Children and Dogs Old Dogs and Babies

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Children and Dogs Old Dogs and Babies

by Rena Murray

Bringing new baby home is a joyful time, but with a well established canine in the house, there are usually fears about combining children and dogs. How will the dog receive the newcomer? Will he become jealous? Will he attack baby's toys and engage in other dog destructive behavior or dog aggression, even dog bit or dog attack? If you have not established right relationships and boundaries with the dog first, you may have cause for concern.

It is true that older dogs frequently have aches and pains, just like older people, and they really do not want to be hurt by someone. They have joint pain, and sometimes lose vision or hearing with age. So it is not surprising that many people are afraid their old dogs may hurt their new babies. That is not necessarily so, though, as this true tale shows. Your old dog can be a source of joy for your child, a comforting helper for Mama, and a "watch dog" in the truest sense!

Some time back, I read the most inspiring story which taught me how important it is to TRUST the old dog. Here is what I remember.

Rocks was a very old German Shepherd, pushing twelve the month Baby Shelby came home. The concerned parents, Nancy and Jeff, were terrified that the old dog would harm the little girl. Rocks was unstable on his feet now, and his vision and hearing were both rapidly slipping away.

Rocks would move aside and lie down nearby when Nancy or Jeff brought Shelby near him. However, respectfully, he would not go into the nursery without being called in.

One day, when Shelby was about two months old, Nancy was worn out and heading to her bedroom for a nap. Jeff was at work, and Shelby was sound asleep.

Rocks whined just as Nancy was really beginning to doze off. Irritated, she ordered the dog to go to sleep. Instead, Rocks nudged her anxiously and pulled her arm. Exhausted Nancy still ignored him. Irritated because he always obeyed, Nancy rolled over in effort to sleep.

Now becoming frantic, Rocks began barking insistently. Nancy was livid. Rocks was NOT going to wake up that baby! She stood up . . .

Rocks immediately dashed into Shelby's room, rearing up on the crib and barking wildly.

Terrified, Nancy was sure that Rocks had turned vicious and was going to attack her baby! Maternal instincts raging, she grabbed the first thing she could grab, an umbrella, and struck him hard.

With fierce determination, Rocks lunged and sank his teeth deeply into the calf of Nancy's right leg. The puncture was deep, a very serious, bloody bite!

Barking continuously, Rocks swiftly moved to the other side of the crib, so Nancy would HAVE TO look at the baby before she could get to him. As she did so, the thought struck her ? Shelby had not made a sound despite all the racket in there! That baby was blue!

Nancy gasped! Quickly grabbing the baby, she raced out toward the car with Shelby in her arms. Shelby was not visibly breathing. Nearly colliding with Jeff on her charge out, she frantically tried to express what was happening.

Jeff jumped into the driver's seat and set what must be a new speeding record on the way to the hospital. As Nancy dove out of the car with the baby, she moved like fierce Mama bear, shoving a person or two out of the way when they did not move fast enough. Shelby's life was at stake!

Little Shelby made it. According to the attending physician, a few more minutes and she would have died. Instead, the beautiful baby made a full recovery, thanks to Rocks. Oh, and one other thing I remember: Nancy did have another problem with Rocks. She could not keep a bandage on her leg wound, because Rocks kept tearing it off and cleaning it!

Children and dogs? Learn to trust, to observe and to listen. Please do not underestimate your old friend.

GET HELP from Rena Murray at the Dog Obedience Training website. An accomplished Dog Behavior Modification expert, Dog Obedience Trainer, and Platinum Expert Author, Rena provides self-help Articles and free "Best Ezines"-recognized newsletter: PAW PERSUASION POINTERS to help you better understand communication and control of your dogs, debunk dog training myths, explore right and wrong dog training techniques for specific situations, address destructive dog behavior, excessive and obsessive dog behavior, and other canine issues, from new puppy to old dog. Subscribe for free at, visit Rena's BLOG -, find the dog products, crates, and gifts you need at, and Contact Rena for Coaching.

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