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Woman's Brother Wants Her To Put Her Dog Down After He 'Growled' At Her Niece

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little girl hugging dog

A woman and her family are divided between a rambunctious toddler and the life of a dog. According to the woman, her 3-year-old niece tormented her dog every time she came to visit since she learned to walk.

Typically, the woman’s dog is patient with the little girl. However, one day his attitude changed. Now, the woman’s brother is demanding that she get rid of the “menace” dog to keep his daughter safe. 

The woman’s brother demanded she put her dog down after he growled at her niece. 

Sharing her dilemma on Reddit, the 28-year-old woman revealed that she is the owner of a 5-year-old lab-mix dog, who is "basically a gigantic teddy bear and loves everyone.”

Having fostered aggressive dogs with behavioral issues in the past, the woman is confident that her own dog does not fall into that category. 

“However, it's always been my personal philosophy that dogs (and any other animal, really) should never be left alone with young kids, even if it's the sweetest, most mild-mannered dog in the world,” she admitted. “The kids don't understand when they're pushing the dog past its limits," she added, "and the dog cannot reasonably be expected to put up with being harassed long after it's signaled that it would like to be left alone.” 

Woman's Brother Wants Her To Put Her Dog Down After He Growled At Her NiecePhoto: FamVeld / Shutterstock

One of those kids happens to be the woman’s 3-year-old niece, who often invades her dog’s personal space and harasses him every time she comes over. 

“She pulls his tail, climbs on/lays on him, hits him, pulls his ears, gets in his face and yells at him, and never gives him a second to himself unless she's forced to,” the woman wrote. 

Thankfully, the woman said that her dog is “a saint” with the child and allows her to get close to him. However, even saints have their limits. 

RELATED: 5 Things You're Doing That Hurt Your Dog's Feelings Without Realizing It

The woman has warned her brother for months to stop his daughter from being so rough with her dog. 

She has talked with her brother and sister-in-law about her niece’s behavior around the dog and has kindly asked them to keep an eye on her when she is around him. They, however, believe that their daughter’s actions are nothing to worry about, brushing it off as kids being kids

“They don't understand that it's dangerous and that if she was left alone long enough, my dog might lose it and attack her,” the woman wrote. “I've tried to have this conversation with my brother over and over, but he always acts like I'm criticizing his parenting.” 

One night while the woman was cooking dinner, her brother and niece stopped by. As usual, her niece immediately began antagonizing her dog. 

“I asked my brother a few times to keep her away from my dog, but he kept saying she was fine,” she wrote. “I did move my niece away from him a few times, but I wasn't vigilant enough, and my dog ended up getting to the end of his rope and growling at my niece.” 

Woman's Brother Wants Her To Put Her Dog Down After He Growled At Her NiecePhoto: Justin f woomer / Shutterstock

After the woman put her dog in her bedroom to decompress, she said that her brother began hollering at her. 

“I completely understood his reaction. That's his daughter, and he was afraid for her, and nothing else mattered to him,” she shared. “He was furious, yelled that my dog is a menace who should be put down, and left.” 

Ever since the incident, the woman’s brother has refused to speak to her. He claimed that he would not interact with her again unless she put her dog down. 

RELATED: 9 Subtle Ways Your Dog Tells You When They Are In Pain

The woman blamed both herself and her brother for what happened.

“The way I see it, this is solely my fault and my brother's fault," she admitted. "I shouldn't have allowed my niece to harass my dog; I knew what could happen, and I was more concerned about how upset my brother got when I tried to bring it up than I was about my niece's safety," she wrote, adding, “Similarly, my brother should've kept a better eye on his kid, and not been so defensive when I tried to explain the problem.” 

The woman does not plan to put her dog down, as he is a gentle animal who was pushed to his limits. 

Woman's Brother Wants Her To Put Her Dog Down After He Growled At Her NiecePhoto: Nina Buday / Shutterstock

“My brother is now saying that the entire family has sided with a dog over his child, which is not the case,” she wrote. 

She added that she offered to crate her dog or put him in a different room whenever her niece came over to protect both of them. However, her brother claimed that he would not be satisfied until the dog was put down. 

“I don't want to ruin this relationship, we are very close, but I'm just not putting my dog down over this,” the woman wrote. 

RELATED: The Way A Person Treats Their Dog Tells You A Specific Thing About Their Childhood

An overwhelming majority of Redditors agreed with the woman. 

Most people online stressed that the entire situation could have been avoided had her brother educated his daughter on how to treat animals. 

“It’s important for kids to learn how to respect animals because not all dogs are as patient as yours and that absolutely can have terrible consequences,” one Redditor pointed out. 

“Your brother is an idiot. It’s basic common sense that if an animal’s tail and ears are getting pulled and it’s being hit it will eventually lose its temper,” another user commented. “It’s terrible parenting not to teach a kid not to do that and not pulling her away as soon as she starts that … it’s clear to me your dog isn’t the problem.” 

Others noted that the dog should not be punished for growling, as he alerted the woman’s niece that he was uncomfortable with her rough behavior. 

“As an animal trainer, it’s absolutely not the dog's fault," a third user wrote. "If it took all that time to get to a growl (an obvious warning signal), the dog was in all likelihood giving more polite disengage signals previously.”

   

   

“I work with dogs. You absolutely don't want to punish growling, because that's them giving a sign. People who discourage it end up with dogs who suddenly bite with no warning which is dangerous,” another user shared. 

The woman wholeheartedly agreed with the point made by commenters. "I did not punish him at all; frankly, I'm glad that he signaled loud and clear that he was uncomfortable," she wrote. "I would never want to discourage him from doing that, because then next time, he'd skip the growling and go straight to attacking."

It's true — growling is an essential part of a dog’s language. Humans often misinterpret a dog growling as a form of aggression or anger, however, it's how they communicate to us that they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or unsafe around something in their environment. It can also serve as a warning before more aggressive behavior, allowing the dog to establish boundaries or defend itself. 

A dog can easily become stressed when a child is invading their personal space, being loud around them, hitting them, and yanking at their tail. As a defense mechanism, they may growl or even bite. All too often when this happens, a dog is labeled dangerous and faces severe unnecessary consequences, such as being shoved into a cage, being placed in a shelter or even being euthanized. 

RELATED: The One Thing You Can Do To Make Your Dog Feel Super Happy, According To An Animal Communicator

Parents must teach their children the correct way to handle dogs, especially if they are in their family.

They can do this by teaching their kids to approach dogs calmly and to ask the owner for permission before petting a dog. They should also show them how to pet dogs gently, encouraging them to avoid sudden movements and stroke the dog's back or sides rather than pulling on ears or tails. Kids should also be supervised when in the presence of any animal.

Educating children about the proper behavior around dogs is not just about the dog’s safety — it's also about the child's. Just like you would not leave your child unattended around a stove, you should never leave them alone with a dog until first thoroughly educating them about how to interact with them. 

RELATED: 8 Sweet Signs Your Dog Is Happy And Feels Safe With You

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.