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Dog & Baby

(23 Posts)
mamasco Fri 03-Feb-17 22:59:34

Where do I start..?

We adopted a rescue pup from Bulgaria who came into our lives aged 4 months last April.

He's our first dog and it has been challenging but he's got a lovely temperament and we love him to bits. However, during this time we found out we were pregnant and now have a baby.

The dog (now 1) gets walked the same amount daily but it's now becoming a real struggle doing this plus the baby. We've also just not long found out that MIL has incurable cancer...

Pup has started to exhibit a worrying behaviour - aggressively barking at children. No idea where this has come from. He's fine with the baby but I think since he's not spent much time with kids he's developed a fear. We just don't have the time to work on training with him on this and we don't really have many people around us who can help. We're both at our wits end

floopyloopy Fri 03-Feb-17 23:02:38

Right. Just take a breath smile

Please consult a behaviourist. A one off session round here is about £50. Best money spent to understand why our dog did what he did. I was so close to rehoming him. If you've been doing well up until now just have a go at problem solving. It won't always look like this. Good luck.

mamasco Fri 03-Feb-17 23:03:49

Hadn't finished!

DH is struggling to juggle work, me & baby, his mum plus the dogs challenging behaviours. I really can't do much with the dog during the day (he's really big and not good on lead so can't walk with baby and him) so it's mostly left to him when he gets home.

Should we look at rehoming the dog? The news of his mum has tipped DH over the edge and I'm worried in both instances - keep the dog and he gets so stressed and has some sort of breakdown. Or give him away and it'll tip him over into full blown depression sad

mamasco Fri 03-Feb-17 23:08:32

floopyloopy

Just worried doggy not getting the attention he wants/deserves. Maybe it'd be better for him?

floopyloopy Fri 03-Feb-17 23:12:15

I could have written your post a few years ago. Before I rehomed I wanted to know I'd tried everything. Behaviourist was awesome. I'd also consider dog walkers etc. Not that we had a limitless budget but we needed to know we'd tried.

It worked and we have weathered the storm. It won't always be this hard.

mamasco Fri 03-Feb-17 23:20:43

Have a dog walker 3 times a week which does help. Costs a lot but at least the pup gets 3 really good walks and lots of socialisation. He just seems so down being in the house the rest of the day. He has no set routines so I think he's struggling with it. Wish there was somewhere he could go and get trained/looked after for a couple months and then come back to us.

Forgot to mention we have also moved house in this time. Really not making life easy for ourselves grin

tabulahrasa Fri 03-Feb-17 23:40:25

Training isn't something that needs to be taking up huge amounts of time...it's something you can mostly do while doing other things, so if he's barking on walks, the training would happen on those walks.

As for being down in the house...are you not in?

mamasco Fri 03-Feb-17 23:48:40

I do try and go out a fair bit, but never more than 4 hours. When I am in I'm not really able to give the dog much attention as I'm pretty much always holding the baby.

Nemosnemsis Sat 04-Feb-17 06:34:02

Wish there was somewhere he could go and get trained/looked after for a couple months and then come back to us

It doesn't really work like that I'm afraid, training has to be done alongside you. Plus, sending the dog away again now for a 'couple of months' and then bringing him back would not benefit the poor guys mental state much. It sounds like you just want a break from him more than anything else.

I don't want to sound harsh but...Most of this situation was avoidable, assuming your pregnancy wasn't a complete unplanned accident - you must have conceived soon after adopting the dog? Young dogs and newborns are rarely a good idea. UK shelters refuse to rehome dogs to families with very young children for good reason. Even your house move - which can be very upsetting for any dog, but especially a rescue - must have been somewhat predictable. Plus, you are a novice owner taking on a rescue - working on minor behavioural problems as they crop up is part of the package you took on.

Only you can decide whether to keep him or not. If time is scarce, then your only option is to throw money at the situation. Get a behaviourist in. And possibly increase the visits from the dog walker. If you tell us a bit more about the barking then we might be able to offer more help on that front:
- who are these children he's barking at?
- where are you when it happens? Home/park?
- is he on or off lead?
- describe his behaviour and body language in more detail
- what breed is he?

picklemepopcorn Sat 04-Feb-17 07:14:38

It's good that you have spotted there is a problem. Take a big breath and do some planning. Work out what you can do, rather than what you can't. Look at little patches of time when you can do a quick training game- waiting for kettle to boil? The more training you do, the better the bond and more reliable your dog will be. Do you have a playpen and stair gates? Invaluable for keeping everyone safe.

Find a dog walking group in your area. Take it in turns to walk the dog with the group, while the other one stays with your baby.

Presumably when he barks at children, it's when you see them while he's on the lead? Do you see the same ones regularly? Do you have any dog loving friends?

The rescue group that brought you the dog may well offer support, mine does. Tell them what is happening. They may have an experienced dog foster carer near you who will help. Especially one with children. They can help you accustom the dog to children.

mamasco Sat 04-Feb-17 11:05:25

Nemos Yes I know we can't send him away, I'm not that naive. I just wish we could but I know that'd really unsettle him more and likely make him worse. Baby was a bit of a surprise actually and the house move came about very quickly - same week my baby was born. It wasn't a long thought out plan. We were in a small 1 bed so we had to move to have space for us all. Sadly life doesn't all go exactly to plan and this is unfortunately my situation here.

The dog was a stray picked up at 6 weeks so unsure of the breed, his paperwork said pointer cross but he's a large dog. The info given by the charity who we got him from was all wrong too, was supposed to be a poodle cross, small/medium dog and good with kids. This was all wrong.

He barks at any children he passes on and off lead, even if they don't approach him. He runs up to them off lead circling and barking and ignores our cries for him to come back. He's made a fair few cry in fear.

He does it on lead too, last week with the dog walker as soon as he left ours and got out on to the street he went nuts and barked at some kids and tried to go for them.

mamasco Sat 04-Feb-17 11:20:31

Pickle

Different kids every time. We also live right next to a primary school now which I thought may help him get accustomed to them but it would seem not.

We do have dog loving friends who do help us out when they can, but most of them are very busy with their own things going on.

I will get in touch with the charity and see how they can assist.

Floralnomad Sat 04-Feb-17 11:35:52

For a start he should not be off lead if he's going to run and bark at anyone and you can't call him straight back . I would get onto whoever you got him from and get them to rehome him as it really doesn't sound like you want him and you sound very naive as no rescue could tell you that a 4 month old pup would be good with kids .

mamasco Sat 04-Feb-17 11:47:13

*Floral
*
He does come back when off lead, this is a new behaviour. The charity said that the breed we were getting was good with kids, not this specific dog.

picklemepopcorn Sat 04-Feb-17 12:46:09

Every school time, stand with your dog by your front door and give him treats as the children go by. When he is calm about that, move a little closer to the children. And closer again. It should get to the point that he sees children and looks to you for treats.

That's assuming your door isn't right by the pavement... If so you need to go somewhere where the children pass, but not very closely.

Gradually build up the exposure.

Pogmella Sat 04-Feb-17 13:26:05

While pregnant I spent aaages walking or dog up and down our hall next to the buggy with lots of cheese/sausage in the pocket at the back. She now walks beautifully next to our dc in the buggy -not so much without the buggy...- We also give her the Kong in her crate while our dc has food to the point that she now trots in tail wagging as soon as we get the highchair out. You can use food to build positive associations around children. Our dog sometimes tries to run towards other prams/buggies in the park, I think she think everyone stores dog food in the back...

Floralnomad Sat 04-Feb-17 14:10:07

IT may be a new behaviour but you said hes made a fair few cry in fear , making one child cry should have been enough for you to be keeping him on a lead .

mamasco Sat 04-Feb-17 14:22:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mamasco Sat 04-Feb-17 14:24:13

*Floral
*
This was when on the lead actually. Since then only had walks off lead in places where there's no kids, thanks.

tabulahrasa Sat 04-Feb-17 16:03:33

"The charity said that the breed we were getting was good with kids, not this specific dog."

A 4 month old puppy won't have been reliably good with anything yet, the breed traits might be positive, but you still at that point would need to put in the socialisation yourself.

Get some help now with the children issue, before it becomes a practised behaviour.

With everything else it's just a case of little and often for training and interaction, even things like feeding him with a puzzle toy will keep him busy, tire him out and requires no input from you while he's having it.

Trick training and games can be done in 5 minute slots...

greatscott81 Sat 04-Feb-17 22:47:03

He barks at any children he passes on and off lead, even if they don't approach him. He runs up to them off lead circling and barking and ignores our cries for him to come back. He's made a fair few cry in fear.

I would be apoplectic if someone's dog (regardless of age) did this to my child and I speak as a breeder. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, but surely you'd keep your dog on a lead if you knew this could happen? Circling and barking are quite threatening behaviours - are you aware of this? Are you training him to come back - using treats, etc? Nobody wants their dog on a lead all the time but it doesn't sound as if you have full communication with him. Can you get a behaviourist to come and work with you?

SparklingRaspberry Sun 05-Feb-17 17:35:00

I don't want to sound harsh but I will be totally honest.

You don't get a dog until you become pregnant - when you got the dog you must've known that one day you would have a baby.

You don't get a dog until a horrible stressful time of your life comes along - if we all did that every dog would end up rehomed.

As for wanting to send your dog off to be trained and then get him back again - that's pretty harsh. You get back what you give!

If your dog isn't great off lead then surely you can use your brain and keep him on the lead?

A dog is hard work.
You CAN have a well trained dog who is great with babies and children. But YOU need to make that happen. If you really wanted it you'll pay for a private trainer or behaviourist. You'll get him into a routine. You'll be surprised at how easier this will make everything.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sun 05-Feb-17 17:41:02

What does your dog wear for walking? Harness? Collar and lead?
Our crazy dog trots like a little pony in her Halti. Worth the effort to teach her with it. Drags me everywhere on her harness, as she's pulling with one of the strongest parts of her body.

And yes yes to a trainer. Even one session with my lovely friend who does this made such a big difference in the dog, but also in our handling of her.

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