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Large dogs and visiting kids - AIBU or is my dad..?

(36 Posts)
VickyA Sun 17-Aug-08 14:28:55

Basically I'm not particularly close to my family, neither geographically (about 250 miles away) nor emotionally. They have seen DS (5) about 5 times, mostly at our house when they pass by for a few hours while dropping off my DB to stay for a few days - they then go on to another city to stay there for a short break. I was hoping to go and visit them this summer hols, but they have, and have always had, large dogs - 2 Rottweilers and a Doberman. They had them when I was growing up, and I was never savaged to death, and I admit I'm a bit blasé about them. DH on the other hand won't countenance our going to stay at the house, although my parents have said the dogs will be locked away. They have an apartment in a nearby city, where they stay once or twice a week, and I have asked if we could stay there instead when they're not planning to be there, but their response is if DH doesn't trust them to look after their grandson on their own property then DS won't get to know that side of the family at all. I think that've very much their loss, not his, but still...

We dontt have dogs at home, just cats, and DH isn't a dog person at all. I'm the last person to accuse all large dogs of being killers (even though I know my family have been "nibbled" occasionally and have lied about the type of dog when getting a few stitches put in shock), but I don't want to force the issue with DH as I'm not that bothered, sadly enough, whether DS sees my family or not. But my dad's response, about lack of trust and DS not seeing them again, has really upset me - are they being completely unreasonable in their attitude or are we just being overly cautious - the dogs won't know DS at all, he's not dog savvy and is scared of even small yappy-type dogs, and if anything does happen the damage done is likely to be irreparable, in contrast to that done by a smaller dog.

Any comments??

hercules1 Sun 17-Aug-08 14:32:22

I have 2 extremely large dogs but I would feel the same way your dh does. Bizarre that your dad feels like that.

ilovemydog Sun 17-Aug-08 14:32:36

The dogs will be locked away? Like in a kennel, or just put in the kitchen?

If someone comes to our house who is scared of dogs, we always leave them outside (unless raining and then they go into the front room)

sarah293 Sun 17-Aug-08 14:32:36

Message withdrawn

MrsMattie Sun 17-Aug-08 14:34:03

YANBU. People who put dogs before human beings are odd. Your dad has a problem.

sarah293 Sun 17-Aug-08 14:35:14

Message withdrawn

ruty Sun 17-Aug-08 14:36:30

the dogs have given 'nibbles' that have required stitches??? I would not let my child near them i'm afraid.

MrsMattie Sun 17-Aug-08 14:38:28

That's a shame@riven. I don't understand people like that. I have a relative who has two enormous Alsatians who bear their teeth at me whenever I occasionally venture into the house and who, on the one occasion I bought my toddler into the house, knocked him to the ground. My relative refuses to put the dogs in another room / the garden when we visit, so I no longer visit them. His loss.

ilovemydog Sun 17-Aug-08 14:38:30

Is your dad saying, 'we'll lock the dogs out' and therefore you shouldn't worry, so he's offended that you would think he'd put his grandson in danger?

hercules1 Sun 17-Aug-08 14:40:27

Even if your dad says he will keep the dogs locked away I wouldnt risk it. I know my dogs and they are used to my children and their noises. I dont let visiting friends mix with them unless they know the dogs well and the dogs know them. It's not worth it. It only takes a seconds lapse and you've had it.

sarah293 Sun 17-Aug-08 14:42:41

Message withdrawn

purpleduck Sun 17-Aug-08 14:43:08

agree with ruty

Heated Sun 17-Aug-08 14:48:07

If he's saying we're lock the dogs out while you visit for a couple of hours fine, but if your visit is for longer then you know that isn't going to happen.

I can envisage you being put in an very awkward position, one of compromising over your son's safety (and you/dh being painted as unreasonable) and having to confront your father over his failure to keep his word.

Given they have a history of biting that required hospital attention, I would not be at ease introducing a small child that is unknown to them. I would be even more wary as there are 3 of them which would encourage that pack mentality.

ThingOne Sun 17-Aug-08 14:48:12

Surely if their grandson is scared of dogs they can understand that? How bizarre to put the dogs ahead of seeing your grandchild.

kazbeth Sun 17-Aug-08 14:48:18

So these dogs have already bitten someone (your parents?) enough to pierce the skin and require stitches! Don't blame your husband for not wanting you child near the dogs really. It's a shame they have reacted like that. Is there any chance they are just overreacting and will change their minds in a few days?

VickyA Sun 17-Aug-08 14:53:22

I don't know if it's the same dogs, or earlier ones, but it's their whole attitude towards them, and lieing about it to the hospital (said it was a Jack Russell apparently..) which, as you all say, speaks volumes... It's just one open door at the wrong time and it's all over - I know how strong they are and how hard it is to restrain them.
I am currently viewed as the piggy in the middle, and DH as the demon in all of this (as they've never liked him anyway, very long story) so in a way it's not affecting the (arms length) relationship with my parents, and TBH I haven't told DH about their reaction or he would go spare and not let them visit here again. He'd have a point, but I quite like seeing my little bro occasionally.
Their reaction is considered - it took a week to email me about it, so no chance of reconsidering...

MrsTittleMouse Sun 17-Aug-08 14:54:53

A "nibble" does not require stitches! shock These are three large dogs that bite and there is no way that I would let my child near them. To be honest, even if they knew your DS and vice versa, I would be very very unhappy. There is no way that you can visit somewhere 250 miles away for a couple of hours and there is no way that the dogs can be locked away for any longer than that. There is a perfectly reasonable solution here, which is the apartment. Your Dad is being very unreasonable.

ilovemydog Sun 17-Aug-08 15:03:07

Well, they have shown that they cannot control their own dogs if one has bitten them. I'm sorry, but that should't ever happen, and shows that there is a potential problem, and ime, it's with the owners and not establishing boundaries. So, can you trust that it won't happen again? I wouldn't....

You had a solution, which is staying at the apartment nearby which your dad is turning into a trust issue.

I'd just meet them for dinner passing through.

barnsleybelle Sun 17-Aug-08 15:04:28

I wouldn't risk it... Very sad your dad feels like this.. but you can't take the chance.

christie1 Sun 17-Aug-08 15:08:44

My dad taught in the school system for over 40 years. He is absolutely opposed to children around dogs and dobermans and rottweillers have a serious record of hurting kids, especially rottweillers. He said he people was the kids he has taught over theyears with scars and other injuries from dogs, they would never even consider a small kid around a dog. I think your dad is wrong and dh is right. I would not even visit given your dad's attitude. Let him come to you, without the dogs.

christie1 Sun 17-Aug-08 15:09:59

Sorry, that didn't make sense, should say, if people could see the kids he has taught over the years with injuries, they would never allow small kids around a dog.

kazbeth Sun 17-Aug-08 15:15:50

I know you say you aren't that bothered but I really think you should be supporting your husband more on this then maybe your dad might change his mind. At the moment I imagine your dad sees you as siding with him and it's your side of the family that are right and your husband is the odd one out who is the only one who objects so is obviously in the wrong and being overly fussy.

silvercrown Sun 17-Aug-08 15:23:09

There is a simple solution (sort of) in the fact they have an apartment you could stay at. They are being unreasonable not to let you stay there. Has your hubby ever been bitten by a dog?? If so you could use that as an excuse and tell your dad that it's not that you and your hubby don't trust him just that your hubby is very wary of dogs and that you really want your son to get to know them so please can you stay at their apartment and visit when convenient?? Families are so bizarre. I've had friends put their dogs before me but I have always shut my dogs away if someone is totally terrified - the times that I didn't I thought that the children were in other rooms to the dogs and then I discover the "frightened child" deliberately goes into the room with the dogs and stands there screaming even though they don't need to be in that room and the dogs are sat on their beds looking totally petrified of screaming child!!!

By the way YANBU and neither is your hubby

warthog Sun 17-Aug-08 15:58:30

if nibble = stitches for people the dogs know there is NO WAY i'd let my kids anywhere near.

your dad is being extremely unreasonable. you're not being asked to trust your dad, you're being asked to trust an animal that can't reason with you.

VickyA Sun 17-Aug-08 16:04:55

Oh good, it's not me going mad then..

Kazbeth - I have since said to Dad (I say "said" loosely - we usually communicate by email hmm) that it's the scale of damage if something happened which concerns me too - they might be completely docile dogs (albeit weighing in at almost 10 stone..), and locked away for all but a split second, but if anything did happen then relations between us would be, understandably, completely shattered, and it's not a risk I'm prepared to take either. They've never let us stay in their apartment with DS, saying it was unsuitable for him, but he's a very quiet chap, and it's not exactly floor to ceiling china with eggshell carpets... I think it's basically a control thing - if we don't visit on their terms, it's not at all, and the blame's on us (or poor DH mainly) for not allowing them to build bonds with their ONLY GS... Gah!

Saves petrol anyway, and I feel less guilty for not visiting more often after this episode. Crap though, but that's just typical of my family...

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