A couple weeks ago a friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of her son who had been bitten by their dog. His cheek had a visible bite mark and needed a couple stiches. My friend had just given the dog a bone to chew on and said to her 3-year-old son, “Don’t touch the dog, she has a treat.” But what did her son do? Of course, he pushed the rule and ended up with a bite.
Her story and the photo really reminded me of the importance of being safe around dogs. Mary and Bella are getting more and more comfortable with one another, but regardless, dogs are animals and sometimes their instincts to defend are stronger than the love they have for their family. This is particularly true when it comes to food, sleep and toys.
Mary is at the age where she wants to sit with Bella, read Bella books, offer Bella some tea and put Bella to bed. We want them to develop a good relationship, however we continue to supervise when they are together and when Bella’s food is in the picture we keep them separated. We’re also teaching Mary to leave Bella alone when she is sleeping (which is Bella’s favorite thing to do).
I know that Bella would protect Mary if she ever felt Mary was in danger. However, her instincts will also be to defend her food and what she considers any threat. We know no matter what we teach Mary, there is always the possibility that Bella could bite.
What strategies do you use to keep your children safe from your family dog?