This kind of thing is happening so regularly (tragically) lately that I have formulated a standard response (see below). I highlight the subject of treats in my comments, but the same goes for allowing your dog on your bed and other situations of “favor.”
There are two key things to consider with this news story: 1) A dog that has a dominant mindset – even a covert one that hasn’t yet experienced the need to fully disclose itself. 2) Something coming into that dog’s world (like a new baby) that posed a threat – in the dog’s mind – to the dog’s self-perceived position in the home pack hierarchy.
I urge ALL dog owners to train their dogs to the level that I call the “Trust Zone” before even CONSIDERING having a baby. Most dog owners have no idea what their dogs are capable of; even a small breed dog that seems cute and harmless CAN easily kill (I could share with you many heart-wrenching true stories).
It’s only when a dog is significantly challenged for the first time in its life that the dog feels compelled to reveal the fullness of its nature. This is why many people suddenly marvel at their dog’s rebellion when they first begin proper training. And, this is why many newborns are attacked by untrained (or not properly trained), dominant-minded dogs.
Keeping an eye on your dog and baby and keeping them separated – as this article suggests – IS NOT enough. DO NOT rely on this! It only takes a split second, or one unexpected mishap and a harrowing situation occurs that can never be undone.
The ONLY answer is to transform your dog – completely reprogramming him away from any potentially dangerous defaults – before you can trust your dog around your child in any capacity. You have to first EXPOSE those defaults and then understand how to EFFECTIVELY deal with them. This is where proper training comes in. See my Nature-Based Discipline, Praise & Play Method at www.dogfather.tv
DON SULLIVAN “THE DOGFATHER” COMMENTS ON DOG ATTACKS:
“I hate the fact that this stuff happens when I know how to fix it. We’re witnessing a virtual aggression epidemic with over 1000 dog bite victims sent to an ER each day – and that’s in the United States alone! Yet, people don’t want to hear the connection between treat training and behavioral problems. Handing a dog a treat (or any piece of food from your hand) instantly says that the dog is the leader and you’re the follower.
You see, in the animal kingdom, the dog that gives up his food to another is the submissive one. Now multiply this by the number of tasty morsels you ‘lovingly’ offer your pet day after day and you suddenly realize why your dog is challenging you in many areas of your life with him. Sure, yes, you might have an advantage over him in terms of size and weight, but take away the restraints like the leash, baby gates and shut doors, and who knows what disasters will quickly ensue? Or, just like in this news story, consistently allow your dog a position of ‘honor’ on your bed and one day your sweet four-legged companion will suddenly show his true colors when a threat comes into the picture.
How many more kids need to get maimed and even killed…? My battle is to get people to stop believing a lie and wake up to the simple solution: Ditch the dog biscuits; reward your dog’s good behavior with lots of physical and verbal praise, exercise and play; and, realize that a bit of discipline is not a bad thing, it’s the best thing.”
– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”
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