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Dog and childminder - what to ask/expect?

(81 Posts)
MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:19:01

Hi all

I am not keen on dogs generally (more a cat person!), but as a result I don't know much about them and so assume they are probably fine. But a CM I am very interested in does have a jack Russell dog who I believe roams free and is a much loved part of the family.

I am nervous about my 9 mth baby dd with a dog though. Various sites feature childminders with dogs who all seem to say dogs should never be left unsupervised with babies etc, and that even if peaceful for years can always unpredictably snap - I was startled to read that from dog-owners themselves!

What should I be asking about how much access the dog will have to my baby? In sine ways my total dog ignorance might be making me too relaxed here. My utter priority is her safety. I am HARDLINE about that.

LynetteScavo Fri 31-May-13 20:23:54

Your baby should never be left alone with the dog.

Just like your baby should never be left alone in the garden with a paddling pool.

Even for a second.

Ask the childminder what their policy is, and also insist in never happens. "My utter priority is her safety. I am HARDLINE about that." I would say this.

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:30:47

Week thanks Lynette. I thought I would sound rather naive PFB saying that, but that is what I read elsewhere too.

Isn't it incredibly hard to keep a family dog apart from a minder though? I mean, doorbell and telephone - not to mention the 5 other children permitted by OFSTED. I mean - it ready baffled me how CMs manage even to look after more than one child and get to go to be toilet themselves! I struggle to do that with one! smile

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 20:32:24

'.... Keep a dog apart from a mindEE..'

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 21:04:38

i would never my baby with a cm with a dog but that's personal preference. some people are fine with it, just like some are fine with smokers, i wouldn't be.

i don't believe that anyone with a dog can ever 100% keep it away, there are too many distractions, unless the dog is permenatly shut out in garden/kept in cage which would lead to an annoyed, put out dog imo.

is this cm your only option? i suppose it depends how much you like her and your own feelings about dogs.

Personally, aside from the biting/mauling risk i don't like the dog poo/animal hair stuff either, but that may just be me wink

Karoleann Fri 31-May-13 21:09:31

I wouldn't ever leave a child with a dog - unless they have no teeth.

Different childminder maybe!

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 21:22:36

ReetPetit my thoughts exactly - I can't imagine it being enclosed the whole time. It's a family dog.

No other cm candidate viable - transport and commute constraints :/ nursery is an option (weep - just not comfortable w it)

mamamaisie Fri 31-May-13 21:23:12

I have two childminder friends who have dogs. One has a very laid back collie who roams free around the house (well mostly sleeps in the corner as it is very lazy!). It is often proded and poked by children and has had its lovely long fur pulled many a time but hardly seems to notice. The childminder leaves babies in the same room with the dog when she goes to the toilet. She is very honest with parents about the dog being part of the family.

The other friend has three large boisterous dogs and they are kept behind a safety gate in the kitchen at all times. They also have half the garden sectioned off with a fence. Children are only allowed to pet the dogs through the fence/safety gate with supervision.

So I guess there is a lot of variation in how childminders do things. I think if you visit the childminder and see the dog 'in action' at her setting you will probably have a gut feeling one way or the other. smile

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 21:52:29

no matter how much i liked someone, i wouldn't risk it.
what does she say about the dog? is it wondering freely around the house?

is she really your only option? have you been all through your local council's list? tried, mumsnet local etc?

MummyOfSunbeam Fri 31-May-13 22:12:46

Tried and the ofsted site and the council website. It's transport and my working hours that restrict us :/ it has to be v close or we can't get there in time.

3littlewomen Fri 31-May-13 23:13:36

I am a real dog lover - my kids have being raised with a maternal boxer dog believing she is the mother! I have never worried once, but would also (even after seeing her loving caring behaviour towards them) never leave her unsupervised with them.

A JRT is however not a breed I would be immediately comfortable with. They have a reputation of being snappy, nippy and terrier instinct is very strong! Perhaps this is an unjust brief of a breed - but I would have reservations with a dog I did not know very well!

ReetPetit Fri 31-May-13 23:17:23

i agree with 3littlewomen - and i think there's a difference also between kids who live with a dog full time and visiting kids. i would worry that the dog would see my child as an intruder, particularly a crawling baby who may well try and grab it's tail or something.

i think it boils down to how the op feels about dogs and how much she trusts the cm. i don't think you should leave your dd with her out of desperation though - i would be worrying all day if i felt i had had to chose her rather than wanted to.

PinkCanary Fri 31-May-13 23:25:56

My step mums jack Russell nipped my daughter when she was 1 year old (she's now 9) leaving a permanent scar on the side of her nose. My DD was sat on step mums knee at the time!!!! DD, not surprisingly, has been terrified of dogs ever since.
I've been a childminder myself since 2004 and, while I've known a few very good minders with dogs, I've never understood how they feel safe taking the risk.

Lala29 Sat 01-Jun-13 09:26:29

I love dogs and we have a Staffie, who is an old, now deaf, very placid dog. My 19 month old adores her and there is a lot of management involved to ensure she doesn't get into her bed when dog asleep, etc. I would have no issue with a childminder with a dog, but would want to see that the dog is calm, we'll trained and has a calm place away from the children it can go to (ie so the dog's bed is away somewhere where children can't get to). Also is dog fed when children are there? I'd want to know that dog can eat in peace as well as some can be possessive over their food bowl. I'd also want to know whether the dog toilets in the garden and what they do about it.

If worried about dog poo, I would just say we clean up an awful lot more cat/fox poo from our garden than dog poo and I've seen fox poo a few times in playgrounds. So just something to think about.

I think overall, it's great for children to grow up with animals and providing everyone is sensible, think it can only be a benefit. I think a cat can just as likely object to having its tail pulled and can scratch, bite, etc. plus they can jump on tables, work surfaces, etc. far more unhygienic in my opinion.

mamadoc Sun 02-Jun-13 00:59:13

My CM has a dog. DS has been with her since he was 9mo. We don't have any pets and I'm not a big fan of them.

I was a bit nervous about it but her dog is very well trained and I can see that she has risk assessed it and follows safe procedures.

Her dog has a crate with his bed in where he can go to get away from the children and a kennel in the garden plus she has a stair gate on the kitchen so can shut the dog away. She never leaves children unsupervised with the dog and I do trust her on that.

DS loves the dog (its name was one of his first words) and he has learnt how to behave around animals eg he always strokes quite nicely, doesn't pull tails and can throw a ball for the dog even though he's not quite 2. They get a lot of fresh air and exercise walking the dog too

I don't think it needs to be a deal breaker (smoking would be for me) but it is worth asking questions and getting reassurance and definitely not something to accept any compromises on.

Sarah1611 Mon 03-Jun-13 10:30:53

I couldn't leave a child in a home with a dog I'm afraid, as someone else mentioned its personal preference but I wouldn't risk it. You can never be 100% sure that a dog is safe- after so many dog/child incidents the owners are always 'so surprised', I don't think you ever can know.

Breeds make a big difference too- jack Russell's are ratting dogs, designed for that purpose. A soft mouthed dog such as a lab or retriever will not tend to snap and if they do they are bred to use their mouth not teeth so that's worth baring in mind.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:20:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:24:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Mon 03-Jun-13 15:27:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MummyOfSunbeam Tue 04-Jun-13 01:42:27

Eek - thanks v much everybody. I was hoping to hear the opposite! My DP has been saying Jack Russells are wonderfully calm and placid family dogs (based on his gran's as a child), but I have been hearing a lot on this thread and elsewhere about how they aren't - and while i recognise it is unfair to generalise about any particular breed, the thing ALL the dog owners have been reiterating is that any dog needs to be respected as potentially snapping/biting and baby must always be supervised....

But a) supervision hasn't prevented some terrible things, and b) I doubt baby and dog wd be kept that apart and always very actively supervised.

I hoped this CM wd work out because she is so kind and warm and in those ways so much better than nursery. I have gone through every other CM on the council list and ofsted site and and distance is an issue in each. The nursery I just don't feel ok about in terms of warmth - not at all sad but this cm I do - except for what I have now learned re dogs!

tabulahrasa Tue 04-Jun-13 02:40:25

It's relatively easy to not leave a dog alone with children...dogs as a rule can't open doors or stairgates and you train your dog to come with you when you leave the room.

Just ask what happens if she has to go to the toilet or answer the door.

CoolaSchmoola Tue 04-Jun-13 02:57:10

I have a dog and a toddler and they never meet without a barrier between them - and never have.

This isn't because my dog has ever done anything, she hasn't, it's because I wouldn't trust any dog with a child and any child with a dog.

We have a playroom at the front of the house and children play there and in the hallway. The sitting room is off the kitchen and the door between the hall and the kitchen is gated. The dog has free run of the back of the house but is never allowed through to the front. Obviously children do come through to the back for various reasons but the dog is always put outside in her sectioned part of the garden.

My point is it IS possible to completely segregate children and dogs - I do it with my own child and with other children too.

It is solely dependant on the views of the person. I adore my dog but am well aware that ANY dog can turn at any time so I make the choice to segregate completely rather than risk it.

Speak to her about how she manages interaction between children and dog before making a decision. At my house I could demonstrate why they would never meet - she may be able to do the same.

mamadoc Tue 04-Jun-13 08:02:24

It is possible. I just told you that my CM does it.

If she goes to the loo or answers the door she puts the dog in his crate or in the kitchen behind the stair gate or out in the garden. The dog actually goes to his crate when he hears the doorbell!

They got out to groups and activities every morning anyway and when they are home The dog doesn't much want to hang out with squealing toddlers anyhow so he usually takes himself off to the garden or his bed.

The on.y interaction they have is supervised and wholly positive eg taking dog for a walk,throwing a ball in the park, stroking only when supervised by the CM.

If I were you I wouldn't rule it out until you've discussed it. It all depends on attitude. My MIL also has dogs who I feel a lot less happy about around DS because they are not trained or obedient at all; jump up, beg for food, seem very nervy and highly strung and because she loves her dogs so much that she just believes and trusts they won't hurt DS rather than active.y manages it.

Sarah1611 Tue 04-Jun-13 08:50:19

But just it terms of what Coola is saying, see what the CM does at the moment. It would be very easy for her to say she'll do it, but if she doesn't see it as necessary at all it's likely she may just not do it, believing she knows the dog better than you. A totally unfair presumption on my part but there's a big difference between someone keeping dog/children apart because they think its the right thing, and someone doing it because they've been told to. JRs are sometimes seen as 'good family dogs' because they're small but it's definitely not as simple as that. What about a nanny share option, have you considered that?

Goldmandra Tue 04-Jun-13 14:44:16

I have childminded with two dogs for a couple of years.

My JRT has never been allowed to interact with childminded children despite never having been aggressive towards my own.

One a few occasions, when I have had only one child in my care I have (with the parents' blessing) brought the mixed breed puppy through to play for a minute or two. The dog has been within arm's reach at all times and I've used it as an opportunity to teach the child how to enjoy being around dogs safely.

The dogs have had the run of the kitchen and utility while I have been minding and we've had the living room, dining room, playroom and garden.

I've put the dogs in their crates for short times if we were doing kitchen based activities but they don't mind because they choose to sleep in them anyway.

It was my choice to make these arrangements - no parent ever had to request it.

It was perfectly possibly to keep the children safe by keeping them apart. Only some sort of freak accident would have brought them together and, even then, the dogs were very unlikely to harm the children. The risk was therefore no higher that a childminder who lived near a busy road or had a neighbour with dogs.

If I were considering a childminder for my own child I would only choose one with a dog if they volunteered the fact that they automatically keep the dogs and children apart all the time and could tell me very clearly how they did that. I would never allow anyone to leave a dog roaming free with my toddler or someone else's, ever.

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