Dogs and hugs do not go together!

A gentle and appropriate interaction between a pre-schooler and a dog.

A gentle and appropriate interaction between a pre-schooler and a dog.

Reisner Veterinary Services posted a link on their Facebook page on November 19, showing a video of three different dogs, two of which are being hugged by small children. For those of us who work with dogs this is a very scary video as the first two dogs are clearly stressed by what is happening and the third dog is being put into a situation that can quickly escalate into a bite to the child’s face. Here is a link to the page they reference (the post is dated 11/10/16 and titled, “Do you have a child who likes to hug the dog”):

https://www.facebook.com/dogsloversfans101/videos/668798849948742/

And here are Reisner’s thoughts on the videos:

1. Hugging is NOT a positive interaction for many, many dogs. If an individual dog does seem to enjoy it, it is usually a learned behavior, and may be tolerated from only certain people. Generally speaking, children are less tolerated than adults. If you look closely at a dog’s face while being hugged, you’re more likely to see stress than pleasure.

2. It’s clear from videos like this that knowledge about dog safety is lacking. It’s doubtful that this is a deliberate attempt to put toddlers at risk. We need to press on and educate the public. I also need to remind myself that the great majority of parents are not connected to progressive dog groups and pages on Facebook, and have absolutely no idea of the risk.

3. Most dog bite injuries that end up in emergency rooms are to young children, in the head, face and neck. It’s very easy to see why.

Just because a dog IS tolerant and patient doesn’t mean the dog needs to be confronted with such aversive interactions (including the infant tapping a toy on the dog’s head). The dogs here are just being set up to fail. Why tempt fate?

I couldn’t agree more with Reisner’s comments. I would add that there are plenty of good sites online that educate parents about appropriate interactions between kids and dogs. Here are some of my blogs as well as my favorite online sites:

My blogs:

Forced Friendship

Some from Column A…

And baby makes four

And here are some great websites with terrific advice and resources for parents:

Living with Kids and Dogs

Family Paws

Kids and dogs can live harmoniously, but it requires supervision of small people, an understanding of stress signals in dogs, and respect for the needs of both children and canines.

A relaxed interaction between teen and dog. No hugs here, and plenty of room for both of them to move.

A relaxed interaction between teen and dog. No hugs around the neck, and plenty of room for both of them to move.

 

 

Behavior or "What the heck?" Care and management or living together in harmony General Stress: signals, management, & warning signs

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