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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i have a 3 yr old blue heeler that has growled a few times at our 9 month old daughter. the heeler is always sleeping near us when we are playing on the floor and generally follows the baby wherever she goes, kind of how he followed me around before dd was born. he has never otherwise shown any aggression towards her but has growled when she pulls his hair or ears. i do my best to supervise but i'm well aware that it's not possible to keep my eye on both of them at all times, nor do i want to have to second guess my dog.<br><br>
he is great with dogs when they come to our house or when off leash in public but can difficult when on leash or when small children come running up to pet him. he can be pretty protective when on leash. i love this in the house, hate it when we're out. he is otherwise a wonderful dog and has a very sweet personality, unlike other heelers that i've come into contact with. the vet recently told me that he's the most submissive heeler they've ever seen and they love having him there.<br><br>
on two occasions, we've had our young nieces staying with us and after a day of adjustment, the heeler loved them. i immediately put them in charge of feeding, brushing and walking him so he knew they were in charge even though they were little. the problem is, i obviously can't do this with a small baby.<br>
any suggestions?
 

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I'm an ACD (Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler) fanatic.<br><br>
While you say that it is impossible to keep an eye on both of them at the same time, it's imperative that they are never, ever in the same room together without your close supervision. ACDs are very intelligent, dominant dogs, as you probably already know.<br><br>
You should always require your ACD to Sit or Down in the presence of your child. There should never be any question about the Pack Order in your family. Your baby is too young to know better than to pull hair or crawl over the dog, so it should be your mission to prevent this at all costs. Your dog will get the picture.<br><br>
I recommend you find a precious treat, and treat your dog profusely in the presence of the baby. With very conscious effort you can train your dog to tolerate the baby. ACDs 'get it' really quickly and yours should understand that "baby=treat." ACDs do NOT respond well to negative methods so punishment will mean "baby=bad" to your ACD. If necessary, obtain a crate and crate your ACD whenever you find yourself too preoccupied to supervise carefully.<br><br>
If you think it's safe, you could try this: Have your dog Sit or Down, and treat when your dc approaches. As your dc handles the dog, treat profusely. Treat some more every time dc lays a hand on the dog. Treat, treat, treat. Did I mention... treat!<br><br>
ACDs are precious and unusual canines; it is Worth It to make this work. Once your dog understands that "baby=treat" your baby will have a lifelong protector and companion.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: That is some great advice. I do not know much about ACDs however most any dogs require most of that advice. Training dogs to be patient with children...much less babies...is a tiring job. It is well worth it when you love your dog and they are a part of the family.<br><br>
One thing you mention is that you love when your dog is protective at home but do not like it out in public...dogs do not necessarily discern the difference and are being protective of 'you' (as in it's family) and not necessarily the location. I am not sure that you could train the dog to know the difference.<br><br>
Also one other note...is it possible that the growling is your dog's way of expressing or 'talking' to you? I have seen dogs do this that are not being aggressive or even trying to give notice but rather just talking. Still wouldn't ever leave them alone or unsupervised within an arms reach if at all possible!<br><br>
Good luck. Sounds like you have a great dog...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>coloradomama1</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8136228"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i do my best to supervise but i'm well aware that it's not possible to keep my eye on both of them at all times, nor do i want to have to second guess my dog.</div>
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I just wanted to add that when you have a baby and a dog, you should never trust the dog... no matter how long you've had it or how well you know it. "Second guessing" may not be the right term, but it's just a good idea to keep your Mama-Protector hat on.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lokidoki</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also one other note...is it possible that the growling is your dog's way of expressing or 'talking' to you? I have seen dogs do this that are not being aggressive or even trying to give notice but rather just talking.</div>
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Good point - ACDs are famously great 'talkers'!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
wow, i can't say thank you enough! that was exactly the kind of advice i was looking for and was afraid everyone would say to get rid of him which i don't want to do. he is easily trained and i think the sit/down thing in her presence is a great idea. like i said, he's pretty submissive and if i show some leadership in her presence i think he'll get it. i'm going to try the treat thing too. someone else from a heeler rescue told me the treat thing when i inquired during pregnancy about heelers and babies.<br><br>
and obviously, i do keep my eye on them at all times when they are together no matter what. my point was that i don't want to constatly be wondering if he's going to bite her. we have another herding dog and we love them both dearly and would be heartbroken to break up our happy family so thanks for the advice and hope. i too, think he can be trained and under a watchful eye, become a great family dog. if the past is any indicator of the future, he'll be tentative at first and then a little annoying because he won't leave her side!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
another thing...he could be talking since he is a pretty vocal dog. i think the growl is his way of saying, quit pulling my hair! for those of you familiar with heelers, it's the growl that they make when they are herding. he did it to my nieces when they first got here and were running around and he tried to herd them by nipping at their heels and "growling." he thought they were playing with him so we had to let them know he's bred to herd animals. i'm going to try with both of our dogs to minimize the time she spends pulling on their hair and ears since i think they deserve a little personal space as well and it's not fair to put a dog in that position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
so, i've been treating my dog every time he's around dd and it seems to be helping. he actually almost laid on top of her yesterday when she was playing. this is what i meant about him being annoying sometimes, he has to be soooo close!<br>
anyway, i was watching the dog whisperer the other night and he mentioned that when you want a certain behavior, you should just expect it from your dog, not treat him for it. i'm confused?
 

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If it ain't broke - don't fix it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> It seems to be working (yay!!!) so keep doing what you're doing. Good job! ACDs reeeeally love treats!<br><br>
You won't need to treat him forever. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>coloradomama1</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8182116"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">so, i've been treating my dog every time he's around dd and it seems to be helping. he actually almost laid on top of her yesterday when she was playing. this is what i meant about him being annoying sometimes, he has to be soooo close!<br>
anyway, i was watching the dog whisperer the other night and he mentioned that when you want a certain behavior, you should just expect it from your dog, not treat him for it. i'm confused?</div>
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I say if it is working...who cares what other training methods are out there...use what works. I personally believe that the dog whisperer has lots of good info and many of his applications do indeed work! I have no issues with people taking his advice and working on doggy behaviors. However, what he has to say is not the end all on doggy training and does not mean his way is the only way!<br><br>
Do what works for you, your dog and your family. Glad to hear that you are coming along. Always so great to hear about a good news story!
 
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