Dogs and Babies
by Emily Larlham
Sitting in a room full of pregnant women and their husbands in a local hospital in San Diego, California, just moments before hearing Madeline Gabriel’s lecture, “Dogs and Babies: Play It Safe,” I thought to myself, “I am sure I know all of this stuff! “ Boy, was I wrong.
I wish that not only every parent but every dog owner could have listened to this insightful lecture. I can’t take you back in time, but I can offer you the next best thing: a link to Madeline’s website, which is full of mind-blowing articles, which will not only teach you something you didn’t know, but are witty and fun to read. An example of something I had never thought about before, but which Madeline drew my attention to: a mother letting her child fawn over and manhandle her dog Lassie, who would never hurt a fly, could lead that child into grave danger when petting and interacting with other, less receptive dogs. Imagine that the child hugs and cuddles Lassie’s head, and the child’s mother tells the kid how sweet she looks. A few days later, that 4-year-old runs up to an aggressive dog tied up in front of a store and tries to embrace the dog around the neck in the same way he interacts with his own dog at home. Management and prevention with young children around dogs is a serious matter. When I was a young child, I was bitten by our Saint Bernard when he was tied up outside my parents’ workplace. I know firsthand that children cannot read dogs’ body language. I just remember being curious as to why Charlie was barking and looking so excited. Perhaps I went to give him a hug to help him calm down? All I remember is being drawn to him.
Madeline Gabriel is one of my mentors and the leading expert in dogs and babies. Visit her website by following this link: