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Old 08-03-2009, 02:59 AM   #1
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My husband and I adopted a Rhodesian/Lab mix a couple of years ago. He came trained with all this basic commands and has been nothing but a GREAT dog for our family. We have a 5 year old daughter, she was almost 3 at the time of the adoption. He is great with her and we have never seen any sort of aggression issues with him at all.

This weekend we were at our friends house, they have 2 dogs and 3 boys. (We have been there several times before this weekend). On Friday morning the little one (10 months) was crawling by him and he either bit him or scratched his head. Unfortunately all adults weren't around, it was just one of those moments. It is a straight scrape right down the hair line. The boy is fine and our friends who are animal lovers as well were as understanding as they could be. My question is this we have recently had a baby and now obviously I am nervous about the whole situtaion. I would NEVER leave the baby alone with him anyway but I have all these thoughts running through my head. Should be we get rid of him? Work with a trainer? The scratch truthfully doesn't look like a bite mark but it very well could be. I called our vet and she recommends working with a behvorial trainer since this is the only time we have seen something like this. When we first got him the trainer we used said she didnt' think he had a mean bone in his body. He really is a gentle dog and I would hate to get rid of him but obviously as a mom I have to put my childrens safety first. What do all of you dog owners/lovers/professionals think?
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Old 08-03-2009, 04:27 AM   #2
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The first rule with dogs and kids is: Never leave a kid under the age of 8 alone with a dog ... Since you already said that wont happen, you have that one under control.

It really sounds like it was a fluke, but you would know better than us. Since you've never seen any sort of aggression issues with him I'd just be extra careful and watch for any signs. If you do, the behaivorist would be the next step. In fact, you may just want to have the behaivorist give an evaluation anyway!
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:51 AM   #3
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Having a houseful of Rotties and two grandchildren that spend more than occasional weekends here, I can tell you that it's next to impossible to never leave a child alone with a dog. It happens. When the kids are coloring or otherwise occupied and the dogs are all sitting calmly or sleeping, I do feel safe enough about the situation to load the washer, slip down the hall to the bathroom, quickly do the dishes, etc., however I can still hear them. Both kids have come in contact a time or two with a toenail (almost always when the dog was rolling around and the child got too close to flailing feet). That small risk does not outweigh the benefits of having children grow up with pets. Many dogs will react to a screaming, crying child, or as they get older, one that is running. A normally stay-in-one place baby who starts to crawl may trigger play mode in a dog. Remember that motion, even that of a baby swing, can trigger prey drive or play drive. Watch for triggers and reactions. No one knows your dog as well as you do. Careful observation of dogs and children will show you the things you need to work on as time goes by. I've always watched the children more closely than the dogs and taught them how to behave around dogs. My daughter's biggest fear is that the kids have a false sense of security around ALL dogs, as mine would probably let the kids do anything to them and not react. It does take extra supervision mixing children with dogs, but as I said before, the benefits make it worthwhile.

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Old 08-03-2009, 10:26 PM   #4
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You aren't even sure if it was the dog... what if the baby scratch himself with another object? Did you hear the dog growl or snap? If not then you can't be sure, but it sounds unlikely that it would be a bite, maybe a nail but there'd have to be other scratches as well from the other nails.

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