Dog Aggression Towards Babies – Part 1 of 2

For convenience, we will refer to your dog as “he” rather than “he or she”.

 

A predatory or fearful or dominant dog is likely to present a real threat to any new baby of young child in your household.  You must make every effort to ensure that your dog is properly controlled in these circumstances.  If your dog exhibits predatory behaviour you need to be especially watchful and careful if you have a new baby at home.  If your dog is anxious or fearful then you should be on the lookout for prolonged or unwanted or irritating attention from a young child.  If on the other hand your dog is known to exhibit dominance, then you need to be especially alert if the child is a toddler.

 

There are a number of courses of action that you can take in order to prevent any problems occurring in the first place, such as:

 

●    Get to really know and understand your dog.  Clearly you must also understand the personalities of all children most likely to be at risk when they come into contact with him;

 

●    If your dog exhibits a predatory instinct then he should be carefully introduced to a new baby.  Never leave your dog alone and unsupervised with the baby;

 

●    A fearful dog will usually respond well if you undertake de-sensitising sessions with him in the presence of young children most likely to cause the problem behaviour to surface.  Your actions should be directed towards getting your dog to realize that there is no reason to be fearful or apprehensive in their presence;

 

●    When you have a dominant dog, you are well advised to have begun a program to correct his behavioural fault before your young child reaches the toddler stage.  Once again, ensure that at no stage are your dominant dog and your toddler left together unsupervised.

 

There are a number of actions you should take when a new baby is expected in the household.  The comments below refer to what could and should be done well before the baby arrives home.  In another article we will give suggestions for what steps to take after the baby has arrived home.

 

●    In the presence of your dog, play a recording of a baby crying to give him plenty of time to get used to this new sound he will soon hear;

 

●    Allow your dog to smell an article of outer clothing from the new baby as soon as possible after the baby is born;

 

●    Get to really know and understand your dog.  Clearly you must also understand the personalities of all children most likely to be at risk when they come into contact with;

 

●    Familiarise him with the stroller the new baby will use, and take it with him on walks.

 

We wish you every training success and years of enjoyment for both you and your dog.