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Dogs and babies - please help a new mum

(17 Posts)
AliceWChild Fri 04-Jan-13 16:32:01

First off, I'm concerned this might be an emotive subject. To give a bit of background, I'm a new mum to a PFB who we thought might well not make it and I have PTSD. I know I am not at my most rational.

I love to go walking with my son in his buggy. But I am getting very concerned about a dog attacking him. I've had a couple of incidents where a dog has rushed up excitedly and put its nose in the buggy. I'm struggling to deal with it as it terrifies me. I've basically moved him and the buggy away, on one occasion with the dog following. I fill up with fear and tears.

I really have tried reassuring myself dogs don't go round attacking babies in buggies will nilly else I've had heard about it. As I said at the start, I'm not thinking straight.

So, please can anyone tell me what it would be a good idea to do in this situation? I have very limited experience of dogs, never had much fear before. All I can remember from childhood is don't show fear, but I am terrified and can't switch it off. I'm worried that moving him out of the way makes it into a game which I don't want. Does anyone have any suggestions? (Other than sorting the PTSD - I'm working on that). Thanks.

MiniEggsinJanuary Fri 04-Jan-13 16:37:13

Of course you are protective over your new baby but you have to try and keep rational about it. (I know it's easier said than done at times!) Is there a place you can walk where dogs have to be kept on leads? That way you could build up your confidence by having them close but not too close! For the record, we have a dog and I would never let her sniff around other babies' buggies - maybe just politely ask the owner to take the dog away if it happens? Good luck!

Blistory Fri 04-Jan-13 18:15:08

Standing still makes most dogs wander off as it's boring. Don't worry about asking an owner to call their dog back, they shouldn't be letting it approach a pram in any event.

My dog would respond to a firm NO from anyone so feel free to say that quite firmly if you're worried.

Any friendly dogs in the family that you could spend more time with to help with your fear without the baby present ?

And congratulations on your little one !

AliceWChild Fri 04-Jan-13 20:15:27

Thanks both. There aren't really places where they have to be on leads round my way. It's mainly tracks and fields. I'll maybe look to go further afield with friends though. And no family with dogs. Maybe this is part of the problem. I can think of one friend with dogs.

The worst one was near a playground and the owner just ignored me. But I guess he was just a bad apple. The owner today was off down the track out of sight. I keep telling myself a dog wouldn't be interested in a still sleeping baby, maybe wouldn't even spot them.

Cuebill Fri 04-Jan-13 21:09:23

Congratulations on your new baby smile but sorry to hear you are not feeling great yourself.

With regard to dogs and your baby I think you are right to be aware but certainly it is extremely rare for a dog to attack baby in a pushchair.

Some dog owners are pillocks (obviously non of those in the doghouse!) and will not be aware that you do not want dogs coming close to your pushchair and baby. So do be prepared to change direction or ask the owners to call their dogs back to them. Expect the standard reply " he is fine he will not hurt anyone". grin Smile back and ignore them smile.

IF a dog does approach you and you are unhappy you could have some biscuits in your pocket and throw them down to the dog and whilst it is eating them move away. Also standing very still will usually encourage a dog to leave you alone.

The reason some dogs seem interested in the pushchair is often there is a food smell eg baby's bottle or changing bags etc. so maybe have those things in a rucksac on your back.

I would not worry about this a lot though most dogs even if they do come over are just nosey and will not do you or your PFD any harm but you still have the right to walk in peace and without concern so do ask for the dogs to be controlled.

Have you met friends through ante natal classes etc? You may find more confidence in walking with other Mums and their babies to start with.

FirstPersonPlural Fri 04-Jan-13 21:13:36

I think it would be extremely rare for a dog to attack your baby in his or her pram, but perhaps carrying a spray bottle of water in your buggy might make you feel more confident? Won't hurt the dog.

AliceWChild Fri 04-Jan-13 21:36:13

Thanks. Yes I think walking with others and seeing they're not bothered is a good idea. And a sports bottle with water might give me some confidence that I have a defence if something did happen. Knowing deep down it won't of course

happygardening Fri 04-Jan-13 21:51:50

Congratulations I do hope you and you baby soon feel better. You are right dogs very rarely attack prams or for that matter people walking in general. One of the most important things I think to stop a dog coming up to you and you pram is not to talk to the dog. Recently whilst walkiing my young dog a women when she saw him started bending over and extending her hand and making what my puppy (and I) viewed as friendly noises; sort of encouraging squeaks I was a little surpried as she had white trousers on and he was very obviously covered in mud! It turned out that we had both misread the situation this women did not want a filthy puppy jumping up at her and in fact was frightened of dogs the squeaks were squeaks of fear and the extended hand was trying to keep him away very blush. If this lady had ignored my puppy he wouldn't have gone near her. I also wouldn't try the biscuit thing we regularly meet a women who rather irritatingly distributes treats to every dog she meets neither of mine would qualify for dog Mensa but it only took them about two encounters to work this out and now greet her like their long lost best friend.
Good luck I do hope you sort it out.

MiniEggsinJanuary Fri 04-Jan-13 23:12:10

I wouldn't try the biscuit thing either tbh. I think it'll make them come straight back again. I would just ignore them and they'll give up! Good luck!

dibsmum Sat 05-Jan-13 00:19:32

congratulations! I feel your pain. I have 2 dogs. both very protective of baby and would never let a dog hurt her but I still worry about that too. My solution is a little extreme but I don't use the buggy anymore, I use a baby sling or carrier. These are great for bonding with baby and allaying your fears. hope you get it sorted.

HoneyDragon Sat 05-Jan-13 00:32:27

As a owner of children and dogs I can try and reassure a little. Dogs used to prams and their occupants tend to be nosy and want to have a look. I don't allow mine to this, but often that lunge is nosiness on the dogs part, not ill intent toward you or your baby smile

Isandri Sat 05-Jan-13 17:31:13

I'm going to offer some different advice as youve had good advice about how to calm the dogs et c .. could you buy a stokke pram? You can get the stokke xplory on ebay second hand at pretty good prices if you're willing to collect it. The baby is a lot higher up and closer to you. The only dogs you'll need to worry about then will be great Dane sized. For me personally I find it's the small dogs I worry about with my baby as in my experience they are more snappy and I find big dogs are less jumpy. Probably as they can see things just by lifting their heads.

Cuebill Sat 05-Jan-13 18:02:13

Just to clarify re the biscuit thing. The idea is to throw the biscuits on the floor towards the approaching dog. All dogs will stop look at the floor at which point you can then remove yourself from the situation. It works smile. (but does mean you have to have biscuit crumbs in your pockets!)

We use it a lot when out and about with reactive dogs who can not tolerate other dogs approaching. The dogs will not follow as they are busy sniffing the ground for the food.

AliceWChild Sat 05-Jan-13 21:35:43

Thanks. It's helpful to have little contrasting bits to add my brain when I'm worrying. It is helpful to have it reiterated that it's unlikely.

I do have a sling, but at the moment I use buggy a bit like a zimmer as I have physical problems post birth too. I was thinking earlier how a stokke would have been a good idea but I'm seriously limited on space.

Maybe it would be useful to not look? I don't engage but I do clock them and then probably continue looking. Maybe I should look away and monitor out of the corner of my eye more so I don't look interested?

MiniEggsinJanuary Sat 05-Jan-13 23:02:56

Sounds like a good plan!

happygardening Sun 06-Jan-13 08:40:29

OP walking whilst my exceedingly friendly puppy yesterday I was watching him and who he chose to approach and who he didn't whether on or off the lead. Obvioulsy anyone that makes what he views as friendly dog noises, and or bends over holds out their hand goes "isn't he gorgeous" (he is) or other high pitched noises, he is going to rush over to them. One women (it was Saturday morning and here in small Townsville its very busy) was walking to towards him and very slightly hesitated he was on his lead and also very slightly hesitated; was this a friendly person? No uninterested so he too carried on his way. The ones he completely ignores are the ones who just keep walking they don't hesitate and as importantly don't look at him talk to or look him in the eye.
With regard to the biscuits. In my last house the postman having been badly bitten by a dog used to throw biscuits towards all approaching dogs. Now four years later and 200 miles up the road every time one of my dogs sees a red post office van he still goes absolutely mad and would cheerfully chase after it looking for the biscuits. Finally many dog owners have their dogs on special diets etc and even those who don't can get irritated when their dogs are fed by others. I find myself getting cross with the lady (a dog owner her self) in our town who feeds all dogs she meets as Ive repeatedly asked her (politely) not to do it. They should not be letting their dog sniff you pram but I think you could find that if your feeding their dogs biscuits they might feel that you have not helped the situation.

AliceWChild Fri 18-Jan-13 16:41:09

Just wanted to say thanks. I've been studiously not looking at dogs. Fixing on something else and just seeing them out of the corner of my eye. And none have approached me so far. I've still felt scared but feel a bit more like I can bluff it / look dull

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