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An extremely tolerant dog

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UPDATE: 5/21/12 @ 3:30 p.m.

In the past hour, the family who originally posted this video has chosen to mark the video as "private," thus making it unviewable by the public. I suspect they are disappointed by the feedback among many. I hope the initial "buzz" created by the video prompts them to reconsider their behavior in an effort to keep everyone safe.

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I love the Internet, except for those times when I see something that makes me want to lose my lunch.

Like today, when this video popped up on my Facebook feed. An adorable little baby girl is trying to get a chewed antler from a Golden Retriever. The baby pulls on the dog's face, reaches in and hugs his head, pulls on his lips and reaches in to try and take the bone out of his mouth. The dog tolerates the interaction beautifully.

But why should he have to?

Yes, it's amazing that the dog is so tolerant. This tolerance is most likely more about being born with a stellar temperament than anything the family has "trained" into him. Some dogs are amazingly bomb-proof. Let's respect that, not continually test it.

Yes, it's important to teach dogs to peacefully relinquish objects for those moments when we really need them to give something up, but even if this dog was *taught* to tolerate having a baby grab at him while he chews a bone .... Again, why? I suppose with the right reinforcement, you might successfully teach me to "tolerate" working next to someone who constantly made sexually explicit jokes all day, but why should I tolerate that harassment?

Why should the dog have to tolerate harassment?

Hopefully this baby will be taught that this type interaction is, at the very least, not appropriate for dogs outside the home. Even better, this family will reconsider their actions and teach their daughter give Max some space when he has a bone. It's wonderful that Max is so tolerant and so willing to let go of his chew stick, but just as we humans like a little peace and quiet, so do dogs. The thing is, Max is a dog, which means, the potential for "anything to happen" is quite real. If nothing else, why tempt fate? Especially when the health and safety of a child is concerned?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children."

The more we educate the dog-owning population, the fewer children (and adults) will become an unfortunate statistic.

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