Author Topic: Never EVER trust a dog with a child. ALL dogs are capable of killing.  (Read 105 times)

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Offline MParlier

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Never EVER trust a dog with a child: As yet another baby is mauled to death, a vet on why ALL dogs are capable of killing

By Scott Miller

Published: 20:15 EDT, 19 February 2014  | Updated: 04:48 EDT, 20 February 2014 


Vet Scott Miller says that no dog, whatever their breed, is ever safe to be left alone with a baby or child.

The fatal dog attack on the six-day-old Eliza-Mae Mullane will horrify parents and animal lovers.

The tragedy comes barely a week after 11-month-old Ava-Jayne Corless was killed by a pitbull terrier as she slept at her house in Blackburn.

And just three months ago, four-year-old Lexi Hudson was killed by her familyís bulldog.

Itís a distressing and terrifying roll call. But despite it, I predict most owners will still look at their docile pet and say there is no way it could ever turn into a killer.

But as I know only too well, they are wrong.

Itís not just pitbulls or rottweilers that should be considered dangerous. The truth is that no dog, whatever their breed, is ever safe to be left alone with a baby or child.

No matter how well-trained, they will revert to their natural instincts if they feel threatened or in danger.

Iíve been a vet for 17 years and Iíve seen at first-hand how brutal a dog attack can be.

The breed in this latest deadly attack in Carmarthenshire was an Alaskan malamute, which neighbours say was rescued a few months ago by the babyís father after being told its previous owner was going to have it destroyed.

Malamutes, which are similar to huskies, are not banned. Strikingly beautiful, they are normally sweet-natured and loyal. But we should never forget they are very powerful.

They need constant exercising ó owners need to take them for long walks twice daily. There are even running and sledging clubs for malamutes so they can burn off their  pent-up energy.

No one yet knows if little Eliza-Maeís parents were able to take care of such a dog properly. But this tragedy will haunt them for ever.

'Losing her like this has cast a shadow over all of us':...

So, why is it that babies and small children appear to be targets for dogs?

Dogs are pack animals who obey a hierarchy. If there is a change in the home ó for example, the arrival of a baby ó all too often a dog goes from being the love of his ownerís life to being Ďjust the dogí.

Itís all too inevitable, then, that jealousy will erupt.

Scientists may argue that such emotions are beyond animals. But every dog owner knows that their dog has complex feelings.

'It's not just pitbulls or rottweilers that should be considered dangerous'. File picture
I see this all the time in my practice and, indeed, Iím treating one dog who is clearly mourning for his mate who has just died.

And a babyís arrival can also upset a dog for another simple reason: infants have a very strong smell.

Anyone who walks into a house where there is a newborn will notice that distinctive baby odour.

So, for a dog whose sense of smell is 10,000 times more powerful than a human, this will be an assault on its senses.

Then thereís the sheer noise a  baby or small child makes. A  dogís hearing is ten times  better than a humanís, particularly when it comes to high pitches, which is why so  many dog toys contain squeaky noises.

A sound at this pitch, such as a babyís cry, excites them.

It all harks back to when they would hunt in packs. Dogs would go in for the kill when they heard the prey screaming in pain after it had been bitten.

Itís why any animal expert will tell you itís imperative to keep calm and try not to make any noise if you are bitten by a dog as it will only incite them to a further attack.

Itís horrifying to imagine that a baby or a small child screaming would make a dogís attack even more frenzied.
Like babies, dogs use their mouths to investigate their surroundings.

So, if a baby is left crying unattended, it is natural for the dog to start investigating the noise with its mouth.

It might only take a startled squeal from the baby to make that lick a playful bite . . . and then worse.

Itís no coincidence that an attacking dog will target the face ó itís the source of the noise that is bothering them.

Also, babies donít blink very often, which is a sign of confrontation to a dog.

In the wild, dogs will not look each other in the eye; they keep their head down and appear deferential, unless they are fighting for dominance. So, a steely stare is a clear indication of intent.

Add to this the fact that babies and small children are at a similar height to the dog, which only adds to the sense of confrontation.

So, what can dog owners do to protect their child ó and their dog ó from this kind of dreadful attack?

Itís impossible to give an age for when a child can be left alone with a dog. Even 14-year-olds have been attacked. I can only say that, like most parenting decisions, itís down to a mother and fatherís common sense and vigilance.

Before the birth of a baby, a good owner will dedicate several weeks or months to prepare their dog for the new arrival. It means training the dog to know that some rooms in the house are no-go areas ó perhaps upstairs or the childís bedroom.

And itís important to make sure a pet is well cared for, exercised and fed when the baby arrives to ensure it doesnít feel left out. My wife Zoe, 34, and I did this with our dogs ó Betty, an eight-year-old border terrier, and Dave, a six-year-old English pointer ó when we had our children, Summer, four, and Quinn, two. We are preparing them again for the birth of our third child next month.

Even the tiniest dog can be dangerous. Mr Miller once put down a Parson Russell terrier that had attacked a child. File picture
But while our dogs are gentle around our children, weíd never dream of leaving them alone in a room together.
All it would take is for a toddler to unwittingly aggravate the dog ó by pulling its tail or jabbing it in the eye ó for it to go on the attack. Itís unlikely, but it could happen.

Itís obvious that a bite from a Jack Russell is likely to be far less painful than one from a Staffordshire bull terrier, simply because of the power of its jaws. But when youíre dealing with children, even the tiniest dog can be dangerous.

Some clients with problem dogs ask me if thereís any treatment to make them less likely to attack.
Apart from exercise, discipline and routine, you can use an Adaptil diffuser, which releases comforting pheromones into the air that remind the dog of its mother.

Itís good for dogs who seem stressed by building work, fireworks and, of course, babies.

One step beyond this is anti-depressants. It may sound strange and itís rare for a dog to be prescribed these ó I have only one or two cases on my books. The sedative effect of these drugs can calm an aggressive dog.

However, if all else fails, and especially if a dog has already attacked and drawn blood, I have a no-tolerance policy. I would put them down with- out exception.

At my practice, we recently had a Parson Russell terrier who was constantly biting his owners and their children, an eight-year-old boy and six-year-old girl.

The little boy was walking three feet away from the dog when the animal launched itself at him in an unprovoked attack, leaving the child with bites up and down his arm.

I had no hesitation in putting the dog down.

Thankfully, this type of incident is rare. Millions of dogs live contentedly alongside their owners and are valued for their loyalty and devotion.

But this latest tragic attack on little Eliza-Mae Mullane should serve as a warning call.

We must not think: ĎMy dog would never do this. Heís too gentle.í Sadly, thatís what the  families of fatally injured children always say. And then itís too late.

No dog is too gentle. Every dog has the capability to be a dangerous wild animal.

~AM Murphy, Flying W Farms (B: 1.23.05 ~ Rufus & Kady) CGC, Therapy Dogs International, Inc., RIP 8.22.2016
~Epileptic GSD mix Annie (B: 10.4.04 ~ adopted 5.06) RIP 5.17.08
~EM Frankie (B: 11.11.01 ~ adopted 10.07) RIP 10.28.09
~Epileptic AM Brody, Orion Farms (B: 9.11.09 ~ Merlin & Pandora ~ adopted 4.2.10) RIP 6.15.13
~EM Maggie (B: 10.17.05 ~ adopted 12.06) RIP 12.1.2013
~Chihuahua mix, Daisy (B: approx 2003 ~ adopted 11.09) RIP 1.31.2014

*You get out of a dog only what you are willing to put into it.

Offline dmartin

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Re: Never EVER trust a dog with a child. ALL dogs are capable of killing.
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2017, 05:12:26 PM »
As much as I  trusted Sasha to behave snd be grntle with a child, I  *never* left her unsupervised with any children.

Kiss is still quite young and although I trust him, I don't always trust that the child will behave with my dog.  Better to be safe than be part of a news reports
Debbie from Toronto
Captain Kiss, CGN, CRNMCL, CRNTMCL - Hidden Acres Farm
Born May 9/14 to Abby / Bull

Sasha, CGN, CKC, CRNCL, SDS-SP, SDA - Hidden Acres Farm
Born: Dec 10/10 - RIP Aug 19/16
Hunley / Rebel

Sierra - Hidden Acres Farm                     
Born: Mar 6/08 - R.I.P.Oct 26/10           
Max / Savannah    

Spend your time teaching what you want, not stopping things you don't want.


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