Jump to content

Kiddo is growing and dog isn’t happy


Recommended Posts

Hi all,

This is so tough to write about, and I’m a bit at my wit’s end! Needing some fresh perspectives. My hound Max is 7, we’ve had him for 4 years. My kiddo is one and a half. We’ve tried to teach good lessons about petting nicely and we always supervise their interactions. I feel like our house has become too small for them both (1500 sq feet, but 500 of it isn’t dog or toddler safe) and they are constantly vying for the same 1000 sq feet. The toddler LOVES Max, but this feels like a tough age where comprehension of how to be nice hasn’t really caught up. 
 

We had some issues with space aggression at the very beginning with Max, years ago, but worked through them. He’s been good about sharing space with us for a long time now. He’s not so good at being kind to the kiddo. And he’s stopped listening to me when I ask him to get up and go to another room for his or kiddo’s safety. He’ll guard the couch or his bed, and just double down on growling. I don’t want to give him up since he’s been part of our family for 4 years, and he’s an older dog now and has a history of behavioral issues since before we had him. Also, I feel that things will even out once kiddo is 3 or 4 and able to understand the rules a bit more. 
 

Does anyone have advice about how to get through the next couple of years? Thanks so much.

Loving life with my first greyhound Max (4 year old dark brindle boy)! :wub:

Check out our hiking blog! www.greythikes.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly if your dog is growling and you have a toddler in the house I would be a wreck.  My first was a growler & even supervised she almost bit my friends daughters face.  They can be unpredictable.  I would get a behaviorist in the house ASAP.  I would also keep them separated.  I know its hard but you don't want to have Max bite your baby and the growling is his way of warning you.  I'm sure others will chime in.  I wish you luck. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Put a muzzle on Max. One with a stool guard added would be better.

I disagree regarding hiring a behaviorist. Max is doing what he has to do to get your child to back off. If you keep correcting him when he growls, his only way to warn you, he'll stop growling and will bite instead.

This is not an easy situation to deal with. And it's about training you and the child, not the reverse.

 

 

Charlie the iggy, Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz
Angels: Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

tiny hada siggy.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

What Ducky said.  Max is giving all the warning signals possible that he is not comfortable with the situation.  If you take away that warning by correcting him when he growls, he will escalate to a bite with no warning simply because he has no other way to let you know that.  The child needs to learn that Max's space is off limits - especially his bed and the area surrounding it.  All interaction between the two need to be supervised right now. You might also have to take away the couch as a privilege for Max, but I am going to let others who have dealt with the whole sofa thing answer that. We've never had a hound who got on the furniture, but have dealt with plenty of other space issues. 

rocket-signature-jpeg.jpg

Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi. I agree with a combination of the above. In my opinion, you should consider having a professional in - to help you with the best solution for your situation, and to make the dog less stressed. Separation can be the easiest and safest course of action, if not the most convenient. EG: Can you baby-gate a hallway to keep kiddo away from doggo's favourite resting spots (or a course of action that is appropriate to your specific living situation)?   Peace.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, macoduck said:

Put a muzzle on Max. One with a stool guard added would be better.

I disagree regarding hiring a behaviorist. Max is doing what he has to do to get your child to back off. If you keep correcting him when he growls, his only way to warn you, he'll stop growling and will bite instead.

This is not an easy situation to deal with. And it's about training you and the child, not the reverse.

 

I agree, a behaviourist will only confirm what you already know. Max needs a safe toddler free space but where he can see what's going on. Without knowing the layout of your house I don't know if that's possible.

Grace (Ardera Coleen) born 18 June 2014
Raced at Monmore Green, Wolverhampton UK - 68 Races, 9 wins, 5 second places
Gotcha Day 10 June 2018 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Return the kid and get your money back.

Wendy and The Whole Wherd. American by birth, Southern by choice.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!"
****OxyFresh Vendor ID is 180672239.****

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Time4ANap said:

What Ducky said.  Max is giving all the warning signals possible that he is not comfortable with the situation.  If you take away that warning by correcting him when he growls, he will escalate to a bite with no warning simply because he has no other way to let you know that.  The child needs to learn that Max's space is off limits - especially his bed and the area surrounding it.  All interaction between the two need to be supervised right now. You might also have to take away the couch as a privilege for Max, but I am going to let others who have dealt with the whole sofa thing answer that. We've never had a hound who got on the furniture, but have dealt with plenty of other space issues. 

I agree with all of the above.

You can't correct Max for guarding "his" space, and you will not be able to teach your child the boundaries of a dog until they are older. You need to have an area that is Max's only, that your child cannot access. That way Max can remove himself from the situation if he is ever uncomfortable, and maybe will not feel the need to guard other areas of the house. You should put his bed and his food/water in this area to entice him. Or maybe lots of nice treats or toys he only gets while in that area.

Both of our hounds are allowed on the couch. We physically cannot get them off of it even when guests are over. Luckily no one minds a hound practically sitting in their lap. But once or twice our girls have growled at my younger siblings for jostling them too much and I immediately kicked them off of the couch. If they guard a piece of shared furniture, they are no longer allowed on it- for everyone's safety. In those instances, I've grabbed a treat and thrown it onto their dog bed or into another room. It's very difficult to not have a knee-jerk reaction to correct them for growling. I know I have and I try to stop myself. But trust me, as someone who was bitten in the face as a child, you need them to give you that warning growl. It's their only way of communication and your job as their human parent to let them communicate.

If it is impossible to create a "Max only" space, you definitely should rely on a muzzle. However, it's your job to make Max feel safe and prevent him from being in the situation where he feels he needs to guard. As unfair as it sounds, you may have to resort to gating off areas to keep not only your child contained, but also Max.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Time4ANap said:

What Ducky said.  Max is giving all the warning signals possible that he is not comfortable with the situation.  If you take away that warning by correcting him when he growls, he will escalate to a bite with no warning simply because he has no other way to let you know that.  The child needs to learn that Max's space is off limits - especially his bed and the area surrounding it.  All interaction between the two need to be supervised right now. You might also have to take away the couch as a privilege for Max, but I am going to let others who have dealt with the whole sofa thing answer that. We've never had a hound who got on the furniture, but have dealt with plenty of other space issues. 

 

52 minutes ago, lifeingrey said:

I agree with all of the above.

You can't correct Max for guarding "his" space, and you will not be able to teach your child the boundaries of a dog until they are older. You need to have an area that is Max's only, that your child cannot access. That way Max can remove himself from the situation if he is ever uncomfortable, and maybe will not feel the need to guard other areas of the house. You should put his bed and his food/water in this area to entice him. Or maybe lots of nice treats or toys he only gets while in that area.

Both of our hounds are allowed on the couch. We physically cannot get them off of it even when guests are over. Luckily no one minds a hound practically sitting in their lap. But once or twice our girls have growled at my younger siblings for jostling them too much and I immediately kicked them off of the couch. If they guard a piece of shared furniture, they are no longer allowed on it- for everyone's safety. In those instances, I've grabbed a treat and thrown it onto their dog bed or into another room. It's very difficult to not have a knee-jerk reaction to correct them for growling. I know I have and I try to stop myself. But trust me, as someone who was bitten in the face as a child, you need them to give you that warning growl. It's their only way of communication and your job as their human parent to let them communicate.

If it is impossible to create a "Max only" space, you definitely should rely on a muzzle. However, it's your job to make Max feel safe and prevent him from being in the situation where he feels he needs to guard. As unfair as it sounds, you may have to resort to gating off areas to keep not only your child contained, but also Max.

 

:nod :nod :nod

 

NSK-Winter.jpg.a6ea578c2e544932c5222b81cda3216d.jpg

Nancy...Mom to Nigel (Nigel) , Sid (Peteles Tiger) and Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos)Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie) and especially Ruby (Watch Me Dash) waiting at the Bridge.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

One more thing you might want to consider to give Max a safe space is to setup a large crate with a comfy bed in it as his safe space.  Leave the door open so he is free to come and go as he wants, but it needs to be his space and only his, so the child can not play in or around it.  I'm not suggesting that Max be crated at all, just that he has the crate as his safe space.  Rocket had a crate in our other house for years and we would often find him in it because the sun beams came in through that window. The pic in my signature is from one of his sunbathing sessions. 

rocket-signature-jpeg.jpg

Always missing my boy Hi Noon Rocket. The home of Petunia, MW Neptunia and Kate, Miss Kate.

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. - Abraham Lincoln

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, HeyRunDog said:

I agree, a behaviourist will only confirm what you already know. Max needs a safe toddler free space but where he can see what's going on. Without knowing the layout of your house I don't know if that's possible.

I know - that would be ideal and we had it when the little one was not so active. We split the big living space in two with the gate, but kiddo needed more room to play and run, so the gate is typically open now and Max has our bedroom to go to which is safe and comfy, but isolated.

Loving life with my first greyhound Max (4 year old dark brindle boy)! :wub:

Check out our hiking blog! www.greythikes.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, macoduck said:

Put a muzzle on Max. One with a stool guard added would be better.

I disagree regarding hiring a behaviorist. Max is doing what he has to do to get your child to back off. If you keep correcting him when he growls, his only way to warn you, he'll stop growling and will bite instead.

This is not an easy situation to deal with. And it's about training you and the child, not the reverse.

 

I think this might be best for safety. I agree with you that he’s not “misbehaving” through growling, it’s just scary to me because I don’t want him to reach his limit and he just seems to be getting grumpier and grumpier. Sometimes he’ll growl as soon as the toddler walks in the room, even if she’s nowhere near his space. 

Loving life with my first greyhound Max (4 year old dark brindle boy)! :wub:

Check out our hiking blog! www.greythikes.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Time4ANap said:

One more thing you might want to consider to give Max a safe space is to setup a large crate with a comfy bed in it as his safe space.  Leave the door open so he is free to come and go as he wants, but it needs to be his space and only his, so the child can not play in or around it.  I'm not suggesting that Max be crated at all, just that he has the crate as his safe space.  Rocket had a crate in our other house for years and we would often find him in it because the sun beams came in through that window. The pic in my signature is from one of his sunbathing sessions. 

This is a great idea. I heard from his adoption agency that he didn’t like being crated in the past, but in this situation it might make him feel safer.

Loving life with my first greyhound Max (4 year old dark brindle boy)! :wub:

Check out our hiking blog! www.greythikes.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, inaandmax said:

I think this might be best for safety. I agree with you that he’s not “misbehaving” through growling, it’s just scary to me because I don’t want him to reach his limit and he just seems to be getting grumpier and grumpier. Sometimes he’ll growl as soon as the toddler walks in the room, even if she’s nowhere near his space. 

That's because the appearance of the toddler means he's going to get scolded or told off or moved someplace he doesn't want to be - he's using up his spoons before he even interacts with the child.  And it sounds like the child's needs are coming before his, which is a natural enough response for parents, but remember your dog is a full member of your household too and deserves his time and space as much as any other member.

I would say you can do more to help him feel better about the small noisy human.  Pick some times throughout the day when your kid's quieter - nap times, or a reading time - sit down with both and read the book to both of them, tossing nice treats to the dog every once in a while.  If your child can toss a couple too, that would be great.  Even if it's just a minute or two a couple times a day, pick some ways your dog can learn that your child can be a "good thing" in his life instead of an issue.  

Make sure your dog has a child free space that he knows he can retreat to when he gets overwhelmed.  Also that he's not just "put" there to be out of the way.  This spot needs to be a "good thing" as well.  A crate, a baby gated room or area - someplace free from kids and corrections.

If he does growl, make sure your tone isn't punative if he needs a time out.  "Hey big guy!  Let's go have a yummy treat in the bedroom!"  Rather than "Get off the couch right now!"

A good, positive-reinforcement-only behaviorist can help by giving you strategies to manage a space guarding dog and a toddler exploring the world.  They can actually see your space and how everyone interacts instead of us giving generic advice over the internet.  It won't be cheap, but it will be worth it.

Also:    Family Friendly Dog Training by Patricia McConnell    It's not kid focused but a great resource.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

35764734494_93de5b5963_b.jpg

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, greysmom said:

That's because the appearance of the toddler means he's going to get scolded or told off or moved someplace he doesn't want to be - he's using up his spoons before he even interacts with the child.  And it sounds like the child's needs are coming before his, which is a natural enough response for parents, but remember your dog is a full member of your household too and deserves his time and space as much as any other member.

I would say you can do more to help him feel better about the small noisy human.  Pick some times throughout the day when your kid's quieter - nap times, or a reading time - sit down with both and read the book to both of them, tossing nice treats to the dog every once in a while.  If your child can toss a couple too, that would be great.  Even if it's just a minute or two a couple times a day, pick some ways your dog can learn that your child can be a "good thing" in his life instead of an issue.  

Make sure your dog has a child free space that he knows he can retreat to when he gets overwhelmed.  Also that he's not just "put" there to be out of the way.  This spot needs to be a "good thing" as well.  A crate, a baby gated room or area - someplace free from kids and corrections.

If he does growl, make sure your tone isn't punative if he needs a time out.  "Hey big guy!  Let's go have a yummy treat in the bedroom!"  Rather than "Get off the couch right now!"

A good, positive-reinforcement-only behaviorist can help by giving you strategies to manage a space guarding dog and a toddler exploring the world.  They can actually see your space and how everyone interacts instead of us giving generic advice over the internet.  It won't be cheap, but it will be worth it.

Also:    Family Friendly Dog Training by Patricia McConnell    It's not kid focused but a great resource.

Thank you so much for your response! It’s given me some direction on how to proceed and made me feel that it’s not a hopeless endeavor. I know I’ll refer back to it as well.

Max is getting some nice pets right now during nap time rather than me trying to get 5000 chores done, which I can tell he appreciates. 😌

Loving life with my first greyhound Max (4 year old dark brindle boy)! :wub:

Check out our hiking blog! www.greythikes.blogspot.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

life is not easy- excellent advice given above.

i agree that a behaviorist is not  going to tell you anything you don't know. dogs change as children become more mobile, active, develop. i was super careful with my 6.5 year old saluki when DD was born and watched them like a hawk. i was lucky, they bonded but salukis are different than GH. the GH have a built in defense mechanism, some have it stronger than others. many other breeds do not-(i'm talking about space aggression). yours is using his space/defense mechanism. is it really appropiate in your situation? i will not answer that, your an adult who has reached out for support and clarification. it's here. life is not always that easy- sorry, we all deal with it. 

18 hours ago, GreyTzu said:

Return the kid and get your money back.

if it was all that simple- but it's always good to be able to smile- GREYT comment!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...