"Hobby" dog training - 12 years
Basic obedience and "difficult dog class" for a local training club - 6 years
Competitive dog sports, including obedience, conformation, protection, agility and weight pull - 5 years
Protection sport decoy and training - 4 years
Behavior evaluations for rescue - 9 years
I wrote this for another forum I'm on:
1. if you are going to change routines (no dogs on bed, no dogs on furniture, etc) when you bring the baby home, start changing them immediately. That way, the new habits will not be connected to the introduction of the baby. Making giant behavior changes at the same time as the giant change of adding a baby to the family is a recipe for some serious problems with the dog.
2. Regression is normal when you add a baby to the mix. The dog might start chewing, might start peeing in the house, might start acting out in other ways. Make sure to give the dog some extra attention, and some alone time, to get them past some of the behaviors. Normally they last for a few weeks to a month. Do not punish the dog, they are not being "defiant" they are reacting to stress and that's not a conscious decision. Ostracizing them to the back yard, to another room or to their crate will not help either, and may cause even more bad behaviors.
3. No matter how cute it is, no matter how friendly your dog is, never EVER allow your child to poke the dog, pull hair, pull ears or anything else. EVER EVER EVER. Your dog might tolerate it (until the day it doesn't tolerate it) but eventually, your child may end up around someone else's dog and that behavior that is saintly tolerated by your dog could get your child seriously hurt or killed. I can't stress this one enough. And remember, as your child gets bigger and stronger, your dog is getting older and often weaker due to joint problems, age infirmity, arthritis, etc. So the dog will likely get less tolerant over time, not more.
4. Crate training is a great idea. It gives the dog an absolutely safe retreat from kids and babies. Under no circumstances should kids or babies be allowed in the crate, with or without the dog. That is the dog's space. It's not cute, it's a place where a LOT of bites happen.
5. As previously mentioned, obedience training is a great idea. Look for a trainer that starts all positive; training collars (choke or prong collars), harnesses and head halters should never be required in class.
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Last edited by PitBullMom; 09-24-2014 at 08:51 AM.