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To be really concerned about my in-laws dog biting my DD?

(101 Posts)
MrsTargaeryan Tue 10-Nov-15 09:29:32

Good morning,
AIBU to be really angry in retrospect (it's really festering!) at the situation that arose this last weekend? It went like this: my DP and I, with our DD (2yo), went to stay for a night with his parents. They have a young dog, a few months old. It nips at everyone, which isn't great, but I can put up with that since it's only a puppy really. What really upset me was, the morning after we stayed over, I got up and went downstairs really early with my DD. No other adults were up, but of course the dog was. When I made my DD some toast to eat, she dropped it and the dog got it. I tried to get it back from the dog, but it just kept running off so I left it. I started washing up. Then I heard snarling and crying, turned around and the dog had obviously had a go at my DD when she had tried to get her toast back - she was crying and shrinking away from the dog, as you would expect after a fright like that, and there were clear bite marks on her arms that had drawn a small amount of blood.
AIBU to be so upset? I told my MIL about it when she got up, and she was sorry, but what I'm worried about is that this is going to be a long term problem - the dog seems to think it's above my DD in the pecking order and I don't really know how to rectify that. We visit maybe 3 times a year so I have no input in how the dog is trained. This is the first time I've seen the dog, and I get the strong impression that it's a sort of child-substitute. Has anyone else had a problem like this? Any ideas on how to handle it? Phew, sorry, that was a long winded post!

SumThucker Tue 10-Nov-15 09:33:18

I'm gobsmacked you left the baby unattended, to be honest.

Maybe ask them to put the dog in another room when you visit?

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Tue 10-Nov-15 09:33:46

Dogs and children must be supervised at all times, you really can't leave them together for even a moment. my parents dog is soft as anything but if I leave the room I take the little ones with me or leave them and take the dog.

To 'handle it', teach your DD not to touch the dog without you there to monitor and this sort of situation really shouldn't arise again. smile

PaintedTshirt Tue 10-Nov-15 09:34:03

Sounds like normal puppy behaviour to me.

You shouldn't have left DD alone with the dog (sorry, but it's true). MIL wasn't up, so you can't really blame her.

Floralnomad Tue 10-Nov-15 09:34:39

Firstly I hope your dd is ok , secondly the dog does not see itself as 'higher up the pecking order' it simply wanted to keep its toast and your dd was trying to take it away . Hopefully as the dog gets older your Inlaws will train it well but quite honestly you should be supervising a 2 yr old near a dog not leaving them alone .

cleoteacher Tue 10-Nov-15 09:34:55

Dogs can be over protective with food. I think next time if the dog has food shut it away to eat it and tell your daughter never to try and take food away from a dog and stay away from it when it is eating.

The bite marks are terrible but probably instinct when someone tries to take food away from a dog. I would ask mil if the dog can be shit away during all meal times to prevent this happening. I would also talk to dd about how to treat dogs.

specialsubject Tue 10-Nov-15 09:37:00

most dogs will attack if you try to remove food - but your child is too young to know that. Supervision error, sorry.

but it does sound like the training isn't going to happen so treat this animal with extreme caution and keep your kid well away from it.

corgiology Tue 10-Nov-15 09:38:44

OK first off as a dog trainer it is nothing to do with pecking order but all about resource guarding.
When you visit I would insist on baby gates being around so you can keep your DD with you and keep an eye on her better. This is no one's fault and tbh if you knew he was growling at you for getting the food then it was a bit foolish to leave your DD with him (I know you were preoccupied and this stuff happens!). If you did want to do training with him to reduce this aggression I would advise a) ensuring human food is kept well away as a preventative b) you never take food from him but you add to his food so he doesn't have to fear. So for example if he is eating his dinner then maybe come along and throw another piece of dog food in there. Therefore he learns people approaching him = giving him something not taking anything away. You would then do the same but with higher value food (maybe if he has a Kong throw some sausage etc)

AlwaysHope1 Tue 10-Nov-15 09:40:09

Sorry but this happened because you were not looking after your dd around the dog. What do you want your mil to do when it happened while you were meant to be supervising?

ifyoulikepinacolada Tue 10-Nov-15 09:44:27

It does sound as though the dog didn't deliberately bite your dd - she just got in the way of him/her keeping the toast. She's not too young to be taught that you never take food from a dog's mouth and she shouldn't have been left alone with the dog to try. It's a simple mistake to make if you're not familiar with dogs yourself but it sounds like it won't happen again now smile

TheWitTank Tue 10-Nov-15 09:45:22

It was unwise to leave your very small dd unsupervised for any length of time with a young puppy. She may have grabbed not just the toast, but a handful of ear/neck/lip which would make the puppy snap/defend -nothing to do with pecking orders. Without having seen what transpired it's hard to judge. The puppy is 8 weeks old, I wouldn't be overly concerned at this stage -lots of training to go! Sorry you dd got hurt, hope she is okay now.

Hatethis22 Tue 10-Nov-15 09:45:41

You left a 2 year old alone with a very young, untrained dog that had food shock

You are so lucky nothing worse happened.

Pack order has been debunked. The dog (like all dogs) needs to be trained to give things up.

MrsTargaeryan Tue 10-Nov-15 09:46:57

Thank you for the advice. You're right, I shouldn't have turned my back. I definitely won't do it again.
When I tried to take the toast away from the dog, it didn't growl at me at all, just ran off quicker than I could catch it, it was only when my DD tried it once that the dog got aggressive.
DD is fine, thank you - she was even trying to play with the dog again a little while later, so hopefully no lasting fear.
I guess I'll just have to accept that there will be no relaxing at the in-laws from now on!

Costacoffeeplease Tue 10-Nov-15 09:48:27

Yep, totally your fault, you do not leave toddlers unsupervised around dogs, especially pups, and especially with food - don't do it again, and your thread title is quite misleading

spritefairy Tue 10-Nov-15 09:51:13

Unfortunately this is not your mil fault..its yours.

You never leave a child alone with a dog especially if you know it can be nippy. You already discovered it wasn't going to give the toast back (though why you wanted it as opposed to making some fresh is beyond me)

Poor little dog for getting the blame though I do feel sorry for your dd.

DiscoDiva70 Tue 10-Nov-15 09:52:39

Yabu
You shouldn't have left your child with the dog on her own. Not only this, you don't know what your dd could've done to the dog herself before it turned on her.
I remember the two year old toddler tantrum days

sparechange Tue 10-Nov-15 09:53:01

It's a puppy! Of course it isn't going to be trained to give up food, just like your DD isn't able to process that she should 'give up' her toast to the dog.

You shouldn't leave it alone with your baby, and you shouldn't make any assumptions about behaviour in very young dogs being indicative of what they will be like when they are older

PaulAnkaTheDog Tue 10-Nov-15 09:53:20

The pup didn't do anything wrong, it's just a baby itself! I think if you're not around dogs it can be easy to not realise that kids need constant supervision around thm. Yabu but I think you probably realise that and have learned from your error. smile

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 10-Nov-15 09:55:14

The dog was just following its instinct and needs training. Keep your DD away from him until he's properly trained.

Hatethis22 Tue 10-Nov-15 09:58:22

Encourage the ILs to take the dog to puppy training classes. It's all reward based, positive method stuff and is good for meeting other owners with similar aged pups for socialisation. Training now should head off any issues that might develop from his child substitute status.

As much as you can with a 2 year old, encourage your DD to give the dog plenty of space and ask you before she goes to it.

schilke Tue 10-Nov-15 10:00:06

Sorry not the pup's fault. Our lovely gentle dog did the same to our dd1 when she was a pup. Dd1 was about 5 and dog was only about 4/5 months old. She was very good at letting us touch or take her bowl away when there was food in it and I assumed that it would work with anything. She was given some sort of meaty bone and dd1 went to pick it up, dog growled and nipped dd1 and ran off with the bone. It was a bit of a shock watching our pup growl around the garden dragging this bone!

More training and soon she didn't care about a thing. She'll drop her bone for you now if you ask.

MrsTargaeryan Tue 10-Nov-15 10:00:57

Hmm, ok well I was trying to get the toast back because I was worried that it would be bad for the dog to eat it - I wasn't planning on giving it back to my DD!
I was under the impression that playful nips were one thing, and actual biting another. That is probably due to my inexperience with dogs, so again my fault.
Also, I didn't leave my daughter "unsupervised", I turned my back while we were in the same room. I accept that this whole thing is my fault, because I made the mistake of not shutting the dog out of the room. That is what I have taken from all the helpful advice given, so thank you everyone who has helped.
CostaCoffee, how would you have titled the thread so as to be completely non-misleading?

lifesalongsong Tue 10-Nov-15 10:06:44

If you don't have a dog you aren't going to know how one is likely to behave.

Both the puppy and the child behaved naturally, the only mistake here was not watching both like a hawk while they were together.

Live and learn OP, it seems like you've done that now anyway. I'd continue to be wary just to be on the safe side

pluck Tue 10-Nov-15 10:13:51

Small children and young puppies are probably a bad mix...

However, my DF and SM have dogs which are no longer puppies (2+), and one of those seemed as though he was trying to establish dominance over my DD (3.5 at the time) when we saw them last, so I was really interested in your statement about pack dynamics, HateThis22. DF & SM established the dominance of one of their dogs (on the advice of their vet), and it's driving the other one crazy (possibly why he kept barking at DD?).

cantbelievemyeyes Tue 10-Nov-15 10:16:19

You say the dog only got aggressive when your DD tried to take the toast, not you. From the dog's point of view, it was the second time someone tried to take the toast. It's not surprising that the dog was more protective of it's food at that point, and it may well have reacted towards you in the same way it did your DD.

So I wouldn't be overly concerned that the dog might be especially aggressive with children based on this incident.

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