Toddlers. I have no idea why toddlers are not named as one of the “wonders of the world.” There is no other person, besides a toddler who morph through so many conflicting emotions in a 5 minute period than a toddler. Having a sane and safe household with a toddler takes work, throwing a family pet in the mix takes even MORE work but it can be done and done successfully.
It really does break my heart when I hear about dog attacks involving children, especially toddlers. It breaks my heart even more when I find out just how preventable those attacks were. Two lives ruined and possibly years of physical and emotional trauma inflicted on the child and in many circumstances, could have been avoided. When it comes to a toddler, any size dog has the potential to be dangerous and deadly. From the fearless Chihuahua and to our beloved pit bulls, you can never look at them and feel that they can not inflict harm, because that is the first step into a dog bite waiting to happen.
Dog bites are a big health problem, but one that is largely preventable
Regardless of the breed of dog a family chooses, the same rules apply across the table for all family pets in the household. In my household, we have two dogs, Gustavo (Jr.) a small mixed breed and Scrappy, a pit bull mix and the same rules apply for both of them. My toddler, like any other toddler is all about touching, poking, prodding, looking, hugging, touching, climbing and jumping on pretty much anything in her path, dogs included if it was allowed. Teaching her to respect Gustavo as much as Scrappy is important, because I want it ingrained in her mind that regardless the size of the dog, it is important to respect the animal. I know I am not the only one that see’s videos and pictures of toddlers carrying around small dogs, parents oohing and awwwwing in the background and I know I am not the only one that physically cringes when I watch those, but I don’t think enough parents are cringing enough.
Preventing dog attacks on our children starts by wanting to prevent ALL dog attacks and not just certain dog attacks by certain breeds and I’m amazed at how BSL advocacies just skip over that, but it’s refreshing to see how many non-profit advocacies are picking up the ball and working on preventing just that.
Most experts report that about half of dog bites are from a dog that the child may be familiar with, either the family’s own dog or that of a neighbor.
Out of the Pits, a non-profit out of Albany New York offers programs to help reteach families just that. Elementary and Secondary school programs and owner counseling that can help families help and their pit bulls succeed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that pit bulls, just like toddlers are a lot of hard work, but as we watch our children grow up with their family pit bull, installing education and training for both of them, we are sending out a better human into the adult world when they move out to conquer the world, at least that is what I’m doing and I know I’m not alone. My children and my dogs are not a statistic, because I refuse to let that happen. I refuse to be the parent that stands behind a camera and videos a dog being a jerk to my child and I refuse to be the parent video taping my child being a jerk to a dog.
Dog bite prevention begins at home. It begins with common sense and a non profits like Out of the Pits reaching out to the community to help provide education, training and help for families. At the end of the day, it all depends on what is most important to you. As for myself, keeping my family safe and watching them grow up and be amazing adults as they take over the world is what is important… and that goes for every member of my family, from the two legged to the four legged…. and the dinosaurs in between.