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Q: Babies' attraction to dogs ( No Answer,   5 Comments )
Subject: Babies' attraction to dogs
Category: Relationships and Society > Cultures
Asked by: tholzel-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 02 Jun 2006 12:02 PDT
Expires: 02 Jul 2006 12:02 PDT
Question ID: 734799
Looking for any articles, studies, essays about small
childrens'(especially babies) instinctive attraction to dogs.  Is this
a genetic trait?
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Babies' attraction to dogs
From: pinkfreud-ga on 02 Jun 2006 12:25 PDT
I suspect that the initial attraction is not really to "dogs," it is
to "things with faces." Infants are pre-programmed to be attracted to
two eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and dogs' faces meet the requirements.
If a wart hog or a velociraptor were to come within an infant's reach,
the child would probably find them attractive, too. But, of all the
live nonhuman critters to which a baby is likely to be exposed, dogs
are probably most likely to respond favorably to being grabbed at and
poked in the awkward way that young children usually handle an animal.
Cats don't usually like this kind of thing, and will often run away,
or act defensively and bite or scratch. Dogs put up with it, and some
even seem to like it, when a young child pulls on their fur or grabs
their muzzles. Consequently, a child may develop a feeling that dogs
are more attractive and interesting than cats, simply because
experience has taught the child that dogs hug back.
Subject: Re: Babies' attraction to dogs
From: markvmd-ga on 02 Jun 2006 19:06 PDT
It certainly isn't instinctual, it's cultural. 

Children that grow up in a culture where dogs are portrayed on TV,
cartoons, and books as happy tail-wagging friends are drawn to dogs.
Children in cultures that view and portray dogs as dangerous dirty
scavengers are not.

Furthermore, the actions of the parents or other adults in the
situation with the dog(s) give cues for the baby or child to follow.
Adults cooing soothingly "Go see the doggy! See the pretty doggy? Can
you say 'bow-wow'?" are providing one type of action enforcement.
Adults kicking a dog, shooing it away, cursing at the dog and scooping
up the child while rushing away are providing another. Infants (and
possibly neonates) can pick up on even subtle cues from their
caregivers and react to stressors.

As an example, a mother who is unsure of herself may signal the infant
that she is stressed. The infant responds to this stress signal and
becomes agitated (colicky) whenever the mother is around. This further
stresses the mother and a feedback loop is begun. As the infant ages,
it relearns what "normal" signals from the mother is and responds less
to the stressor signal; baby begins to relax, sleep, stop crying all
the time, etc., because it has modified it's baseline. Mother thinks
it's because she's gotten better at her job...

So I strayed from the original subject. Anyway, looking for cultural
bias is an important part of any social experiment.
Subject: Re: Babies' attraction to dogs
From: probonopublico-ga on 02 Jun 2006 22:16 PDT
We had a Afghan Hound when both my children were born, not the friendliest of dogs.

Daughter #1 grew up liking dogs but, for some reason, Daughter #2 didn't.

When Daughters were aged 5 and 3, a new puppy (a Cavalier King Charles
Spaniel)came into their lives. He was the prefect dog and, although
initially suspicious, Daughter #2 quickly grew to love him as a member
of the family.

I do hope that this helps to confuse everybody.
Subject: Re: Babies' attraction to dogs
From: markvmd-ga on 03 Jun 2006 14:25 PDT
Bryan, your younger daughter had not been sufficiently indoctrinated
by the media to trust dogs. QED.

Subject: Re: Babies' attraction to dogs
From: probonopublico-ga on 03 Jun 2006 22:51 PDT
Thanks Mark!

Actually, our Cav King Chas Span was a PERFECT dog.

He never made prefect.

(I'm surprised Kemlo didn't pick that one up. Another hangover perhaps?)

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