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Tally

Growling Dog

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I have a 9 month old son. He has been getting really good at crawling over the last couple of months and is now crossing paths with my 3 year old Australian Shepard regularly. The dog has never shown any aggressive behavior in the past and as a matter of fact has spent a good amount of time at my sisters house with her 2 kids (both under 2 years in age) without any problems or concerns.

 

Recently the dog has started growling at my son and she has done it 3X in the last couple of weeks. The last time it happened he didn’t even touch her. He just crawled within a foot or so of where she was sleeping and she growled at him. I am very concerned and I’m considering getting rid of an otherwise excellent dog. This weekend I went crazy gating up my house and I basically now have my house now separated into 3 main areas so it will be much easier moving forward to make sure the dog and boy are always separate but I just don’t know if that’s enough. Mistakes can happen, gates can be left open and if the dog ever bites my son…I would never forgive myself.

 

Does anyone have any experience with this type of a situation? With a dog that seemed mild mannered but changed when a crawling baby bothered it. Did you get rid of the dog or how did you handle it? Also, if anyone kept the dog did the situation get better when the baby got older and started walking or did that just make things worse?

Edited by Tally

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That's tooo bad -- but seriously, kids come first ... before the dog, before hobbies, even before old drinking buddies ... and kids' safety is a paramount concern for parents ... So it's likely time for a new home for the dog ... and in the long run, if done with unparallelled love and devotion, you'll find parenthood to be the greatest thing in life.

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Not to long ago one of our fellow Huddlers had this problem. I cant remember who though. Big John where are you?

 

Bottom line is you have to protect your child. You said it, you know it. We had an older dog when my daughter was born but he was protective of her. All dos are different but if it has shown aggression would not take a chance. I am sure you could find a good home for your dog.

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Not to long ago one of our fellow Huddlers had this problem. I cant remember who though. Big John where are you?

 

:Dyou rang?

 

work :D

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Dogs belong outdoors.

 

Depends where you are and what the dog is for.

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The dog looks at it like another puppy in the house. The dog either A. has to learn the baby is on a higher rung or B. get rid of the dog if you can't train it.

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Quit bathing your child in raw hamburger... that should help.

 

Otherwise I would have to agree with the rest of the Huddlers who have chimed in... the net-net is this, as a father of a little kid, I would absolutely have to keep my child out of any potential serious danger. Your dog is giving you the warning signs. Be loving and kind to your pet, but find him a new home ASAP.

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What was your reaction when the dog growled? Sounds like the dog wants to assert dominance over the kid to me. I can sympathize with you not wanting to possibly jeopardize your kid in any way. I'd bet with some training the dog could return to the bottom of the totem pole but the stakes are too high if you got it wrong.

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I also feel that the child comes first! One thing I will add is that if your going to keep the dog then the seperation tactics will only work to excacerbate(sp) the issue. If you are keeping the dog out of areas it has grown accustomed to roaming you may actually create more of an issue between dog and child.

 

Good Luck with a very difficult situation!

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I am a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist. I just recently had a case like this when their baby started crawling.

 

Either your Aussie is behaving out of fear or sees you child as a subordinate who needs to be corrected.

 

Children, to a dog, have unpredicatable behavior and different behavior from adults. Even their movements are jerky, sudden, and unusual. Humans walk, they don't crawl. Just like some dogs react to people in wheel chairs or on bicycles-same thing. Dogs learn in pictures and this picutre is not right. For a nervous dog, this can create fear. Often dogs feel more threatened with toddlers when they start walking, which you will be facing soon. Toddlers lunge, fall down, throw toys, sometimes at the dog, run after the dog to pet them, and often when they get to the dog, they aren't all that gentle until they are taught to do so. I read that children can't truly empathize that what they do can hurt until 4-5 years of age. So, many trainers and breeders are now recommending to not introduce a dog to a family until children are over 5 years of age.

 

It's also possible your Aussie sees a your baby as a subordinate. Some dogs see children as subordinates who must be kept in line. An adult dog doing this to a puppy may result in a growl, air snap or soft bite to the muzzle. Children's faces are far more delicate than puppies and can do harm even with a mild inhibited bite.

 

My recommendation to parents with very young children who you aren't old enough explain how to behave around a dog and the child can't be part of the training process, is to rehome the dog. It takes a combination of training and management to change the dog's behavior, and does not happen overnight. In the meantime you have the stress of keeping your child safe. Also, consider the quaility of the dog's life. If he has to be kept isolated or outside, what quaility of life does he have. I always preach, the saftey of your child comes first.

 

If you want an expert's opinion, if you tell me where you live, I can recommend a behavior specialist who can do a behavior evaluation. You can PM me, or tell me on this thread. There could be a very simple trigger that is causing this growling, and if that is addressed and easily resolved, you may be able to keep your dog. It takes lots of questions and answers, and observing the dog's behavior to come with the right assesment which is impossible for me to do over a message board. I often discover what sounds over a phone interview that the dog has to be rehomed, once I see the interaction between the dog and child, I realize that the problem is simple and can be resolved.

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As noted in the above linked to thread, my dog "air snapped" at my 2 year old son, so I was faced with a similar situation. We have since worked very hard training the dog as far as what is and is not acceptable. We're also training my son, but there's only so much you can teach a 2 year old. Until my son is a bit older to know EXACTLY what to do around the dog, we have done the following: When the dog and my son are out together, we are ALWAYS around, and have trained the dog unrelentlessly that he is not allowed near my son, his food, or any of his belongings. If we are out of the room, my dog is in his crate, or in another gated off section of the house. He spends a little more time in his crate, but he's certainly not in there all day. The dog has adapted very well, and he knows his boundaries. Obviously this is all done in a controlled environment, so we are there and could intervene if something where to happen, but so far the dog has learned to stay away from my son, and the dog seems fine with it.

 

Time will tell, but it seems to be working pretty well.

Edited by Hugh 0ne

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My dogs get stirred up when I get down on the floor with them. They automatically know it's game on when I do that even when I don't intend to play with them.

 

In your case, it would be a hard choice to keep the dog around. I'm sure that the dog is worried about what the baby will do when he's crawling to him. The baby would be an unpredictable predicament for the dog.

 

You also said that the dog was napping at the time. I've seen dogs quickly awakened and do something like this before.

 

The first thing you do is stop throwing the baby when you play fetch with the dog. :D

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You had the dog before the kid. The noobs gotta go. Dogs are waaaay better than children anyway. :D

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Its hard but a dog can be replaced ( even if its very hard to do so ) ... A child can not

 

I think sugar magnolia gave the best advice ( as probably should be the case given her profession and experience )

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Anyone who suggests getting rid of the dog based on what happened is clearly taking the easy way out. JMHO.

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Anyone who suggests getting rid of the dog based on what happened is clearly taking the easy way out. JMHO.

 

 

 

Especially the professional dog trainer. :D

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Just like some dogs react to people in wheel chairs or on bicycles-same thing.

 

We had a 90 pound black dog that kept wanting to "save" people from thier wheelchairs. She wanted to "gentle bite" thier wrists and pull them out of the contraption.

 

Nothing like getting disapproving stares when folks see your dog lunging at someone in a wheelchair, like you trained them to kill cripples.

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I have a nine month old son and a two and a half year old golden retreiver. My son loves to mess with the dog and the dog is extremely good at letting him crawl on her and pull her hair. My son is also very good at getting dog baths from the dog while he is doing these things. My dog will let him do this for a long time until he goes off to do something else. On the rare occasion that she has had enough, she will give him a growl that is basically telling us to get him away from her. We never let him around the dog unless we are nearby. I don't have any advice as I am sure that almost every scenario like this is different, but I would say that pets and children, when together, should always be closely monitored.

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I used to own an Aussie. They are very sweet if you are bigger than them and not running from them. Never had any problems with ours till a kid ran through our front yard while she was chained up out there. Her instincts kicked in and she knocked the kid down and bit him on the face. I would have never called this from this particular dog. We had to put her down. I think that breed might have a little Dingo in em. I'd put an add in the paper. Try your hardest not to put him in a shelter.

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