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My sister has two large and strong dogs. I'll leave the breed out as I don't want to debate the whole "judge the deed, not the breed" thing. Or maybe I do, I guess it's the breed that I'm basing my decision off of as I don't know the individual dogs. I'll add it if it's necessary, I'll leave it up to you all.

Anyway, my sister has moved in with my parents and her dogs scare me simply because of their size and breed reputation (there, I said it). Everyone tells me they are super sweet dogs and beyond some resource guarding, they don't have history of aggression. I won't allow my kids (3 and 8) to be around them. When we visit, the dogs have to be locked up. For me, it's just not worth that small percent chance of something bad happening. Say one has an issue with my kid being too close to a food dish or something and decides to bite. Not a breed I want to mess with as far as bites. Sure, our little puggle could bite them just as easily, but the damage done would be considerably different.

It's such a yucky situation. My sister is pretty cool about it and doesn't give me a hard time, but the tension is there. Last time we visited she told my youngest to come in her room with her where one of the dogs was uncrated. I had to speak up that I'm not cool with that and was left feeling like a total jerk. If I hadn't have overheard, my kid would have been in there with the dog even though everyone knows I am not ok with it.

The dogs are around other kids that are a bit older, so that adds to the issue. Family all think I'm over protective and stuck up basically.

Every time I feel like I'm being unfair, I read dogsbite.org and know I'm making the right decision, it just stinks that it causes all the drama.

How would you all handle this? I've basically stayed away from my parents house except for holidays and such. Maybe I'm too wimpy, I hate causing friction. I won't change my mind about this, but maybe I need to be more firm in how I handle it. I've said the dogs need to be locked up when my kids are there, but she still tried to take one of my kids in with the dogs.
 

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Being afraid of a breed is not a reason to keep your kids away from the dog. Get to know the dogs first, and don't worry about what breed it is.

If they have RG issues, then keep the little one away, and monitor the older child if all else is safe. Be sure there is nothing to guard first, if its only food that is easy enough. If there is a legitimate reason to keep the kids away, like aggression, then do so.
 

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I think you need to get to know the dogs & base your decisions on that not their breed but that said genetics are genetics & some breeds can do more damage than others due to size & strength, so I am not saying to ignore the breed altogether I just prefer to gauge a dog on individual temperament & behaviours when it comes to deciding what they can & can not handle etc.
 

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Oh, just read where you said you won't change your mind about it. IMO you would be better off meeting at a restaurant or park where the dogs aren't present. Personally, I would not lock my dogs up if my sister had a problem with the breed they are. That's a bit racist. If they were aggressive or rowdy I would kennel them no problem.
 

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With very very very few exceptions basing your "don't allow the kids around them" soley on the dog's breed is frankly stupid. Actually, the only exception I can think of is a Fila Brasilairo, but then nobody but their owner would be getting anywhere near one of those anyway.....

Get to know the dogs, make sure all children are understand to not attempt to take toys or food or treats from the dogs, provide extra supervision around any children to young to reliably remember that (which frankly ought to be standard for ANY dog the children interact with regardless of RGing or not), and stop letting a dogs breed determine your fear.
 

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I don't think you're going to find many who sympathize with your point of view here.

And just for the record... Dogsbite.org is a biased, alarmist, extremist site based on the opinion and prejudice of one woman. Just because it's on the internet doesn't make it true... Although that should generally go without saying. 92% of statistics are made up on the spot.

You are acting in (what you perceive as) the best interests of your children, and you have total autonomy to do so. You are entitled to your beliefs and opinions about your sister's dogs. I will say though... If anyone came to my house and made a stink about my dog, they would no longer be welcome. If they continued to vocalize their thoughts about my dog's breed to me without provocation in other situations, I would no longer be in contact with them.

By all means, do what you must in what you consider to be the best interests of your children... But try to have some tact and don't go over to your parents' house with your children if you're going to cause trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I think the answer is just not going there anymore. It's just hard as it's my parents house and I feel bad about that. Guess that's just how it is for now.

As far as getting to know the individual dogs and not judging their breed, it's the breed that is the issue. The breed is why tey are so large and strong. The breed is why so much damage would occur if something were to go wrong.

I'm ok with them being around my inland huge lab though, so it's not just a size thing.
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Regardless of how well trained a dog is supervision with kids is a must imo and you're well within your right to want them crated or on a leash while your kids are around. Your bias is against the specific breed isn't really appropriate, but it sort of says something about how you view your sister and family. Unfortunately, people suck so managing this is hard-all you have to do is not pay attention to your kids or what people are doing with their dogs for a second. Most of the time, that one second isn't going to be a big deal-your kids end up fine and everyone thinks you're worried over nothing. But I understand where you're coming from from wanting some better management with the dogs and your kids.

I think you're handling things to the best of your ability and avoiding them most of the time is a good option. It sucks that it makes holidays harder. Managing your own dogs or kids is one issue-managing other people is hard, and nobody listens. The only thing I can think of is telling your kids to listen and stay away from the dogs even if they're young-it's sort of unrealistic but that's all I've got in addition to what you already do.
 

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Oh, just read where you said you won't change your mind about it. IMO you would be better off meeting at a restaurant or park where the dogs aren't present. Personally, I would not lock my dogs up if my sister had a problem with the breed they are. That's a bit racist. If they were aggressive or rowdy I would kennel them no problem.

This. Honestly, if you were my family member, and your sole problem with my dogs was a fear of their breed, you'd not be welcome to at my house. I'd be polite and not bring the dogs to your house sure, but you come to my house you deal with my dogs. For short term visits RGing is entirely managable, food and toys and treats are locked up, and children are closely supervised.
 

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Well, it's not her house, it's my parents.

I get that dogsbite is biased in that its not reporting chihuahua bites, but the stories aren't fabricated, they happened. That's the thing.
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Regardless of how well trained a dog is supervision with kids is a must imo and you're well within your right to want them crated or on a leash while your kids are around. Your bias is against the specific breed isn't really appropriate, but it sort of says something about how you view your sister and family. Unfortunately, people suck so managing this is hard-all you have to do is not pay attention to your kids or what people are doing with their dogs for a second. Most of the time, that one second isn't going to be a big deal-your kids end up fine and everyone thinks you're worried over nothing. But I understand where you're coming from from wanting some better management with the dogs and your kids.

The OP isn't requiring better management, or dogs on a leash, she's requiring them to be completely not present with no contact with her kids simply due to their breed. Which is stupid.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Please try to leave emotion out of this discussion. I'm just trying to learn and understand, not argue. :)
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Ok. Well. Never mind. We are calling each other stupid already. :/
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Yes, I think the answer is just not going there anymore. It's just hard as it's my parents house and I feel bad about that. Guess that's just how it is for now.

As far as getting to know the individual dogs and not judging their breed, it's the breed that is the issue. The breed is why tey are so large and strong. The breed is why so much damage would occur if something were to go wrong.

I'm ok with them being around my inland huge lab though, so it's not just a size thing.
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Would you like me to pull up stories of labs and lab crosses who've attacked? It happens FAR more than the media likes to admit, after all its not big news when its a LAB.....



Well, it's not her house, it's my parents.

I get that dogsbite is biased in that its not reporting chihuahua bites, but the stories aren't fabricated, they happened. That's the thing.
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Sure it happens, but dogsbite doesn't put any effort into researching what happens, so they mis-represent dog breeds constantly, they mis-represent the numbers of incidents constantly.
 

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Please try to leave emotion out of this discussion. I'm just trying to learn and understand, not argue. :)
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What exactly are you trying to learn or understand?

If you're not willing to expand your beliefs about different breeds of dogs, and if you're not open to accept that your preconceptions might be wrong... Then this is really just an issue of social graces and it's not about the dogs at all.
 

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I think everyone covered the big points: it's pretty presumptuous, you should probably try to get to know the dogs before you judge them, and dogbites is NOT reliable source. Also, most dog bites on children happen when they aren't being supervised or when they don't know how to properly handle a dog. By supervising your children and teaching them how to be polite to a dog, it decreases the chance of a bite substantially.

Other than that, I personally believe (read: just my opinion, please don't get too defensive) it does more harm than good to keep your children away from large dogs. What are they supposed to think when you never let them near big dogs? It is possible that you're starting to ingrain the idea that big dogs are mean and scary into your children's minds.

Would you be willing to just go on a walk with your sister and her dogs without the kids and get to know her point of view?
 

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Do you think your parents, or your sister, would let the dogs around your children if they thought the dogs would put your children in danger?

I'm not sure which breed your sister has, but I probably have a pretty good guess. If I'm right I can pull, story, after story to match ones you can find that are mishandled. I can pull story after story, to show what loving, forgiving, dogs they are, and just how great a stable temperament one is.

You do realize that reading dogsbite.com is sort of like reading the police blotter to confirm a hatred of a minority? Oh wait! I'm starting to like that race/breed, I better go read the worst of the worst stories about them to confirm my dislike. Besides which dogsbite is basically a hate site as Maya Papaya stated.

Any dog can and will bite given the right circumstances, and yes you are right to be protective of your kids, but I do think you should be realistic. Keep your toddler from directly interacting with the dogs, don't leave the kids alone with the dog, and teach both your kids to respect, not fear, all dogs. Take proper precautions then let the kids and yourself get to know and enjoy the dogs.
 

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Ok. Well. Never mind. We are calling each other stupid already. :/
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Nope, I called what you're doing stupid. Cause it is.

You're teaching your children to fear a type of dog, regardless of training or situation or anything.

If you really want your children safe you need to teach them how to interact with dogs safely. Meet the dogs, get to know the dogs, then allow them to interact with your children in controlled situations. On leash and with supervision, which is the responsible thing to do regardless of breed and type of dog.
 

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Tracy, It's good to never allow your kids around dogs unsupervised--but that goes for any/all dogs. Not just a certain breed or size.

I understand as a mom you want to protect and keep your dogs safe, but at some point it is not logical to not trust or let them around a certain breed just because of your impression of it, and not the actual dog. You're also instilling a fear in your kids about this type of dog, and well, fear often leads to dislike/hate. The world doesn't need more people hating on bullies (which is what I'm guessing your sister's are). They really are great dogs with people.
 
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