Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Under supervising is not cause for overreacting but rather reflection. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
• If you leave your baby unattended around a pool and they fall in, it’s not the pool’s fault your baby drowned.
• If you don’t baby proof your electrical outlets and your baby sticks your keys in the socket, it’s not electricity’s fault your baby got zapped.
• If you leave a sharpie marker in reach and your toddler colors on your new dining room set, it’s not the marker’s fault your furniture is ruined.
Yes, I am a broken record on this subject because someone needs to be. In this era of helicopter parenting I find it puzzling that somehow supervising a child around a dog suddenly becomes too much work, requires too much effort, and is somehow impossible. Those who demand the dog’s head on a platter after a snap become the vast majority and I become the minority, aka the crazy dog person. I had no idea supervising my child and shaping his behaviors around animals made me certifiable. Quick, someone better call CPS on me.
So let me scream this at the top of my lungs a little louder. It is YOUR job to make sure baby and beasts are all on their best behavior. It is YOUR job to monitor their interactions and determine when someone has had enough. It is YOUR job to raise your child to respect an animal’s boundaries. It is YOUR job to become acutely aware what those boundaries are. It is YOUR job to baby proof your pets long before it becomes an issue.
I know my parents didn’t do much to prepare our dogs for kids. They got lucky. I yanked on Winston’s hair to pull myself up and learn how to walk. I used to try and ride my Doberman Satan for fun. You know what, they got really lucky and in hindsight they know it. It is not a reasonable expectation that a family pet will not at some point have been dished out more than it can take. You have so many tools at your disposal, you just need to implement them.
Take some time to learn how dogs communicate:
Prepare your dogs before the baby comes home from the hospital:
Raise your child from day 1 to follow these rules of respect. The rules will not only keep your child safe around YOUR pets, but also animals that are unfamiliar.
1. Do not ever touch an animal while it is eating.
2. Do not ever touch an animal while it is sleeping; further do no allow them on the dog’s bed and or in the dog’s crate at any time. These are baby free zones.
3. Do not ever hit/pinch/pull/kick/or hug an animal.
Invest in tools to help manage babies and beasts for those moments you can’t be in all places at once. Minimize the opportunity for an accident to occur. Be observant and be vigilant.
I don't want to be on a soap box. I don't want this to be twisted into some contest of who is a better parent. I want this to be a wake up call for everyone. I want this post to help save a dog's life. I want this post to protect your child from getting bitten. Please read it and then stew on it with that frame of mind.