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childminder has a dog :-/

(26 Posts)
omama Thu 11-Jul-13 23:41:17

Went to meet a potential new cm for ds today, she seems lovely, ds really liked her, BUT she has a dog. A big dog. German Shepard cross. Beautiful & apparently daft as a brush, but ds is a bit scared of big dogs & now i am worrying. It has a pen in the garden & she assures me it will not be allowed near the mindees, but what if it escapes? She was so nice & i know ds would enjoy it there, & it would be so convenient for us, but i can't stop thinking what if something happens. I'd never forgive myself. Not really sure what to do now. :-/

Do ofsted set out any rules for safeguarding children against dogs?

moogy1a Fri 12-Jul-13 07:25:01

I think if it's in a pen in the garden you can relax.
There's lots of "what ifs" but equally, there could be a big dog that lives down the road that might escape and get in the garden.At least this one is penned in.
OFSTED don't have a specific set of regulations about dog. The CM will have assessed any risk and minimised it ( which it sound like she has done).
Could be very good for your ds's fear of dogs if he can start to interact with it whilst its penned in.

MrsWembley Fri 12-Jul-13 07:27:43

Who's afraid of big dogs? Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but your phrasing does make it sound like he's picking up his fears from you. I agree, maybe this would be good for him.

And you?

Twinklestarstwinklestars Fri 12-Jul-13 07:46:07

I don't have a dog but my son still got bitten by one, if she looks after it properly and keeps it away from mindees as she said I wouldn't think your ds is any more at risk than he would be if she took him to the park etc. it may help with his fear of dogs being introduced to it slowly seeing if in the cage.

WhoNickedMyName Fri 12-Jul-13 07:53:03

I chose not to use a particular childminder because she had a big dog with a very loud bark and DS was scared of it. It was kept in a crate in the hallway. No fear of dogs from with me or DH... DS just didn't like it.

If you're not 100% happy then you don't have to choose her.

omama Fri 12-Jul-13 09:03:18

mrswembley - are you a dog lover by chance? I'm not afraid of them, however the horror stories in the news certainly make me fear for ds safety when he's not in my care. Surely that is understandable? At the end of the day they are animals & unpredictable. I didnt leave ds unsupervised with our cat, & I wouldn't do with a dog either. He's only had limited interaction with them so far & is scared mostly by the barking.

The CM does appear to have put measures in place, & I do agree exposure may help his fear. Entrusting a stranger with your child's life is a huge decision anyway, even without the dog, so I guess it just boils down to whether I feel I can trust her.

ReetPetit Fri 12-Jul-13 10:05:42

i wouldn't use a cm with a dog no matter how much i liked her. i would be worrying all day every day and like you said, woold never forgive myself should anything happen. its not worth the risk imo.

dotty2 Fri 12-Jul-13 10:18:17

I'm not keen on dogs myself and DD1 had developed a terrible fear of them that was positively dangerous. (On one occasion she ran into a road to get away from one walking placidly down the pavement on a lead.) She started going to an after school CM who has a lovely dog and it has been the best thing. She has totally overcome her fear - still cautious but not cripplingly so. I think it all depends on how confident you can be about how the CM will manage the situation: ours introduces the children to the dog very gently and gradually and teaches them how to send it to bed if they've had enough of it being around. (She also has a pen in the garden for it but it is a lovely placid thing, and is allowed to interact with the children unless they specifically don't want it to, or the CM is introducing a new child.) So I wouldn't rule it out but you might want to watch how the CM manages the situation when there are children around?

MrsWolowitz Fri 12-Jul-13 10:22:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EasterHoliday Fri 12-Jul-13 10:25:54

I don't think it's irrational at all. I wouldn't use a CM who lived on a major road with significant amounts of traffic. The best CM in teh world will have practices in place to avoid interaction between children and traffic but the wiliest child will be able to get around it. Similar with dogs. Some people don't trust dogs (& unless it's an aged lazy beagle, I'm probably one of them. IN fact even an aged lazy beagle could exercise some serious jaw power if there's a small child with a biscuit in the vicinity).
it's a risk audit and what a parent finds acceptable or not.

Strix Fri 12-Jul-13 10:30:10

Our childminder has two dogs. DS loves them to bits. They are both bulldogs. Whe DS was a baby he would pull on the bulldogs tongue, and in response the bull dogs would lick his face and DS would giggle. It is very cute. And this toddler/dog relationship is good for DS.

I have recently been sent the CUTEST picture of my DS walking the dog whils handing the hand of little girl who also goes to the childminder.

But, if you really don't like the dog, I would say this is probably not the childminder for you. Everyone is different and what suits one family might not suit another.

ReetPetit Fri 12-Jul-13 10:30:21

mrswolowitz - that is your opinion. i don't think it's irrational. you may find it ok, i wouldn't, just as i wouldn't use a smoker. it's parental choice.

catabouttown Fri 12-Jul-13 11:07:22

Could you ask to speak to the parents of other children she minds so you can get an idea of how often the children interact with the dog? If you're not comfortable with it then you don't have to choose her.

However, I would echo what pp have said, it would be a good thing for your son to have interaction to help his fear of dogs, also children need to learn how to act with dogs. It is important they learn not to run up and put their hands in dogs faces or try to grab dogs without checking with owners first or moving slowly so as not to startle the dog. You will never be able to keep your ds away from dogs entirely as there will always be dogs out in the park and so on, so these are important lessons and it would be a good opportunity for him to learn this in a controlled environment.

Furthermore, many MANY people make the mistake of seeing a big dog and thinking that is worse for children than a small dog. When in reality, German shepherds are generally regarded as being one of the best breeds to have with children, the problem with smaller breeds is that they can be very yappy and snappy and people don't train them properly or take the threat to children seriously because they are small. A bite from a small dog can still do serious damage and a big dog that is much less likely to bite is a safer bet in my opinion. Obviously you should never disregard the risk from any dog but just keep risks in perspective.

LingDiLong Fri 12-Jul-13 15:16:48

Have you told the potential childminder your concerns? Maybe she could give you a copy of her risk assessment for the dog or allow you to speak to one of her existing parents? It seems a shame to discount a 'lovely' childminder who your child liked because of the dog.

omama Sat 13-Jul-13 14:26:21

thanks for your comments everyone. She is newly registered so no other parents to speak to as yet. She does have her own family though so the dog is used to children & I would hope that properly secured, it will be safe for ds to go there. Am gonna go back with dh & address a couple of concerns & make sure he's happy too before we decide.

Borntobeamum Sat 13-Jul-13 20:54:26

A cm I know has a dog and says that its never allowed near the children.
I'm afraid she's lying! I've seen it laid on the floor in her kitchen whilst the children were eating their lunch.
She answered the door to me and left it with the mindies who were playing in the garden on numerous occasions.
She's a nice lady, but says the parents needn't know.
I'd want to know if they were my children.

JessMcL Sun 14-Jul-13 12:22:30

When you say penned in- what do you mean? A big, 7ft steel cage with a roof on it?

No dog is escaping from that.

Cathyrina Sun 14-Jul-13 19:24:40

You don't have to choose her if you don't feel comfortable, but as already mentioned before any dog in the neighborhood could escape and get in the garden. I do understand that there have been shocking news lately but if the dog is in a pen outside then it should be fine imo. German Shepherds are herding dogs as far as I'm concerned, so one of the nicest breeds and they have an instinct to protect. Even if he would escape once and come near to the children that doesn't mean he would attack them right away - I guess he'd just be wagging his tail wanting them to stroke him, then CM would see it and bring him back outside. It should be fine really but just do what you feel comfortable with

omama Sun 14-Jul-13 20:29:32

born - this is exactly my worry.

Jess - no not a cage, a fenced off area, approx waist height. Dog can jump up & peep over.

Still undecided. I really liked the lady so don't want to dismiss it unnecessarily, but still feel a bit uneasy. Have decided to meet another cm for comparison's sake. This one lives on the main road,so has its own risks. Never thought using a cm would be such a tough decision!

Nancyclancy Sun 14-Jul-13 22:36:16

We have 3 dogs and my dc have always been around dogs but..... I'd have a problem with a German shepherd/Rottweiler/Doberman etc

There not breeds I'd choose to have as pets myself, therefore I wouldn't be prepared to leave my dc at someone's house with them. I would just worry.

awwwwmannnn Wed 17-Jul-13 13:51:25

my DD goes to a CM who has a dog - a big soft chocolate brown labrador - we don't have pets ourselves, and had no problem at all with DD being around one all day. the dog is 13 years old, and has seen numerous children in the house - CM is also a foster carer so i know that all risk assessments have been put in place.

my DD loves the dog to bits, and is quite often found snuggled up in his cage with him having a snooze...very cute. i'm glad that she is able to build up a friendship with an animal and to not be afraid of dogs.

if it were a different breed as NancyClancy said above, German shepherd/Rottweiler/Doberman, then i would have some concerns.

trust your gut instincts i say x

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 17-Jul-13 14:43:01

Seems you have a fear of dogs op and this is clouding your judgement - if the cm has been inspected and okayed by ofsted and they aRe happy with the cage etc then maybe have a few days settling in /trial and see what the dog is like

Is the dog always in the garden no matter what

Would he ever be left out when mindees there

If yes then

The dog should never be left alone with children and if ever inside then needs a cage /stair gate to separate them if cm not in the room

Say to cm you would always want the dog to never be left alone and see what she says and maybe even drop your child off there but go an hour earlier to surprise/check and see where the dog is when cm answers door to you

As a nanny ie had dogs - many know woofa as I call him 10.5stone great Swiss mountain dog - huge but so soft

The children I looked after and their friends who cane over to play were told and shown how to stroke and be gentle with him

Small yappy dogs are more scary then huge ones IMHO

They were told NEVER to go into his crate or on his bed - he had 3 about the house - in hall by playroom - living room and kitchen as that was his space and where he went when wanted time out from over loving hands

From an early age the kids knew not to touch etc when in his cage or bed

So awwwwwmaaaan as cute as it is having dd and dog together - the cm should separate as a dogs bed/cage is his own

pinkdelight Sat 20-Jul-13 07:56:52

Good idea to meet another for comparison. I wouldn't want a cm with a dog - I am scared of them, like lots of people, and I'd rather be safe than sorry. I considered a nice cm who had one small dog, but it was still noisy and one of those that went crazy on arrival, yapping and jumping as soon as the doorbell went, so on top of a few other downsides, we decided not to risk it. And it was a relief.

Now that you've mentioned she's newly registered, that would be another downside to me - that you've no references to draw on or track record of how she's managed the dog whilst minding. The stories above about standards slipping and the about the child pulling the bullsog's tongue (is that meant to be a good thing?? Blimey, the gap between dog lovers and non-lovers is vast!) are enough to make me say, if there are alternatives then go for them, no question.

oohdaddypig Sat 20-Jul-13 08:12:21

Actually, I am more concerned that a potential CM thinks its ok to keep a dog in a cage for hours on end. Would make me question other aspects of her personality. Cages are maybe ok at night for dogs - but all day or even afternoon? The dog will feel pretty resentful to the little kids who might stick little fingers in the cage....

Personally I wouldn't be worried by having a well balanced dog around kids (not in a cage) but I like dogs. In the grand scheme of risks there are loads of other things I worry about first. I also worry far more about terrier type dogs around kids than larger breeds.

IMHO if you are going to worry about the dog don't go for it. It would bother me too but for totally different reasons!

Blondeshavemorefun Sat 20-Jul-13 10:45:48

op says cm has a pen in the garden, not a cage, so guess it depends how big the garden and pen is

my friend has dogs (not a cm) and during the day they live in a pen in the garden- which is bigger then my living room and kitchen so lots of space and has kennel if rains

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