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never leave dog and child alone together - but until what age?

(8 Posts)
Doraemon Sat 02-Jan-16 12:03:05

We are (hopefully) in the process of adopting a dog and trying to think through the logistics of how it will impact on the family. Eldest DS is nearly 11, now the proud possessor of a mobile phone, and starting to be left at home on his own for a short while from time to time. DS2 is 8 and will sometimes come home from the park ahead of everyone else and be on his own for a few minutes. Obviously while the dog is settling in I wouldn't leave any of the children with him/her, but once the dog is settled, how do you decide at what point your child is old enough to be left with the dog???? All the advice seems to be a blanket 'never leave a child with a dog' but it's not like I'm going to wait til the day he turns 18....

Friendlystories Sat 02-Jan-16 12:13:12

I think it very much depends on the size and temperament of the dog and how sensible and dog savvy the children are but I think 8 would generally be too young for me to feel comfortable. If you're talking about a smallish, calm dog and a sensible, capable 11 year old who's been taught about dogs body language that might be ok. you can confine the dog to a particif the 8 year old will be home first as long as you're confident he won't be tempted to

Friendlystories Sat 02-Jan-16 12:15:32

Sorry that posted while I was changing it around so it makes no sense now blush Was trying to say you could leave the dog shut in a particular room if the 8 year old will be home first as long as he wont be tempted to let the dog out.

ColdWhiteWinePlease Sat 02-Jan-16 16:10:18

Depends on the breed and size. A small dog (Bichon, Lhasa Apso etc) would be fine with an 8 year old. I'd be wary of large dogs, as they would have the strength to over power him.

But the personality also counts. I've been bitten recently - it was very bad and needed medical attention. The dog was a tiny Shih Tzu. And yet I've shared my bed with a Rottweiler, who wouldn't harm a fly.

Tread carefully with rescue dogs. You don't know what they've been through.

LibidinousTurkey Sun 03-Jan-16 11:11:03

Totally dependent on so many factors IMO.
DS is 11 and when we go out to the pub later he will stay at home, stretched out on the sofa with "his" dog laid next him. They will probably watch Star Wars in companionable silence grin
Our other two dogs will also be home but they will largely ignore DS. DS will let them out as necessary but won't give them treats or feed them without us there. He occasionally walks his dog alone but with either DH or I following a couple minutes behind.
As a bit of background, DS is an uncommonly sensible child, has grown up with dogs of all types and backgrounds and ours are smaller spaniel sizes now (my Rottweiler days are over sad)
I would never leave any other child alone with my dogs as it puts all parties in an unfair position.

MothershipG Sun 03-Jan-16 11:37:43

What breed/type of dog is it? How old and what do you know of its history? Are your children used to dogs or is this your first? Are your children kind and sensible, or silly and headstrong?

There are loads of variables, so I'd advise sensible caution and precautions until you have got the dog and kids settled and proceed from there.

I have small dogs, all from puppies, and sensible DC so I was happy for them to be alone together younger than your DC. DDog1 sleeps with 13 year old DD which I know some would object to.

ItsJustaUsername Sun 03-Jan-16 11:41:33

I would say when you're confident that your dc understand canine body language. There's lots of useful videos available online. Then it would depend on the individual dc and dog.

Doraemon Sun 03-Jan-16 18:46:53

Thanks for all the replies. We are looking at greyhound/lurchers and may have found an older greyhound that has been living with cats and children. The boys are pretty sensible and have been around dogs a fair bit but have never lived with one before. Once I have a clearer idea of what dog we're getting then I'll have to start teaching them a bit more - DS1 has high-functioning ASD so although the dog will be mine I am also hoping that he will bond with the dog because he doesn't really socialise with other children outside of school and could do with a friend.

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