Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

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mtlu
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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby mtlu » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:59 pm

Are baby gates not an option while you figure this out with the behaviorist? It really sounds like she needs to have space away from him and baby gates can give you some peace of mind in limiting how far Kael can roam now that he is so mobile. You've already acknowledged that Kael does stuff that makes Dolly nervous. Expecting her to get used to it and to automatically respect him because he is more important is really unfair and unrealistic.

My boyfriend's cousin was home with his 2.5 yr daughter a few weeks ago and we had a family get together at his mom's house. His mom's dog, a 3yr old shelter mutt (possible pit mix), was completely unfazed by the screaming, tugging, poking and chasing from the 2.5 yr old. However, I intervened every time she started poking the dog – since she is so young, I don't expect her to understand why she shouldn't be doing such things so constant intervention was necessary. My concern was that while the little girl could get away with her behavior with his mom's dog, she might not be so lucky with another dog she encounters somewhere out in public. It's nice that his mom's dog could be described as "bombproof" around little kids but I hate that term: it implies an ideal of behavior that not all dogs have – and it's also used as justification to euthanize a dog that doesn't meet that ideal rather than using common sense intervention, physical barriers and respecting both the developmental/cognitive stages of children and the individual dogs' temperament.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby APBT<3er » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:18 pm

My house is pretty much open concept as I've mentioned, the areas aren't easily cordoned off, we have put up a baby gate in the one place we can and we've kind of pushed a coffee table to a side to mickey mouse some other road block. On the subject of unfair, assuming that I expect Dolly to basically suck it up is an unfair assumption. The original problem has been addressed, which was Kael in a walker making Dolly nervous. Now, if ever he is in a position that makes her uneasy (which would only be when he is close to the couch), I move him away, usually though, Dolly will leave of her own freewill. The issue on hand NOW, is that Dolly will approach the baby when he is crawling and then start this bullying behavior that I'm not 100% sure whether it is aggression or play, but either way it is too rough for my liking. I am nervous because I feel as though she looks at my baby the same way she looks at my pet rabbit and I have no doubt that if the rabbit got loose, it would be a goner.

I spoke with the behaviorist today and she REALLY eased my mind. She basically told me that because my son is likely to be walking soon, there isn't much point in an actual meeting (shes about 1.5 hours away and is the closest to me) especially considering that Dolly only does this when SHE wants to, it could take multiple meetings before the behaviorist even sees what I'm talking about... Anyway, she recommended that I keep her separated or crated while the baby is actually crawling (which sucks, but i'll figure something out - I'm never buying an open concept house AGAIN). She said that as the baby starts walking and stops crawling, she'll be less likely to look at him as if he's another animal and more likely to look at him as a human. To me, this makes sense. I'm definitely going to keep an eye on her, but I feel like I understand almost what she's thinking, it makes sense - a small baby crawling around the floor really isn't MUCH different than a rabbit, low to the ground, balled up, moving, I get it. I'm hopeful now, that when he is walking, we'll be ok.

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AllisonPitbullLvr
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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby AllisonPitbullLvr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:44 pm

I'm glad you've got a game plan now. Obi is great with infants, fantastic with toddlers and children, but totally weirded out by crawling humans. How often to they encounter something like this?

You're a great mom, to both Dolly as Kael and I'm sure you guys will work this out.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby MarMar » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:58 pm

An open concept house WOULD be tough, I'm very thankful for all my rooms and doorways for gates and such. However, being a master of separating spaces, maybe I can help you with some suggestions. I can appreciate this must be stressful, but I think it's hasty to jump to thoughts of euthanizing her for the behavior mentioned. I'm glad the behaviorist eased your mind! Here are some suggestions:

Rooms: one of my dogs has her own room, and she spends quite a bit of time in it. She is anxious by nature, and her room is like a giant crate where she feels safe. When she's out, I do spend time training her to relax but she is a pacer, whereas in her room, she rests unless she needs something. Maybe you have a room that could be a "Dolly room?"

Large x pens: I recently got an x pen that is three sections and all together makes a pretty long stretch of fence. Combined with a wall, you could make a nice "Dolly area" where she could hang out. Alternatively you could put the baby in it but I'm not sure what the accepted wisdom is on x-penning babies lol

Manners minder/treat dispensing: If you could find a way to dispense her treats every time the baby is in her "flight zone" (the area which is close enough to make her nervous) this might help. I recently got a kitten, and have had to up my management of Marlo around her. I feed him everytime he acts nice around her, and worked on associating his name with treats as well so if he starts fixating, I can break his focus and reward him. This also works for when the kitten is playing with my other cat, as he often gets worried and "fun-policey".

Good luck!!

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby APBT<3er » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:50 pm

Great advice, thanks! The best space to make a "Dolly area" I think, would be in our basement, that is where her crate is and she loves it. If I say "Dolly! Crate!" She comes running. We associated it with her food when we were training her for it and she's loved it ever since. We had talked about actually building the dogs their own sort of kennel space in the basement once upon a time and maybe it's time to revisit that idea.

I'm worried about the treat idea because she's easily excitable, and if she thinks he's a toy already, I'm scared that she'll get even MORE excited with food being present and then she'll do a zoomie on his head or something (she's done it to me).

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby MissKitty » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:56 pm

Thank you for going through all this effort.
At this point, I have no doubt that 99% of parents would ditch the dog. You are showing real responsibly and commitment, thank you.

Please keep us updated on how it goes with the behaviorist.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby Curly_07 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:15 pm

Threads like this always make me cringe and doubt us as humans, and I assumed this one was going to be like the usuals. One reasons I've not looked until today at it. I have to say, I'm very warmed by your commitment to both Dolly and Kael to try your best to do what's right for the both of them. You are being realistic, level-headed, and just plain awesome IMO. I wish more parents would be this responsible and diligent. I have no advice to give you, I just wanted to let you know I'm rooting for you.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby APBT<3er » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:13 am

Thank you, some days I still feel like I'm doing it all wrong.

Dolly was here first, and she is a huge part of our family, I will fight for her the same as I would fight for my son. I don't rule out the thought that I *may* have to put her to sleep because of all of this, but that's future talk and that's a slim possibility. I think about it so that it would be easier in the event that it becomes inevitable, as selfish as that sounds. In reality though, I wont have her become a statistic and blown up in my local paper as a "baby mauler" or worst.

Anyway, that's all negative talk. She's been really good the last couple of days. DH and I are planning out the spacing of the kennel in the basement, and we're working with Kael everyday to teach him not to go near the puppies... and to be nicer to the cat, lol.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby jamielvsaustin » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:18 am

APBT<3er wrote:Dolly was here first, and she is a huge part of our family, I will fight for her the same as I would fight for my son.

I am both grateful (maybe a little weepy too) and somehow proud of you for saying this. It's refreshing. This is my goal when/if we have kids. I understand that ultimately kids are a higher priority, but my animals are important too-and will be treated as such.

Keep up the good work!

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creiter
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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby creiter » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:56 am

I think anyone with a reactive dog has had moments where you get super paranoid and think all sorts of crazy things... I AM DOING THIS ALL WRONG, I HAVE TO PUT HER DOWN OR ELSE PEOPLE WILL DIE.... luckily these thoughts are what motivate us to be so aware of our surroundings and every single little thing we HAVE to do to keep our dog and the people around our dog safe. If everyone had these sort of paranoid feelings, we would all be motivated to have the best dogs possible, because we would all get behaviorists, take classes, manage our dogs, KNOW our dogs...

I guess what I am trying to say is BREATHE, you are doing great. You are seeking help and are constantly focused on protecting everyone. You are in charge, this is a fixable situation and you WILL fix it with this continued level of effort and caution. Your dog has NEVER been exposed to this before... the play bows are how dogs invite other dogs to play, I think he is just absolutely confused about what that THING is and how he should interact with it. He needs you to guide him and teach him, dogs are not born with the knowledge of how to act around crawling things that look kiiiiind of like a human? Please don't give up on him, he doesn't sound like a reactive dog at all, and I'll bet he will become your kids BEST FRIEND once they are old enough. I wish I could have grown up with such a dog around! He is obviously going to fall even in love once he realizes how to act around the baby and everyone feels safe and comfortable.

Thank you for seeking help and thank you for not euthanizing your precious dog! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. I truly believe in positive training for dogs... but that also means for us humans too! Take time to reward yourself for struggling through this with patience and focus. You can do it!!

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creiter
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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby creiter » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:10 pm

He = She.... I have a male dog so I get in the bad habit of calling all dogs HE ;P

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby highflyergirl19 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:11 pm

Ajax showed a little of the same behavior when we first started putting Chloe on the floor for tummy time. He would want to be very, very close to her and made me nervous because he can be easily excitable. He settled down after a while and largely ignored her. She's creeping now and showing a lot of interest in him but he seems to be doing okay with it all. Finger crossed!

Good luck with Dolly! Babies and dogs can be a strange dynamic to figure out!

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby APBT<3er » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:16 am

oh yeah, I can definitely see them being best of friends later (with my kid having lots of extra bruises and a sore bum from being knocked over all the time, she's like a bulldozer lol) :) that's what I love about her. It's hard not knowing her history, because I have no idea where she came from if she had been previously socialized with kids, I have to assume that she grew up around some, because she really likes them for the most part, but I'm not 100% sure she grew up around babies. So, if she's never been in a home with babies or kids, I can't ... judge her for her behavior... That's not exactly what I'm trying to say, but it's close... hopefully you'll get what I mean (a little sleep deprived over here lol)

So far, she's been doing really well, she's been spending a little more time in her crate downstairs when he is crawling around, but in the last 3 days we've been allowing her a bit more freedom and the baby a lot less lol. Kael definitely has to learn that he has boundaries. It's difficult with the living room being the central hubb of the house, where everyone generally is, because the dogs are wherever there are people, and Kael is also wherever there are people.

Do you guys believe that a dog picks up on the energy of the person? I know that probably sounds like a ceasar milan-esque statement, but i think it's true. I've been trying to be a lot more relaxed around them while still being vigilent... not so easy lol.

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Re: Starting to worry about Dolly and the baby

Postby Amie » Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:23 pm

They absolutely do. The best way to handle a hyper dog is to be calm. The best way to perk up a sluggish dog is to be perky.


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