Pets and Children...your take

Amanda - posted on 11/12/2010 ( 198 moms have responded )

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I have 4 children and my fiance and I have 2 dogs and a kitten. My oldest son was attacked by a dog when he was 20 mnths old at his bio dads house and had to have numerous stitches. Yes the dog was killed, but my son was frightened for quite some time. My fiance has an 8 yr old Pitbull/Boxer mix and when we met the kids fell in love with him! He's extremley well mannered and loves the kids!! About a yr ago we went as a family and picked out a Mastiff/Blueheeler mix puppy and she has now become a permanant member of our family. The kids love her and she's amazing with them even though she doesn't realize she's actually a giant moose and not a small squirrel haha. Than a few months ago my daughters and I were at a pet store and they beggeed and pleaded for a little black kitty, the only one left. We ended up getting her and bringing her home and she is now the familys favorite little troublemaker! What is your take on animals and children? I think familys need to research thouroughly when choosing a dog, like checking his tempermant and patience, and health risks. We know that animals are expensive so finding lower maintainance animal is kind of a must! Also none of my children have had trouble with allergies since they've been around animals, our pediatrician agrees that animals teach responsibilty as well as build up immune system! The only downfall is the hair, I hate it lol!! Whats your take on pets and babies??!!

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Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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Okay, the behaviorist is back and stepping in. First of all I have to address the whole chow chow thing. Full-blooded chow chows scare me. Why? Because it's hard to read their body language and determine their next move. I've never been seriously bitten by a dog in over 12 years of working with them. Why? I know how to read canine body language and can usually maneuver myself out of the way or diffuse the situation before I get bit. With chows it's not so easy because of all the fur and the squished face. They are usually not vocal dogs either so they tend to not growl or bark before snapping. Now, that doesn't mean that all chows are vicious, man-eating beasts. Most chow mixes I have come across are sweeter than pie and I can read their body language well enough to know how to work with them. A chow mix is a totally different dog from a full-blooded chow chow.



The next thing I have to comment on is the whole pitbull thing. First of all, Marina, as a vet tech you should know that there is no such thing as a pitbull. They don't exist. There are American Pit bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Terriers. The term "pitbull" (NOT PITT) refers to a look or body type that these dogs have: muscular, square heads, big jaws. Most people can't identify a true American Pit Bull Terrier. See if you can: http://www.understand-a-bull.com/Findthe...



Next I have to address the aggression and abuse comments. I have a dog who was (WAS) terrified of men and people. I would take her out for socializing and people would always say "Oh, she was abused wasn't she?" Nope. Not once. She was never socialized as a young dog and THAT is why she is terrified of people. Dogs that bite, snap, bark, growl, and are generally seen as "aggressive" 9 times out of 10 haven't been abused they just haven't been trained or socialized. The dogs that have been abused are usually the kindest, most loving and forgiving creatures on the planet because it's their survival mechanism. They revert to a puppy mode (rolling on their backs, giving kisses, etc) to attempt to show they are not a threat.

Next BSL...or as I lovingly refer to it: Bullshit Legislation. The problem with these "dangerous dogs" is that there are way too many dogs and people don't know how to work with or train them. I cannot count how many times I have seen some one with a new puppy and offered my card only to hear "Oh, I know how to train a dog" and then six months later they are calling me begging for help or to find a new home for the dog. It's rather infuriating. When people get a new dog of any age they assume they know what they're doing based on past experience. No two dogs are the same, just like no two children are the same. While one method may have worked for a previous animal this new one may not respond the same way.



I'm not surprised that Marina seems to think she knows all there is to know about dogs; most vet techs think they do. Canine behavior is a science that takes years to understand and study and even then no one gets it right 100% of the time.

Kate CP - posted on 11/16/2010

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An animal is an animal. Period. End of story. They will defend themselves with teeth and claws. What they perceive as a threat may be completely benign to you or I. It is unwise and unsafe to leave a child unattended with an animal.

Mary - posted on 11/19/2010

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Marina, I'm by no means an expert, I'm merely a nurse who volunteers at my local Humane Society, as well as doing some events with a Pit Bull rescue/education group. What my years at the Humane Society has clearly taught me is that ANY individual dog, of ANY breed, has the potential for aggression (even the ever-sainted Lab!). A well-trained and treated pit bull is as unlikely to exhibit unmitigated aggression towards it's family as a similarly trained boxer, lab, or whatever. While not typical, I do know of more than one boxer that has turned agressive and bitten it's owner; my ex still bears the scar on his face where his family's boxer bit him when he was 7. Doesn't mean I don't think the breed as a whole doesn't make a great family dog.



I am just admittedly sensitive about people making blanket judgements about a breed's acceptability as a safe family pet - especially when said breed has been so widely and grossly mistreated by humans. Pit's get a bad rap compared to other breeds, but let's be honest - no other breed has been quite as abused, or trained by it's owners to fight and be aggressive. The problem is NOT one inherent in the breed itself, but rather in their widespread mistreatment by humanity.



*stepping off soapbox now*

Amie - posted on 11/16/2010

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I think pets are a great thing.

We have 1 dog and 3 cats (4 including my brothers). I'm fine with our kids playing alone with the cats. The cats, well 2 are kittens still, have proven they can handle the kids and the kids have proven they can handle the cats. (in that they won't be rough with them) The cats hop beds at night, some nights with my husband and I, other nights with the kids, sometimes by themselves in the living room. The worst they do is scratch and even then they need to be severely annoyed and have no escape. They'd rather run and hide from the kids then attack them.

Our dog is another matter. She is great with our children, she lets our youngest (19 months) sit on her, ride her, push her around, choke hug her, put all of their hands in her mouth to take away toys she shouldn't have, etc.
However no matter how good she is with the children I will not leave her alone with them. I must be in the same room as they are, if she wanders off to follow them, I call her back if I'm not following. All it takes is once and she has the power behind her to do serious damage. She's a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

To prove this point;
Our 3 year old, about a month or so ago, was playing with her right in front of me in our living room. I was sitting in the chair and they were on the floor. Our 3 year old got overly excited and got it into her head to bite our dogs ear. Sasha (our dog) yelped and turned around to BITE our daughter in the FACE. (this is Sasha's muzzle level to our daughter) If I had not been right there to tell Sasha to stop and to go lay down she would have done a lot of damage before I could have gotten to both of them. Our daughter got a serious talking to when that happened. I am the pack leader (in Kate's words) in our house.

No matter how well behaved and lovable an animal can be, no matter how well they are trained, no matter how much punishment they normally endure from children, there could always be that once that the unexpected happens and they revert to their animal instinct.

Having said all that, I still love our dog, so does my husband and our children. That one bad experience (which wasn't her fault, it was our daughters) is no reason for any of us to be normally worried about her. With proper supervision and care, she's a well loved and cherished member of the family.

Kate CP - posted on 11/16/2010

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My dogs ARE an integrated part of my family. But you know what...THEY ARE DOGS. They have sharp teeth and claws and they can't talk. When my daughter does something they don't like they will do EVERYTHING they can *before* biting or clawing to get away or get the message across that they didn't like it. However, sometimes things escalate too fast. And to think that dog bites are infrequent is absolutely ludicrous. Just because it hasn't happened YET doesn't mean it won't happen. I've been doing dog training and behavior consultation for over 12 years and in that amount of time I have N E V E R thought it was a good idea to leave a child and a dog alone together. I don't care how mild mannered or well adjusted a dog is. That doesn't account for the child's actions. A dog is an animal and they WILL protect themselves from any perceived threat-including small children.

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Amie - posted on 11/19/2010

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This thread has deteriorated into bickering so I am locking it.

Amie
~ DM mod

Charlie - posted on 11/19/2010

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Heaven forbid you let your kids outside to play Elisabeth you wouldn't want them walking on the same earth as a feral dog *eye roll * they piss everywhere and they have sex too and shit OH MY GOD shit everywhere and those filthy little animals drop HAIR everywhere never mind cats and what about birds ! they have LICE and they fall on your head as they fly by haha.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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There is nothing wrong with having dogs in the house. I have two dogs and they are both very clean, healthy, and well kept. They don't have fleas, parasites, or any health issues. Some people don't like dogs in the house and that's fine but to say that it's nasty for all people is just not true.

Elisabeth - posted on 11/19/2010

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I've read back a few posts and would like to say. I know what people are saying about certain breeds of dogs. I happen to own one very frequantly mentioned breed. This breed as well as many others are know for being aggressive. This is a know fact and I will not dispute it. And I'm sure those saying this would agree that this does not mean that everyone of those dogs within that breed will be aggressive. I would not let my children alone even for a second with my dogs or any breed of dogs, even though I beleive they are perfectly safe with them.
Also I would like to add - If anyone was looking after my child and left them alone with a pet larger then a f*%cking goldfish not only would I call social services on them and make sure they are never allowed to look after anothers child again, I would sue the arses off of them for neglect and endangerment.

Elisabeth - posted on 11/19/2010

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Ok here is my opinion. My partner has 2 dogs, pitbulls, father and son. I like them apart from the piss everywhere! It's not just a little piddle here and there they will cock on anything and because they are both male dogs if one pisses then the other one pisses on top then the first one pisses on top again and so on... And they do 3 shits a day each! We couldn't have anything outside, no play equipment, no outdoor furniture, not even a garden (and I like to grow my own vege's, fruit and herbs). I got so sick of it we moved to a place that has to seperate yards suitable for each - children and pets. Now everybody is happy. The girls can go visit the dogs but they wear boots in case the hit a landmine ect.
But one thing that erks me is people who have dogs inside, it's dirty and unhygenic. They walk outside and stand in God knows what and then track it back inside, where infants and young children play on the floor (and yes dogs do stand in their own excraments despite some people swearing that they don't - I've witnessed it many times). And dogs don't wipe their arses when they finish doing their buisness and then some people let them inside to sit on whatever and seconds later a baby will crawl right over it and some people think there is nothing wrong with that! Or the dog will lick it's arse then like a baby/childs face. *Vomit* It's seriously disgusting but some people are completly oblivious/fine with it.

[deleted account]

Well, I'm drinking Steve's one and only Coors Light and then going to bed. He doesn't need to have a beer when he gets home from work at 6:30am right? LOL

Krista - posted on 11/19/2010

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Normally on a Friday night I'd have a beer. But reading this inspired me to break out the rye.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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On that note, I am done. I am tired of this, everyone has there opinions and have every right to have them. We should all want to understand the pro's and con's of each breed before brining them into our homes with little ones...for everyones safety, including the animal. Be responsible pet owners everyone...spay and neuter your pets! Good night, godspeed..good riddence.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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K Jodi, back off. not playing the poor me card, just wanted an appology,,,or an admission of wrong doing. It is funny how some people can admit when they are wrong and not others. I admit that I was wrong to say "idiot" generalizing that anyone leaving an infant with a dog was an "idiot"...I will admit to taking a strong defensive stance about my opinions while being attacked..I was very harsh with how I may have stated things but my feelings are the same. I have yet to see anyone else admit a thing.

Nope...I have not deleted a thing...not sure what would be missing.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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The part where you said "it says something about you" was a personal attack on my character. Not cool.

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2010

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Oh, God Marina, give the "poor me" thing a rest. Kate was not attacking you, she was debating your opinion. Stop taking everything so goddamn personally!!

**joins Krista for that heavy drink**

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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No, I was pointing out the obvious. You have attacked me throughout this, and cannot admit you were doing so..yet your profession is based on behavior. Just very interesting.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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"Nope, you were directly attacking me...in fact at one point I even stated that you threw me under the bus...that is pretty bad that you cannot admit it and you are a behavioralist...so be it for animals, but still....it says something about you."

THAT was a personal attack.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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yes, you were insulting...you may not thimk so...but you were.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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Nope, you were directly attacking me...in fact at one point I even stated that you threw me under the bus...that is pretty bad that you cannot admit it and you are a behavioralist...so be it for animals, but still....it says something about you.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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"It is something that labs are known for. Not all of them, but a majority. I feel the same about chows. I have never met one in or out of work that I have felt comfortable around. If a friend asked me if I would recommend them as a family pet, I would say no, and direct them to breeds that are more family appropriate...."



Okay, I agree with that statement Marina in it's entirety. I've made the same statement before, in fact. The way you made this most recent statement is a lot better and easier to swallow than your original statement that chows and pitbulls are aggressive. Can you see the difference?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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You insulted me many times...knowing that you were. Anyone in my shoes would feel the same way Kate. You were indirectly attacking me.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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Hahaha...gee wiz Kate, that sounds like you generalized a large breed...techs instead of dogs. Interesting. LMAO

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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It is something that labs are known for. Not all of them, but a majority. I feel the same about chows. I have never met one in or out of work that I have felt comfortable around. If a friend asked me if I would recommend them as a family pet, I would say no, and direct them to breeds that are more family appropriate....

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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That wasn't an attack on your character! That was an observation based on YOUR posts and my previous experience with vet techs.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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No, I didn't attack you. I have not once called into question your morality, your character, or your ethics. I never called you a name and I never insulted you. YOU took banal comments as threatening remarks and that is NOT my fault.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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I'm not surprised that Marina seems to think she knows all there is to know about dogs; most vet techs think they do

cut and pasted from her very first post...yeah that put me on the defense again. Sure felt pretty personal to me.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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I never said you were a bad person! I don't agree with judging a dog-ANY breed-based on breed alone. When I was a tech we had a boston terrier come in several times for obstructions. My favorite was when he ate an entire singing flower (much like this one http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vie...) and when we pulled it out it still played the music! I don't think that you can lump all dogs into one group based on a small sampling of behaviors in select groups. Do I think all labs eat everything? No, but a lot of them tend to be garbage disposals. But that's a completely different statement from saying that chows and pitbulls are aggressive.

[deleted account]

No she hasn't, Marina -- she's stated her opinion. She is NOT attacking you personally; she's attacking your opinion. THIS IS A DEBATE in a DEBATING community. AHhhhhhhh....

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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Kate, you have personally attacked me since you started responding to me.

[deleted account]

Eeee just to mix it up a cat wagging it's tail means it's angry =] I just thought I'd attempt to lighten the mood in my own little way!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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An animal is an animal no matter how you look at it. I love them, but they are animals. Hey, want to argue the fact that I would never own a yellow lab for its tendencies to eat whatever is on the floor? They are very expensive surgical canidates for this....one that actually made sure I would never get one goes as follows..

1st sx- obstructed with 5 tampons
2nd sx- obstructed with a myriad of toys from childrens to chew toys
3rd sx-obstructed with 4 mens tube socks (LOOOOONG fu*^ers)
4th sx (my favorite) obstructed by 25...yes count them..25 foil ranch packets that you get at the salad bar.

Am I am bad person cause I would not own a lab strictly cause they are vaccuums? Am I a bad person cause I feel that chows are aggressive by nature? Just another way to look at judging breeds.

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MARINA! She's DEBATING -- it's not fuckin' personal so calm down. Essentially, we're here to argue. Why do you feel like she's personally attacking you? When debating you are in fact, supposed to argue or attack the other side. Geesh....

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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Marina: No, I was talking about two specific dog breeds: chows and pitbulls and the situations in which you have encountered them. I'm not going to debate with you any more because you're taking everything as a personal attack when it's obviously not. You need to take a deep breath and chill out.

[deleted account]

OMG! It totally makes sense now -- I remember one time Roxanne wanting to pet this dog and I always taught her to put out the back of her hand, get down low and let the dog sniff her -- anyhow, the dog was wagging it's tail but I wasn't convinced. I had a really uneasy feeling about the dog. I can't describe exactly what it was but I grabbed her and we backed off. The owner says to me, "oh, she's harmless - see, she's wagging her tail; she's happy!" and as she went to pick up HER dog it snapped at her and jumped out of her arms. I thought it was strange but I'm glad I listened to my gut!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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Sooooo...once again you are trying to point out I do not understand animal behavior....even in its own home...not all were vet visits. Once again picking out one singular point instead of addmitting soeone else understands the nature of dogs. Do you serioud
sly feel ai do not understand what can make for a stressful situation in a dog?? After all of this...You cannot admit I may have a valid point? I am not on a job interview with you. I have a clear understanding of what can be aggressive behaviors...but truth be told, not every animal can be read, even in certain situations.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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Dana: Nope. Most people who are bitten by dogs say the same thing "But he was wagging his tail!"

Edited to add: Other signs are the eyes, the angling of the ears, and the general body posture. Is the dog stiff and anxious looking? Are his ears far forward and his eyes large with the whites showing? These are all signs pointing to a dog who will attack if approached.



Marina: Yes, I understand that. But when you take into account home visits for veterinary purposes those are also stressful and thus it cannot give you a good sense of a dog's temperament in that situation.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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House visits ranging from rich clients that don't want to come in, to the sick, to vax's, one beagle that would stress to the point of seizing walking through the door, home euthanasia, friends and family with an assortment of pets, dog parks, rescue agencies...I have a lot of experience with many animals in many situations. Mostly wonderful interactions...but the violent ones were not all in the office. The environment that you would have them in for work purposes would obviously be different.

[deleted account]

So a wagging tail doesn't necessarily mean a happy puppy, Kate? What are the other things to look for?

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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A wagging tail can often be a sign of aggression or a pending attack. Think of it as a red flag. Lots of people see a dog wagging it's tail and think "Oh, a happy dog" but there is a lot more you have to take into account.

Kate CP - posted on 11/19/2010

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Yea, I'm not trying to attack you, Marina. I'm debating you with the intent of understanding where you're coming from. :)

~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/19/2010

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yes a vet office can be highly stressful, especially to anxiety sensitive pets. That is obvious. Yes, when animals are scared, they act out with warnings of head down, ears back, raised fur, watchful distrusting eyes, longing, barking...oh..and one was just wagging its tail. The stoic glare of a chow chow chills me to my core.

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