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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whew. Ok.

Both of my GSDs are VERY interested in my young nephew. He is 1yo.
This interest really perked up now that he walks (and falls).

Is this a prey drive thing? Or what?

Regardless, I have been keeping both dogs locked up when he visits. This has always been the case. Even if they did not care about the baby, they could easily knock him over and hurt him. I am trying to get everyone on this same page.

My older GSD is locked in the house. He is uncomfortably curious about the baby. He stares intently, and clicks his teeth, like he does when he sees stuffed toys :cry::(. But his body language is very submissive...but alert. So in the locked room he stays. NO chances.

My younger GSD is bigger. A family member has quite a soft spot for him, and this family member called me mean for locking up both the dogs.
So he let his fav out, but the baby was out too. Thankfully nothing happened. He did that while I was off at the store, and I almost had a heart attack. All went well.

So the other weekend the family comes over again for a BBQ. I have my dogs locked up. Same other family member lets the younger GSD out (after I told him not to), and the dog makes a beeline outside. I am hot on his heels. He runs right up to the baby and shoves his nose right in his face, sniffing him. The person walking with him shoves the dog away, I and a friend grab reaches to pet the dog and the dog snapped at his fingers. He was incredibly intent throughout the whole thing.

Needless to say, that certain family member listens to me now. It could have gone way worse. It infuriated me.
Now he and others want both dogs to have muzzles. So those are in the mail. They bought them, the leather kind. They are coming over again and I have a deadline to get them comfortable with the muzzles.

They want me to reintroduce them to the baby and make it work.
They both are comfortable with clicker training, but in that sort of situation they refuse food.
UGHHH any ideas? They want the dogs to just hang out with the baby around with muzzles on. As if I can get it all done in a few days. As if they still cannot hurt the child.

I take child aggression very seriously. Was this curiosity? Prey drive? True aggression?

How would others here handle this situation?
What do you reccommend? Remember, I'm fighting an uphill battle here with other people who won't listen to me and want things their way...

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422 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is why it is sooo crucial to socialize dogs from day one with all sorts of people, babies and kids included. You can't change the past, but for others reading this let this be an example to take the time to take your puppy to lots of places and meet a ton of people. Don't wait until they are older and suddenly you have kids, or a relative does.

To the OP - a couple questions. Why are you fighting an uphill battle with relatives regarding your dogs? They are your dogs. If you aren't comfortable with them around the baby, don't let them around him! Yes training is great, and muzzles I suppose aren't a bad idea in your case (muzzles are not a 100% safety net though). Are you and your dogs living with this set of relatives? If not, why are they dictating what occurs with your animals? Are they over on a daily basis? If they are only over infrequently, I would keep the dogs put up for now and introduce them, on a leash, one at a time, to the baby when they are over.

I personally teach my dogs that babies, kids, etc are not to be an item of huge curiosity any more than any other person. Don't turn the baby into a desired item. The dog needs to learn to be CALM around the baby. I see so many people that introduce dogs to kids using a high pitched excited voice, holding the baby over the dogs head, etc. This only serves to amp some dogs up and make them think this cool smelly noisy thing is an item to be desired. Ideally, you want a dog that ignores the baby and sees it as just another person in the household. They should not be permitted to constantly nuzzle, lick, or bump babies and kids. JMHO
I wouldn't know how they were socialized. They are both rescues, at ages 2.5 and 3 each.

They were both introduced to the baby on leash at first. they did fine. This issue has come up now that baby is walking.

Yes, those relatives do live with me. I am their room mate (long story that doesn't matter...), and one that does live with me is the problem. BIG problem. As you can tell, we butt heads.

I know the muzzles arn't the fix all. it makes everyone breathe a little easier.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Just tire them out and associate the whole toddler experience with something positive. How bout some quality treats? (0_o)

On a different note, I would also work more on obedience towards a solid recall. The whole dragging the dog away thing isn't really helping the positive picture.

Love that pic! I'll use it as a goal...

I don't want to make the baby even more of the 'forbidden fruit'.
The tension doesn't help. I'm hoping with the muzzles it goes away (from the people at least, more on that...)

Current plan: work on recall. get both dogs comfortable with wearing the muzzles, or at least tolerating it (marker training, I love you).

I then want to try reintroducing them to baby on a leash, with muzzles for safety. I do not want them to associate the muzzles with 'oh crap, the baby is coming...'

I want to try to simply have them in the same yard...wait until they relax. reward, and gradually decrease distance until they can intereact.

any thoughts...?

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Workin on it

I'm working on a better recall. It is already...ok, but we are well into the 'distraction' phase

The older one has a very good 'Leave It'. I can actually control him around the baby, but he is sneaky and would wait until my back is turned to try anything he knows I would not approve of.

The younger one (Beau), aka Mr. Pushy IwantmywayNOW was the one who rushed the baby. Unacceptable.

Here is my plan:
1-Walk/Jog until all their stupid is out...and then some. This should also eliminate them running around flattening the baby (BAD)
2-work on focusing on ME, stays, leave it, recall
3-Have a loose lead, have them see the baby walking around. Normal scene.
if they: start to be intent, recall. praise.
if they: rush, correction. As soon as they are refocused on me, much praise.
4-continue to work on it :crazy:...but i will keep them on a lead or put up for that day. Muzzles are not here yet.
I know muzzles are not a band-aid or fix all. I look at them as added safety precaution. :paranoid:

**feel free to add to that basic outline.
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