Saturday, February 27, 2016

You're So Cute, I Could Just Eat You Up

Here’s a dog showing a “heartwarming bond” with an infant:

He's supposedly tucking the baby in, out of love. What would have to be the facts if this were really what was going on? 
  1. I love this tiny, smelly human that’s taking up all my owner’s time and attention. 
  2. I know that tucking in a baby is a way to show I care.
Is it likely that dogs have an intimate knowledge of the care of infant humans, and a comprehension of swaddling techniques? Not so much. This dog is indeed trying to cover the baby, but not out of love. More likely, he sees the baby as a high value resource and is trying to bury it using whatever’s nearest. This is caching. 

Caching behavior doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is consciously deciding he’s going to eat the baby. Caching is an instinctual reaction; once the dog has been triggered to perform the pattern of behaviors, he’ll do them right through to the end. Dogs can bury their toys as well as bones and chews; anything that’s worth saving for later is a possible candidate. Including, apparently, delicious babies. 

A Serious Note: Mistaking this kind of behavior for “nannying” is super dangerous. Babies and young children are disproportionately victims of bites from the family dog, and most of the time the parents never see it coming. Dogs should not be allowed to interact closely with babies and young children. Just don’t. 

1 comment:

  1. Right on. The only times my dog has buried/cached anything is when she's trying to hide it for consumption later.