Home > Dog Behavior, Pet Safety > Dog and baby videos are not cute

Dog and baby videos are not cute

November 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Troll around on Twitter or Facebook and you’re likely to run across a “cute” child and dog video. I very rarely share them. Why? They make me cringe. Most of the videos you see showing children and dogs together are not what they seem. They are not “cute.”

To a dog owner or parent unaware of dog behavioral signals it can look adorable, but if you know even a little bit about dog behavior, you can see what they do not – most of these dogs are not enjoying the interaction, and in many cases they are being way more tolerant than one would expect. Thank goodness too, because in many cases a dog bite is a death sentence for the dog, even when they were telling everyone with eyes to see that they were nervous or uncomfortable, or felt threatened. To the unknowing owner, they think the attack came out of nowhere, that it was unprovoked, but in truth, this is rarely the case. Most dogs tell you what they are feeling long before they bite.

Recently an online dog-oriented website shared a video of a Golden Retriever and a baby and titled it as “Baby and Golden Retriever share bonding time.” I would have to disagree. What is happening in this video is not bonding. It’s stress and calming signals from the dog, and all the signs indicate that dog and/or baby should be removed from the situation.

What you will see in this video is a series of calming signals.  My guess? The dog is stressed by the closeness of the baby, and possibly the fact that the baby has already grabbed its jowls and pulled on his face, and is very much trying to calm himself and ease his stress.

What dog signals did I see?

Dog and baby videos just aren’t as cute as people think. You just have to be watching to see it.

  1. November 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    I’m with you, Mel. This is unnecessarily stressful for the dog. And I think gentle giants like labs and goldens have it the worst. Many parents would never assume a dog with a more assertive personality should put up with a child yanking his ears or tongue.

    • Mel
      November 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      Great pout about Labs and Goldens Pamela. People often assume “family dogs’ never bite or have a higher tolerance. Some do and some don’t, but we should never assume so by breed. You really dip make a great point.

  2. November 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    I totally agree with you both.

  3. November 25, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    Yikes, I cringe when watching these videos as I really worry for the future safety of the child and the dog. This is how good dogs end up labeled aggressive. Someone needs to make a video of safe interactions between children and dogs to show how it should be done.

    • Mel
      November 25, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      Me too Kristine. I like the idea of showing safe interactions too. Although, I will say that one a recent study around that oil showed that it changed little. I’ll have to share that one soon.

  4. November 25, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Great idea about a video to show safe interactions with commentary explaining what is working and why.

  5. November 25, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Videos and photos with dogs and kids where the dogs are adding pressure or are in disrespectful positions (from the dog’s perspective) drive me crazy. Primarily because they send the message that it’s fine to do. My friend’s dog recently bit a child because that child’s mother put the child on the dog’s belly! My friend’s dog has never bitten and now is facing death because of the actions of the people. On top of it the child has to go through plastic surgery and an awful lot of pain. The worst part about this video to me is the meaningless and thoughtless affection from the owner. That’s a sure sign to me that every time this baby is close to the dog, the dog is going to believe he should be uncomfortable. His stress is only going to escalate when the child is near him. I hope this family finds someone who can help them create the best circumstance for their dog to properly interact with their child.

    • November 26, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      I just happened to see a FB page today called Find Toby in PA, designed for lost and found pets in PA and someone posted a notice of a free seminar “How to Introduce Your Dog to Your New Baby”, “designed to keep families peaceful and together as they expand.” There are a lot of photos of the dog and baby on the notice so I wonder if she addresses the issue you brought up, Mel. I think it is wonderful that someone would give of their time to guide parents’ thinking towards having both vs. needing to get rid of the dog because of a baby coming. But, what a great opportunity for her to also address those photos.


  6. November 27, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    I used to think those kinds of things were cute, until I learned more. Now when I see them it just makes me so nervous, and I will not “like” or share anything like that. Even if there are some situations where the dog is OK, it just encourages people to put their dogs in bad situations like that. Any like that should probably come with a disclaimer “don’t try this at home” unless you know what you are doing.

  7. December 6, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    So true… these videos totally get my hackles up. Ugh.

    • Mel
      December 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      I know. Sorry.

  1. November 29, 2013 at 12:30 AM

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