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Thread: Need help, my dog is irritated by my toddler

  1. #31
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Ok, my cousin just called me to talk about the dog situation.

    She said the following and she knows my dog personally, FYI.

    She said he's a good dog and doesn't have any mental issues. That just because of his "breed" doesn't mean he is bad with children, it depends mainly on the dog owner and the "parenting" the dog has. She said that little dogs tend to run out of patience sooner than big dogs because they think they have to defend themselves more against bigger dogs/kids. So a big dog will take a lot more crap from a toddler because he knows a toddler is too small to really take him on. However, she said the growling from frustration can happen with any dog and it does, every dog has a breaking point (just like us).

    She said the growling my dog is doing is DEFENSIVE growling, she said it's different than aggressive growling (which leads to attacks). She said aggressive growling is when a dog is challenging someone because he thinks he is a higher rank in the pack, my dog is not doing this behavior. She also said when he bit her it was more than likely from surprise (because he did a fear bite, not an agressive bite) and his reaction to me (to crouch and show teeth) was a result from a flight or fright response- it's because he was afraid from the bite/crying situation and wanted to protect himself from the pack leader (myself). She said this is normal behavior when a dog is very frightened. And it's likely it will never happen again, especially since he's been normal since then.

    She said I need to continue to let my dog know that our daughter is a pack leader too. She said letting my daughter throw his ball for fetch and bringing my daughter on walks to show the dog she is a pack leader will help. She said extra walks will help release any extra stress and make the dog feel more part of the pack.

    She said to set up an area in the house where my daughter is never allowed to go. And then teach her that that is the dog's spot and she needs to let him have his space. He can go there when he feels overwhelmed or needs his alone time (which she said is normal for dogs- to want alone time).

    She says his growling is normal and his growl is him protecting his toy from a child that keeps taking it excessively. He allows her to take the toy many times (which shows he understands she is at a higher rank otherwise he wouldn't tolerate it at all), but growls when it becomes too much and he is frustrated (which she says is normal, but most people don't see this reaction from their dog because they don't push the dog to this point- children usually do).

    She actually laughed when I asked her if my dog is likely to attack my daughter. She said she highly doubts it would happen. She said as long as I am watching them constantly (until she is old enough to understand how to treat the dog), teaching my daughter to give the dog space and showing my dog that my daughter is a top dog in the family, he will be just fine. She said she recommends sitting there with my daughter and showing her how to treat the dog 100% of the time when he is in the house, which means until my daughter gets a better idea of how to treat our dog, he will have to be separated from us a little more. She said it's not fair to him for the next few weeks, but says it will help him understand that I am watching her when she is near him and he doesn't have to become anxious around her.

    So that's what she says. BTW, she's been a vet assistant for several years and is getting her veterinary degree soon. She's also a part time trainer during the summers so I definitely trust her judgement.

    She said she is dropping by next week to watch the kid/dog interact and will give me some mini lessons and some books to help me out.

    Looks like we are heading towards the right direction!

    Last edited by DeadDwarf; December 19th, 2008 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Typo

  2. #32
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Well I hope that made you feel abit better

  3. #33
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honey View Post
    Well I hope that made you feel abit better
    I don't know if she does,but I do!!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  4. #34
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honey View Post
    Well I hope that made you feel abit better
    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    I don't know if she does,but I do!!
    Yes, I definitely feel better! I was taking notes when I was talking to my cousin, so when my husband came home I was able to fill him in on everything. He said he felt a lot better too, my cousin really helped us understand the different behavior he has been showing.

    We have agreed to sit next to them when they are interacting and watching our daughter every second she is around the dog so we can correct her when she is not being nice to him. They were cuddling tonight and our daughter was petting him nicely and they were giving each other kisses (EW!), that's two days now of good behavior from the kid and the dog.

    I have a good feeling things are going to be okay for us!

  5. #35
    A*O
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    My dogs aren't aggressive at all BUT they are very protective and if they perceive any kind of threat to me, ie Top Bitch, then can get a bit antsy and I have to make sure they know that I'm not being "attacked". Just a bit of reassurance is all it takes and they are fine but it's something I'm always aware of and try to anticipate.
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  6. #36
    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    Sounds like your cousin had good advice, DD.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

  7. #37
    Elite Member crumpet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aella View Post
    Sounds like your cousin had good advice, DD.
    That's what i was going to say and let me add that I'm also impressed with you for not throwing in the towel with the dog out of fear or knee jerk response.
    Only the good die young.........................
    bitches like me live forever!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. #38
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    My dogs aren't aggressive at all BUT they are very protective and if they perceive any kind of threat to me, ie Top Bitch, then can get a bit antsy and I have to make sure they know that I'm not being "attacked". Just a bit of reassurance is all it takes and they are fine but it's something I'm always aware of and try to anticipate.
    My dog has only really acted that way once. My husband and I rough house sometimes, like wrestling and play fighting on the ground. One time I was yelling and it sounded like I was hurt, my dog start barking like he was going to jump in the middle of the fight and stop it. He was really upset and seemed concerned, I thought he might start fighting too! LOL. I think he was wanting to protect me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aella View Post
    Sounds like your cousin had good advice, DD.
    Yeah, she did! She said to call her back if anything else happens. I left her a voicemail and she stepped out of a Christmas party to call me back since she could tell I was worried. She's a good friend and cousin, I love her!

    Quote Originally Posted by crumpet View Post
    That's what i was going to say and let me add that I'm also impressed with you for not throwing in the towel with the dog out of fear or knee jerk response.
    Thanks. He's part of our family, when we got him at 10 weeks, we planned for him to be with us until he died. Our home was going to be his only home. So I would try anything to make the situation better before I would even think about getting rid of him. He loves us so much, I couldn't just give him away, he would die of a broken heart, you know? He's a sweet little guy, and although he can be a pain in the butt (just like my kid, LOL), we love him and enjoy having him around.

    Thanks again for all the advice guys!

  9. #39
    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    Maybe he nipped her because she startled him? Rereading, I see thats what you cousin said, and I think she may be correct. I say this because when I was very young and my puppy was sleeping (she was the most friendly, non-aggressive dog ever) I grabbed her to give her a hug around her neck. In an instant, she bit me and her teeth went through the skin above my upper lip. I started crying and immediately my dog started licking my face, she had the saddest eyes ever. My dad yelled at her and she crouched down and started whimpering. My parents bandaged me up, but when I told people what happened when they asked, my parents started getting phone calls from all these concerned parents saying that my dog should be put down. But it was MY fault. She obviously was sleeping and dreaming and I pounced on her, it was an instant reaction to being startled. We never ever had a problem besides that one time, and I'm still mad that people had the audacity to say that my sweet little puppy should be put down. I'm so glad my parents didn't cave and do something harsh to her. Thats why I'm curious as to whether your toddler startled him and thats why he nipped, or if he was actually being aggressive. Its funny to me because your dog seems to almost have the personality of a cat, it wants to be around but it doesn't want to be touched or hassled.
    Women ain't gonna let a thing like sense fuck up their argument. - Chris Rock

  10. #40
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    ^ When he nipped her, he was standing in the kitchen watching my husband. I saw my daughter go up behind him and put her hand on his lower back area and he kind of jumped and turned around and nipped her hand (which was still on his back).

    My husband thinks she pinched him because he caught her doing it earlier that day. She could have done that and it wouldn't shock me, but what I do know is that he didn't know she was coming up behind him. He was so into watching my husband (and probably hoping some food dropped on the floor) that he didn't notice my daughter.

    He is kind of cat like, he likes to hang out with us and he likes to be touched and cuddled, but only when he wants it. He's most happy when he is at our feet when we are on the couch.

    I'm glad everything worked out with your dog, that makes me feel good!

  11. #41
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    DD I was watching some cute clips on youtube and these two made me think of your thread

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG6ieU89tJM[/youtube]
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxITVIddnxU[/youtube]

  12. #42
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    How freaking cute! LOL

    He's like the first dog, he gets his toy and she will lay on the ground and play with him. Then he will end up laying on top of her like a literal dog pile or he will lay across her lap. She loves when he does that and she will stroke his face and giggle. It's pretty damn cute!! I should video tape them, but I never have the camcorder next to me and it ruins the moment when I have to get up and get it.

  13. #43
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    They sound as nutty as each other

  14. #44
    Gold Member laynes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laurent View Post
    DD, I also commend you for not giving up on the animal you adopted once you had children or things got difficult. I find it admirable.

    I would focus more on teaching my child what's not acceptable to do to the dog. I would try and limit their time together as much as reasonable for a while and I would keep a constant and vigilant eye on them when together.

    I agree 100%! While obviously your child is the MOST important person in that house..I think it's wonderful that you are willing to put in the time, effort, research and focus to work with your dog!

    At the SPCA we take in so many dogs that people just give up on at the first sign of anything abnormal (growling, etc.) Most of the time the dog just needs a little work!


    You are a great dog owner! More people should be like you.



  15. #45
    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Just wanted to update this thread.

    So it's been 2 weeks since the dog incident (and when I started the thread) and things have been great with the dog and kid.

    She's been giving him his space, when he gets bothered he goes to his pillow and blanket for a doggie time out and the kid knows not to touch his area. She hit him a week ago and he walked over to me, almost to get my attention so I could tell her no and explain to her that he didn't like it.

    They have been cuddling a lot lately. She's been petting him really softly and kissing him, which he is loving. And we have been giving him an extra bowl of food so we can make sure he is getting all the food he needs so he isn't cranky. So maybe he will get a little fat this winter, but at least he will be happy, fat and full.

    So yeah, things are going great. And our daughter is getting WAY better with animals. She played with a 5 lb dog today and was VERY gentle with him and left him alone when we told her to. And then on the way home, we stopped by a client's house and he let her play with his old and cranky cat, and our daughter was petting the cat softly for 10 minutes and when the cat meowed (like a "leave me alone" meow), she got up and walked away from the cat.....

    Some good is coming of this!!!!!

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