Help: dog and new baby - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-21-2010, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our dog Becky is just about a year old and we've had her since last summer--she's generally a really sweet tempered dog, although she plays a little rough sometimes and chews everything that she can get her paws on. She was adopted into a house with 2 adults, a preschooler and 2 cats.

Well, we just had a baby this past week, and Becky is reacting really strongly to her. She barks and approaches somewhat aggressively at the slightest cry or whimper from the baby. Of course, our reaction is to protect the baby, so I can't say that we've properly introduced them, because we don't trust the dog with her. (Unfortunately, we also see similar reactions with the one cat who will come near the dog.)

Is this a hopeless case? Is there anything we can do to acclimate the dog to the baby so that she can remain a part of our family?

(For what it's worth, the dog is a mixed breed and was adopted at about 4 months of age. We have no idea what she is... but she is a mid-sized dog, about 40 lbs. She's got some terrier look to her face, some hound to her body, and we've also guessed border collie or cattle dog when trying to figure out her mix.)

ETA: DH says she's more playful than aggressive but does have a strong prey instinct.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:40 PM
 
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It sounds like your dog is reacting to your baby as if she is a stranger, and may be just generally confused about who/what the baby is. Is your dog usually aggressive with strangers?

I would think the behavior will pass as she acclimates to your new baby. I would try to expose her to the baby carefully and gradually, and not leave them alone unsupervised until you are sure the dog will behave appropriately.

I think an adjustment period like this is normal - I would just be cautious and give your dog a few weeks to acclimate.

Once your dog accepts your baby as part of the family, you may also have to train her to behave more gently with your baby than she may behave with older family members. When my first dc was a baby, two of our dogs kept wanting to lick her face, and we had to train them not to since it upset her (our third dog was extremely gentle from the outset; perhaps because she had had puppies herself). We just pulled them away and reprimanded them when they did this, and soon they learned to behave more appropriately.

This may seem like silly advice, but if you have anything that might have the scent of amniotic fluid on it you could perhaps show it to your dog - she may recognize the scent and get clued in.

Congratulations on your new baby!
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Old 03-23-2010, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Catherine. It's good to be reassured that this might take a few weeks. We don't have anything with amniotic fluid, but we've got breastmilk-stained burp rags and receiving blankets, so maybe that'll work (since that seems to be what babe smells like mostly now).

DH has also been working with her at night with a recording of Evie crying and rewarding her for being calm.

Stacey teaching teens to read & write... Daddy plays ska, DD1 (7/05) loves trees & princesses, & DD2 (3/10) loves mommy-milk! Please get your kids tested for lead.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:48 PM
 
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I really like the book "Childproofing your Dog" by Brian Kilcommons - he goes at it each way, both training the dog, and "training" kids to be good with dogs (for when your DD is older) and he has a special section on dogs and new babies.

~*The days are long, but the years are short.*~
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