1) Destroy the dog
2) It’s not the dog’s fault at all and the parents shouldn’t be allowed to have kids or a dog.
3) It is so obvious that the dog was going to bite the child
4) The dog was obviously punished for growling and that’s why he went straight to biting.
I will answer these claims quickly and then move on to the bigger issue:
1) Probably not. While the video looks horrific, the more I watched it, the gentler the bite looked. If there was significant damage, this may be the right call. However, because the dog escalates so quickly, it’s probably not a good fit for an inexperienced home with kids.
2) Dog lovers are so quick to pardon dogs of all wrong doing. There needs to be more accountability for dogs. The dog could have gotten up and walked away. It could have growled. It had any number of choices to make and made a bad, yet natural one. We need to advocate for our dogs always, but also to hold them accountable.
3) One can easily see the dog was going to bite if one already knows the result. The dog stiffened and whale eyed a bit. However, reasonable people would not necessarily assume that would escalate to a horror movie-like bite.
4) This is a theoretical concept that floats around the Internet, but is not necessarily grounded in facts. I doubt this dog experienced a great amount of punishment for growling in the past, but that is just speculation.
What’s more interesting to me is the societal epidemic we have of misunderstanding what dogs are: at the end of the day they are still animals that carry dangerous weapons in their mouths. We have a historical co-evolution with them, but over the last 50 years dogs have entered a bizarre transition from dog to child replacers and “members of the family” that has caused some growing pains like the situation we watched happen in this video - the dog corrected the baby the same way she would her own puppy or a sibling.
People present dogs one way:
If you choose to bring a dog into your home, it’s important you understand dogs to some extent – not just that you can read a dog’s body language and correct it before things go wrong, but sometimes, despite your best efforts, things can go wrong and dogs will react the way animals do.
As a society, the best change we can make is to start letting dogs be dogs again. That means less cute outfits and more exercise. Less having your toddler play with your dog and more training your dog with your toddler. That also means if you put your dog in a situation to make a mistake, you understand that even the best dog can make a mistake.
And yes, as I like to say, your dog probably needs more direction and less affection.
Dogs are and should always be members of our human pack. But that pack will only function smoothly when we let the dogs be dogs and humans be humans while still always working together.
Right now, we have the big picture wrong and dogs are getting a bad deal in our society – being forced to play roles they weren’t born to play, not getting the direction they need, and not getting to enjoy the freedom every being craves.
We owe it to dogs, and our human babies, to be better.
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