| Register  | FAQ  | Search | Login 
It is currently Fri Aug 01, 2014 5:17 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 11:42 am 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 572
Location: West LA
I have a rescue dog, Shelby. She's always had aggression issues towards other dogs. My husband and I worked with her when we first got her and she made big improvements. Then, about 2 years ago, she had a complete regression and went back to snarling and lunging at every dog she sees. I'm not thrilled about that, but we were dealing with it.

In October, I had a baby. We introduced Shelby to the baby and things seemed to be going well. Here they are hanging out without any issues.

Image

In November, a friend came to visit the baby and brought her 3 year old. Shelby and the 3 year old were getting along just fine. Shelby was wagging her tail, giving kisses, etc. Then, I'm not sure what happened. Shelby barked and the next thing we knew the kid had a deep cut on her face. I'm not sure if Shelby's tooth caught on her when she barked or if it was an intentional attempt to bite. My friend was really nice about it, but I felt awful.

Recently, my baby has started moving around more. He loves Shelby and wants to pet her, get kisses and play with her. We're trying to teach him to pet nicely, but he does occassionally grab her fur and I have to pry his hands open to remove it. Anyway, yesterday, my husband was home with the baby. While Shelby, baby and husband were sitting on the couch, Shelby apparently started growling at the baby. Husband says that baby was not touching Shelby at the time. I'm now paranoid that the November incident and this growling incident indicate some sort of agression against children.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of issue? Any suggestions for an approach that works? I'm thinking of calling the rescue where we got Shelby to see if they have any ideas, but I think they will probably just downplay this as no big deal. When we rescued Shelby, they told us that the dog aggression was a minor issue and would resolve if we socialized her. Four years later, every other dog in the neighborhood crosses the street when they see us coming.

I really don't want to have to return Shelby to the rescue. It would break my heart. My husband is completely out of patience though and it's going to be a big issue if Shelby snaps or growls at the baby again.

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:12 pm 
Offline
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:55 pm
Posts: 3774
Location: The land of maple syrup and beavers.
Ok, here's the thing. Shelby growling at baby is 100% normal and should not be discouraged. It is the best sort of warning that dogs can give children that they aren't happy with what is going on. What needs to be addressed is WHY Shelby felt the need to warn baby.

The first thing I can tell you is to get this book: http://www.amazon.com/Living-Kids-Dogs- ... +your+mind

Colleen Pelar is the best at making parents understand the dog/child dynamic. Order that book, do not waste a moment. Both you and hubby need to read it, ASAP.

The second thing you have to do is bone up on your dog behaviour cues so you're able to catch earlier signs like whale-eye and avoidance. Chances are good that Shelby was doing things to show she was unhappy before she growled.

I am going to go on a limb and say that the growling probably occurred as resource guarding of your husband. Shelby wanted him to herself and baby was in some way hindering that. Or she was resource guarding the couch, or a couch/husband combo. But it's hard to say without having seen it and knowing whether Shelby was sleeping or if they were all snuggling together or how that all went about. Shelby can certainly be reprimanded for guarding, but not for growling. Especially if she growls and then moves away from the situation. Also, if your friend's child had a single cut, not a couple of punctures or a cut surrounded by bruising in particular area, you're probably right about it being an errant tooth situation.

It is not uncommon for dogs to gain more issues with children as they get closer to toddlerhood. How they move around, the noises they make, being at eye level with the dog more and more - these are all triggering. Also, dog aggression and child aggression aren't typically connected in any way. That's a conversation for a whole other thread unless her aggression is specifically resource guarding based and can come out at children/dogs equally.

Make sure Shelby always has space to get away from the baby and there should be spaces where Shelby is not allowed (aka Crib, or when the baby blanket is on the floor, etc) just as there should be places baby is not allowed that Shelby has free access to (dog bed, laundry room, Shelby's crate, etc).

From the little bit of information you've given I would summarize with the following:
-Don't freak out.
-Purchase book.
-Bone up on behaviour and stress cues. (http://www.doggonesafe.com/)
-Don't let Shelby on the couch with baby. Absolutely only ever let them interact closely when you can have 100% attention on the interaction.
-Increase one on one time with you and Shelby and hubby and Shelby (especially if solo walks with her have dwindled).
-Super praise any Shelby/baby interaction that occurs. Shelby REALLY has to know that it's good when she's being good!
-Speak to a trainer about doing a home visit to watch Shelby/baby interactions. They may be able to give initial recommendations to ensure successful interactions, and then you'll have a rapport started if just an assessment was not enough and things escalate.

Honestly, it sounds like things with the baby up until now have been pretty good, especially if Shelby is allowing a certain amount of tugging on hair and things of that nature. Remember that dogs can have bad days, just as we can. She might have just been having a really crummy day that day and wanted daddy to herself. Absolutely unacceptable, but teaching Shelby to leave the area if she's not happy with the baby will make everyone safest and happiest.

Feel free to PM me if you would like!

_________________
Anyone for some German Shepherd Pie? - daisychain
Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
Dwarf-tossing for God: A Story of Hope - Invictus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:33 pm 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 572
Location: West LA
Thank you! Book ordered and trainer emailed. I'm still worried because I'm not sure if my husband is going to get on board with dealing with this issue properly, but I'm going to do my best. (If Shelby is feeling that she's not getting enough Daddy-love, she is correct. He has had no interest in her since she had her regression and began barking at other dogs again).

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:35 pm 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 572
Location: West LA
I looked at the website link and I feel awful. Shelby has been doing the lip-licking pretty much anytime a stranger comes near her if the baby is with us. I didn't realize she was so stressed out. (As you can see from the picture, she is really cute, so strangers are constantly coming up to her and wanting to pet her. Then, invariably, they want to fuss over the baby.)

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:22 pm 
Offline
Semen Strong
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18755
Location: Cliffbar NJ
I think I was in a similar situation a while back, and got some good advice. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=21107&hilit=dog+aggression Moon sounds like she is dead on and it sounds like you have great tools to manage Shelby!

Cuddles is supermellow, but even he growled at the baby a few times. We ended up separating them during meals, because those were the situations most likely to trigger him, and when she is being very rambunctious, I separate them as well (for his sake). So he has learned never to take food from her unless I okay it, and that he will get lots of treats and cuddles for being good to her. At this point, she can actually take food out of his mouth without him growling, which is exactly what I had hoped for. We try to intervene when she is too rambunctious and he has a "safe space" to go to that she can't access.

I feel really confident with the two of them now, and I didn't a few months ago. Also, my husband was really nervous, like Mr. bcakes sounds like he is now, and it was just a question of getting used to the new situation.

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:34 pm 
Offline
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:55 pm
Posts: 3774
Location: The land of maple syrup and beavers.
Don't feel bad about not knowing about the lip licking. Most people don't know about lip licking/yawning being stress signals.

Tofulish's link is great and I totally forgot about that blog. Good stuff there.

Sounds like Dad and Shelby need to do a group training class for reactive dogs together, as a refresher on what you would have worked on in the past and also to firm up their bond. This is even more important if his patience on the issue has gotten thin. Having a reactive dog is stressful and I remember doing classes with Tungsten and being so exhausted at the end, but by the end of 6 or 7 sessions being really reaffirmed of my abilities to manage him and being proud of how far he had gotten.

If I can be stressed out about my dog's behaviour, anyone can. I ran a dog daycare for 5 years, worked closely with trainers and behaviourists and regularly went to seminars and conferences. Never mind my day to day reading! And I worked with some pretty stressed out, exhausting dogs, but when it is your own who is pushing the buttons that just makes things so much worse.

_________________
Anyone for some German Shepherd Pie? - daisychain
Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
Dwarf-tossing for God: A Story of Hope - Invictus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:07 pm 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 572
Location: West LA
Thanks Tofulish. Once I get over my mommy guilt for magnetizing our baby to the dog, I think I will find the resources in your thread helpful.

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:48 am 
Offline
Nailed to the V

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 572
Location: West LA
Thanks again guys. I went home last night and presented my husband with a plan to keep the baby safe from dog bites (and Shelby safe from being returned to the rescue where we got her). As I was going through my list, I said: "And we need to figure out what triggered Shelby's growling so that we can address it." To which my husband responded: "I was dangling the baby upsidedown in front of her."

So the good news is that I don't think Shelby was resource guarding. The bad news is that my husband apparently has really poor judgment. I feel a lot better now that I know what actually caused the growling and have a plan to address it.

_________________
http://veggielawyer.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 12:24 pm 
Offline
Invented Vegan Meringue
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:55 pm
Posts: 3774
Location: The land of maple syrup and beavers.
bcakes wrote:
Thanks again guys. I went home last night and presented my husband with a plan to keep the baby safe from dog bites (and Shelby safe from being returned to the rescue where we got her). As I was going through my list, I said: "And we need to figure out what triggered Shelby's growling so that we can address it." To which my husband responded: "I was dangling the baby upsidedown in front of her."

So the good news is that I don't think Shelby was resource guarding. The bad news is that my husband apparently has really poor judgment. I feel a lot better now that I know what actually caused the growling and have a plan to address it.


I have to say, this actually made me laugh. It's not funny, but just a release of "oh, of course!"

So, Shelby either growled because upside down dangling baby that was probably making noises freaked her out, or Dad misinterpreted the growling as being at the baby when it was actually at him because she was trying to protect the baby.

Tungsten is surprisingly good with kids, but if someone comes in the door carrying a small child he completely freaks. I call it the two headed monster syndrome. Babies are weird enough but flying/squealing/upside down babies can be pretty over stimulating. And so are adults that he otherwise ok with that have suddenly developed a second head.

I'm glad you were able to talk to him and figure out what exactly was happening when she growled. It helps so much in the long run to have specifics.

_________________
Anyone for some German Shepherd Pie? - daisychain
Well! Fruit is stupid! These onions taste nothing like fruit! - allularpunk
Dwarf-tossing for God: A Story of Hope - Invictus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:15 pm 
Offline
Saggy Butt
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2011 12:16 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: ATX
Moon you are so wise! I love Colleen Pelar's book too. I don't have too much situation-specific advice because our dog is aggressive to pretty much everyone BUT our toddler... Best of luck to you bcakes -- sounds like you are already starting to put everything together to remedy the situation! Should you need it, a good trainer should have some great suggestions and be able to offer you a few exercises that are doable even with the demands of a baby, nothing too overwhelming.

(I remember before we had our baby we were working with our trainer to prepare our dog -- she said something like, "You have to look at it from the dog's perspective -- babies pretty much look like unpredictable, flopping, dying prey to a dog." Hah.)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:52 pm 
Offline
Semen Strong
User avatar

Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:10 pm
Posts: 18755
Location: Cliffbar NJ
bcakes wrote:
I said: "And we need to figure out what triggered Shelby's growling so that we can address it." To which my husband responded: "I was dangling the baby upsidedown in front of her."


I laughed so hard. SO HARD at this. Hurrah for having a plan to deal with Shelby's growling.

I think its so nice to know that you can deal with these issues, relatively easily. We were able to correct Cuddles' resource guarding with respect to food around L really quickly, and the PPK (thanks mandycoot!) really helped us see what needed to be addressed. Sometimes its nice to have that external advice/gutcheck.

_________________
But on a cold winter night, when the wind whispers through the trees and a bright, white moon hangs heavy in the air, you might hear a sad cry like someone thinking he knows what's best for you, and that'll be the white man a-passin' you by. just mumbles


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dog aggression towards kids
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:11 pm 
Offline
Dislikes Rick Santorum
User avatar

Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
Posts: 5128
Location: United States of New England
Google the program "dogs & storks"
That one is specfically abt bringing a baby home but they have a second one abt toddler dog interactions. See if they offer the program near you. My husband and I did the baby one and it was great.
One of the biggest things we learned was you never want the dog in the position of making a decision in regards to caring for the kid. The dog should never feel they need to make that decision. It sounds like maybe Shelby was growling at your husband.

Good luck!!!

_________________
Lisa's CSA Blog 2014


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 12 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group
Template made by DEVPPL/ThatBigForum and fancied up by What Cheer