My dog's being really irritable lately. He's grumpy and I think it's because of our 16 month old daughter. Our dog is almost 5 years old.
When he's inside the house during the day, our daughter is in here too. She follows him around and tries to play with him, but most of the time he doesn't want to play with her, he wants to chew on his toys and be left alone. She doesn't hit him, she loves him and tries to pet him and hug him, but he doesn't want her near him 80% of the time.
He use to run to another spot to get away from her, but now she is fast so everywhere he goes, she goes. And she sometimes takes his toys, runs away and tries to get him to chase her. He doesn't care for this game, he gets irritated and usually follows her, grabs his toy and walks away from her. Now 2-3 times a week, he is growling when she comes up to take his toy- those could be bad days for him though, we all have grumpy days. She's been getting into trouble for this for a while now and knows it's not okay to touch his toys, but she is 16 months and she just wants to find ways to play with her. We taught her how to play fetch with him, but he will bring the ball to us because she can't throw as far as he likes. Which makes her feel sad because she wants to throw him the ball.
Tonight he was following my husband around and my daughter came up behind him to pet his back and he turned around and nipped her hand. She cried and was afraid of him. And I think he was irritable already and surprised when she snuck up behind him, hence while he nipped her. I went over to him and told him "No!" and went to grab his collar and he showed his teeth like he was going to bite me too. My dog has never bite us or acted like he was going to. Then he ran to the door so I could let him outside (he knew he was in trouble). Right now he is looking at us through the door and whimpering to come back inside..... I know he isn't being mean on purpose, he's just frustrated... I'm going to let him back in, but I need advice on how to help him deal with my daughter better.
He's being fed, he's inside with us for quality time, he's outdoor to get air and have his quiet/alone time. He went to the vet for a check up recently and he was fine, he's on his flea medication and doesn't have any infections/fleas/bugs, etc. The only thing that has changed is his play time indoors, obviously because of my daughter.
I've tried fixing thid problem by setting up a baby gated area in the living room so he could go in there and not have her harass him, but he wants to be near us and not in the secluded area (even though it's 3 feet from us). I let him hang out with me when she takes her nap and when she goes to bed at 8pm. This makes him super happy because he can lay on his pillow without anyone touching him. But what do I do for the rest of the day? Any advice? I understand his frustration, but my daughter isn't going anywhere, just like he's not going anywhere either. We have to learn to live together, happily! LOL
Thanks for the advice guys!