Foot in mouth disease OR The Great Doggy Saga

Well, Bruce did it again (snarled/lunged at my toddler as he walked by him) today only this time he was wide awake. He is not fond of my toddler walking up to him or by him when he is resting at my feet. So he is either “protecting me” from my little one or he is trying to ascend one rung of the ladder in the pack by attempting to dominate him.

I have been reading dog training books like they are going out of style and I have been e-mailing back and forth with a professional dog handler that I met through a message board that I participate on regularly. I’ve been keeping her posted what we are doing and she has said that we are doing all the right things and to just keep doing them.

But what we have here is an established problem now, one that his former owners could not have foreseen as they had never ever had him around small children, so we have to either figure out how to extinguish this behavior all together, and we are doing everything possible to do just that, or we will have to unfortunately give Brucie back to his former owners.

We may be consulting a professional dog behaviorist/trainer. I have decided that I better avoid making any blanket statements with regard to Bruce from here on out. I just hope we can work out his issues.

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5 thoughts on “Foot in mouth disease OR The Great Doggy Saga”

  1. That is scary. We have had a child bitten by a family pet, and the tip of her nose was nearly bit off. I would go the better safe than sorry route. We have a dog who wants to be top dog, he will try to pin even me down, they only one he wants to submit to is my husband. So with a toddler and a new baby we had to keep him outside. We have just started letting him in the house now that the baby is one, and he is very good with us all now.

  2. It may take some time to work this out. Only you can decide what is best for your family. It may be best for everyone if you have a specialist come in and help you decide. But you need to keep your family safe. No matter how wonderful Bruce is the other 99% of the time. Good luck.jean

  3. ok so i’m sure you’ve read it, but try the dominance roll. roll bruce to the ground and have your toddler hold him down by the neck with you. hold it for about 15 seconds at a time. that is how dogs show their dominance to each other, and a good way for humans to teach their dog’s who the real boss is…good luck

  4. I’m not a professional dog handler – but if I was standing there when that happened I would sit YES SIT right down on top of that dog and hold his head down… then let the toddler just walk all around him and over him and make that dog understand that he/she is the bottom of the pack. Such a meanie I am.

  5. Our cocker spaniel snarled and tried biting our kids when they were toddlers. She had been first, and the babies came after her. I didn’t put up with it. She went to the cocker rescue in short order. I know it’s hard to think about. I actually cried on the way to the rescue with her, but in the end a dog is livestock. If it poses a danger to my kids, it’s gone.

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