Should I leave my child alone with the family dog?

girl alone with dogThis is a good question and one that more people should ask but don’t. There is an assumption that the family dog will not bother children in the family. After all, one of the reasons for a family dog is to protect the children, right? Actually, there is evidence that there is a greater likelihood that the family dog will bite a child in the family than a burglar.
On this topic, Cheryl Carlson, noted dog trainer, is quoted as saying:
NEVER trust your young child alone with your dog or puppy, EVER. I don't care how good or well-trained you think your child is, when you're not looking, the child is wanting to do all of the things you won't let him do when you're around. "Well, let's see... I wonder what REALLY happens when you pull the dog's ears, or poke him in the eye with a pen..." The child is usually "low man on the totem pole" in the household, and if he can have control over the dog, it makes him feel less powerless. You may not realize your child is pestering the dog until the day Bobby comes running to you, dripping blood, saying, "Doggie BITE!" At this point somebody's usually in trouble, and the dog usually takes the heat. He can't defend himself and he didn't have witnesses. This is when you go and get a rolled up newspaper and swat yourself on the head a few times, repeating, "BAD Parent! BAD Dog Owner! Bad! Bad! Bad!"