Sunday, January 3, 2016

Book Review: Please Don't Bite the Baby (and Please Don't Chase the Dog) by Lisa J. Edwards

According to the CDC, 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US annually, and more than half are to children under the age of eight. The majority of dog bites to children are from a family dog, or a dog that belongs to a friend or relative of the child.

Please Don’t Bite the Baby (and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs) chronicles certified-professional dog trainer Lisa Edwards’ endearing and entertaining journey to ensure that her household survives and thrives when she introduces her son to her motley pack of animals. As Lisa knows all too well, the dog/child relationship is simultaneously treasured, misunderstood, and sometimes feared. In a twist, Lisa’s dog training techniques inevitably seep into how she navigates her first year with baby to mixed but enlightening results.

Lisa includes her best training techniques for the everyday pet owner itemized at the end of each chapter. This book is important for parents, grandparents, and caregivers who have dogs and young children together and want to ensure safety for all.

About the Author
Lisa Edwards, CPDT-KA, CDBC, is a professional dog trainer and dog behavior consultant, a Pet Partners evaluator and instructor, and an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator. Her book A Dog Named Boo was a London Times bestseller.

Lisa has been training dogs professionally and performing animal-assisted therapy since 1999. She has trained hundreds of therapy dogs and service dogs for veterans and individuals with PTSD. She is the lead trainer and behavior consultant for the Animal Rescue Foundation–Beacon and the Danbury Animal Welfare Society. She also lectures on dog/child safety, runs webinars for Pet Partners, and operates a teaching and consulting business, Three Dogs Training.

Lisa lives in New York State with her husband, son, dog, and cat.

Visit author Lisa Edwards on Facebook, and purchase Please Don’t Bite the Baby (and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs) on Amazon.

Our Thoughts
I'll be honest.  I don't have a dog.  And I don't have a baby. 

You see, when I accepted this pitch for review, I had a wonderful dog, Lola, and I wanted to look back on how we raised her and our almost 7 yr old son together, and of course continue with her training.  Sadly, she passed away between accepting the pitch and before this book arrived. And then in the meantime, we tried to adopt a rescue dog who had some fear issues.  We'd had a fearful dog for 11 1/2 years (and he was around for the first 1 1/2 years of our son's life), so we understood the high-management techniques Lisa speaks about in  Please Don’t Bite the Baby (and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs).  However . . . this particular fearful dog came with an unknown (to us, or to the shelter) very ugly side of aggression, and after she attacked my husband from behind while he tucked our son into bed (not a nip, a full on launched attack), she went back to her foster family.  Thankfully, he has over 40 years of experience with bully breed dogs and was not seriously injured.  

Lisa's book came at a good time: #1, I can still look back on the early years with Lola and our son; #2, I wanted to know if we could have done something different with the new rescue dog to have prevented such an attack.  And #3, now we have decided to wait for the right puppy to come along which will of course involve A LOT of training.  I haven't had to do puppy training for 7 years so it's a bit like starting fresh.

Lola was 5 months old when we brought our son home from the NICU, where he'd spent 6 weeks to finish growing.  I knew she would be able to smell him on me, and we made sure to have baby items around the house so she could inspect them and get used to them.  I brought home his dirty clothes and burp cloths, so she could learn they were not things to chew on or eat. When we did finally introduce the two of them, she was so calm.  I think we got lucky with this particular dog . . . not only did she choose our son while I was still pregnant with him, she took him under her wing and mothered him.  He was HER baby for all of the almost 7 years they were together. (Relatable chapter Three Dogs and a Baby)

Lola & our son at 1 yr old, one of my favorites!
For the first 1 1/2 years of my son's life, we also had a fearful senior male dog.  While we didn't have to implement anywhere near as high of management with Lola - with him, we knew it was safer to keep the boys apart.  In our particular case, our son was having Infantile Spasms and it was a huge worry that he'd have an unpredictable spasm too close to the dog, either scaring or hurting him which could lead to a dangerous situation. Thankfully though, he had very little interest in this tiny human creature and preferred to spend his time elsewhere snoozing, so even though the level of management was high, it was not difficult. (Excellent tips about basic skills, and utilizing gates & creates in chapter Colic, Earaches, amd Dogs - Oh My . . .)

With the new rescue dog, we introduced them slowly and made sure lots of adults were around in case something happened.  For the short time we had her, she was actually really great with myself and our son. As we found out, her fear issue was triggered by large, tall men, and we couldn't exactly change my husband's size. When we found out the severity of her aggression, as Lisa says, a personal decision had to be made and ultimately we chose not to keep her as a family member. (For a relatable chapter, see pg 217 When to Add, Train, or Rehome a Dog.)

Please Don’t Bite the Baby (and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs) is partially written as a memoir which makes it an enjoyable read and easy to relate to.  Training tips are laid out at the end of every chapter, relating to what was in that chapter. Knowing that we are going to introduce a puppy soon (and I haven't had a puppy in 7 years!) I'm very happy this book includes basic training for the dog as well as the rest of the wealth of dog/child information it is filled with.

Great read, highly recommended!


alissa apel said...

I only got bit once or twice. This book sounds great! It hurts when I got bit.

sallywilsey said...

I am a true believer like you prep a sibling for a new baby, you prep an animal too. They go through the jealousy and awkward part of a new member of the family. I have never had a problem with an animal cat or dog with my children or Grandchildren. It takes time and patience but both my cats and dog have always been very protective of them.

rj7777 said...

My son when he was little got bit by our collie dog. He was such a sweet dog. But he got bit in the lip and we had to go to the emergency room for stitches. I was very surprised. The dog was sleeping and he was startled. You never know what can happen so it is always good to be cautious for sure!