We're not worried about our pit bulls being around our baby #Families#Pets#dogs#kids December 2 2014 | Guest post by Julie Sophie with her pit bull named Ariel! Photo by Katie Lawrence. Through the course of becoming a mom I have experienced my fair share of raised eyebrows and well-meaning unsolicited advice sessions. Almost all of our decisions — important and not — have been held under a microscope. I mean it's just what we all go through as parents, right? Everyone else has done it before, or at least their cousin has, and now they know better and want me to know better, too. It's understandable really and mostly forgivable. But sometimes concern crosses into uninformed hysteria and that's where I get a little stabby. The most persisting hot topic in my life as a mom is the fact that we have two pit bulls. Well, an American Staffordshire Terrier and a pit mix extraordinaire to be exact, but really we all know regardless of what I call them they'll always just be pit bulls. Are you nervous? Oh please don't be! People we know and people we don't know get really concerned about our housing two strong dogs next to such a tiny, tasty little babe. Even Google is sending out its fair share of warnings! Do a quick search of CUTE pit bulls and you're guaranteed to come up with an image of a poor baby missing its face on the first few pages. It's awful! And definitely something I don't want for my kid, just for the record. Look, I get it. Strong dogs are intimidating, especially when they're widely portrayed as unfriendly and violent. I've never tried to pet a bear for that very same reason! (But I must say, if a bear licked my hand while being all consumed with happy wiggles I might reconsider.) If someone doesn't feel safe around my dogs by all means don't interact with them, I certainly won't be offended. That being said, last week I didn't see the necessity in a woman's pressing herself against a building and exclaiming, "I have roast beef in my bag! And WHY would you have a baby with THOSE dogs??" Oh, I see. The old "pit bull roast beef blood lust"… I'm not here to say my dogs are just like puggles or cockapoos. They are clearly not. Having them in our family means that there isn't any unsupervised play between the dogs and our son. There are also regular lessons on animal/baby kindness for all involved. But these things happen not because it's in my dogs' nature to attack. The supervision and the boundaries I set happen simply because we aim to be responsible parents and dog owners. Related Post I'm struggling to like my dog again I love my dog, but I don't like him anymore. I used to be able to look past his constant barking, awful separation anxiety that... Read more Watching the bond between all my little creatures unfold is one of the greatest things I get to be a part of. There is a mutual understanding of shared love and food spoken in a language I'm clearly not privy to. When people ask me if I'm scared having two pit bulls and a baby it takes everything in me to not say, "No, friend, you are!" (This post originally published on Offbeat Families in December 2011.) Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Julie I'm Julie. Wife, mama, doula (*almost!*), and blogger. After a recent move from Nashville to Boston also a miss-er of her flock of chickens. Let me ask you.. Can a girl raise a chicken in the bath of a city apartment? http://lifewithacinnamongirl.blogspot.com/ PREVIOUS What to do when people ask, "So what gift do you want from me?" NEXT Enter Sock Dreams utopia: where socks are the gateway to body positivity! Show/Hide comments [ 37 ] I feel for pitbull owners. Yeah some can be horrible and mean, but that is usually from poor training. They are really protective dogs, and are more likely would bite someone who is hurting your daughter than her. It also makes me sad that no one says to not let chihuahuas and dachshunds near kids. There are lots of incredibly aggressive small dog breeds, and yes they aren't as dangerous as bigger dogs, but usually their behavior goes in corrected since they are so small. I would make the argument that kids get hurt more often with smaller dogs since they are cute, small, and easier to pick up. I've gotten bit by two dogs, one a miniature poodle while grooming (which in a way I was kind-of hurting her since the fur was so matted so I don't blame her), and a Shih Tsu once bit me in the face. Again I am not saying all small dogs are monsters and you can't trust your kids with them. It depends on the actual dog and how your raise them. I would make the argument that all dogs and cats can be dangerous. They are living things that will act on their own will. Reply Yeah, I've been bitten by dogs quite a few times volunteering at a shelter. Not one pit, though, even though we see a lot of them. Nope, it's those Chihuahuas and Cocker Spaniels just about every time. And yeah, they might not have the strength in their jaws that a big dog has, but they have plenty of sharp teeth. I never underestimate a little dog. Reply Back at the turn of the last century, pit bulls and similar breeds were actually trained as nursery guards and caretakers due to their sturdiness, strength, and family loyalty. That little tidbit has been forgotten as the breed has become associated with fight rings, which is truly tragic. I personally feel that ANY dog shouldn't be left unsupervised with a young child, but there's no reason beyond prejudice to single out the pitties. ( Frankly, I'm more worried that my hyperactive, jealous daschund mix will be more dangerous around our future children than most pit bulls. Which is why we'll be investing in extra, professional obedience training once we've decided it's time to start brewing da bebbies). Reply Seriously! I'm more paranoid about our somewhat-touchy-and-fearful pomeranian mix than our over-enthusiastic, possibly-pit-mix terrier. She's likely to knock a kid down in excitement and lick her head to toe, but only outta love ;-P Reply I work as an animal control officer, so I investigate dog bite cases. The only specific breed that I have had the most bites for have been Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (4 bites), which were all owned by the same (clearly irresponsible) owner. With the last case, I was able to get the court to order him to remove the dogs from my town. Other than that, I haven't really seen a breed pattern for bite cases. Lots of labs, lab mixes, and golden retrievers…because these are very common breeds. The single dog with the most bite reports was a beagle. I've also had cocker spaniels, dachshunds, a doberman, a Shar pei, a rottweiler……..And yes, I've had bites involving pitbull mixes or other "bully breeds". Most of these, I've noticed, are dog-vs-dog bites, and almost all were owned by people who were obviously dirtbags (known drug dealers) and just plain awful. The first one I ever had was a 2 year old boy who wandered off unattended from his yard into the backyard of a neighbor who kept an unspayed female pit bull tied up on a 4 foot chain 24/7. When the little boy wandered into her circle, she gave him a good chomp on the face. Clearly not an ideal situation for the dog (or child). I did have one bite recently involving a pit bull and a fairly decent family. The owner had just JUST adopted a snuggly male pit bull named Eddie from the shelter who got along great with her 11 year old son. Unfortunately, she brought the dog with her to visit her boyfriend, who had two toddler daughters. Apparently, they decided it was OK to let the toddlers jump and wrestle with this new dog (later, they told me that Eddie didn't growl or anything, "just sort of hunched down and took it") in one room while the adults ate breakfast in another room. Later, Eddie was sleeping in a back hallway, when one of the daughters went back there unattended. They don't know exactly what happened, but Eddie ended up nipping the little girl on the face. They took her to the hospital, and sent Eddie back to the shelter. I ended up pleading with the shelter for Eddie's life, explaining the circumstances with a new dog in a strange home being harassed by two small unfamiliar children. Ridiculous. At the end of the day, the only correlation I HAVE seen (aside from owner error) was the spay/neuter status of the dog. Overwhelmingly (like, I'd say at least 85%), my bite cases have been with unneutered male dogs. This may go hand-in-hand with attacking dogs also being owned by irresponsible owners (ie, responsible owners are also more likely to spay/neuter their pets AND make sure to properly socialize their dogs or keep an eye on them around strange children/dogs). While most dog attacks I deal with are pretty basic in nature (dog versus dog, older dog nips a child that steps on them while they're sleeping, etc), when I get a call for an actual, vicious dog attack, I can almost guarantee that it involves an unneutered male. The worst call I ever had was a rottweiler kept chained to a barn, who broke loose and savaged an 8 year old girl who was trying to give him a biscuit. An officer beat me to the scene, shooting the dog to stop the ongoing attack so that the paramedics could get the girl out of there. Her shoes had literally been shaken off of her, and there was a piece of her scalp, long brown hair still attached, still lying there on the ground. Unneutered male dog, kept chained up without adequate exercise or other outlets. Reply That all sounds truly awful. While I'm sure that there's the odd dog or two that just genuinely has an emotional or mental imbalance, 99% of the time a dog behaves badly because of its owner. Which is why whenever my little guy acts up in front of others, I'm the one who's embarrassed; I'm the one who failed him by not training him properly. He's from the local shelter, with an unknown history, and we haven't even had a full year with him yet, so we're still working on it. But I sure as hell know that when he acts up with company, it's because *I* still have a lot of work to do with him. I think there are too many people out there who see a dog's disobedience as behavioral issues, instead of lack of training and exercise. That shifts the responsibility onto the dog and away from the owner. Reply Thank you for this super informed and reasonable comment. These go so much farther than the emotionally charged ones when someone either owns a pitbull or is scared of them. Reply Your personal experience is backed up by scientific research too! The National Canine Research Council (NCRC) has released comprehensive multifactorial studies of dog bite-related fatalities in the US annually since 2009. In over 80% of fatal dog bite attacks, at least four of the following "co-occurring factors" were present: no able-bodied person present to intervene, the victim was unfamiliar to the dog, the dog was not spayed/neutered, the victim had limited ability to control the behavior of the dog, the dog was not kept as a family pet, prior mismanagement of the dog, and previous abuse/neglect of the dog. Those common co-occuring factors are largely preventable and may stem from lacking resources and/or education about pet care. But it's also a cultural/social problem. Having lived in a deeply impoverished area, I can say anecdotally that some people don't see any problems with dogs being kept on chains, living in parking lots as guard dogs or relegated outside 24/7 because that's just historically how they've seen dogs. I'm sure some of those people are drug dealers/car thieves/etc. but that vocational choice is another impact of their (human) environment: that's how they've seen people make money and survive. I've become really hesitant to dismiss people as scum bags because they have resorted to unsavory lows. Obviously, people must be held accountable for their behavior but rehabilitation (ACTUAL rehabilitation, not just prison) would probably benefit dogs, and society, more. The NCRC also notes that breed was not an identifiable cofactor in dog bite fatalities. Reply I read an article sometime in the last year that, here in the UK, Retrievers (mostly golden retrievers) were actually far more likely to be the ones who attacked people because they were so commonly thought to just naturally be good family dogs, and so the family wouldn't bother to really train their dog properly. Once bad patterns of behaviour arose they didn't know what to do about it, ignored it, and hence bigger problems were caused. I have to praise the author for their responsible nature. I have a Bernese Mountain Dog and love her dearly (she is also unbelievably lovely to our 10 m/o, but we are also very careful to train good behaviour into her and our child AND us! There's only so many times a dog will be pulled at and hit by a toddler before it treats it like a puppy and nips a little. Stopping that behaviour in your child is just (if not more) important as dog training. Reply Thank you for sharing all this information! It's really helpful to hear about the cases you have seen, from someone who knows and isn't just saying whatever the think they know, which a lot of people do. THANK YOU Reply People don't seem to realize that ANY large dog (and heck, a lot of small ones) can do some damage to a kid if the kid pushes the right buttons. Some dogs are more sensitive than others, but no dog should be left totally unattended with a kid who hasn't yet learned to treat it with respect. The media has a tendency to refer to any dog who bites someone as a pit bull if its even vaguely the right size and shape, thereby perpetuating that there are "good" breeds and "bad" breeds, which is just nonsense. There's nothing special about pits vs other breeds… except their wonderfully goofy faces and personalities 🙂 Reply We have similar comments about our ferrets and our unborn child. These range from the well meaning and confused to the outright insulting. Yes, we are aware that ferrets play rough, no we won't be getting rid of them, they were here first! As long as you are sensible and act responsibly I cannot see a problem with a child being raised with any animal. A small child is quite likely to annoy even the most laid back animal at some point so you don't leave them unsupervised and you take time introducing them to each other. The child needs to learn to respect the animal as much as the animal needs to become accustomed to the child. It really annoys me that irresponsible people lead to accidents with dogs and other pets happening that lead to that species or breed getting a bad name. Reply The thing that really gets me about pit owners in my area is that they don't seem to understand how important it is to train them properly. It's important to train *any* dog, but it is especially important to put in the extra work to train your pit! To do otherwise is not just irresponsible dogownership, it's doing a disservice to the breed. I have two such people on my street, one of whom is a repeat offender at being a moron. It drives me nuts! Reply "It's important to train *any* dog, but it is especially important to put in the extra work to train your pit!" But that just perpetuates the stereotype. I think it could be left at all dogs need to be trained. Which actually means, all *people* that have pets need to be trained. 90% of dog training is re-training the human to be reasonable and consistent. Reply I don't think pits are more in need of training inherently. I do think that because they have such a bad rep, it's especially important for them to be good doggie citizens. People on the street will think rambunctiousness from a golden retriever is playful, but a pit acting in the exact same manor for the exact same reason will be seen as threatening. It sucks, and it shouldn't be that way, but that's the reality. That's the way I read the comment anyway. Reply Your dog and your kid are both adorable. The anti-pit sentiment that has become so rampant in the past ten years or so is pretty alarmist and unnecessary in my opinion. I will say, though, that regardless of dog or temperament it is very important that small children understand that there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to play with ANY dog. I am nervous about my 18 pound Lhasa Apso around children, because all it would take is one ill-timed ear pull or tail yank, and he could very well bite even though he's not a "biter". And I would absolutely hate for my dog to be the reason that someone's kid is scared of dogs forever, or has to get stitches, or worse. Also, and I do understand where this comes from, as someone who has volunteered at an animal shelter for a long time…I have noticed a sort of disturbing trend among some pit owners to advocate for how gentle the breed is to the opposite extreme of people who assume all pits are monsters. I mean, they so love the breed and believe so strongly that pits are gentle (and overall, they really are good dogs with good temperament, unless they've been terribly mistreated) that they forget that dogs are animals and that all animals are capable of behaving in unpredictable ways depending on certain stimuli. Really, though, I think it's wonderful for children to grow up around dogs, and am happy to have always had at least one dog in my family as a kid. As long as you are mindful, which it sounds like you are, I'm sure your little one and your doggies will be happy living together. Don't stress about what other people think, everyone always has an opinion about how someone else is living. Reply Thank you for this. My husband and I have a cute little Pembroke corgi, but she is NEEDY. We're expecting our first child in February, and my mom has had conversations with a few people which have gone like this: Other Person- "Well, how are they going to deal with the dog and the baby?" Mom- "They'll deal with it. They'll figure it out." Other Person- "Well, sometimes, you just have to, you know, get rid of the dog…" My mom and I are always equally appalled at responses such as this. We've had our dog for almost five years, and we've raised her from a hellion puppy to a smart, funny member of our family. Even though she's a pet, she is part of our family and we're not going to just "get rid of her" because a new member joins our family. It might take some creative thinking, but there's no reason that, when properly supervised, higher maintenance dogs (for whatever reason) and small children can't happily coexist. Reply I'm also due in February, and I've either had two extremes from people: "obviously you'll get rid of the dog" or "it's no big deal bringing a baby into the dog's home". Neither is correct. We will need to let our dog have just as much time and space to adjust to baby as we will need. He has not spent a lot of time with small kids so it's going to be a whole new level of training and obedience that we are about to embark on. This is going to be hard. However, I love this dog something fierce and he is my first baby. We will make it work no matter what. Getting rid of him is not even close to. Wing an option Reply I'd love to see the faces of the fear mongers when they find out about Tippi Degre – the woman whose parents intentionally raised her in the African Bush with wild animals. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2337418/The-REAL-Mowgli-Incredible-images-little-girl-spent-years-life-growing-African-bush.html Reply I'm glad your pit is good with your kids, but I still wince when I see a pitbull in public, especially one off leash. Why? At the beach a few years ago a family had their pit running around off leash. They had a couple of small kids. I bet the pit got along fine with it. I was walking my Scottish terrier (then a puppy) on leash, minding our own business. Out of the blue the pit decided to run over to us and grab my dog by the throat. No warning, no growl. It just charged. I had to put my thumb in that dog's eyes to get it to let go of my dog, who luckily didn't die from the injuries. So I don't trust pitbulls anymore. Maybe they aren't all the same, but the problem is you can't tell from the pitbull what kind of owner or training its had. So I'm not a fan. Reply The problem is that you comment could literally be rewritten with any breed, and it would be just as accurate. It may also not have been a pit bull; they're one of the most commonly misidentified breeds because the term is used colloquially to encompass several breeds. Reply I respectfully disagree with pit bulls as family pets and I think the stats speak for themselves. http://Www.dogsbite.org. You rarely hear stories about a golden retriever or a collie injuring so severely or causing such damage or death. These dogs are bred that way no matter how loving the owner. And as someone points out above, not everyone is willing to put the extra time that is needed to train. It's like dog doo ….not everyone picks it up. Simply: Why won't another breed do? There are lots of safer breeds. Another issue is so many end up in shelters or are ex-drug or gang dogs chained up. This breed is very attractive to these groups (and there are even studies on the profiles of these dog owners). So a cute bandana is tied around the neck so it can get adopted and a then family adopts it not knowing its history. This comes from an animal activist I used to work with who loved dogs but truly believed pits were a different case. Reply Totally agree. Any dog can bite, but the heavy jawed breeds do far more damage, plus the ones that have been bred to fight have a 'hold-on' tenacity. I volunteer for our local SPCA and these dogs outnumber the other breeds by about 5 to one. Truly sad. Reply You should be made aware that the link you provided is for a page of a specifically anti-pitbull group. By no means is it an unbiased—or even especially educated or correct—collection of information by animal advocates. The dogsbite.org website is explicitly designed to look like a dog aid organization, but the group's goal is to spread negative information about a single breed. I've encountered them before. Bully breed dogs require more supervision with children and small animals not because they're inherently more violent, but because by virtue of their physicality they have more capacity to harm should something go awry. It's possible to be realistic about that without demonizing breed(s). Reply "Bully breed dogs require more supervision with children and small animals not because they're inherently more violent, but because by virtue of their physicality they have more capacity to harm should something go awry. " This is the opinion I've heard most often from animal charities where I'm from. Reply I don't know about that opinion. What does "physicality" mean in this context? Pitbull-type dogs commonly range in size from 30-70lbs, which is about beagle to labrador retriever size. That's a big range so, I feel that making a broad statement about their physicality (if that means size) is a little misleading. If "physicality" refers to a rambunctious or high-energy disposition, that caveat about extra supervision around children should also apply to many terriers, herding dogs, pointers, miniature pinschers…but I digress. My suspicious is that this warning about kids and pitbull-type dogs stems from a false and frequently cited belief that pitbull-type dogs can bite very hard. The American Canine Foundation states that, "[a]ccording to the current scientific research there is no proof that the Pit Bull can bite harder than any other breed". Making special provisions like this for pitbull-type dogs, in my opinion, lends justification to utterly false statements about these dogs. Reply I think the physicality also refers to the fact that while they are larger dogs, they are still technically terriers and therefore have a terrier level of energy as opposed to other breeds of a similar size. I love my pit mix, but he doesn't realize he is 60 lbs of muscle when he comes to greet you. That being said, the gentlest I've ever seen him was when a group of 8-year old boys wanted to pet him. I agree with Beatrix. For comparison, I'll share about my two rescue dogs. One is a smaller terrier (pit??) mix, the other is a larger husky/german shepherd(?) mix. They weigh nearly the same! The little terrier is a compact mass of muscle. I have bruises on my shins from the smaller dog running into me with his head – he gets sooooo excited when we get home. (Yes, both are well-trained, he just loses his little doggy mind sometimes…But never when he's playing or cuddling with our kiddo.) With regard to bite strength –The smaller dog can bite through a raw cow bone in half the time it takes the larger dog to get to the marrow. That's because head size and jaw width are the deciding factors in bite strength. Pits do tend to have bigger noggins and wider jaws than most breeds, hence the stronger bite than most. Look up facts from a site that isn't so biased. Pit bulls consistently score higher on the Good Canine Citizenship test than many other "family" breeds like golden retrievers and poodles. Pit bulls used to be the all American family dog; Helen Keller had one, the Little Rascals had one, and they used to be known as "nanny dogs". They make great therapy dogs as well as great working dogs. I know for a fact that the statistics are skewed just through what I see myself as an animal control officer. People report to dispatch that a "pit bull" attacked their dog in the park. I get there, and see that it's actually a boxer or a lab…doesn't matter. "Pit bull" will still be in the initial call narrative. I've had everything from labs, boxer, bull dogs, mastiffs, Great Danes, even a Jack Russel once, all being described as "pit bulls" in the initial call. The other thing that skews the stats is the media. If I have a case where a Chesapeake Bay Retriever attacks a woman unprovoked who is walking down the sidewalk, ripping her wrist down to the bone and requiring a dozen stitches (actual case from this summer), no one is interested. However, if I have a case where a pit-bull-looking dog is let off leash by its owner, and gets into a tussle with another dog….well, then the journalists scanning the police blog will call me to get the inside scoop on the "pit bull mauling". The only problem with pits is exactly what you mentioned: they're currently popular with thugs. As such, they get a bad rap. Various breeds have gone through phases of being the "it" dog for drug dealers and other scum. German shepherds, dobermans, rottweilers, bulldogs….now it just happens to be pit bulls. Any dog with a bad upbringing can be aggressive. The breed is not an indicator. Reply Many times I notice too in the media that the dog breed will only be mentioned if they think it a pit bull. One report read "the two dogs-one who was a pitbull-attacked a small boy". What was the other dog? Apparently it didn't matter. Fun fact: back in the 1800's bloodhounds were the breed to fear because of their tracking skills and the unnerving howl they had. Reply I'm not a fan of that website. And I've been an animal rescue volunteer for many years. That is an organization that advocates for BSL, and BSL is not the answer. My ONLY concern with pit bulls is, as you mentioned, the types of environments that they might have been brought up in. Pit bulls that have been bred for and used for fighting or who have been bred for aggressiveness and used as "guard dogs" chained up outside of a drug house are fairly common at least where I live, and they do show up at shelters quite a bit, especially shelters run by animal control. That is why temperament testing is so important, and why it is so necessary for shelters to practice it and to make the sometimes very difficult decision to not allow dogs that do not meet temperament test requirements to be put out for adoption (or removed from "kill" shelters and passed on to no-kill shelters and breed specific rescues). I have in fact seen some really sad stories about people who were so determined to SAVE THE PITBULLS that they ignored temperament test results and warning signs and brought aggressive dogs into their homes and had it not end well. However, the aggressiveness is not a specific breed trait that all pits possess. It is something that is created through bad breeding and abuse. And I would suspect that if you subjected any breed of dog to the things that these animals had been subjected to, they would be just as aggressive and potentially dangerous. I would never advise anyone to pick another breed of dog instead of a pit bull. I would advise anyone who would adopt any breed of dog from a shelter to educate themselves as to the shelter's criteria for deciding if a dog is adoptable, to consider whether the specific dog they are looking at adopting fits in with their family dynamic, and to if possible spend time in a neutral place socializing with the dog they want to adopt before they make the decision to bring it into their family. Reply I'd say as long as the dogs have a good character and are well-trained, there is no reason for keeping them away from children. When I was little, my family had Great Danes, Hovawarts and Boxers (and at one point a Doberman, we were kind of an unofficial rescue), and nothing ever happened to me or my sisters – heck, when I had nightmares I would crawl onto their cushions instead of waking my parents. A few years back we had a somewhat problematic rescue dog when my older sister got pregnant. The dog was known for not really liking children and had a history of aggression, so they never were unsupervised, but he never, ever, ever even tried to attack the child. (Although sometimes he would lie there with this, "My God, why have you forsaken me?" face and endure the kid's play on the floor.) Reply It's funny, in the Victorian Era pit bulls were described as the "nanny dog" because of their protective nature/training. It really all comes down to training and that is true with any dog. Not only does a dog owner need to properly train their dog but a parent needs to set clear boundaries with a child as well. They need to know how to have "gentle touch", how to pet an animal and what tone of voice to use with an animal. Personally I am having more issues with my 2 year old and the cats than you seem to be having with your dog. And in my case its the 2 year old who is terrorizing the cats. Luckily the cats just run away! Reply I've come to the conclusion that if a person is afraid of pit bulls, they SHOULD be – more specifically, they should be scared of ALL dogs. A person who bases their expectations of a dog's behavior on its breed has zero knowledge about dog behavior and should stay away from all canines, lest they put themselves, other people or the dog in a completely preventable bad situation. That being said: it is 100% inappropriate to let any child smush any dog's face as in the image featured in this article. It's so unfair to ask a dog (even a young dog, like the one in the image) to tolerate this invasive, threatening and unpredictable handling. Dr. Sophia Yin, a veterinary behaviorist that specialized in dog/human interactions, has two great posters on kid/canine interactions: http://info.drsophiayin.com/kids-and-dogs-1/ I'm really disappointed that this image was included with this article because it's just another one of the thousands and thousands of images available on the internet that fails to promote appropriate child/dog relationships. I really want humane, safe pet care to be promoted within this great community! Reply This link is fantastic! I want to smoosh the "THIS" button a zillion times. As a dog owner with several small nieces and nephews, these posters encapsulate exactly what we're trying to teach them. We believe supervised interactions between kids and dogs are healthy and important. They teach the kids to interact responsibly with all canines (which we hope will prevent negative interactions with other dogs in the future). And they teach the dog to be a better canine citizen. The hardest thing so far, actually, has been teaching them that dogs are not cats…you can't pick them up, hug them, etc. We're still working on that one. Reply I have to agree. The entire tone of this article is negated by a picture of a cute child obviously tormenting a puppy and not being told why that's not okay. I understand what you were trying to say, but seriously, the picture makes it look like you advocate letting small children poke and prod at big animals like there is no possibility it could go wrong. If dog bites weren't a thing that happens, would you need to write an article like this? Reply My mom is a dog trainer by trade, and one of the things she tells people constantly is that ALL dogs have a bite threshold, regardless of breed or temperament. All dogs have the capacity to bite when introduced to certain scenarios, particularly those that involve pain, fear, or annoyance. Breed has nothing to do with it. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.