Dog nipping at baby? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 12-14-2009, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Not sure if this is the right place to post this...

My friend's dog has been nipping at her baby.... the baby is 10 months old (same as my DS) and she is playful with the dog & loves him... she likes to pet the dog but also doesn't understand yet that hitting hurts. The dog tries to be a good sport but I have seen him nip her once or twice (not break the skin, more like a warning nip). I know my friend adores the dog so she is heartbroken & doesn't know what to do. She can't afford a professional trainer, and doesn't want to get rid of the dog (but she's already said that she will if it comes down to that). The dog also tends to be a little hyperactive too which is scary but he is a small dog and she just picks him up & puts him outside when he's too fiesty.

Any ideas I can pass on to her? For now she is just keeping the dog separate but that basically means the dog is outside or locked in one room all day & not very happy.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-14-2009, 02:44 PM
 
Maedze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If she can't get a professional trainer, I would start with buying a sound dog-training book (have her veterinarian recommend one). Then TRAIN that dog; that means never relaxing, focusing on training several hours a day, and even when you aren't 'training' the rules remain the same.

She should continue to keep dog and baby separated unless she is actively supervising (i.e., right there, training the dog, not just sitting in the same room).

She really needs to focus on pack dynamics. The dog thinks the baby is a pup like him...and he is nipping the baby the way a senior dog nips a pup to show the baby how to behave. He needs to learn that in the pack hierarchy the baby is ABOVE him.

CPST
Maedze is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 02:59 PM
 
lunita1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One thing to consider (and that I've been weighing myself) is that a gentle nip to the wrong part of the body can be quite serious.

When she was two, my youngest sat hard on our small dog and he turned around and gave her a gentle warning nip. Unfortunately, he caught her EYELID with his tooth. It broke the skin and honestly didn't look that bad, but because it was on her face we took her in to urgent care to see if she needed stitches (the same amount of force on an arm or leg wouldn't have broken the skin.) She ended up needing to be sedated to stitch up the little cut, and an opthamologist was called in for a consult to make sure that the tearduct wasn't damaged and they used dye in her eye to check for abrasions. It ended up being a really big deal (and crazy expensive.)

We consulted with an animal behaviorist through our local SPCA. In our case, they recommended keeping the dog separated from our young children (with gates, crating, etc.), gave us a number of training resources, and also said that they'd be more than willing to place him with another family without children -- I was afraid that he'd be totally unplaceable since he now had a "history of biting" but since it was clearly provoked (defending himself pretty gently when he was hurt) that wasn't an issue. We still have him and there have been no further incidences, but with another baby on the way we're revisiting the possibility of finding him another home. He's proven that he'll protect himself when hurt, not that he's aggressive, but protecting himself with his teeth is dangerous when little faces are so very close.

A behaviorist can help scrutinize the dogs behavior. It could be hierarchy, it could also be fear/insecurity on the part of the dog. Our consult through the SPCA was pretty affordable and I believe it was even considered a donation.
lunita1 is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
lunita1 - I think her dog sounds similar to yours, he's not biting out of aggression but because he was hurt. But there is still the fact that he's a little too active to be around such young kids, plus as you've said, he could nip the wrong place... I kind of think she may need to rehome the dog but would hate to suggest this if there are truly other options to guarantee her LO's safety... Do you still keep your dog away from the kids? Is it hard/impractical?

I will suggest that she call the SPCA.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 03:43 PM
 
Ola_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,126
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I responded in your thread in Pets, but I wanted to pop in here too. I think she definitely needs to separate (baby gates are great and multi-purpose) when she cannot supervise 100%. From your description the dog is being hurt and he should not be put in the position where he needs to defend himself with his teeth.

Also, I strongly suspect he is not getting enough exercise (and being put out in the yard does not count at all unless there is someone there playing fetch or something with him). I'm sure this is hard when you have a little one but perhaps a family member or neighbour can step in to help.
Ola_ is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 04:26 PM
 
Maedze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would also like to say that this does not sound like a vicious or 'bad' dog. ALL dogs bite. It's one of their communicative tools. They must be taught NOT to. He also sounds reasonably socialized...he's using the correct technique (in his doggy mind to properly curb a naughty puppy!)

So before the chorus of "Put the dog down!" "he must never be around children again!" keep in mind that this is normal, appropriate dog behavior, and it is the onus of the owner to actively teach him the correct behavior.

CPST
Maedze is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
I would also like to say that this does not sound like a vicious or 'bad' dog. ALL dogs bite. It's one of their communicative tools. They must be taught NOT to. He also sounds reasonably socialized...he's using the correct technique (in his doggy mind to properly curb a naughty puppy!)

So before the chorus of "Put the dog down!" "he must never be around children again!" keep in mind that this is normal, appropriate dog behavior, and it is the onus of the owner to actively teach him the correct behavior.
No he is not vicious at all, he's a very sweet dog, plays well with my dog and loves people. He's a little hyper and "childlike" I guess you'd say, but I've never seen him intentionally hurt someone. He's just like a kid running around and causing chaos to whatever's in his path. I hope that she can keep the dog but I guess the question is, how much nipping is normal/tolerable before considering rehoming the dog, is he a danger (even unintentionally), and will she have time & the ability to train him better? I'm not really sure

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 04:48 PM
 
Maedze's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,558
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it's up to her. If she's up to training the dog, in the way I described, I see no reason she can't keep the dog. If she doesn't want to properly train the dog, he's better off in someone else's home.

I wish people would consider this before adopting dogs

CPST
Maedze is offline  
Old 12-14-2009, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
I wish people would consider this before adopting dogs
Well she's had the dog for quite a while, long before she got pregnant, and didn't think he would be a problem, he was great with the neighborhood kids.

Hopefully she can commit to training him, I'll look for a good book for her!

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off