Strong responses to a July 7 column, in which a grandmother refuses to kennel or discipline her small-breed dog who tries to bite her toddler grandchild:
Reader – “We have a child and a dog. Our daughter’s often exposed to other people's dogs, and children are exposed to ours.
“Parents AND dog-owners have responsibility for everyone's safety and comfort.
“We taught our daughter early: Don’t pull ears or tails, don’t go after doggie toys, ask before you pet someone else's dog, etc.
“But youngsters sometimes make mistakes.
“Our dog was also trained: Regardless of pulled ears or stolen toys, to NEVER behave aggressively toward a human.
“Our dog is a big sloppy baby, loves people and kids, doesn't growl, has never bitten anyone.
“Yet our daughter’s friend/playmate who visits her is terrified of our dog.
“So the dog’s kennelled when she’s at our house. He won't bite her, but she's afraid, so there’s no debate.
“ If the grandma refuses to do anything about the dog, she's risking:
1- Her relationship with her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter.
2- Her dog. If someone complains about her dog and previous biting incidents are documented, the animal can be seized and destroyed.
Reader #2 – “We tried to let our Siberian Husky and grandson get to know each other.
“It didn’t go well. Our dog overwhelmed our grandson by poking him with his nose in our grandson's face, body, and licking him without stopping despite being told to stop.
“When he nipped at our grandson's fingers, our Siberian Husky was banished outdoors and isn’t allowed to be indoors when they visit.
“Yes, it bothers us when our dog cries and howls to be let indoors because he’s an indoor dog.
“But we won’t allow our grandson to be uncomfortable and scared of our dog.
“To the grandmother who says that her grandchild needs to learn a lesson by being bitten by her dog, “Shame on you!”
Reader #3 – “As a dog owner and dog lover, I
say it’s the dog and its owner that need the lesson, not the granddaughter.
“It’s a lesson they may learn the hard way by way of a lawsuit someday.
“With no discipline or training, this dog has been taught that he’s the king of the castle. He does as he pleases and likely has zero listening skills.
“It’s particularly a problem when it comes to small breeds, because many owners think the aggressive behaviour is “cute.” They assume the dog cannot inflict any real damage.
“However, no owner should ever make their dog another person’s problem.
“Without proper training and consistent action to correct bad behaviour, nothing will change in this dog.
“Unfortunately, you can’t force an owner to train/correct their dog.
“The young girl should be visited by the grandmother at her home. Tell your mother-in-law “She would love to see you, but be sure to leave your dog at home.”
“If visits must happen at your MIL’s house, try one or both of these:
1) If the dog is easily distracted by a new chew, pick one up at the dollar store on the way. 2) Upon arrival, gather up all the dog toys and put them out of reach/sight during the visit.
“If MIL protests, say that you’d like everyone to enjoy the visit without the distraction of having to worry about whether the dog will lunge and bite… a lesson NO person should EVER have to learn.”
Reader’s Commentary “My ex-husband cheated on me while we dated and when our marriage began.
“When everything came to light, I discovered that he’d cheated with seven different women.
“Three of them were in long-term relationships with him while we were dating, then married.
“I’m unsure whether he was obsessed with sex, or with getting away with it. I could never pinpoint that one.
“To “Shocked” (July 7) - The signs of your husband’s constant cheating, including a three-year sexual affair, were there but you missed them because you trusted him. That isn't your fault.
“Someone who cheats to that extent will not stop.
“Protect yourself. Get tested for STIs and run in the opposite direction. You will trust someone again in time, but it won't be him.
“Don't waste as much time as I did, a second or third chance just allows them to continue with the behavior and makes you feel like a fool.”
Tip of the day:
Pet dogs and small children both need love and training. But a child’s protection from being bitten, is a priority.