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My dog hates my baby

(38 Posts)
Wishingtimeaway Fri 17-Jul-15 22:06:53

I have a three yr old German shepherd X, that I adopted a couple of years ago, who I adore, but does have his issues. In pregnancy we did all the playing baby sounds, getting the dog used to baby stuff, stopping him going on furniture/ upstairs etc. But then we brought home our DD 3weeks ago, and now struggling.

Initially, while he wanted to sniff her, he would whine and moan whenever she made noise, panting, yawning in the same room as her, trying to get as close to whoever wasn't holding the baby for reassurance. then when she was a week old, while I was struggling to try bf, he came up and nudged at me for attention, and when i sent him to his bed, snapped at her face, luckily not making contact.

since then, he is gated in the kitchen, unless my dh is around to oversee, or unless dd is sleeping in the pram. We are trying todo lots of positive reinforcement, treats when he is calm in the same room, walks with the pram ( as well as walks with a dog walker- so he's tired). But he's still no happier in the same room.

can this get better? I have no idea whether I doing the right thing. we have seen/ are seeing a behaviourist, but most the tips seem more about managing them separately. I feel so guilty, that the dog is spending most his life in the kitchen/ garden. But I have to protect my baby, and he snapped at her so suddenly, if he had wanted to actually hurt her, he could have done so easily, despite me there and holding her, and there is nothing I could have done.

I don't know whether with time, this will get better. Or whether I'm being unfair to my DD, to keep the dog when he's already snapped at her. And increasingly. Am being unfair to my dog, because he is so unhappy and stressed out with her presence, and while I adore him, would he be happier in a child free home. I would be devastated not having him here, but need to do what's best. Just wish I knew what that was.

Mumstheword2b Fri 17-Jul-15 22:11:01

We had the same with my first ds. We had to make the difficult decision to rehome our dog with a family member. Any aggression towards a baby is worrying. Our German shepherd just became very territorial and there wasn't much we could to do help him, although we did try so many different routes. See how it goes with the behaviourist, I hope your dog adjusts better than ours did.

StarsInTheNightSky Sat 18-Jul-15 09:04:20

Firstly flowers for being in such a rubbish situation. I have reached dogs for a lot of years, some of whom have very severe aggression issues. My current three dogs were all about to be pts as they were apparently unhandlable they were so aggressive. They're all happily snuggled around my feet as I type this, and not one of them had ever so much as growled at me, DH or toddler DS.

When I rescued our dogs, I always said that the second they showed any aggression to DS that would be it. Mine are all breeds which are highly human and dog aggressive anyway (two Caucasian Ovcharkas and one Fila Brasiliero)and each of them had already put at least one behaviorists in hospital (five in the case of our female Ovcharka).

I'm honestly not sure if its something I would stick with or if I would rehome in your dog's case, without knowing your dog its impossible to say. For some dogs there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can get them to the place of being trustworthy dogs, for others that isn't the case. I would be very concerned about him snapping while you re breastfeeding though.
If I were you I would find a different behaviorist/trainer, preferably one who has done schutzhund work as these are the people who have trained police and narc dogs, they are usually very experienced with aggression and are able to accurately assess it in all its forms. As with all trainers/behaviorists, some are useless, but if you have a local schutzhund club that would be the place to start.

I think your current behaviorist's advice about managing separately is very naieve and dangerous. With the best will and the most vigilance in the world, there is always going to be a time when they somehow manage to be together, and then what? As you say its not fair for any of you your dog included and having to be shut way from you when your daughter about is not going to help your dog associate her with positive things.

One last question, if your dog really did go for your daughter, are you capable (physically or otherwise) of stopping him? My dogs are all giant breed, but I have spent quite a bit of time with our vet going over where their pressure points are so that should the worst happen I can stop them. All of them will stop instantly if I shout at them too, even when they're mid attack. It sounds horrible but when you have a dog with the potential for aggression you have to know that you are able to stop them mid attack should that ever become necessary. If I thought I would ever have to use such measures I wouldn't have the dog in the house, but it's always good to be prepared.

Sending more flowers it really is a rubbish situation. When DS was teeny I was so shattered I could hardly remember which way we up, you're doing amazingly by trying to work through this when it ought to be a happy time x.

DorothyGherkins Sat 18-Jul-15 09:12:41

We had a collie we had to rehome eventually, as it showed signs of aggression towards the baby. We stuck with it and hoped it would work out, until our son became mobile and could open doors etc so that we couldnt predict when child and dog might come face to face. We made the heartbreaking decision to rehome the dog - I cried for weeks. It was the right thing to do, the possible consequences just werent worth thinking about. The dog had a much better life than we could have ever have given it, with no small children. And as our own children grew, we eventually got another dog who adored being with them.

KnockMeDown Sat 18-Jul-15 09:21:31

Surely it's not worth the risk of keeping the dog any longer? He has already snapped at her. If he was to actually bite next time, could you stop him? Even if you knew the pressure points, what damage would already be done to a tiny baby, and by then you would definitely not be able to rehome. Much better, and much kinder all round to rehome now, before any harm is done.

I am speaking as a non dog lover, but frankly I am surprised by the responses so far, with no one saying what I really want to, which is 'for God's sake, get rid now ' sad

MadameJulienBaptiste Sat 18-Jul-15 09:23:31

There might have been something in your dog's life before you got him that makes him this way with babies.
I would rehome the dog to a child free home where he will be happier and you won't have to constantly be on your guard keeping him separate from the baby.
fils dog was adopted at 12m. Always fine with the baby grandchildren but our nephew was suddenly bit on the face aged 3, scarred for life. Fil and bil in the room at the time.

villainousbroodmare Sat 18-Jul-15 09:26:12

I'd rehome the dog.

StarsInTheNightSky Sat 18-Jul-15 09:30:16

knockmedown when I said know the pressure points I meant so that you could stop your dog before they got to the baby, not when they had them. Also I said myself that no aggression towards my DS would ever be tolerated, I'm aware not everyone is as strict as I am with this so people have just been giving the OP options.

AngryBeaver Sat 18-Jul-15 09:35:27

I would have to have him rehomed. I'm so sorry. It will be so very difficult for y, but you can't chance it. Xx

Enchufla Sat 18-Jul-15 09:54:20

He sounds really stressed out, i would rehome him

KnockMeDown Sat 18-Jul-15 10:03:27

Is it actually possible to stop a dog before it attacks, if it suddenly decides to go for some one?

OP - I would consider yourself very lucky to have had this warning, and take action accordingly.

Battleshiphips Sat 18-Jul-15 10:13:21

I am currently pg with baby #2 and have spent days crying at the thought of getting rid of our fear aggressive dog (he is fine with 7yr old ds but does not like other children). We are taking him to a behaviourist and trying to get his issues sorted before we rehome. The difference is he is a small dog and although I know he could harm a baby I also know I could stop him. Because of the size of a GSD I wouldn't be too sure. I doubt I could stop a bigger dog and for that reason alone I would be more inclined to rehome. If our dog shows any signs of aggression to the baby he will be rehomed. Sorry you are going through this.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sat 18-Jul-15 10:18:36

Get rid of the dog - it's not worth it and it impacts on the quality of everyone's life, including the dog

villainousbroodmare Sat 18-Jul-15 10:20:35

I think that it would be very easy to overestimate your own ability to stop a dog before it bites. Animals are quick and surprisingly strong and you'd need to be right there and concentrating... I still don't think you could rely on it.

tabulahrasa Sat 18-Jul-15 10:28:31

You can't stop a dog who is actually intent on biting, whatever the size...unless you've got superhuman speed. It's not about strength it's the speed it happens at.

A snap or a warning bite, yes, but not a dog who is actually intending to give a full on bite.

OP...how is he with people in general?

If he's usually ok with people and you're very very confident of your ability to keep them separate there is a chance that the dog will adjust to the baby and of course the baby will get older.

But honestly...and I say this while living with a dog that is human aggressive, I wouldn't keep the dog, babies are just so vulnerable.

Battleshiphips Sat 18-Jul-15 10:30:29

Whatever you do don't ask for advice on any dog forums as quite frankly they can get abusive! At the end of the day as I said to my DH we could end up with no baby and no dog. If your dog seriously attacked your baby he would be pts. I think the kindest thing to do would be to get him out of the situation and somewhere safe. My dog is only tiny and even the slightest bit of aggression will mean he will be rehomed. I do understand how horrible this is. I have honestly cried for days over it. Baby is more important though.

StarsInTheNightSky Sat 18-Jul-15 10:31:55

knockmedown yes it is, if you know your dog, know their behaviour and are vigilant. I have stopped our female Ovcharka before she pinned one of our ranch hands, though I should have let her get the rat bastard that time in hindsight, next week she caught him in the middle of trying to rape our housekeeper's six year old daughter and she did pin him down then, thank God she was there.

If I had even the slightest doubt of my capabilities then I wouldn't chance it. It is something which is easy to overestimate, and I would never gamble with my son's safety. I'm not going to go into how I've trained my dogs here, and why I trust my capabilities as it isn't relevant and it is so specific to the individual dog. Also our dogs are breeds which make their feeling very easily known, they don't suddenly turn. I'm not actually convinced that any dog suddenly turns, I think the signs will always have been there, even if they were subtle.

StarsInTheNightSky Sat 18-Jul-15 10:33:09

You can stop a dog if you've taught them to keep a perimeter around people, that is part of what gives you the time to respond.

Catzeyess Sat 18-Jul-15 10:33:56

flowers that's really hard!

If it was me no question I would rehome him, but I'm not a dog expert so don't feel I could cope with that. However much you love him your DD comes first and you don't need this extra stress. Do you have a family member who could take him for the time being?

StarsInTheNightSky Sat 18-Jul-15 10:35:39

I should add that all three of my dogs are trained to pin down any of them who do something they're not supposed to (and they're very good at that), so I'm not just relying on myself but on the other two dogs too.

tabulahrasa Sat 18-Jul-15 12:23:57

Stars - I don't think the average pet owner is capable of stopping a dog mid bite and relying on that to keep a baby safe would be irresponsible.

My dog is aggressive with strangers and dogs and I'm completely confident in my ability to manage him so that he is safe to keep...doing that if he was aggressive towards members of my family would however be too much and mine are teenagers, not a baby.

SnakeyMcBadass Sat 18-Jul-15 12:31:30

Awful for you, OP. What is your gut feeling? I adore my dogs and one is fear aggressive towards other dogs. I manage him but it's stressful. I know that I couldn't cope with a human aggressive dog. In your shoes, I would find my dog a new loving home and accept the heartache. Losing the dog will be painful for you, but the alternative would be unbearable.

ChaircatMiaow Sat 18-Jul-15 12:38:45

OP, as knockmedown says, you've had your warning. I say that as a dog owner. The poor thing sounds really stressed and this situation may escalate as baby gets older. Some dogs just don't like children.

I'm sorry that this is upsetting for you. Congrats on your new arrival btw. flowers

bikeandrun Sat 18-Jul-15 12:53:45

I had a much loved dog pts after several incidents ( all short of a full attack/ bite) it was so hard but didn't regret it all, my children come first. The dog wasn't suitable for rehoming maybe yours is, but even a dog in a child free home can never be 100% isolated from children. If I had tried to rehome my dog being 100% honest he would have never found a home, if I lied l couldn't have lived with myself if he had bitten a child. He was loved especially by my DD , he had a loving home( had been badly treated as a pup) the two years he had with us meant he had a life, his fear based aggression meant that life was short but he was never mistreated again( as dogs that are rehomed multiple times can end up being)

Wishingtimeaway Sat 18-Jul-15 13:03:31

He is fantastic with adults, and teenagers he knows, although scared of younger children. And he has been the most amazing dog for us, he's loving, friendly, playful. He does have a tendency to resource guard, which we have worked a lot on, and so he's much better than he was, but still wouldn't trust people with him around food.

If he really wanted to hurt someone, I don't think I would physically be able to stop him. I don't think he would actually really attack her, but could do enough damage from snapping and warning bites. And obviously not getting in a position to test the theory.

i sit looking at my DD, and think I can't let anything hurt her, and do the dog will need to go. But then, when she sleeps, and I go pay attention to the dog, I think about how much I adore him. It has been a difficult couple of years, and it's the dog that's pulled me through.

ultimately, I think we will probably need to rehome the dog. While it's manageable now to keep the two separate, as she becomes more mobile, will get more difficult, and not fair on him. I just worry that my amazing dog, will spend ages in kennels, as a child aggressive black shepherd x, and think he would hate it. And I hate to think of him unhappy.

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