So worried about dog and baby

posted 2 years ago in Pets
Post # 31
4032 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - Canada

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ne11y23 :  You’ve received some great advice, I think you have a good plan going forward. I would suggest that you work with the pup regularly so he begins to see you as the boss too. This may help you feel more in control over him. Fiance and I have a really well-natured dog but he’s stubborn and listens to me because I’m really strict but doesn’t listen to Fiance because he’s not strict with him. Once Fiance saw the difference between how he listens to each of us, he became more strict and he listens to him much better now. Dogs want to follow your lead but if you always defer to your DH when commanding the dog, he wont listen to you and you’ll never feel confident (I’m not totally sure if this is the case, but mentioning it just in case it is). You can start small, teach him a new trick and work on it every day. Discipline him if he doesnt listen to you and praise the heck out of him when he gets it right.

We actually never walk our dog, but we have a park in our backyard so we throw his ball twice a day for probably 45mins – an hour each day. He’s quite tired after that haha. You will need to leash train him but throwing his ball more often & for longer may be a good place to start so he’s more tired. Best of luck!

Post # 32
681 posts
Busy bee

Honestly, it baffles me that there are people out there who don’t walk their dog at all. Dogs need exercise and putting him in the backyard does not count especially if you are not out there with him making him exercise. My dog gets two long walks a day plus throwing the ball in the backyard and he’s still plently hyper. I can’t imagine how poorly my dog would behave if he didn’t get at least one long walk a day. If your partner really loved this dog he would provide proper care, but since he’s not providing basic dog care I would look into rehoming. It’s not fair for the dog to suffer. I understand your worries about your baby and I think they are valid, but there’s a lot less risk for the dog to hurt the baby if the dog isn’t all pent up from lack of exercise. 

Post # 33
1686 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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mikaylaauel :  It’s very dependent on the dog itself.  I have four dogs, and walking them all at once would be a chore.  I have a dog door and a fenced yard on half an acre.  I don’t have to be out there with them ever.  They hunt squirrels, but don’t run their hearts out hardly ever.  Inside, they’re prefectly behaved.  All four, including the one year old, would much rather be couch potatoes. 

It sounds like OPs dog is the type I would have trouble having in my life.  That being said, I think her plan of training and exercise is an excellent place to start.  It doesn’t have to walking, but that dog needs to be tired at the end of the day so it can calmly interact with the baby.

Post # 34
30 posts

Definitely echoing the statements about training and the suggestion of the halti for helping with his pulling on walks! I had a dog who was leash reactive (and was a former bait dog) and it was very frustrating to come across other dogs, so I completely understand your frustration! As for your original post, the cocker spaniel biting the child doesn’t surprise me. In a study done across different breeds, cockers tested highest in aggression towards their owners, which imo could easily transfer onto a small child. 

Post # 35
1996 posts
Buzzing bee

This sounds like a human problem, not a dog problem. The dog is being a dog. He’s bored, ignored, not exercised and not trained. He has no clue how you want him to behave because no one has ever communicated it to him in a way he can understand. So, I don’t think you can be surprised things aren’t going well.

He needs exercise, training and attention. Sticking him in the backyard alone all day long doesn’t accomplish any of those things. You can hire trainers that come to your home if you guys can’t make your schedules jive for attending a class. Once the trainers give you a start, you guys both need to make time in your schedules to work with him on his commands every single day. Mental exercise is huge for tiring dogs out! You already mentioned you’re working on finding a dog walker and I think that needs to be a priority, as well. The dog needs exercise and stimulation. Finally, I think you guys have to spend time with the dog. Play with him, pet him, etc. Dogs need attention, too. Even if you are never a dog person, you can still train the dog to respect and obey you. And if he is respecting and obeying your rules, I think you can grow to like him and have some sort of bond. 

FWIW, I’m pregnant and have a 40lb dog. She gets 2 walks a day, plus we play with her and we spend time working on her commands every day. She is the sweetest dog, but if we just locked her in the yard all day, she would probably be a menace. 


Post # 36
8992 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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mikaylaauel :  I’m more forgiving of people who have a newborn – it’s a tough adjustment and I’d be lying if I said that my dog never missed walks when my daughter was born. He does fine without them and I was overwhelmed with the baby so it didn’t happen like it should. But if the dog is acting out because of it then you need to figure out how to give the dog walks. 

Post # 37
1681 posts
Bumble bee

I’m a dog lover. However, you should never ever trust any animal around small children no matter how “good” they are. They are animals. Something the child does could provoke the dog into biting, and with the size of your dog, that could be a very serious situation. You’ve gotten some good advice here. You need to get your SO on board with addressing these issues.

Post # 38
2707 posts
Sugar bee

Your husband is NEGLECTING this dog that he loves so much. I would keep pushing for the trainer. Maybe the trainer will be able to set him straight with how important properly training and exercising your dog is – for the happiness and wellbeing of the dog, as well as that of their humans. 

I’m sure that he’s coming from a loving place, but I think your husband needs some tough love on how to be a good dog parent (and by extension human parent). An educated third party may help to drive this home. You should be able to make this work, but your husband needs to put in the work to care for the dog properly. 

Post # 39
2584 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

I haven’t read all the responses so I am sure some (or all) of this is repeated advice, but oh well.

I think that you (not your husband) need to bring the dog to obidence training. When my dog was a puppy I took him to classes, because I knew I would be the primary caregiver (husband is away a lot for work). It wasn’t cheap, but man it has paid off. I have even been considering taking him again after the baby is born (I am 37 weeks) just as a refresher since it’s been a few years, even though I have no concerns about him whatsoever. It’s really valuable not only for the dog’s  behavior, but as a pet-parent, because you get to understand your dog’s way of thinking a little more. 

My dog is also a high-energy breed and needs stimulation and hardcore exercise. I definitely can’t walk him as much as I would like right now because I am 9 months pregnant and it’s December in Alaska and I am afraid of falling. So instead I play fetch with him in the yard until he tires himself out OR I take him to doggie daycare (mine separates the big breed dogs from little breeds, so since your dog has an issue with small breeds I would look into that) where he plays with other dogs and people all day and then is tired when I pick him up at night. Again, not cheap ($35/day), but worth it for my sanity and his. On average I take him about 2 times a week.

Finally, when I can’t walk him, play fetch, or take him to daycare for whatever reason, I buy the Large “Bento Ball” for him. You buy it with the rubber ball part first and then the refills later. They keep him entertained at home for a few hours. 

Post # 40
497 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

If you are worried, you need to invest in trainers/obedience school. Every problem you described can be solved fairly easily with better training. The pulling on walks especially. It just takes some effort. None of the issues you described are fatal flaws, in fact they all come from not providing enough exercise and training. A bored dog is going to get up to stuff, a tired dog won’t. 

Get that dog to obedience school or get a trainer. You’ll learn how your dog communicates and won’t have to be so nervous about it. A lot of obedience schools offer socialization practice with other dogs and people, too. An hour or two a week can make a big difference. 

Start teaching the dog how to walk on a leash. You can train a dog to stop pulling. Every time the dog pulls, turn around and walk the other way. Or give the dog a tug and make the dog sit till you are ready to walk again. It will take some effort, but this is important to work on. Plus dogs bond with their owners on walks, so walking with the dog and baby is a great setup.

Get toys that are stimulating. Mental exercise works well when you can’t always do physical exercise. Try Kongs or other toys the dog has to work at. 

Your anxiety about this is over the top. I’m sorry, but it is. You should invest in some counseling to get that under control. This fear is just going to control you and if it’s not the dog, it will be something else. Stop picturing and focussing on the worst case scenarios.

Post # 41
681 posts
Busy bee

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LilliV :  Except this isn’t about missing a walk, it’s about a dog not getting walks period which I find incredibly sad. My dog loves playing ball in the yard but he loves exploring and seeing new things and smelling new smells even more. The yard is just an extension of the house to him, and my dog would be so so so bored if he didn’t get his daily walks. I’m also not putting this all on her, I think her husband is being extremly neglectful to his dog. Both my husband and I work 45-55 hours per week so it’s not like we have loads of time or are home to care for the dog but we do it as a team. He tackles the morning walk and I do the evening, plus he goes to doggie daycare twice a week so he gets time to play with other dogs as well. I’m sure it’s very overwhelming for OP but I don’t see her husband doing anything to help rectify the situation. 

Post # 42
1623 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

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ne11y23 :  I disagree with some PP – I don’t think you are being overly anxious about the situation.  Anxiety isn’t always destructive when it is based on a rational fear.  Not every negative thought is a sign of mental illness.

You know the dog is bored and has shown signs of aggression, you don’t know how to control that, and your baby is vulnerable to that.  

I think you need to be not so scared of causing tension with your partner.  This is an issue that needs to be resolved ASAP.  

I echo PP in that the dog should foremost be getting regular walks.  You and your partner need to find a way for that to happen.  Go to a pet store and explain your issue, they will be able to recommend products so that he doesn’t pull.  Unless your partner is in a wheelchair moonboot or on crutches he should be able to manage at least a 15minute walk with one of those leads every day. 

Get to dog training stat.  Yes it’s expensive, but it’s so worth it for the harmony of your family.  Sell something if you have to, in order to afford it.  Then you will learn from a professional how to manage the dogs place in the pack, so he feels comfortable and secure with you guys and the baby. 

If your partner doesn’t like these answers then he can come up with something better.  But “she’ll be right mate” is not the acceptable answer from a child parent or dog parent.  

FWIW my dog is similar to yours with aggression to other dogs.  She’s great with humans and she’s great with babies.  But when my toddler nephews come around, I’ve seen her show stalking behaviours with them that fill me with anxiety.  Last time they were over, she was behaving in a way (tail down, walking after them, running towards them then stopping last second and walking away, showing too much interest in general while they weren’t even looking at her) that I ended up grabbing her by the collar and telling Dh to lock her in a room inside.  Other family members said I was overreacting but I could tell her demenour was not all friendly and  I wasn’t going to wait for something to actually happen before taking action.  After that day I told Dh that I didn’t want his nephews around at our house and we’d go to them instead.  So I understand the anxiety. 


Post # 43
1859 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I am just going to add that there are more ways to exercise a dog than walks.  One of my dogs is not very good on a leash, but he loves agility training/competition, swimming, fetch, and hide & seek.  He is almost 12 now and I finally gave up on the idea of a “pleasure walk” with him.  But you should see him at agility class.  He is brilliant.  I have been bringing my daughter to training classes with my dogs since she was 3 months old, and now at 2 she is started to learn to handle them herself.  

It seems you have 2 problems here: the dog being bored, and the fact that you have not developed a relationship with the dog.  Maybe something like an agility or rally class (or flyball, or nosework, whatever) would help you two develop a bond while also getting some energy out to chill him out.  If he really is part border collie, then he probably needs mental stimulation just as much as physical.

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