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My dad has a new dog and we are afraid to visit with a toddler

(20 Posts)
vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 22:10:00

I have never posted in this section but I am posting now as I would be keen to get the opinion of dog experts.
My dad got himself a dog at the beginning of the year. The dog is a female rescue dog, already a bit older. My dad got her from a dog home who picked her up from the streets in Romania. Apparently she is a quiet, friendly and almost lethargic dog, so suits my ageing dad. She also has arthritis, not sure this is relevant.

I have an 18 months old and a 5 year old. We visit my dad several times a year. We haven't been this year and frankly are a bit hesitant because of the dog. When we go we usually stay for a week. Our concern is that we cannot constantly keep an eye on the 18 months old and would be worried that she would find herself alone with the dog in a room at some point. She is still so little and her head is right at the head level of a medium sized dog and she is quite bold and curious, reaching out etc. I am sure my father would think our concerns are ridiculous as the dog is so friendly and easy going. But I am concerned about the dog's past as a street dog of which we know nothing. The dog has been around children a few times though when my nephews came to see my dad and all was good. But this was usually just for a day or two, not an entire week and my nephews are already a bit bigger.

So would you think I am unreasonable to ask my dad to put the dog into a home for pets whilst we stay there? He had her there before when he was travelling and she was fine. But I wouldn't be surprised if he feels that what we ask is over the top and I can just see this turning into an argument. On the other hand DH wouldn't want us to go..

Any opinions from the dog lovers out there?

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jun-15 22:14:32

I can't see why an 18 month old would 'find herself alone with the dog', and it doesn't sound like the dog is in any way dangerous.

What are you going to do? Avoid people who have dogs for the next 5 years, till she's older?

I think you are missing out on an opportunity to teach your daughter how to behave around dogs, and being unreasonable towards your dad.

vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 22:24:59

Thanks for your reply Mme Lindor. At home my daughter roams around freely so she would sometimes play in the lounge whilst I am in the kitchen so I guess this could be the case if we are staying at someone else's house as well. My dad's kitchen is small so if I am in there doing the cooking or washing up I wouldn't be so keen for her to be around as she would be in the way. So I think there is a chance that she and the dog find themselves in the same room without anyone else around.

Yeah, I suppose this is an opportunity to teach her how to behave around dogs, good point.

I just thought that with rescue dogs you have to be extra careful and I think I even read on MN of a 12 year old bitten by their own dog, completely out of character.

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jun-15 22:30:18

The way I look at is, is that any dog could potentially bite. Which means, that if a dog is bothered by a child, then they might snap at them - kind of a warning. Young, excitable dogs, or gentle old dogs, who are used to peace and quiet. There is no guarantee in life, but then there isn't for anything at all.

If you go, would you often be alone with dog and your daughter, or would your DH or Dad be around? So you have an extra pair of eyes (and hands to move her away).

Or perhaps you could put the dog into another room or into the garden for these few moments a day.

vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 22:37:03

Thanks for your response. Food for thought. Problem is that it's especially DH who raised this worry and he is feeling quite strongly about it. He won't come though, I would go by myself with the kids.
Such a difficult situation as regardless what I do I am bound to piss someone off, either DH or my dad..

Floundering Wed 17-Jun-15 22:39:16

You should never leave a toddler alone with ANY dog no matter how trustworthy, they grab and want to be affectionate & that can be too much for any dog.

Why not ask Dad to invest in a cheap baby gate (second hand would do for this ) so dog can be put in the kitchen say but still see the family & then come out later once the kids are in bed. That way you can introduce them all to each other gradually and assess for yourself.

As MMe Lindor says a good way to teach the kids about appropriate behaviour around a dog, never to early to learn.

WhatAHooHa Wed 17-Jun-15 22:43:12

Was going to suggest using a pop-up baby gate, so you can let toddler and dog get to know each other when supervised, but put the gate up to keep them separate when you are busy elsewhere. It would be fairer on the dog to protect her space from an inquisitive toddler anyway.

Mrsjayy Wed 17-Jun-15 22:44:41

You should never leave any toddler alone with any dog so what are you going to do not see your dad because you let your toddler wander around you havnt even met the dog she might be fine a bit miffed about children in its house but its your dad fgs go see the man.

Mrsjayy Wed 17-Jun-15 22:46:56

The baby gate is a good idea dogs d8nt need toddlers bothering them but it would be nice for ypur children to get used to dogs

tabulahrasa Wed 17-Jun-15 22:49:18

Firstly I think leaving an 18 month old alone in her own living room is very very different to leaving her in an unfamiliar one...it's amazing what they can find that's dangerous when it's new to them, so the dog being potentially alone with her might happen a lot less than you'd imagine based on your routine at home.

Secondly it's actually fairly easy to keep a dog seperate from a toddler, neither toddlers or dogs can work doors and you can just take the dog with you if you can't just pop her in another room altogether.

Lastly the vast majority of dogs are absolutely fine and actually very tolerant when young children are a bit rough or over friendly.

I do think kenelling a dog with no actual reason other than it existing is a bit harsh tbh...and expensive.

MmeLindor Wed 17-Jun-15 22:49:20

I think that the advantage to your DC on seeing their grandfather outweighs the (manageable) risk. Does your DH have specific issues, or some kind of history with dogs that makes him this nervous?

DragonsCanHop Wed 17-Jun-15 22:51:39

I'm assuming go your dad told the rescue he has young grad children and the dog was assessed before rehoming.

You could be missing a massive chance for your DC and dog to become life long buddies.

Restrict time together to respect the dogs space using a gate and let them enjoy each other under supervision.

vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 22:53:03

I do want to see my dad and my eldest has been asking several times too...
Maybe a baby gate is the answer, problem is that the living space is very open plan so the only real option is to gate off the kitchen, which is small..

Thanks for your thoughts.

Postchildrenpregranny Wed 17-Jun-15 23:01:55

My lovely, much loved , gentle cat had to go and live with my in laws as he started to swipe at my 3 year old DD1 (unprovoked) . He was fine until she got more mobile . To be fair ,he may have been ill but we didnt realise-died not long after . I'd never leave a small child alone with a strange animal .

vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 23:05:15

Interesting tabularasah, about my toddler roaming around in an unfamiliar environment. My dad's house has lots of ornamental stuff lying around in ideal toddler height so I would probably be following her around anyway to make sure she doesn't break anything.

Need to talk this through with DH again. I have to find a solution because I cannot just stop seeing my dad and he is the only grandparent left for the kids.
Babygate is a good idea.

Thanks everyone.

If you are in the kitchen and your little one wants to tootle off, can your DH not watch her? Combined with taking a baby gate with you, I think that would be a cautious but reasonable route to take. Is your H perhaps just looking for an excuse not to visit your dad, or does he have (voiced/unvoiced?) concerns about having responsibility for the children on his own?

tabulahrasa Wed 17-Jun-15 23:12:34

"My dad's house has lots of ornamental stuff lying around in ideal toddler height so I would probably be following her around anyway to make sure she doesn't break anything."

Very probably...my mum lives far enough away that we have to stay to visit, my DC were a nightmare at that sort of age because it was all new and exciting, so even things that they ignored at home were suddenly fascinating, lol.

Fleecyleesy Wed 17-Jun-15 23:13:32

You could stay in a B&B?

The dog sounds OK but like others have said you must never ever take the risk of leaving a toddler unsupervised with a dog. Be vigilant and always make sure either you or dh can see the toddler.

vez123 Wed 17-Jun-15 23:16:09

Decaff, my DH is not actually coming with me, it's just me with the kids. I am thinking now maybe I should stay for a few days instead of a week to take the pressure of myself having to constantly watch my daughter. This way we can also assess the situation with the dog and then build up the visits.
I suppose both my DH and I are quite careful and prefer to avoid risks. It's just hard to assess how big the risk actually is.

But yes, you all are right, a toddler should never be left alone with a dog.

BagelwithButter Thu 18-Jun-15 16:34:11

Baby gates are good idea, as said here.

You could also ask your dad if he can borrow a dog crate. They're very useful, especially when dog wants a sleep and to be left alone. Esp if your dad can get dog used to it before your visit.

Rescue dogs aren't any worse than any other dogs. I've fostered 2 and they were both really soppy.

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