Home > Dog Behavior, Dog Training, Pet Topics, Pet Videos > Dog stress signals and babies – Do you know what to look for?

Dog stress signals and babies – Do you know what to look for?


I have a really great book to share with you tomorrow, but today I thought I would share a video that my friend Kate ( certified dog trainer) shared this past weekend. It features a dog and a toddler.

No. It isn’t one of those videos that makes you cringe as you wait for the inevitable bite to occur (although I have seen many of those). It’s actually a great example of what to look for when you have a dog around children. It’s a demonstration of dog behavioral signals that most parents (and owners) miss.

Fortunately, the trainer taking the video knows what to look for and takes the time to slow it down so you can see what her dog is telling her about his comfort level around the toddler, her niece.

While many people might think this dog is “fine” around children he is actually telling her, and those around her, that he is not “fine.” Knowing what to look for is SO VERY important. I hope you will watch it and then share with other dog owners and parents.

Having been bitten twice as a child – both times in the face, I cannot stress how important it is for parents to supervise their children when around dogs. Even more important is parents (and dog owners) educating themselves about what a dog is telling them when around their child.

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  1. June 16, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s so important that folks begin to recognize these stress signals and prevent problems before they start.

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 6:25 AM

      So agree SlimDoggy. Prevention is so key. I have seen way too many dogs end up at the shelter because they bit a child. My guess is that many of these dogs told the parents and the child they were going to do so way before they did.

  2. June 17, 2013 at 3:14 AM

    We agree with Slimdoggy. Prevention not cure. Have a marvellous Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      Agree Molly. Prevention is key.

  3. June 17, 2013 at 4:44 AM

    Thank you, that was extremely useful and something very parent and dog owner should watch.

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 6:24 AM

      Thank you. I think I need to thank the trainer who created it. It’s a valuable piece of video for parents with both dogs and children.

      • June 17, 2013 at 11:20 PM

        I’ll certainly be sharing it and I found some more useful ones by the same person (I think).

      • Mel
        June 18, 2013 at 6:54 AM

        Awesome! I didn’t even think to look for more. I’ll have to go exploring. I love these videos because they start from a point of showing and sharing. So helpful to dog owners and parents.

  4. June 17, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Really nice idea to point out the stress signs for less-accomplished dog watchers. Obviously most people don’t recognize the warning signs or we wouldn’t see so many scary baby and dog videos on YouTube.

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      I agree Pamela, which is why I thought this was such a good video to share. I study dog behavior all the time. I am not your typical dog owner though. I hope it helps people.

  5. FletchsMom
    June 17, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Brava! Brava! Every parent of dogs and small children should be made to watch this 8 times! As a bully breed advocate I cringe every day when I read articles about “pit bull bites child”. (Or any other breed for that matter) Where are the adults in those situations? THIS can/will save so many if only the ADULTS will pay attention. Well done indeed!!

    • Mel
      June 17, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      I agree. I wish more parents paid attention and knew what to look for when their dogs and children are in the same room.

  6. June 17, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Great video. The signs can definitely be subtle, and I imagine most folks would be mainly keeping their eyes on the baby. I was also bit in the face by a dog when I was little. I was unsupervised with the dog – so not super surprising. Luckily it did nothing to curb my love of the pups – and obviously that didn’t happen with you either. 🙂

    Rita met some little ones this weekend and she did so great with them. I was a bit worried as she hasn’t really met kids before, but she was fine. No whale eye! Had the kids give her some treats, and she enjoyed that!

  7. Audrey Haverstock
    June 17, 2013 at 11:30 PM

    Even before you click to play (when the still photo is on) the dog looks like he’s at full attention and ready to either protect himself or move away. He doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the child’s presence. Three of mine love kids…want to greet every child and give them lots of kisses. (I’ve taught them to “kiss” babies feet instead of hands and face.) One is just a little nervous…she has to watch them for a bit first, then she’s fine. She’s does things on her time schedule…”why rush through the weave poles or over the dog walk? There might be something good to smell in the air and you would miss it!” As much as I trust them, I still am always there interacting with them whenever they are with children. They (dogs) speak a “foreign language” that not everyone understands.

    • Mel
      June 18, 2013 at 6:53 AM

      You caught it Audrey. Yes. He was on high alert from the beginning. I’m glad you watch your dogs too. We just have to learn that foreign language better. 🙂

  8. June 19, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    I think I learned a thing or two from that video Mel. 🙂 It’s so important to know when your dog is uncomfortable. Knowing that can save two lives.

  1. June 18, 2013 at 7:59 AM

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