Bomb proof pup suddenly growling(3 Posts)
We have an 8 mth old cocker spaniel, she is a darling. Very lively of course but has always been very patient and playful in a gentle way with my toddler. I always watch carefully when they play as he can be rough as 2 yr olds are but the pup has always been very tolerant. I have a 7 mth old baby too who is crawling but doesn't interact much. I'm now pregnant and very sick so struggling to give the dog attention and walks etc so my very kind nanny has been bringing her home in the evening/weekend as she and her partner love dogs, have one of their own my dog gets on great with and they do long walks every evening that my pup can now go on. She doesn't seem unsettled, I would say she loves the new elements to her life, long walks, couch cuddles etc. at my nannys house. She is so calm and much easier to handle when she comes home each morning for the day with the family (I work from home so am here all the time too) but suddenly she is very much less tolerant of my toddler playing with her and has growled from her bed a few times. I am intervening immediately and trying my best to teach my son to back off and give her space when she is in her bed but of course it worries me. I am wondering about the psychology of it all, is she just more tired and wanting to relax or does she love the freedom in the other house and suddenly realise she does not want to play with annoying kids anymore.
In any case so far the growling has always been when she is in bed, my toddler and her used to play in the bed together but I've banned that now as I always felt it was her space and if she showed any sign she didn't like people in it I was going to step in anyway. So I will make sure she is not disturbed in her safe place from now on. I am just afraid that my lovely, child friendly dog will act out elsewhere and with now 3 babies around, I can't afford for that to happen. I am hoping it is just her bed is her castle and she behaves as usual everywhere else. And yes, of course I am working hard to teach my kids how to play nicely with a dog and how to give it fair space, that goes without saying. Has anyone else had a pup that suddenly became less tolerant or is it just that she is growing up and calming down and less up for puppy play these days?
At about 8 months Eric entered his teenage spell and whilst he didn't become less tolerant he definitely became more willful so it could be that. I can't advise on dogs and babies/toddlers though as our youngest was 11 when we had Eric. I wonder whether your dog is unsettled by staying out of the house. Is the nanny's house child free? I'd definitely not allow any child near her bed though, it's a rule here too even if we have no little ones.
Does she have a crate or a dog bed? A crate might be a better idea for her if she needs a safe space to retreat to away from toddlers. Either that or could you relocate her bed somewhere where you can block it off, perhaps with a babygate or similar?
It's good that you are removing the toddler and reinforcing to leave the dog alone when she's in her bed. Don't scold her for growling, far better a dog that growls as a warning than one that snaps without warning first and she's actually communicating her discomfort very clearly, which is a good thing, even though it's obviously worrying for you.
My dcs are 13, 11 and 6 and the rule is that they are never to approach the dogs when they're in their beds. The only one to ever break that rule is the eldest who has ASD and is slightly obsessed with our younger dog. Fortunately the feeling is mutual and the dog doesn't mind, as ds is very calm and gentle with him, but we still remind and reinforce every single time he forgets and does it. With younger dcs in the house I would always try and create a secure, safe space for a dog to retreat to and a crate is ideal for this because it's naturally enclosed.
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