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AIBU to think dog poses a risk?

(53 Posts)
Littlefoxy Tue 28-Feb-17 04:04:23

I'm not a dog person, I'm quite nervous of them & so I'm wondering if this is just my issue or not. MIL bought a puppy a couple of years ago, he's now teenager in human years. We have a 3 month old & both DP & I are uncomfortable with her approach to managing safety when we visit. She's local & we see her roughly fortnightly. It would be more frequent & I get impression she'd like it to be, but we're just so on edge about the dog. She & her partner insist that the dog would never hurt baby but hold him on lead when we're there as he's not well trained & they have little verbal control over him (they'd never admit that). Their dog has got quite upset when she's held baby & they've joked about jealousy, but we think that's not a good sign. On top of this the dog yelps loudly which makes me anxious about impact on our LO's hearing. MIL wants to babysit & has acknowledged our concerns by saying she'd keep dog away from LO. However I think they're paying me lip service as they really don't feel there's a risk. She has forgotten on one occasion to hold dog on lead. Her partner insists the dog is always in same room as them. They also let dog get very close to baby so he can sniff her so DP has started to manage this by always standing up & holding LO. The first time LO came to their house the dog was over excited & yelping a lot at the baby's cries so she wanted to leave baby of about 3 weeks in car seat in the cold utility room on her own while the dog in warm lounge calmed down. I was astounded that the dog wasn't the one put in utility room & felt it's set tone of the dog coming first. Last year there was also an incident when the dog ran at a young girl in the park, scaring her. Her father had challenged MIL about not keeping dog under control but she could not see his POV & insisted he was being neurotic & child was being ridiculous. I feel she's not being very level headed & I don't trust them to put LO safety first. I hate conflict & I don't want to create tension. Am I right to be nervous? How do I handle situation without being direct as I think they'd be hugely offended?

Crumbs1 Tue 28-Feb-17 04:54:27

You are right. Badly controlled dogs and babies don't mix well.

TheLegendOfBeans Tue 28-Feb-17 05:03:20

They can't babysit then. Period.

Your baby, your right to say what it's environment should be like. Sure MIL is doing you a favour by babysitting but if you can't trust her to keep your child safe then what's the point?

As for leaving baby in utility room when dog gets to be molycoddled in the lounge - well there are her priorities right there.

Your DP needs to have a word.

TheLegendOfBeans Tue 28-Feb-17 05:03:48

Ps: don't understimate instinct and trust your gut.

TheMockingbird Tue 28-Feb-17 05:08:10

YANBU to be nervous. Tell them straight, rather a few hurt feelings than putting you Dc at risk.

Paninotogo Tue 28-Feb-17 05:46:26

I'm going against the tide here. Some of the things they are doing are recommended when introducing dogs and babies; letting the dog sniff the baby, keeping the dog in the same room on a leash, etc. But you don't have to let anyone babysit if you are not comfortable. Could your MIL babysit at your house without the dog. Your comment about loud yelping affecting the baby's hearing is ridiculous and makes it look a little like you are looking for wrongdoings.

Firefries Tue 28-Feb-17 05:49:38

Gosh yes you get to decide. If you're not happy do not leave your baby at risk around a dog. I love dogs and I do think they are great for families but they are animals and although domesticated they have a wild side so no they should not be allowed access to a baby.

YawningHippo Tue 28-Feb-17 06:02:41

My ex MIL tried this. But completely for the puppy's benefit only. She first wanted the baby kept in the car seat on the table for the duration of our visit, and later on in a travel cot so she wouldn't have to remove the dog and he wouldn't become 'stressed.' I never asked her to do any of this as I'd just done a canine behaviour course a few months prior to this and could have helped her sort things properly. She refused, then started insisting the dog couldn't cope, he was fine, just feeding off her crap training ( he was never allowed near the children even as a puppy because he was her baby and might get hurt) and eventually she took to shutting him in the kitchen. She still won't even let him off the lead when out in case he bolts. It drove me nuts because she basically ruined him by trying to keep him as a baby. Even the kids don't visit now.

My point is that with correct training, dogs and children can be fine ( though not left unattended) but it doesn't sound like you're comfortable in that environment which isn't ok with a young baby. I would however suggest that you get them to look into how to introduce them correctly and you approve this method or do not visit them. I also agree with * pan* the comment about dog yelling is ridiculous.

WateryTart Tue 28-Feb-17 06:19:52

I wouldn't be able to trust them.

Littlefoxy Tue 28-Feb-17 06:23:41

The yelping is very loud & makes me flinch so assumed it wouldn't be good for her little ears. That might sound ridiculous if you're used to dogs but I'm not. Sounds like I'm worrying unnecessarily about the noise though.

Coastalcommand Tue 28-Feb-17 06:30:42

You are being unreasonable and a bit PFB here. A dog barking won't Damage anyone's hearing. Your MIL is keeping the dog on a lead.
Don't let your fears transfer into your child.

talidinozzo Tue 28-Feb-17 06:32:06

Agree with the others, you are probably right to have reservations but the comment about the hearing is really very silly. I wouldn't bring that up because you will look ridiculous and it will minimise any other concerns you have that may be legitimate.

doubletrouble41 Tue 28-Feb-17 06:35:19

I'm a dog lover, but I say trust your instinct. Your MIL sounds like shes seriously overindulging the dog! And you are right; if my (tiny) dog was behaving inappropriately around any guests he would be put in the utility room, not the guest! And hes a spoilt little brat!

CrazyCavalierLady Tue 28-Feb-17 06:36:43

Dogs and children need supervised time for the long term benefit of both. If your child is to be saved from your dislike of dogs she is going to have to be safely introduced to them. That said this particular dog doesn't sound well socialised with adults, far less children. That does not mean it can't be trained but given the age of your baby I wouldn't be starting with her.

You have every right to refuse contact with your baby and this dog. I would be suggesting to MIL that the dog needs better socialisation before you'd be comfortable with contact with your child.

The noise is a complete non issue.

emmyhNL Tue 28-Feb-17 06:41:48

The Barking doesn't make a difference to the hearing but if you're worried about your baby being there alone, then just don't leave her there. MIL could come to your house or even walk her around

I'd ask them about training and perhaps doing some structured introduction with the baby whilst she's still young. It'll be worse when she starts moving, crawling around.

For what it's worth, my parents have a dog they love but don't 100% trust and he's put in the kitchen during our visits. I didn't ask that but they did it anyway.

MidniteScribbler Tue 28-Feb-17 06:43:57

There is no way I would allow MIL to look after baby in her house whilst she has the attitude she does to the dog. And I say that as someone who has 7 dogs and love watching the interaction between DS and our dogs. Supervised visits only unless she changes her tune about her poorly behaved little precious.

PageStillNotFound404 Tue 28-Feb-17 06:52:20

The noise is a red herring - no matter how loudly the dog yelps, it's unlikely to be as loud or as frequent as your baby's own ear-splitting crying!

While Paninotogo is correct that some of what your PIL are doing is advocated by experts when introducing dogs to babies, I have reservations that they're doing them for the right reasons. Your MIL's POV of the child/park incident, coupled by her "forgetfulness" to put the dog on the lead at least once already, makes her sound as though she lacks any insight into how other people may feel about dogs or appropriate levels of risk regarding dog/baby interaction. It's all very well her telling you she'd keep the dog well away but her behaviour so far hasn't indicated she's prepared to do that, so why should you feel comfortable leaving your child with her?

TheoriginalLEM Tue 28-Feb-17 06:56:02

The dog is probably fine BUT your ils are creating a real problem by putting the fog on a lead each time you visit. The message the dog is receiving is that there is an issue with the baby. So the dog will be on high alert when the baby comes. If my dogs even see their leads they go crazy.

Everything about the baby is becoming scary fir the dog rather than a positive association. You are wary and uptight and tge dog will sense this. The babies cries probably scare the dog.

Nothing good about the baby as far as dog is concerned. It doesn't bode well. What happens when the baby is mobile? is the dog going to be put on a lead at each visit?

My advice would be let the dog sniff the baby very quickly at each visit then distract/reward with treats. Tgen put tge dog in another room with its dinner and bed. Then the dog associates the baby with good things and can get away from this noisy creature that clearly (from dogs pov) scares the bejaysus out of everone.

The way things are being handled at present is a time bomb and i would not be exposing my child to that level of risk. Most dog bites happen with relatives other than parents dogs.

Mrscaindingle Tue 28-Feb-17 06:59:25

I think the issue here is MIL's attitude and her inability to see that she needs to put the baby before the dog. Leaving the baby in the utility room to look after the dog is ridiculous and I say that as a dog lover. She doesn't sound sensible at all, go with your instincts and let her babysit at yours.

The yelping affecting baby's hearing does make you sound v pfb grin]

FriendlyPolecat Tue 28-Feb-17 07:06:06

Your MIL's actions speak louder than her words and you probably wouldn't be able to relax if you left your child there, and with good reason. Yes children need safe introduction to dogs but this doesn't look like one of those situations. Trust your instincts and don't worry about the tension or conflict, sometimes you have to be direct with people but you can do that assertively with out causing offence

LakieLady Tue 28-Feb-17 07:36:54

Theoriginal, you are bang on and have saved me a lot of typing!

MiL needs to be trained in how to manage a dog imo. She couldn't have dealt with this in a worse way imo.

wishcarry Tue 28-Feb-17 07:43:11

If you feel that being blunt about the dog will cause problems,how about suggesting she comes to your house to look after baby while you and dh go out for a meal or something as you think baby will be happier in his own home and surroundings.then she gets to babysit and you can have a night out from time to time without having to worry about the dog.
I agree that badly trained dogs and babies don't mix.I also have to say that nobody can be 100 percent sure their dog won't harm a baby.particularly if that dog has shown its already jealous of the baby.

Littlefoxy Tue 28-Feb-17 07:51:32

I feel sorry for the dog as well. I don't think he's enjoying our visits. And I think MIL might be being pressured by her controlling partner who has no interest in his grandchild The first time I went round with LO he said that the dog knew it was a baby & how to behave & that although he wouldn't recommend it, it would be interesting to put LO on sofa & See what the dog did hmm I'd love for LO to be more confident around dogs than me but I felt physically sick at the idea of using my LO as a guinea pig for how he'd react to babies. I am PFB. I lost my first baby & im anxious about anything going wrong again.

altiara Tue 28-Feb-17 07:55:43

Agree with the original and lakielady
I let my dog have a sniff of my baby niece and then send me back to sit on his bean bag. If he didn't he'd have to leave the room. When you are a bit scared of dogs, it's hard to have a dog sniffing your baby, but the dog does need to get used to them. In this case though, I'd worry that the dog is not being trained properly.

altiara Tue 28-Feb-17 07:57:09

littlefoxy what! hmm

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