It’s never safe to leave babies and small children alone with dogs. Dogs may want to play and do not realize they are strong enough to seriously hurt a baby or child.
Children also may play roughly, causing a dog to bite in self-defense. Or, your canine pals’ simply aren’t used to or trained to be around these delicate creatures and protect them.
So, if I have a canine, say a Pitbull, can I safely leave my baby with it? Let’s see in a bit.
Is It Safe to Leave a Pitbull with a Baby?
It isn’t safe to leave a baby alone with any dog, even if it isn’t a pit bull. Although pit bulls make up the majority of reported dog bites in America, there are plenty of families that happily co-exist with pit bulls. To reduce the chance of bites, teach dogs not to bite, as well as the children to behave properly around dogs.
Dog Bite Statistic Studies
Pit bulls were responsible for the vast majority of dog bite injuries and fatalities in America, according to a report from the non-profit organization for dog bite victims called DogBites.org.
It looked at dog bite police reports in America for sixteen years. Pit bulls made up 72 percent of deaths due to dog bites.
It was not specified if the mixed breeds were pit bull mixes. By far, the breed that caused the most deaths is pit bulls.
There are studies that contradict DogBites.org’s findings. The website Dognition polled over 4,000 dog owners about dog bites.
They discovered that the most aggressive breed was the Chihuahua. A 2008 study done by the University of Pennsylvania also found that Chihuahuas, along with Dachshunds, were the most aggressive breeds.
Just What a Pit Bull is
Another big problem that helps make dog bite statistics unclear is that there is no general consensus as to what a pit bull is. The American Kennel Club calls it a type and not a breed.
There is a breed recognized by some dog registries, not the AKC, called the American Pit Bull Terrier, which makes things nice and confusing. The AKC does not want to be associated with dogfighting and so ignores pit bulls.
Unless there is a DNA test to determine a dog’s breed, any dog picked up by police or shelter workers has its breed guessed at.
Therefore, it is possible that some dogs responsible for dog bites (fatal or otherwise) were not actually done by pit bulls, but dogs that somewhat resembled a stereotypical pit bull.
Pit bulls were bred to wrestle other canines. They were not bred to fight people.
They were bred to be obedient to people. This results in a medium-sized dog with a broad chest and lots of muscles. The muzzle tends to be short, although not pushed-in like a pug or English bulldog.
The ears are semi-floppy unless they are cropped. The tail is long. The coat is smooth, short-haired, and comes in a rainbow of colors.
Teaching Dogs Not to Bite
To avoid dog bites, especially that of Husky puppies, all dog owners need to train their dogs not to place their mouths on any part of a person, including clothes.
Although it’s best to start training as puppies, dogs of all ages can learn to inhibit their bites.
If your dog ever bites, nips, or places its mouth on your sleeve or pant leg, yip as loud as you can. This mimics how puppies yip when their littermates play too rough.
This noise helps teach a puppy when not to bite. As soon as the dog lets go, praise and give a treat. Training your dog takes patience and time.
Never use your fingers or hands as toys. Puppies like to suck on fingers.
Discourage these behaviors by yipping and positive reinforcement. Never hit your dog or puppy, because this can provoke the animal to bite.
If a dog has never bitten and suddenly starts doing so, it probably has a health problem like arthritis. If you touch a sore spot, the dog can possibly lash out in self-defense.
Take the canine to the vet to be checked out. It’s also time to get your dog spayed or neutered. Fixed dogs are less aggressive than dogs left entire.
If these tips do not help and the dog is still prone to biting, then it is time to contact a professional dog trainer for help.
Paying a dog trainer is much less expensive than having to pay medical bills or court costs in case your dog bites a baby or child.
Dogs and Babies
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends never leaving a dog alone with a baby or child up to the age of four.
Babies and small children make sudden movements and noises that are very similar to the prey animals dogs hunt, such as mice, or sound like squeaky toys that dogs play with.
Dogs also have been known to attack children or babies left in slings. The motions and noises probably sound like irresistible toys to a dog.
Dogs play by taking objects in their mouths and chewing on them. Dogs often do not know their own strength.
Even when playing, they may inflict a serious bite on a baby or small child.
Dogs do have positive elements for babies. Studies show that babies growing up with pets like dogs or cats are healthier.
A 2017 study by the University of Alberta showed that the presence of a pet increases the good gut microbes in a baby’s body. This led to a baby developing fewer allergies, a lower chance of getting Group B streptococcus, and a lesser chance of becoming obese.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Safety of Leaving a Pitbull with a Baby
What Dog Breed is Called the Nanny Dog?
The term “nanny dog” has been ascribed to several dog breeds, including the Staffordshire bull terrier, St. Bernard, and the pit bull. Just when these terms were first used is controversial. It is not known if the dogs were used as substitute nannies or just got the term because they were good with kids.
What Dog Breed’s the Best for Kids?
The American Kennel Club recommends the most popular dog breed in America, the Labrador retriever, as the best dog for kids and families. Keep in mind that the pit bull breed isn’t recognized yet by the AKC.
The Least You Need to Know
Any dog can bite, no matter what breed or type it is. Never leave babies and kids alone with a canine.
This is to protect the dog as much as it is to protect the baby or child. You can teach children the proper way to treat dogs and behave around dogs so as not to provoke the dog to bite.
Dogs need to be taught never to put their mouths on people.