will react in such a tolerant way so it's a dangerous lesson. Also, I don't think it's reasonable for her to expect her dog to put up with being teased like that. One day he may be off-colour or something and act out of character which would be tragic, both for your MIL, but especially for your son. Your first responsibility is to your son and if you have any doubts about his safety, you should act on your instincts. Be as diplomatic as you can, stress that it's not HER dog you're worried about etc but do insist that she be more careful. Hope this helps.

FunnysInLaJardin Mon 22-Apr-13 17:00:10

YANBU I couldn't let my child be exposed to such an unknown quantity. Very difficult for you but NU at all

Booboostoo Mon 22-Apr-13 17:38:03

I think you are right to wonder whether you should trust your MIL. From what you say the dog seems balanced and tolerant, but any dog/child interaction must be continuously re-assessed and it doesn't sound like your MIL is aware of this.

I would not be happy about your DS poking the dog and not being corrected and shown the right way to stroke the dog. He also needs to learn how to approach dogs and even if this dog tolerates this treatment it doesn't mean that the next dog he comes across will do so as well.

HeySoulSister Mon 22-Apr-13 17:44:00

It's not worth it.... Would you ever relax whilst he was there? No

pickledginger Mon 22-Apr-13 17:49:38

It sounds like the dog has a lovely temperament. It sounds like your ILs are fools. You don't encourage a baby to poke a dog in the face FFS.

worsestershiresauce Mon 22-Apr-13 17:58:44

Your ILs shouldn't be allowed to re-home a dog if they think it is acceptable to allow a child to poke it. Even an even tempered affectionate animal has a limit and will eventually give a warning snap or nip, which is dog language for 'pi55 off'.

Teach your child to respect animals as soon as you he is old enough to understand, and in the meantime keep him away from the poor dog. It must be fed up.

digerd Mon 22-Apr-13 19:30:54

A 1 year-old will not understand that poking a dog on the nose is not nice for the dog, and your MIL must say a sharp NO, poor doggy. Not just ignore it.
It can be dangerous for DS and he should be taught as best as possible at his young age not to do this to any dog as they do not like it. Nor their tongue being held. She is a very tolerant dog - so far- but what else will he do to her in his innocence as he gets older?


Fuzzysnout Mon 22-Apr-13 19:46:40

You are right to be concerned. The dog sounds lovely but all dogs have limits and the adults looking after your son arenot behaving sensibly.
It's not worth the risk. If you can't rely on MIL to behave sensibly then you need to make alternative arrangements.

tabulahrasa Mon 22-Apr-13 19:50:18

I'd not be worried about the dog in itself, I would be worried about the judgement of your in-laws though.

Naysa Mon 22-Apr-13 20:25:44

I am a huge dog lover and I normally come on these threads and it's people completely over reacting about child eating dogs.

In this case though YANBU!

I have a dog, he's a lab x and very strong. I know that he can be poked and prodded all day long without batting an eyelid, he has the nicest nature, but I would never leave him alone with a child. As much as I love him he is a dog, he is patient and loves to be petted but if he is hurt he could react badly, out of instinct rather than bad nature. He has never reacted badly even when I accidentally tread on his tail but in pain you never know what an animal will do.

Your MIL is also teaching your son an awful lesson. Her dog may be the most placid dog in the world, but what about dogs in the park? Or in the street? Will they tolerate having their tongues pulled or their nose poked? Maybe not.

By the sounds of it your MIL has the perfect dog to teach your DS how to behave around dogs and how much joy they can bring to a child's life, as it stands she's setting him up to be bitten, not by her own dog, but by any other dogs your son meets.

hwjm1945 Mon 22-Apr-13 21:53:09

M in law is an idiot,get her to look after son . At your house

Naysa Mon 22-Apr-13 23:12:14

hwjm1945 Or, seeing as MIL is presumably looking after DS for free, OP can get someone else to look after her child? I'd hate to be your MIL if you have that attitude hmm

Branleuse Mon 22-Apr-13 23:16:23

the dog sounds wonderful. obviously brought up with children before she was a stray

spiritedaway Mon 22-Apr-13 23:19:11

If it makes you feel uncomfortable you can't continue with these childcare arrangements, regardless of likely outcomes in different scenarios. I don't think it's a case of being unreasonable or not.

saintmerryweather Tue 23-Apr-13 07:37:19

I feel sorry for the dog really. just becausd a dog does tolerate children mistreating it doesnt mean it should have to. your ds needs to be taught how to treat animals properly, not be allowed to poke the dog on the nose. its obviously not his fault, hes a baby, but i woukd have a word with your mil sayibg that your ds needs to learn to behave around all dogs, not just hers, and the dog shouldnt have to put up with being prodded

Dogsmom Tue 23-Apr-13 07:54:18

Poke your MIL in the face repeatedly and grab her tongue then see how long it takes her to get pissed off.
Stupid woman.
(her not you)

samandi Tue 23-Apr-13 09:08:06

YADNBU. The kid shouldn't be anywhere near the dog unsupervised and certainly should not be prodding it.

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