Just read yet another story about a young boy killed by the family Rottweiler. The boy was left *unattended* in the back yard with the dog. As a result, all three of the Rotties belonging to the family were removed from the home and euthanized. Of course I feel for the family losing their son in such a tragic way. But I also feel for the dogs who had their lives ended as a result. Not just the dog who attacked the boy, mind you, but ALL the family dogs had their lives ended.
Is it the dog's fault? In my opinion - no. A dog is a dog. They have instincts - natural ones - that take over in certain situations. The instinct will always be there. We as dog owners and caretakers need to always remember that. I don't care how well-behaved or how well-trained a dog is - you never know when the instinct can take over. And a young child simply does not have the reasoning power, control, understanding, and knowledge they need to be left unattended around a dog of any breed. (even small ones can do some serious damage)
My German Shepherd is a good dog. He has never bitten - nor growled - at any human being in an aggressive or angry fashion. He does bark...but a bark is different. The mode of delivery is different with a "hey get off my property" bark warning as opposed to a "I'm going to eat you up" growl. I have no reason to believe this dog would ever hurt anyone. I mean after all, look how sweet he looks:
However...I have the reasoning power and foreknowledge about animals to understand that all can change in ONE INSTANT:
Yep....that's the same dog. In the first photo, he was lying down in a submissive state. Second photo - taken 10 minutes later - shows him frustrated with me. Not aggressive...just being incredibly mouthy with his frustration. But you have a good view of the weapon his mouth could become. And it only takes mere seconds.
Would I *ever* leave this dog alone in the presence of a young child? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Before a young child is even allowed *near* this dog, I ask the parents to keep the child back until I get him to lie down (on leash only, and a short one at that). He *must* be submissive before a child is even allowed to approach, or they don't get to come up and pet him. That's just the safest thing. I won't even let him be around the 12-15 year old friends of my kids without supervision by ME. In fact, he is never unsupervised around ANYONE...young or old.
Do you realize how much damage that mouth full of teeth *could do*, if the instinct took over? If you don't, read this post again. Don't take the chance. Don't leave your dog - whether it be a German Shepherd or a teacup Chihuahua - alone with a young child - EVER. It is our responsibility as parents and as dog owners, to take proper measures in caring for both our children and our canine friends, to make sure all involved are safe.