My Pet World: What to consider when flying with a pet this summer
I totally disagree with your advice to Marsha from Queens. Her concern was her daughter and daughter-in-law’s new baby getting along with their two dogs, one of which is a bichon-Yorkie mix who she said has already growled at children. You suggest bringing that dog to a park where children are playing. Worse is the suggestion of “invite friends with kids over.” No matter what a good friend you are, I would never volunteer my children as training aides. You did not mention hiring a professional trainer. I would be interested what they would have to say. I’m curious, are you a mother, of human children that is? — Concerned mother, New York
Dear Concerned Mother,
I raised a son around five dogs and five cats during his 18 years, so I can appreciate your concerns. When I gave the advice, I assumed people understood to keep their dogs leashed at the park as the goal was not to engage children, but to listen to and see kids playing. Dogs can be somewhat socialized by just being around other people, kids and dogs.
As for inviting friends with kids over, I am sorry if it sounded like the children would be in danger. The dog should not be out playing with the visiting child but merely in the presence of the child for the same reasons as noted above. The dog should be kept on a leash or placed in a kennel in the same room so the dog can be present but not interact with the child or vice versa.
Pet parents should teach their dogs some basic obedience and socialize them in as many ways as possible before their baby is born. If a dog is aggressive, then I agree that a professional dog trainer can give the specific advice needed for that particular animal’s issues and offer tips on how to manage that dog around the baby. For example, I always fed my food-aggressive dogs in their kennels to prevent my son from walking toward them and triggering a response.
I hope this adds more context to my response and alleviates your concerns. Thanks for writing.
(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)
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