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Getting dog to like baby help!

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Lola90, Feb 7, 2021.


  1. Lola90

    Lola90 PetForums Junior

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    EDIT - I am not looking to re-home our dog so please do not suggest this as it's not an option!

    I recently had a baby and our dog (lab/lurcher rescue) doesn't really pay him attention. This is fine but sometimes she looks a bit freaked out by him, she gives him a sniff on his hand sometimes and licks it but that's all. She tends to try to avoid him. She has been a nervous dog in the past and she has growled at him a couple of times which I'm a bit worried about.
    My sister has a toddler and our dog doesn't like him at all and barks constantly when she's around him. She has also 'gone for' him a couple of times but I know it was more of a warning and don't think she would actually bite.
    This has freaked my partner out and admittedly me too, but we want to try to get her used to little people.
    I've heard that when dogs aren't exposed to kids as puppies they can be confused by them and not great with them which is what I think has happened. She was 1 when we rescued her and at the time didn't have friends with kids and don't know if her previous owner socialised her with kids.
    Is there a way of us doing this? Will she just become used to him eventually? She's 6 this year and I'm just worried that when he gets older she will just bark at him all the time and I can tell she's anxious around kids.
    How can we chill her out? She's such a lovely dog to people and can be difficult with other dogs but desperately just want her to be happy with him and not anxious.
    Sorry for the long post but just want some help!
     
  2. Mum2Ozzy

    Mum2Ozzy PetForums Member

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    Hello and congratulations on your new addition. I'm sure more experienced dog owners will be along soon to help, we only got our puppy few months ago and our children are 8 and 3 so we didn't have to deal with this situation. Since all dog Training is about positive reinforcment maybe reward your dog when she's nice and calm around your baby; and same with your sisters toddler? Maybe child can throw her some treats when she's calm?
     
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  3. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Tagging @O2.0 as I think she has some good advice in this area.
     
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  4. Lola90

    Lola90 PetForums Junior

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    Yes good thinking. She's generally always calm around him and puts up with a lot of his loud screaming no problem. It was just the other day when he was in his walker and she growled but I think she must have felt backed into a corner as he was maybe getting too close.
    I guess I also just feel so sorry for her at the moment because I used to take her on lots of really long walks everyday (especially during the lockdown!) and at the moment she's not getting as many and she's mainly on the lead for most of them and she's used to having a big run off the lead too.

    I'm more conscious of when he becomes a toddler really but hoping that when he's weaned she'll learn to love him throwing his food about. Hopefully him growing up with her will teach her that little people aren't scary as we'll make sure he's really gentle with her.
    I've got a book that I've been reading which is good but a lot of the exercises you are meant to do before baby arrives and I only got given the book when he was a couple of months old!
     
  5. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Congratulations on your son :)
    If she's ignoring him, let her. Encourage that. Praise her for avoiding him and show her different places she can go to get away from him. This is great that she has that instinct and you want to build on that as much as possible because before you know it, your son will be mobile and she will need to have as many baby-free zones as possible.

    The goal is not for her to like your son, the goal is for her to not feel uncomfortable around him and that starts with her knowing that if she doesn't want to interact, she doesn't have to.
    Make sure you start creating zones for her that will be her go-to places to avoid the baby (and visiting kids). If she has a crate that's a good place, preferably in another room too. Our house was a maze of baby gates when the kids were younger and they were as much for the kids as for the dogs.

    Having been around children as a puppy or not likely doesn't have much to do with it. It sounds like she's an anxious dog anyway, and kids/babies is one area that manifests. It's pretty normal. Just make sure she knows where her safe places are and that should help a lot.

    These links have further reading that you might find helpful:
    https://www.thefamilydog.com/stop-the-77/

    http://www.dogsandbabieslearning.com/blog/
     
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  6. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Put the dog in another room behind a baby gate when your toddler is playing or you have visitors so she can’t get cornered or overwhelmed.

    I wouldn’t leave her alone with the kids as she’s clearly not entirely happy around them.

    Maybe consider engaging a Dog Walker if she needs more exercise.
     
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  7. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    You've had some great advice. I just wanted to add that you should look for subtle signs that your dog is uncomfortable with a situation (e.g. stiffening, lip-licking, yawning out of context, turning head away, panting etc.). Show her that you will respond promptly when she shows these cues and you will move your son out of the way.

    I have a 16 month old and was extremely vigilant from the get-go to make sure that our dog felt safe around him. It helps that she is naturally an easy-going dog and I imagine would put up with a lot more than many dogs, but I just stopped my son from approaching her when he was little. If he did then I moved him away. Now I find that if she is unsure in a situation with him then she looks at me to rescue her.

    I think the bottom line is that you just need to make your dog feel safe. Give her baby-free zones (baby gates etc can be useful). Work out what amount of space and distance she needs to feel comfortable and make sure she gets it. If she does start looking uncomfortable then show her that you will "rescue" her by moving your son out of the way.
     
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  8. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    This is me right now too! I’ve got three dogs and a six month old. One of mine, Izzy, is a rescue and she’s a very anxious little thing.

    When my baby came home Izzy chose to spend a lot of her time upstairs away from us in the daytime, I think just because it was more comfortable for her being away from the funny noises and such. They have free run of the house and I just left her to it. These days she spends far more time downstairs with my other two dogs, and me and the baby!

    She would come near and sniff the baby but clearly was wary. I kept jam jars of dog treats in every room and whenever she came to me for a fuss, if the baby was nearby I would give Izzy a treat just to reinforce that it was OK, and that being near the baby can have perks.

    My goal is for Izzy to be comfortable in the near vicinity of my baby. She doesn’t need to want to cuddle up or be fed treats by her. My baby isn’t mobile yet but will be taught not to touch the dogs if they are sleeping or in their beds, we have beds upstairs and downstairs for them. The other day Izzy came and sat near us on the sofa and my baby was sat up and outstretched her hand to touch the fluffy mop on Izzy’s head and to my surprise she was quite content with that and didn’t jump off the sofa!

    We don’t have a jumperoo but I know Izzy would hate it. I don’t think my big two would like it either to be honest, so I’d probably put them in a separate room when the baby was in it just because of the noise and fact that she could back them into a corner in it. We will carefully manage the relationships between us all as time goes on, I’m sure we won’t always get it right but small steps in the right direction so far.
     
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  9. Lola90

    Lola90 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you that's really reassuring actually! I often give her a little treat when she gives him a sniff
    Sounds so similar to us! Jars of treats in each room is a great idea.
    At the moment our house is full to the brim with baby things and unfortunately downstairs is totally open plan (and small) so can't have her in another room but she has her own corner where her bed is.
    She sniffs all his toys and gets treats when she does to reassure her and she seems ok with them. We don't allow her upstairs so wouldn't be able to have that option but luckily we are moving soon to somewhere a bit bigger that has more space downstairs so we'll be able to give her her own room. I just feel so bad and sorry for her sometimes as she is my first born and obviously can't give her the same amount of attention as I used to. Typically, my little boy tends to start crying as soon as him about to give her a cuddle so that often gets cut short!
    However reading this has really reassured me and I think she is doing really well now thinking about it!
     
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  10. Lola90

    Lola90 PetForums Junior

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    We've signed her up to borrowmydoggy and met the loveliest couple who take her on some fab walks so that's been great for both us and her!
     
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  11. GoldenShadow

    GoldenShadow PetForums VIP

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    I can definitely relate. My two big dogs are 12 and 4, and I’ve had both from puppies. Rupert (eldest) comes asking for cuddles because he feels a bit left out at times poor chap. It’s so hard to split yourself between everybody when babies are this small! I may have bought a special sofa blanket so he can snooze with us out of guilt...

    Our house is very boxy so we are lucky in that we have closed off rooms, and lots of alcove storage so I can shove all the toys away as otherwise Rosalie would be claiming many for herself
     
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