Step 2: Flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process.
October 22, 2007 6:08 PM   Subscribe

 
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posted by sushiwiththejury at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2007


hee hee hee hee hee
posted by Greg Nog at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2007


My cuteness detection device just exploded.
posted by a_green_man at 6:15 PM on October 22, 2007


Man, that's so cute. But, if I was a parent I think I'd be terrified to let giant animals near my baby.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on October 22, 2007


Next week's feature?

"Part Two: How To Eat A Baby"
posted by miss lynnster at 6:17 PM on October 22, 2007 [18 favorites]


Awesome!
posted by drezdn at 6:20 PM on October 22, 2007


Entirely too cute. The dog is awesome. Judging from other dogs and babies I've known, there's a whole lot of slobber going on that isn't apparent in those pictures.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:20 PM on October 22, 2007


While adorable this has "Mastiff Mauls Baby Tragedy" written all over it.
posted by tkchrist at 6:21 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So sweet it makes my teeth hurt.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:22 PM on October 22, 2007


That's the cutest photodocument of child endangerment evar! I want to cheer, but what about the baby's soft spot?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:23 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is some quality stuff right here. Thanks.
posted by psmith at 6:23 PM on October 22, 2007


I've seen this 3000 times and it still brightens my day. Thanks, sushi!
posted by jonson at 6:28 PM on October 22, 2007


Man, that's adorable!
posted by gummi at 6:29 PM on October 22, 2007


awww, so cute, sushiwiththejury - thanks.

Course it's all fun and games until somebody loses a head.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:33 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, yikes. This is fantastically cute.
posted by tepidmonkey at 6:34 PM on October 22, 2007


gorgor_balabala, you can poke a soft spot pretty firmly, a whole bunch of times, and not see any adverse effects.

Granted, my sample consists of two babies, I have no control group, and there's still plenty of time for them to go wonky on me. And the little one does still eat crayons while the majority of her peers have knocked that shit off.
posted by padraigin at 6:34 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


but what about the baby's soft spot?

Bless his little fontanelle!
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


[Non-psychotic] animals seem to instantly know how to deal with babies. It's pretty cool.

"Flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process."

Mwaha.
posted by blacklite at 6:35 PM on October 22, 2007


Oh, hoo boy, I remember the fervor that erupted over on Cute Overload when these were originally posted. Those were interesting times, indeed.
posted by redsparkler at 6:38 PM on October 22, 2007


My little one was born with a deep, hard-wired fear of dogs, cats, just about anything that moved. Had this big hairy beast tried that with her, she'd have flipped out so hard she probably would've learned to not only walk, but to run, instantly, right then and there!

And this is just so damn cute! Thanks, sushi!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 PM on October 22, 2007


Best of the web? I don't think so. Someone should call protective services.
posted by wigu at 6:42 PM on October 22, 2007


Part of me is like omg that is so fucking dangerous, but then I see that the inherent danger and insanity of it all is greatly outweighed by its sheer adoreability.
posted by whoaali at 6:49 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


My little one was born with a deep, hard-wired fear of dogs, cats, just about anything that moved.

That reminds me of a time I went to the zoo with my mom and sister. This was fairly recently, just a couple years ago I think. Anyway, we're walking around and we get to the tiger display. This Tiger is just resting on a rock. A late middle age woman with a... I guess she might have been 18 months or 2 years old girl in a stroller came up. I figured the woman was the woman was the baby's grandmother.

The tiger gets off it's rock in the corner and comes right up to the bars and starts pacing back and forth. You could hear it's breath. Now clearly the tiger wanted to eat the baby. And the baby knew it. She just sort of stared at the tiger and would periodically let out these terrified squeals. She couldn't see her grandmother because of the top of the stroller, and so the baby was looking around at me and other people standing around. I tried to smile at the baby and I think it helped.

But it was fairly obvious that the baby was completely terrified and wondering what the hell was wrong with all of us.

We got a good view of the Tiger though.
posted by delmoi at 6:49 PM on October 22, 2007 [25 favorites]


Someone should call protective services ... to keep more cuteness detection devices from exploding. Come on, guys. Look at the doggie.
posted by tepidmonkey at 6:53 PM on October 22, 2007


I like how delmoi randomly capitalizes Tiger. It shows the proper instinctive fear and respect.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:01 PM on October 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


"Part Two: How To Eat A Baby"

"How To Eat For A Baby"
posted by stbalbach at 7:04 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Heh -- when I was at the London Zoo, the tiger would stalk children (who were safely behind the glass, but still). Creepy (and, yes, very good for Tiger close-ups).
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 7:08 PM on October 22, 2007


What? No Michael Vick jokes?
posted by clearlynuts at 7:12 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, cute alright. Until that little prey reflex kicks in.

(So, if that was Britney's dog and Britney's baby, would y'all still be ooing and aaahing, or would you be jamming the lines into CPS?)
posted by konolia at 7:14 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


While adorable this has "Mastiff Mauls Baby Tragedy" written all over it.

Tragic gasoline fight accident.
posted by scottreynen at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I had this forwarded to me a week or so ago and the second picture still makes me gasp in fear for the kid. The dog is entirely well-meaning by the looks of it, but it's big and babies are so very small and squishable.
posted by Zinger at 7:21 PM on October 22, 2007


Maybe I'm an unnatural mother or something, but this inspired no thought besides "OMG THE CUTENESS!" Of course, I also have pictures of tigers stalking my daughter at the Philadelphia Zoo when she was 2. It's okay, though, because she thought she was stalking them.
posted by chihiro at 7:26 PM on October 22, 2007


Part Three: formal burial or mantle piece
posted by greenskpr at 7:32 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


No no ... this is how you flatten a baby.
posted by frobozz at 7:38 PM on October 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


If the baby were indeed squished seconds after these photos were taken, I think it would have been worth it.

I mean, it's not like we're going to run out, is it?
posted by Freaky at 7:43 PM on October 22, 2007 [7 favorites]


No, No, No.... THIS is how you flatten a baby.
posted by davey_darling at 7:46 PM on October 22, 2007


When I was three years old my mom and dad took me to my mom's friend's house. This lady raised dogs, especially great danes. We had a great dane at home too; he was very nice and playful. I sometimes would try to ride him like a horse.

Anyway, at my mom's friend's house we were sitting around and the grownups were talking and I decided to pet one of her great danes.

Suddenly he reached his head around and clamped his huge jaws around my head, (imagine all those lion-tamer cartoons) and started whipping his head around like large animals do with their meat. I was being flipped this way and that and my parents were mortified.

It's lucky I have a hard head. I still have a scar on my temple.

And I don't really like dogs to much, except to eat.
posted by strangeguitars at 7:50 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


too much
posted by strangeguitars at 7:54 PM on October 22, 2007


RAWR
posted by meh at 8:02 PM on October 22, 2007


except to eat!
posted by strangeguitars at 8:03 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, maybe dohs know how to hug babies, but how good are they at shaking babies? Huh? Huh?

I thought not. So there's one we have up on dogs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 PM on October 22, 2007


strageguitars's "to" link for the win.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:34 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


"How To Eat For A Baby"

"How To Eat Forty Babies"

hmmm, strikeout doesn't work anymore?
posted by intermod at 9:26 PM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, cute alright. Until that little prey reflex kicks in.
...
While adorable this has "Mastiff Mauls Baby Tragedy" written all over it.
...
Best of the web? I don't think so. Someone should call protective services.
...
Part of me is like omg that is so fucking dangerous, but then I see that the inherent danger and insanity of it all is greatly outweighed by its sheer adoreability.
...
I had this forwarded to me a week or so ago and the second picture still makes me gasp in fear for the kid.


Seems like a lot of people here should have visited the petting zoo more as kids.
posted by chundo at 9:28 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Seems like a lot of people here should have visited the petting zoo more as kids realize that dogs are, ultimately, animals with a strong prey instinct."

Fix'd, etc.
posted by Avenger at 9:42 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Whoa, strangeguitars, your adorable baby link is uncomfortably reminicent of a certain Goya masterpiece....
posted by maryh at 9:51 PM on October 22, 2007


also on this site . . .

cows.
more cows.

bad motivational posters.

And a buncha other stuff.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2007


...are, ultimately, animals with a strong prey instinct.

But a far stronger pack instinct. And a strong prey instinct does not mean it views everything as prey. This kind of proves my point - there's a lot of fear but little understanding of dog behavior in this thread. When dogs hurt people, it generally involves 1) strangers doing unexpected things to them, 2) poor socialization, and/or 3) bad treatment by their owners. A properly raised family pet harming a baby in the family is about as likely as the parents doing the same.
posted by chundo at 10:24 PM on October 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


I'm not so sure Meta Filter is growing conservative in the political sense, but you all sure are paranoid!

Dogs are awesome, and so are babies, but I'm not really sure I want to deal with the poop.
posted by Chuckles at 10:27 PM on October 22, 2007


But a far stronger pack instinct.

exactly - the dog would be as likely to harm its own puppy as that baby - in fact, if someone attempted to harm that baby, it's very likely they'd have one pissed off dog on their hands
posted by pyramid termite at 10:28 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


A properly raised family pet harming a baby in the family is about as likely as the parents doing the same.

Even if you leave out the properly raised requirement, I think the statistics probably demonstrate that the parents are far more dangerous. In fact, it would seem there are about 500 filicides per year, compared to 26 dog induced deaths per year across the entire population, and that is a site with a strong anti-dog agenda. But hey, Americans and their irrational fears, you know..
posted by Chuckles at 10:38 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


That poor dog is one second away from a vicious mauling from a unleashed, rabid little baby that's been bred over centuries to be violent and sadistic. They ought to outlaw babies. Kill'em all.
posted by stavrogin at 10:58 PM on October 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


The only thing that dog is guilty of is being so cute. And, ok, I guess the baby is alright too.
posted by heatherbeth at 11:09 PM on October 22, 2007


Cute picture and everything but their landscaping is horrible.
posted by recurve at 12:18 AM on October 23, 2007


The landscaping must have provoked the dog in some way.
posted by stavrogin at 1:57 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


This isn't cute, it's irresponsible as hell, and is precisely how babies and small children get seriously injured or mauled. People who like to think that "pack instinct" keeps babies and kids magically safe from dogs are delusional, and people who think it's desirable to have dogs resource guarding children, because they mistakenly think that resource guarding is "protecting" are people who often end up with children as bite statistics. It is never safe to leave a child of this age alone with any dog (and if an adult is out of direct control range, that counts as alone). I fucking hate this set of pictures and the dangerous (to dogs AND children) Lassie myth they perpetuate.
posted by biscotti at 3:29 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Part of me wonders if it was an edited series. I envisioned the dog eating the baby, laying down and smiling.
posted by dasheekeejones at 4:01 AM on October 23, 2007


Dogs are awesome, and so are babies, but I'm not really sure I want to deal with the poop.

I don't know about dogs, but I'm here to tell you, if you ever have a baby, the poop is gonna be the least of your problems.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:03 AM on October 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


You know, it's not like the kid is unsupervised with the dog. There's at least one person present in this set old enough to operate a camera reliably, and who knows how many other grown-ups out of shot. Hell, the Dog Whisperer may be on standby out of frame, along with a dude with a tazer.

It's very, very cute. And the kid looks far from freaked, which I think goes a long way to making this a sweet little set.
posted by Jilder at 4:07 AM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


how is babby et? how dogs get fed?
posted by BeerFilter at 4:52 AM on October 23, 2007


Well, bisoctti is usually a reliable resource for pet information but is wrong in this case. I've seen a number of dogs, especially my childhood dog, that was extremely protective and gentle with babies. Dogs do not eat their young.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:09 AM on October 23, 2007


"How To Eat For A Baby"

"How To Eat Forty Cats And A Baby"
posted by Pollomacho at 5:16 AM on October 23, 2007


People who like to think that "pack instinct" keeps babies and kids magically safe from dogs are delusional

It isn't magic, just an understanding of the behaviors of THE MOST DOMESTICATED ANIMAL of all time.
posted by kableh at 5:55 AM on October 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


I've seen a number of dogs, especially my childhood dog, that was extremely protective and gentle with babies.

Me too. When I was an infant, my parents had a hound dog that was ultra-protective of me. This dog would pick fights with beavers and woodchucks, in addition to scrapping with dogs twice its own size, but he was incredibly protective toward me, even though several baby photos of me show me pulling on his tail incessantly.
posted by jonp72 at 6:14 AM on October 23, 2007


that.was.simply.adorable. (I love babies).
posted by bluesky43 at 6:22 AM on October 23, 2007


People who like to think that "pack instinct" keeps babies and kids magically safe from dogs are delusional, and people who think it's desirable to have dogs resource guarding children, because they mistakenly think that resource guarding is "protecting" are people who often end up with children as bite statistics.

Dogs are incredibly social animals, even in the wild. Defense of their pack is not simple resource guarding - they desire companionship just like humans. You're trying to assign a single motivation to everything a dog does, and that's simply wrong, and seems to be the root of your fear.

Studying and understanding how dogs think is not magic, it's science.
posted by chundo at 7:12 AM on October 23, 2007


“Studying and understanding how dogs think is not magic, it's science.”

Biscotti is pretty knowledgeable about animals, pets, and pet health and I would expect her to be pretty informed on animal behaviorism. So don't predicate your criticism of her comment on the assumption that she's ignorant of the science involved.

Nevertheless, I think she's wrong in this case. Perhaps not totally wrong, because there's always going to be some risk involved with babies and dogs—and some potential, in general and on average, for a dog to see the baby as prey and not pack. But I strongly suspect that this probability can be reliably assessed and ruled out for individual dogs.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:39 AM on October 23, 2007


Quite frankly, it all depends on this dog's standing in his family.

His baby flattening is what worries me. It indicates that this dog thinks he is superiour to the baby in the pecking order. Doesn't necessarily mean that the baby is in danger now, but what about when he takes the dog's toy?

When a dog that big tries to flatten your baby, you'd better correct your dog pretty quick, because he's going to get some ideas about who he can push around in your family.
posted by OldReliable at 7:46 AM on October 23, 2007


I have a big dog. Big enough that she can bit through cow bones. Scary to people who don't realize that she's mostly only dangerous to a bowl of kibble.

My dog protects not only my son, but my best friend's daughter. If they get more than about 15 feet away from an adult, she herds them back towards us, and she won't let them anywhere near the edge of the pond, or near the fence gates. She gets downright worried if we're outside the fence with the kids, and she is not. She really is like a giant canine nanny. She would no more attack my child than she would learn how to paint like Matisse.

The cats, on the other hand....
posted by Peecabu at 7:55 AM on October 23, 2007


Yeah...I'm actually pretty well aware of dogs and dog behaviour research, but that doesn't change the fact that as social as dogs are, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to allow children and dogs to interact, as even a small amount of research into dog-child safety will show you.
posted by biscotti at 7:56 AM on October 23, 2007


Peecabu: Your dog is obviously not knocking your children over and trying to display dominance over them. That picture where the Mastiff is 'flattening' the baby is clear as day. That dog is telling the baby and his packmates that he is in charge.

You're the Alpha! Don't let some beta try and mess with your kids! Show him that your baby is more important to the pack than he is. That's something dogs can understand intuitively. Once they know their place, there are better odds of them becoming the canine-nanny like.
posted by OldReliable at 8:11 AM on October 23, 2007


You know how dogs like to roll in bad smells? They find something nasty on the ground; a decaying squirrel, a big pile of horseshit, a discarded Big Mac. And they lie down in it and roll around.

That's what this dog is doing. Rolling around in the baby because of its horrible smell.
posted by Nelson at 8:32 AM on October 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


Was I the only one who was more entranced by the via link to the TV Investigative Reporter getting attacked by a dude who he's in the process of doing a story about being dangerous?

Woah..
posted by cavalier at 8:47 AM on October 23, 2007


I'm not too afraid of the dog biting the baby, which it seems is what most people are fearing here - but I've had dogs far smaller than that step on me, and it HURTS. What if he accidently steps on her? That dog weighs a LOT and dogs aren't always careful about what they're doing - his body posture in those pictures indicate this was a carefree sort of snorgling, and I don't trust that the baby couldn't be hurt accidently.
posted by agregoli at 8:55 AM on October 23, 2007


It's so amazing that I lived to grow up, since we had two Great Danes who regularly tromped all over me when I was a baby, herded all the kids hither and yon and flat refused to let any child under a certain height near any body of water. And then it's amazing that my kids, babysat by a German Shepherd who totally adored them, lived through that. Sigh.

That said, I wouldn't trust a dog who wasn't used to babies or small kids around them either. If, however, you get the puppy at roughly the same time as the baby, they grow up together and I cannot imagine, barring some terrible injury, that the dog would ever harm the child
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:50 AM on October 23, 2007


Yeah...I'm actually pretty well aware of dogs and dog behaviour research, but that doesn't change the fact that as social as dogs are, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to allow children and dogs to interact, as even a small amount of research into dog-child safety will show you.

Nothing in those sites really contradicts what I said. If anything, they reinforce it - properly socialized dogs are rarely a threat to anyone in their family. If the kid is a persistent brat, yeah, they'll probably get a nip from the dog - but we're basically talking about a spanking here, not attacking them as prey. It's part of how kids learn, like getting a bloody nose from your brother when you won't stop picking on him.

In this case, the dog is obviously familiar with (and fond of) the baby, and the dog is initiating the interaction. There are absolutely "inappropriate ways to allow children and dogs to interact", but that includes guidelines like don't pull their tail, don't scream in their ears, etc. It doesn't include never allow the baby and dog to be together - that can only be decided on a situational basis by the owner and parents.
posted by chundo at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2007


Talk bout dog ignorance in this thread.

biscotti is totally correct. It's not a prey drive you have to worry about. It's status.

And babies and children are viewed as low status.

And let me tell you something. Babies don't speak dog. And if a dog gives a child a "cool it, your not high enough status-wise" signal... the kid won't know and can easily be bit. And the smaller the child and the bigger the dog the more likely that is to be crippling.

It's not about the dog deliberately hurting the kid. It's simply pack behavior and physics.

So. Yeah. this picture is cute and all. But those people don't know shit about dogs and certainly are risking the health of their child. Maybe it's an acceptable risk to them. Or maybe they have trained the dog exceptionally well. But I wouldn't let my dog do that. Ever.

And btw dogs DO kill their young. IF they are born to inferior pack members. Alphas kill pups ALL THE TIME.
posted by tkchrist at 10:46 AM on October 23, 2007


if anything, they reinforce it - properly socialized dogs are rarely a threat to anyone in their family.

What? They certainly did not reinforce your point.

And "Brat?" You talk like a kid that get bit DESERVES it? WTF?

chundo a "nip" from a 130lb mastiff to an infant? Listen to yourself.

Seems to me your judgment is colored by some over romanticized thinking about dogs, bro. bicotti is right. Listen to her.
posted by tkchrist at 10:52 AM on October 23, 2007


Talk bout dog ignorance in this thread.

Hey, glad we agree.

And btw dogs DO kill their young. IF they are born to inferior pack members. Alphas kill pups ALL THE TIME.

This implies that the dog views the baby's parents as inferior. Having been around lots of dogs all my life, let me tell you something - in a case where the owners have unwittingly allowed the dog to assume the alpha role, and it decided for some reason that the baby was a threat, you'd sure as hell see the warning signs well in advance. And if the owners know that little about integrating a dog into the family, they're probably the same people who are scared of leaving it alone with the kid anyways.

I'm not saying that what's going on in these pictures is acceptable behavior for every dog. I'm saying it's fine for properly socialized dogs with good owners. What you're describing does not fit into that category. Improperly socialized people kill others all the time too - that doesn't make us all unpredictable and dangerous.

So. Yeah. this picture is cute and all. But those people don't know shit about dogs

Without knowing the owner and the dog, you have no basis for this claim. You can say "that scares me, and I would never do that", but to definitively say "that's dangerous!" is wrong.

On preview:

I don't have overly romanticized views on dogs. Some dogs are dangerous. I was attacked twice by dogs as a kid, the second time needing quite a few stitches. In both cases though, the dogs were not properly socialized and I did something foolish. That combination can be dangerous.

A few years ago, I walked alone down an alley at night and was robbed at gunpoint. And yet, I still don't think that everyone I meet might mug me, because the set of people I have experience with makes it pretty obvious that it's a rare act caused by an anti-social person.

You should increase the sample size of dogs you have had experience with - or at least read up on dog training and psychology - before you feel qualified to make blanket judgments about them in general.
posted by chundo at 12:07 PM on October 23, 2007


“We got a good view of the Tiger though.”

Had a similar sort of situation at a relative’s birthday party. His wife brought in a tiger (with a trainer) as a sort of surprise. It was pretty nifty. We got to pet it. The tiger had a big thick chain around it’s neck and the trainer was this really beefy guy who never let go of the chain. Some folks walked over with their kids (which, y’know, I thought was nuts) and would say “look at the tiger honey, look - a tiger!” and other cutesy things to, y’know, point out that it’s a tiger. And the tiger might have been sitting or laying down and whenever people came over with their kids the tiger would sit up. Even when they walked away, it’s attention was just riveted on the smaller kids and/or whatever was moving quickly.
I ran out of the house to grab my cell and I got a stare that almost froze me, so I slowed down and walked over to answer the phone.
But the whole time people would keep coming over like idiots and the trainer would say “Keep THE CHILDREN AWAY!!” and “YES, IT WILL EAT THEM!”
Someone kicked a red ball across the driveway and the tiger dragged the guy (literally - his shoes left skidmarks, strong guy) down the driveway to grab it. Of course, he chewed it and popped it immediately.
It wasn’t until the tiger actually lunged at a kid and the trainer had to punch the tiger in the face that people stopped bringing their kids over.
I mean he punched it. Hard uppercut right into the nose. I mean full force, twisting the body, using his whole weight. He was easily a muscular 230 lbs. And shouted “NO!” and then “DOWN!” and the tiger grumbled a bit, licked it’s chops, then sat.
People forget animals around their kids sometimes.
Some folks were a bit wide eyed at that. He said “It’s the only place they’re vulnerable. If I hit him on the side he’d ignore me.” He’d raised the tiger from birth and the only reason it didn’t toss him around and actually stopped when he pulled the chain was because it still thought he was stronger than it was (obviously 450lbs solid cat muscle > 230 lbs of human meat). Only psychology was holding the cat in place.
I’d been petting the thing for a bit. About the time he said that I excused myself. (I’m pretty handy in a scrap, but that means I’d last, what, a 1/2 second longer than some other guy?)

I pretty much don’t let my kids anywhere near animals I don’t know personally. In retrospect, had I had my kids there, I would have left with them until the tiger was gone. I’m pretty much the same with dogs. It’s the matter of a little hassle vs. the potential for a lot of trouble.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


“And btw dogs DO kill their young. IF they are born to inferior pack members. Alphas kill pups ALL THE TIME.”

I didn't think that was true. I was well aware of this with other animals and since I hadn't heard it of dogs, I assumed it wasn't the case. I was wrong and stand corrected.

But I still disagree with both you and biscotti. You're both overstating the threat to children or that particular baby.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:02 PM on October 23, 2007


I am not talking about socialized dogs or well disciplined dogs, I am talking about THAT DOG IN THE PICTURE.

I am overstating nothing! That dog does not know its place! If your dog tries to put his chest on top of your child, you CORRECT THE FUCKING DOG!

A baby is much more fragile than a puppy, and the doggy discipline that he will dish out when that baby misbehaves will make blood and scars. That dog thinks he is in a position of power over the baby. He needs to learn that he is sorely mistaken.

Look! he is flaunting his dominance of that baby in front of its parents! You people talk about all your examples and whatnot, and I don't care!

Look at the pictures! That dog is saying to the parents: "I AM MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR BABY! I CAN PUSH HIM AROUND!"

And the parents aren't stopping him WTF!?!?
posted by OldReliable at 4:13 PM on October 23, 2007


You might want to have a nice, warm cup of tea. You seem overwrought.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:18 PM on October 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


In both cases though, the dogs were not properly socialized and I did something foolish.

Good thing that children are highly mature and not prone to doing foolish things, then.

But I still disagree with both you and biscotti. You're both overstating the threat to children or that particular baby.

The danger is not so much that the dog is going to go berserk and enter a feeding frenzy.

On the one hand, the danger is that the dog might injure the kid without meaning to do anything. For a big dog and a little kid, this isn't difficult.

On the other hand, the danger is also that the kid might do something that hurts the dog, or otherwise that no dog is going to put up with, and the dog might injure the kid as a result. Even if the dog only intends to "have a discussion" with the kid, the kid isn't going to react in the same way that another dog would and is liable to end up hurt.

Are these big, giant, serious risks? Probably not. In meatspace, I don't know anyone that these have happened to in any serious fashion. I also don't know anyone who's ever been struck by lightning or injured by a chainsaw -- should I conclude that playing with chainsaws and waving golf clubs in a thunderstorm are therefore safe? More to the point, are you suggesting that a photo of kids waving golf clubs around like light sabers in the middle of a storm would be cute? The risk of actually being struck is, after all, miniscule.

And it's not like biscotti is advocating some horrible, terrible measure that no reasonable person should have to endure -- all she is saying is that kids ought to be supervised when they're playing with dogs, and that they (and the dogs) should be kept from overly boisterous interaction.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:29 PM on October 23, 2007


yeah, probably, EB, but this is irresponsible dog ownership. Its all cute and cuddly until that dog think the baby is misbehaving, and then this and a dozen interactions like it have told the dog that it can discipline the child, and then the baby will be in a world of hurt.

Like I said, the dog has to know its place, and this one obviously does not.
posted by OldReliable at 4:39 PM on October 23, 2007


I'm actually not in agreement with the "alpha/dominance" aspect of OldReliable's argument either (I'm just so darn disagreeable). Dominance theory and pack dynamics are simply not very useful in terms of human/dog interactions (not least because we don't understand and interpret pack behaviour anywhere near as well as we'd like to think we do, nor are we, you know, dogs), in my opinion, and the opinions of a large and increasing number of dog trainers and behavourists. I am a benevolent leader to my dogs, I control the resources by virtue of the fact that I buy the food and I have the opposable thumbs to dole it out with, and I cultivate an appropriate, positive relationship with my dogs simply by establishing a consistent, reasonable and fair set of rules, my dogs absolutely view and trust me as their leader, because I ACT like a leader, bullying, dominance and "alpha" don't enter into it. I don't think these pictures are horrifying because of dominance theory ideas about the dog feeling "alpha" to the baby, I think they are horrifying because proper supervision and appropriate dog/child interaction does not involve allowing a 100+ pound dog to climb all over a baby, especially not when there are no responsible adults close enough to actually do anything useful should the situation turn ugly because they're a dozen feet away taking pictures to post all over the internet.

Dogs often regard children as different from adults, and even dogs who are properly managed, socialized and trained can do this (especially fast-moving, screaming children or crawling babies, neither of which look or move or sound like adults). A nip to the hand of an adult from a dog might be painful or even damaging, but a nip to the face of a baby from a dog this size can be disfiguring or fatal, and all it takes is one second.

Children get bitten by dogs (and most often dogs they know or live with) more often than you'd think (500,000-800,00 people get bitten badly enough to require medical attention (and those are just reported bites) every year, and 42% of those are 14 or under. Plus, because of their size, kids are often bitten in the head or face, which can cause far worse injury and disfigurement than a bite to the arm.

Anyone who has any idea of my posting history knows that I am a dog person, that I am a dogmatic (ha ha) proponent of positive, nonviolent dog training, I blather endlessly about the need for education about the modern knowledge we have about dog behaviour and am an advocate ad nauseam of responsible ownership. I love dogs: dog-related activities occupy the vast majority of my leisure time and income; I train and compete with my dogs; I attend seminars and workshops about dogs, dog behaviour and dog training; I am involved with dog clubs; I write articles for dog publications; and even my work is dog-related. Part of loving dogs is understanding them, and part of understanding them is managing them in such a way that they can live safely and well with people, especially people who are unable to interact with them appropriately and safely, because of their age or physical condition or other reason. Dogs bite people, dogs maim people, dogs kill people, and a lot of the people dogs bite, maim and kill are children. This is tragic for the people involved, and tragic and often fatal for the dog. The majority of dog bites by far are related to mismanagement, misunderstanding of normal dog behaviour and body language, and unfair, unreasonable ideas about what dogs can and cannot be expected to do. And these pictures are a perfect illustration of how NOT to manage a dog/baby interaction, whether this particular kid was okay or not isn't the issue, the issue is that this is a terribly bad example of dog/child management, and the fact that so many people think it's cute makes it even more dangerous, to children and to dogs. Now I've said my piece.
posted by biscotti at 5:48 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


LOOK AT THIS DOG
posted by homunculus at 4:01 PM on October 24, 2007


ATOMIC DOG
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:27 PM on October 24, 2007


I'm surprised that biscotti's comment didn't get more favorites. I thought it was an interesting and intimate portrayal of dog thought by someone who is deeply involved in a culture steeped in something that is bewilderingly strange to me. Me being a cat person. I don't like dogs, but biscotti's passion humanizes those barky mongrels. I feel like spending some time at the Rescue.
posted by stavrogin at 2:00 AM on October 25, 2007


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