Labs and small children
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Thread: Labs and small children

  1. #1
    windycanyon's Avatar
    windycanyon is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultLabs and small children

    I breed, so receive a fair number of emails and phone calls from folks looking for puppies. I also work 10 days a month w/ our parent club answering rescue emails, and either helping folks find new dogs or surrender their present ones. As you can imagine, the surrender rate has been on the high side where the economy is worst. The next reason for surrendering the family pet seems to be those with behavior issues. Some of those dogs have bitten a child, and of course, not many breed rescues will accept a lab that has bitten, regardless of reason. All this plays into my mind when I receive calls from parents w/ young children, and so I've been trying to suggest in a nice way to those parents that perhaps an older, mellower lab that has been proven good around small children would be a better route currently. I usually send them to our club breeder's list if local to the NW. Sometimes I get the feeling they are a little miffed at that answer though.

    One of our lab club members just posted this article up on our chat board, which gives me further pause when dealing w/ these young families: Study shows young, unsupervised children most at risk for dog bites | Science Blog

    I'd be interested in hearing the opinions from those of you w/ young kids or grandkids. I have placed pups from my mellower litters w/ folks w/young kids, but only in cases that I was convinced they were extremely dog savvy families and were committed to doing some good training (and their children were VERY well mannered and comfortable around my dogs). I know some of my friends won't even talk to folks w/ toddlers,and probably the same % would sell to them w/o question. Just curious to hear more discussion on the topic. Anne

    WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014

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    lisa's Avatar
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    I have had dogs since my kids were born, my kids were always taught not to tease, poke or pull any animal. So with my children it was never an issue. Although when company came with children or the kids friends came over the children and dog was always under my supervision...if I couldn't watch, the dog was with me or put in my room. I was always careful with this because I believe any dog...big or small...no matter what breed, has the potential to snap or bite and I never wanted this situation to come up...so I always prevented it.

    Now I have my first grandchild and I have been slowly introducing her to Gracie and Lola. Lola could care less about her and well Gracie, she is a little too over excited by her...so we are working on that one.

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    You know, I wonder if they take any other variables in consideration. Like, if the kid had food all over it's face, was holding food, or was startled. I'd love to see the methodology and the actual study versus this summary of the report.

    Do I feel scared with putting a dog with young children? Not the right dog. There are caveats to every situation...whether or not a family has owned a lab before, what their lifestyle is like, what their expectations of a dog are...etc. My boys interact with a 3 and 1 year old all of the time. Daily in fact. They stand on them, crawl on them, walk around, hug them, waive food in front of them...and there hasn't been a problem. BUT to say that neither one wouldn't bite a kid would be silly. They are dogs. Would it be vicious? No. It would be purely accidental. Rookie sometimes gets me when he's going for a treat in my hand. He's just a slobbering goob.

    There is too many unknowns in this story for me to fully process.
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    MicksMom is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by lisa View Post
    I have had dogs since my kids were born, my kids were always taught not to tease, poke or pull any animal. So with my children it was never an issue. Although when company came with children or the kids friends came over the children and dog was always under my supervision...if I couldn't watch, the dog was with me or put in my room. I was always careful with this because I believe any dog...big or small...no matter what breed, has the potential to snap or bite and I never wanted this situation to come up...so I always prevented it.

    Now I have my first grandchild and I have been slowly introducing her to Gracie and Lola. Lola could care less about her and well Gracie, she is a little too over excited by her...so we are working on that one.
    The same with us. And, any visiting kid that isn't nice to Caleb (and Mick before him) gets a very stern talking to from either Ken or I. Including our grand daughter when she smacked Mick (she was about 1 1/2 at the time). It really bugs me that a lot of rescues wouldn't have let us adopt when we got Mick just because the boys were young (almost 3 and 8 1/2), but I also understand that not everyone is "dog savvy" enough to raise a pup and small kids at the same time.

    ETA- I meant to include that if that the stern talking to is all it's taken to correct the problem. If, by some chance, that doesn't work, of course that child would have no contact with any of our critters unless one of us is right there (as in touching said animal).
    Last edited by MicksMom; 11-17-2010 at 09:04 AM.

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    We got our first Lab when I was 6yrs old. The breeder matched my family with a pup she felt would do good in a home with a young child (I was an only child at the time), that would tolerate commotion (kids, parties, holidays, etc), and just in general be a good family pet. We had our first Lab for 13yrs, through my second year in college. She was my best friend, and a true ambassador to the Labrador Retriever breed...I still miss her sometimes!

    I think you should use your own good judgement when talking to the prespective owners. Trust your gut feeling. Some people (like my family) did extremely well with a Lab and young child; we made the time to train her and play with her and walk her, we included her in everything we did as a family- she was definitely a big part of our family! Some families don't; I'm a dog walker and I see many homes with babies/young children and the parents-who both are usually working full time- just don't have time for the dog/don't want to make time, nevermind the time and patience to train it. Many of those families are the families who usually think Labs are born well-behaved and trained or they want a pretty ornament like in the LL Bean catalogs, ugh.
    Last edited by BlackLabbie; 11-16-2010 at 05:02 PM.
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    murphsmom is offline Senior Member
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    Sorry it's long...

    There are so many variables to this question. To rule out someone just because they have small children is a mistake, in my opinion. Families with small children can make a wonderful home for a puppy (yes, I'm biased). A lot of it depends on the family. What is their dog experience? Have they owned a dog before? How are the children around dogs? Are they afraid of them? How do the children react to their parents? Do the parents seem to have control over their child's behavior? Do they anticipate that their children will feel puppy teeth? Do they know their children will get knocked over more than once?

    I remember meeting Laura for the first time. I was super nervous. I knew my children (they were 2, 3, and 5 at the time) would be great companions for a puppy but would Laura agree? I think she made the right call (once again, biased). My husband and I have been around dogs and had many dogs our whole life. I stay home with my kids and am VERY involved in their lives. We never expected Murphy to not jump, not lick, or use his puppy teeth. We expected it!! Supervision with a puppy/dog is IMPERATIVE. My children are gentle, but were never left alone with Murphy when he was little. They needed to learn and be trained, just like Murphy, how to interact with one another.

    So, I guess a good interview with the family is a MUST. I would think that meeting the parents and children would be a good idea. Seems like you would get a feel for how they will deal with a pup. Maybe references? I think there is need for caution, but don't rule all of us out!

    Watching Murphy (and Sully) grow with my children is an awesome experience. I also received my first puppy (an English Springer Spaniel) for my first birthday. When I was 16, we had to put her down. It was one of the hardest days of my childhood, but I wouldn't trade it for the 15 years I had with her as my best friend.


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    There are lots of variable here. I would not leave very young child with a dog unless the dog was well trained and the children old enough to respect a dog.

    Kassa was well trained, obedient and socialised with babies and young children, but didn't leave her alone young children. Older ones she was fine.

    Ernie is adopted and is great with our grandaughter, but I would never leave him alone with her or any child.. Never... He had been bought up with children, but I don't think they treated him with respect so not sure if a child pushed one of his buttons he may nip. Very doubtful, but for me 0.5% of doubt means better safe than sorry.
    So for me it isn't just puppies. Older rescue dogs come with previous issues. Gemma is also rescued. She is a great dog, but no way would I leave her unsupervised with a child under 14-15.
    Last edited by kassabella; 11-17-2010 at 07:24 AM.

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    This has been one of my greatest fears since having my granddaughter. My two do not interact with children on a daily basis, so are not really used to children. So far, they have been very good with Kate, but I watch them (and her!) like a hawk when she is visiting. Jefferson is not as comfortable around her. He will get up and leave the room if she tries to pet him more than he likes. I always let him and make sure that Kate leaves him alone and doesn't follow him from room to room. Teddy, boisterous Teddy, loves to have her pet him. He will just melt. She has played with his paws, looked at his teeth, looked into his ears. But I am sitting right next to her supervising so that she does not get too rough.

    The one area were I do not allow her to interact with them, is during feeding times.

    BTW, my granddaughter has been bitten. Not by a dog, but by a horse. Her other grandmother has a farm. DIL had taken Kate out to see the horses in the field. One of them reached over the fence and bit her in the face. Tore her lip on the pretty badly on the inside--she had to have stitches. Just goes to show that you have to be careful with young children and any type of animal.
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    javasmom is offline Senior Member
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    I think this is something that is taken on a case by case basis. I have seen many small children who are wonderful with dogs.
    BUT I have also come across many kids who I would love to smack for the way they treat dogs. I have had kids tease, hit, bark at and generally just annoy my dogs when we are out in public. I give their parents a chance to say something, if they don't, I do. I just see so many kids who have never been taught how to respect dogs and it drives me nuts. Those are definitely the kind of people who should not have dogs because you know the dog will not be treated well.
    I do not and would not leave either of my dogs alone with small children, both for the safety of the kids and the safety of my dogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by javasmom View Post
    I think this is something that is taken on a case by case basis. I have seen many small children who are wonderful with dogs.
    BUT I have also come across many kids who I would love to smack for the way they treat dogs. I have had kids tease, hit, bark at and generally just annoy my dogs when we are out in public. I give their parents a chance to say something, if they don't, I do. I just see so many kids who have never been taught how to respect dogs and it drives me nuts. Those are definitely the kind of people who should not have dogs because you know the dog will not be treated well.
    I do not and would not leave either of my dogs alone with small children, both for the safety of the kids and the safety of my dogs.
    ^^^
    That..

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