Help! The dog hates the baby!

I have an eight year old Shih-Tzu. I also have a nine month old son who’s knee deep in the crawling and grabbing everything he sees stage.

Java (the dog) is friendly and really good with children, so I didn’t think we would have a problem. And we didn’t until Leo (the baby) started crawling. Now, it’s like Java thinks of Leo as another dog, which she has always hated. She’s behaving toward him the exact same way she’d behave towards another dog, growling, snapping, barking. She’s never bitten him because I never leave them together unsupervised, but I have no doubt that she will if I ever slip up and I’m not right there. I don’t allow him to pull on her or play with her. All he has to do is approach Java or get anyway near her and she’s snapping and growling.

This may very well stop being a problem once Leo starts walking and is upright. She treats humans with deference, she never snaps or bites us. This problem has only been with the baby, once he started crawling.

So what can I do? Rehoming her is the absolute last option, she’s getting old and we have had her since she was five weeks old. The whole family is very attached to this dog. There must be some kind of training technique or something that I am missing.

If you can’t retrain her (maybe letting her sniff the baby while you hold the baby on your lap) get rid of her. Between my child’s safety and the family pet, there’s no contest.

I’m sorry your dog doesn’t like your baby right now, but to me, this is a no-brainer. If Java can’t learn Leo=playmate, she’s got to go.

I hope you can work this out.

Sorry to say I agree.
Sounds like it will be tough - if possible - to teach the dog to be subordinate to a crawling kid.

Do you have the option of setting up separate living quarters for the dog? I’m thinking heated doghouse, garage, enclosed porch, something like that. While it would be a step down for a housepet, it would be a step up from living conditions in a shelter.

I am thinking that this might be the time to call in a professional behaviourist to assess the situation, if you can afford it.

It might be easily solved if you knew exactly the right steps to take. Good luck finding a solution - it must be stressful.

if you can find a new home for the dog, give the dog to a new home. make every attempt to do this. if the dog is 8 years old already, it’ll be impossible to change the way it views the kid through training.

if you can’t find a home for the dog, it goes to the pound. that’s a legitimate reason to give a dog to the pound.

The pound? Been to one lately? This is bad advice and would only make the OP feel guilty if she took it. There are ways to rehome pets without resorting to the pound. But maybe it won’t come to that. There are dog behaviorists whose bread and butter is solving issues like this. Worse comes to worst, you could try keeping the dog in a separate part of the house until the baby is walking, which won’t be long, a matter of months, or arranging to have to dog stay with a friend until then. I’m sure the OP will feel better if she tries solutions like that before getting rid of a dog she loves.

I completely and respectfully disagree with this. No dog is too old to learn new behaviour - you just need to know what you are doing, and that is where a behaviourist comes in.

Anyone who gives away a dog without even trying to solve the problem probably shouldn’t have got one in the first place, and this obviously does not apply to the OP as they came here for advice about changing the dog’s behaviour so that they can keep their family complete.

Food. Hold the baby in your arm when you feed the dog. Give the dog a small treat every time you put the baby down to crawl. Associate the baby with the dog getting food, and she’ll come around. But yeah, you need to stay on guard for now.

I hope I don’t come off as insulting, but I don’t understand this attitude even a tiny bit. IT’S A DAMN DOG versus YOUR CHILD. Give the dog away.

I don’t know much about dog training, but sometimes negative reinforcement is effective. Dogs are pack animals and most prefer to be around the family (its pack) especially when there’s activity. Whenever the dog becomes aggressive towards the baby, try removing it from the room and away from the pack. Kind of like sending a misbehaving child to their room for a time out. After a little while, reintroduce the dog to the pack and see if he behaves. If not, again, remove the dog from the room with as little fanfare as possible. Keep it up and hopefully the dog will begin to associate its aggressive behavior with being sent away.

After 8 years of living without any competition, the dog obviously has a problem. That problem could probably be easily solved by a little training. Hire a professional, or go get a book from the library. Dogs can be trained. The pounds are full enough.

Oh yeah, and rewarding the dog for proper behavior is definitely a must. But don’t give the dog food when he growls at the baby. That’s *not *the message you want to send.

The family dog displaying jealousy towards a new arrival in the family is very common. Most of these situations resolve themselves over a period of time. It would be helpful to pay a little more attention to the dog than you are presently inclined to.

Still, never leave the two of them alone .

What kind of dog do you have?

Dogs of all ages can benefit by training. Here’s a page with some good starter resource .pdf’s about dog behavior and training.

Check out the article on using a muzzle while you are retraining your dog first. It’s probably the first and last step to take until he/she stops behaving agressively (the dog, not the baby).

Because I don’t think the issue needs to automatically come down to dog or baby. I may be able to balance the situation so it is safe and healthy for both. If there is anyway to change the behavior before I rip up the only life she’s known for eight years, I think I owe that to the dog. Leo has never gotten bit because I have never let that happen. I can continue to not let that happen, but I also would like to find a better way.

I have a playard that I made out of a yard gate set up for the baby in the living room. It’s huge, and now Leo just hates it. So if Leo won’t use it, I figure maybe the dog can, and they can get to know each other while also keeping their separate space. I can bring Java out for regular play and pet time. If it doesn’t change when he starts walking, then it’s off to the training. She responded really well when we did just the basic training with her throughout her first year. She’s really very eager to please.

God, I hate this attitude. Yes, it is a dog, and if it came down to which to save from a burning building, of course you’d choose the child, but it is not as cut and dried as that. torie clearly values all the members of her family, canine include, and wants a happy home.

Remind me now, how was your comment helpful?

Every year babies are killed by dogs under similar circumstances. I have a friend who was maimed by a dog as a small child. If you are going to fart around with a behaviorist, put your kid in foster care while you retrain your dog.

It’s about setting priorities. When you become a parent, nothing should rank higher than the wellbeing of the child whose life is in your hands. Nothing. If you have a scintilla of doubt about the dog’s behavior, then the dog gets tossed. To another family if possible, to the pound if not. I’d rather mourn a pet than a child.

Dogs are not people. I wouldn’t abuse one, but I wouldn’t expose my child, or **any **child, to an instant’s jeopardy for affection for one.
Dangerosa has beaten me to it:

Seriously, how can there really be any question? A dog can *kill *a baby or toddler before a parent can arrive, even from the next room. I just googled “dog kills baby” and came up with at least ten separate stories of little children getting killed by their family’s dogs. And some of these stories implied there had been no previous aggressive behavior from the dog.

Leo is nine months old. If they were going to “get to know each other”, don’t you think they would have by now?

Also, you don’t *owe *anything to a dog that growls at your baby!! You owe something to the innocent, defenseless boy whom you created (or adopted), and for whom you are the main protector!! Unless you’re just of the mindset of, “we can always make (or adopt) another one”??? :mad::mad::mad::confused::confused::rolleyes: