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Thread: overprotective dog with baby

  1. #1

    Default overprotective dog with baby

    Hi!
    I need some advice regarding our staffy; he is 13 years old and very obedient. When my son was born he was very protective of him; he was next to his side a lot etc. My son is now 2.5 and now there is a 4 months old baby as well which he is extremely protective of. He been growling at visitors and a few times to our son.
    Our dog as far as I believe is a very good nature dog and I been totally happy for him to be around the kids. Yesterday he suddenly growled and made a lash out to our son. Nothing happen but I feel a bit shocked and a bit worried...obviously we since then been trying to put him in his place. Firstly we throw him outside (he is a indoor dog) and shut the door. When he was allowed in he wasnt allowed to be in the same room as us, wasnt allowed up on the sofa etc.
    what tactics should we use to make sure that he knows that this is not acceptable. Any tips or hints etc would be greatly appreciated.
    As a general I think our dog is very obedient; but he is a part of our family of the things we do. we give him food after we been eating; he has to work for his treats; not allowed in the kitchen when we are cooking etc; we always enter the door first; he gets lots of walks (except lately as I just had a baby - so not as longs walks )

    Ta Pluppis

  2. #2

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    Sounds like you need a vet check to make sure it's not a medical problem causing whatever this is and then a qualified trainer to assess his behaviour. i really think you are not helping things with the sorts of punishments you're dishing out, but I'm not a qualified trainer. You really do need professional help here IMO, staffies are great with kids in general but something is going wrong here for whatever reason and if it goes really wrong it won't be pretty.
    Last edited by mymatejack; 11-12-2013 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3

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    Can you give a general location of where you live i.e western brisbane or eastern melbourne or whatever so the people here can recommend a good trainer in your area

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by mymatejack View Post
    Can you give a general location of where you live i.e western brisbane or eastern melbourne or whatever so the people here can recommend a good trainer in your area
    we live on the northern beaches in sydney. Regarding the punishments..well.. the dog needs to know he is not above the kids. Not the 2.5 year old or the baby. He is such a good dog and I always trusted him to the max before.
    I should say when you mention his vet - he had a paralysis tick 4 weeks ago and got very very sick - so that is another reason why he hasnt gotten long walks as well - as he isnt allowed to get excited - no play with other dogs etc for 6 weeks.
    Anyway...anyone with constructive advise?

  5. #5
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    I think what mmj means is that it is very possible that the dog doesn't know what he is being punished for and might link the punishment to behaviour that has nothing to do with his perceived crime?

    The idea that the dog should know he's not above the kids is right, but the strategy may be counterproductive because the dog won't intuitively know what it is you're reacting against. So he may start to feel confused and more likely to be reactive. It may be more constructive to reward him more for the kind of behaviour you do want from him, which is sharing "his" baby and tolerating the toddler near him, no matter what he's doing.

    Some common techniques for resource guarding of any kind are to reward liberally when the resource is being shared. For example, sit in a room with him and the baby for a while. Have treats near you but don't give him any and pay him no attention. Have someone send the toddler in, start giving your dog treats and attention. Toddler out of the room, no treats or attention, toddler back in, repeat. That's just an example of the kind of strategy I mean, but you get the idea. Do a search for Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT) for some better explanations. And if you do get in a trainer, make sure they are qualified in BAT training and don't try teach you old fashioned dominance techniques. (Eating before or after the dog doesn't make any difference to him, believe me.)
    Last edited by Beloz; 11-12-2013 at 10:52 AM.

  6. #6
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    agree with MMJ and beloz have said.......i dont htink your pooch knows what he is being punished for......

    out of curiosity, is he desexed or entire?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    I love 2 things in this world. Spandex and reyzor... not necessarily in that order.

  7. #7
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    It's something that has been building and now ill he's lashing out. You have allowed your dog to guard, to sit there and have a 'job' so under stress he over reacts. Punishment is not going to fix him he needs to learn what is the alternative you want. So, things like when indoors send him to his bed with some treats and teach him to relax. Hey, no stress man we can deal with this baby you just enjoy your retirement. The old 'dominance' things don't mean squat. I eat after I feed all 6 of my dogs and I encourage them to go through doors before me at times (particularly when we come home and I'm carrying stuff) but when I say something they all have to listen.

    He doesn't think he's 'above' you he's just a little confused about how he's meant to react under stress. Retrain him by encouraging him to do the good things and that it's a better idea to go do things like chill out or play outside etc to lift his mood, not just make him more stress by punishment he doesnt understand.

  8. #8
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    If your dog has trouble relaxing and seems tense often, I can highly recommend the book "Chill out Fido". It's full of useful information on how to recognise stress in dogs and has lots of easy exercises to encourage a dog to choose to relax and chill. Even if you don't follow the exercises, they're interesting to read and you can pick and choose the bits that you think may be relative. Sometimes just tossing treats at your dog when he's quietly lying down minding his own business can have a big effect.

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