Elite dog trainers Marlon and Lisa Grennan trust their 12st pit bull Hulk so much – they even let him babysit their newborn son.
And it’s not the first time the couple has done this, as their eldest son Jordan grew up with Hulk and their other dogs.
Marlon, who runs company Dark Dynasty K9s who specialise in training elite protection dogs for the police and celebrities, explains the key to having harmonious relationship between the dogs and his family.
‘When you’re the leader of the pack and there’s structure, rules, boundaries, limits, leadership there’s nothing to be worried about. I’m always in control and that’s the main thing.’
‘Anything I bring into my house as leader of the pack is accepted by them instantly because, you know, I’m the alpha of the house so I know everything will go smoothly and they’ll love him just as I love him.’
And mum Lisa feels the same!
‘When we brought Jackson home Hulk was all over him. He loves him. He was watching me every time I was carrying him around. Every time he cried he would perk up and go check on him. Hulk is Jackson’s big brother. He’s the perfect protector and babysitter.’
‘When you see videos of Hulk working and doing bite work, that’s just his other side. He’s a working dog, he’s a protection dog and a dog that is able to do that has to be very, very balanced and stable. His job is to protect the family, so he has to be a good family dog and he is.’
Unsurprisingly, the couple has faced criticism for raising their dogs alongside their children, But Lisa explains that they work hard to take precautions and keep everyone safe.
‘You don’t have to train a dog to be around children, it’s just how you raise them. The training that we do from a young age is just imprinting. We make loud noises, we bring them around different surfaces, pull on their tail, pull on their ears. Mess with them a little bit when they’re younger and they’re used to it all. And that way if a kid comes up behind the dog and startles it – some dogs reaction would be to turn and nip or bite – but with all the imprinting that we do that’s not the reaction, they’re just used to it all.’
‘You always have to be careful with any animal around kids, that’s just common sense. I wouldn’t leave my baby on the floor with any dog in there. I wouldn’t want it to get stepped on or anything like that. If he’s in his crib then I’ll leave him in the crib with the dog in the room.’
‘Hulk absolutely loves Jackson and it’s monitored too. But I do trust them they’re very balanced stable dogs and they know that he’s a baby and like with their own puppies they know how to be gentle.’
‘Hulk will lick his face, lick his hands and again that’s monitored I’m not gonna let him smother him!’
‘The main criticism that we get is, ‘how can you let your dog lick your baby.’ Which to me is silly. I mean I let the dogs lick me and I don’t think that it’s dirty. Take a bath after – it’s not a big deal!’
‘Hulk would risk his life to protect my family and I know that, and I know that he’d go to the end of the world for us. So he makes the perfect babysitter and protector.’
Well, it sounds like Marlon and Lisa have mastered dog training, but as for parenting, Lisa admits that’s still a work in progress!
‘Kid trainers – contact us!!’