I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Webinar hosted by Jennifer Shryock from Family Paws. The Webinar was titled "HELP! My dog growled at my toddler!"
Let me preface this by saying: I am a firm believer in prevention. Education is huge when we're talking about pets and children. I didn't participate in this event because my dog growled at my child. I don't even have a child. But I feel that it's important to educate myself before it gets to that point. This was an opportunity to learn from an amazing woman so I jumped on it. I wasn't disappointed. It was informative, but she didn't talk above us (as some trainers can do). The presentation was interactive - we were given choices to voice our opinions on what was happening in the dog/child interactions and this was followed with Jennifer educating us picture by picture.
This is going to be a monthly webinar and I highly recommend it if you have a child and a dog (or plural). The subtle signals that dogs give - from yawning to lip licking to turning away - can be easily missed. By recognizing these signs, we can intervene and help create a safe and comfortable atmosphere for our children and our dogs. It doesn't ever have to escalate to the growling stage.
You can check out Family Paws website here. It's a great resource. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter and bookmark their blog (which has informative posts). And be on the lookout for future Webinars on our Facebook page. We'll be sure to post them to keep you informed!
(Note: Though Lily is relaxed in both pictures, the first situation is the only one that she chose. She has Erik as a buffer between her and Dillon, our nephew. She chose to jump up next to Erik while Dillon was still awake and they both fell asleep together. The second picture, she was too tired to move. I snapped pictures of Dillon from different angles as he leaned into her. This is not something that I would let just any child do. Lily is familiar with Dillon. Even so, it probably wasn't a good idea. We were actively watching her for any signs of stress. Had she shown any, Erik would have redirected Dillon to another activity while I gave Lily a way out of the situation and redirected her. Redirection is something that I learned from reading Jennifer's blog over the last two years. VERY informative and she often uses pictures of her own dogs and children on the site to help illustrate what she is blogging about.)
Have you done anything to prepare your dog for your baby? Do facilitate dog/child interaction in your own household?