HELP New Granchild in the House - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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HELP New Granchild in the House

My daughter's newborn is now 3 months old and I will be taking care of her 3x a week. My concern is with our Wolfgang, he's 2+ yrs old, neutered, fantastic with everyone in our family, he does not tolerate strangers in the house. (Czech lineage working purchased not knowing what I was getting into but we're making it work.)

Anyway, considering Wolfgang's intolerance, I'm looking for input about the baby. When I walk by him in his crate with the baby, he doesn't growl or bark or act aggressive or even whine, in any way at all. He just looks curious. I'm hoping that regular exposure to the baby will quickly turn into him knowing she's one of the family. I plan on him being muzzled the first time he's allowed near her. Just looking for experienced input as to how to handle this in stages to keep the baby safe.

btw I know he can make new connections, because when we left him in a boot camp type situation last fall for almost a month (I was out of the country) he bonded with the trainer there.

Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 01:38 PM
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It's best to keep his exposure to her at a safe distance,behind a gate or crate.It's just too easy for even a curious friendly dog to hurt an infant.A scratch with a toenail or a hard nudge with his big nose could do considerable damage no matter if it's a well intended gesture.

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:25 PM
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What I did when I was expecting was to record newborn sounds, crying, cooing, pooping (may sound crazy, but new babies let out the loudest farts/poops). Since the baby is already here, I would do the same thing when the baby is not there. Put a recording device behind a babydoll, and let the different sounds play, and see if he reacts negatively. Curious is okay, that’s normal, but some dogs don’t like the sound of baby cries or wails, and can become a danger in the situations.

So the same as you would desensitize a dog for other behaviors, do the same with a fake baby multiple times a day. Reward for good behavior, correct for bad behavior. And crate if he can’t be watched at any particular time.

I have yet to have a dog not become protective and loving of my babies after the initial newness wears off. But I also didn’t ever leave them alone unsupervised, ever.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:37 PM
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I would be uncomfortable giving too much input into this situation at all, without really knowing the dog you are asking about. The gamble that someone is wrong about a dog they do not know, with infants, is just way too high stakes for me.

What I would say is even with a muzzle on, a powerful dog can gravely injure an infant.

Most well adjusted dogs should be fine around infants. I would not push interaction. The baby is mine, not yours. As the child grows they can become friends. BUT I don't know if your dog is well adjusted, what his nerves are like, what his triggers are if his nerves aren't great. There can be a lot of reasons GSDs don't do well with strangers and it ranges from very appropriate aloofness and suspicion all the way to bag of nerves fear biter. It may inappropriately transfer to an infant visitor, it may not. Honestly can't say without knowing your boy well.

Listen to your gut. You are asking for a reason. If you at all can picture an incident being possible, keep him contained while you have your grandchild. Get a trainer to assess your dog and give some "hands on and eyes on" opinions.

I have brought my own infants home 3 times and always had a dog. I really didn't "intro" them formerly. I never left them unattended. I trusted my dogs 100% but I still followed protocol until the fullness of time and the fusion of soft spots combined with relaxed posture by my dogs across the board put me at ease.

It sounds like you don't trust your dog 100%. Heed the little voice.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:41 PM
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And also (please don't think I am being harsh- I am just being real because a baby is involved) you say your dog "doesn't tolerate" strangers in the house. My dog does not care for strangers either, but he tolerates whoever I tell him to tolerate in my house and I don't say please. It may be wording making it sound like something it isn't- but it bears mentioning and gives me pause that he doesn't tolerate people you invite into the house. It would make me concerned about how much control he is capable of being under when impulse kick in.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:53 PM
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The most successful people I know of with new babies in the home simply don't permit close interaction. There is no need for it. Your dog many be a family member but never forget it is a strong, capable dog and let me repeat, there is no need for a dog to interact with a human baby.

With that said, the most unsuccessful people I know that had problems permitted close up contact and things sometimes turned out very badly, more often than you think.

If you feel that you must, may I suggest: Dogs to Diapers DVD

If you need equipment to maintain control of your dog, understand you’re hanging on to your dog’s body because you’ve lost his mind!

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:02 PM
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When I had a GSD in a high rise, I had a friend who came over to walk her every day while i was at work. She also did day care for her young niece. She also had 2 medium sized dogs of her own.

That little girl took some of her first steps hanging onto my 27" tall female's collar...

A GSD with a good temperament know instinctively to be gentle with the elderly and the very young.

I did have a rescue GSD that was not good with kids. I bought Brian Killcommon's book, Childproofing Your Dog. His number one rule?

NEVER leave your dog alone with children, no matter how good you think the kids/dogs are with each other. You never know what the kids might do that would push the dog over its boundary. Case in point: A dog bit a toddler. The owners immediately took it off to the vet for euthanasia. The vet decided to examine the dog first, to see if there was anything that might have caused the bite.

When she checked the dog's ears, she found 2 crayons stuffed inside!
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:20 PM
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I had babies in the house with a dog I already owned and I never left them alone together, ever. Not even for a second. I trusted the dog but not enough to risk the baby’s safety. By the time they were walking, my dog was comfortable enough with them to play alongside, but I still didn’t leave them alone until they were old enough to give commands and make the dog behave. So maybe age 3?
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunsilver View Post
When I had a GSD in a high rise, I had a friend who came over to walk her every day while i was at work. She also did day care for her young niece. She also had 2 medium sized dogs of her own.

That little girl took some of her first steps hanging onto my 27" tall female's collar...

A GSD with a good temperament know instinctively to be gentle with the elderly and the very young.

I did have a rescue GSD that was not good with kids. I bought Brian Killcommon's book, Childproofing Your Dog. His number one rule?

NEVER leave your dog alone with children, no matter how good you think the kids/dogs are with each other. You never know what the kids might do that would push the dog over its boundary. Case in point: A dog bit a toddler. The owners immediately took it off to the vet for euthanasia. The vet decided to examine the dog first, to see if there was anything that might have caused the bite.

When she checked the dog's ears, she found 2 crayons stuffed inside!
Ugh! That makes me so so mad! My parents taught me to be respectful of dogs. It’s one of the first things I remember. To other animals as well. Those people shouldn’t even own a dog if they can’t keep the toddler from it.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
And also (please don't think I am being harsh- I am just being real because a baby is involved) you say your dog "doesn't tolerate" strangers in the house. My dog does not care for strangers either, but he tolerates whoever I tell him to tolerate in my house and I don't say please. It may be wording making it sound like something it isn't- but it bears mentioning and gives me pause that he doesn't tolerate people you invite into the house. It would make me concerned about how much control he is capable of being under when impulse kick in.
This might very well be the root of the problem and the reason that you are worried. He is NOT to decide who to "allow" or not. How is his general obedience? Is he guarding food, water, toys? Is he kennel/crate trained?
I am getting my first grandchild for a long visit in Dec. when that baby is 4 months old. Deja is of excellent temperament and fully obedient but....has never met a baby up close so she won't for quite some time after the baby's arrival on this visit. I am reinstating outdoor kennel time already so she can be kenneled as I don't want to limit my time with a new grand baby that lives abroad. I don't expect any problems that way.
However she is a dog and capable of slicing off turkey neck vertebrae in one bite.
People don't realize that when you allow a dog to sniff or lick his teeth are very close by.
OP, thanks for reaching out.
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