Can my dog and baby get along?
January 28, 2014 1:47 PM Subscribe
I have a 6 month old baby. I have a dog who is around 8 years old. How can I help the dog and the baby get along?
posted by jillithd to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some background: We adopted the dog when she was 1.5 from the humane society. They thought her almost unadoptable due to her fear of men in hats. My husband fell in love with her immediately and they have been best buddies ever since. Her issue with men in hats has completely vanished. She's not the biggest fan of yappy, high-strung dogs and isn't the best behaved on walks (distracted by bunnies and other dogs).
When we first got the dog, she would eat paper - mail, rent checks (!), tissues from the bathroom garbage can - but got over it. Until my husband starting going back to school 1.5 years ago. So leaving her out of her crate isn't possible anymore because we don't trust her not eating something.
This past summer, my husband switched from an evening position to a day position, so the dog has gone from only 2-3 hours in her crate a day to 9.5 hours in her crate a day. The year before, my husband started going to class a few days a week, so that was less time to hang out with the dog, too.
Enter baby. The dog was previously my husband's baby. Dog has mostly been uninterested in the baby (baby has been only recently remotely aware of the dog) but has been extra attention-needy. Example: dog is fine laying on the floor without attention until the baby needs to be fed. Then she gets up and begs for scritches from me while I am trying to feed the baby.
Infants are a lot of work and I know we aren't giving the dog as much attention as before. Enter all of these below-zero temperatures with the Polar Vortex and she doesn't get many walks this winter, either. But after baby and I go to bed, my husband has made an effort to hang out with the dog and give her one-on-one attention at least a couple nights a week.
Our concern however was this weekend. We had two friends over visiting, sitting calmly on one couch while I sat on the other couch with the baby in my lap. Dog was sitting on the floor next to me. Baby reached out to touch the dog, which the dog seemed OK with until she suddenly was NOT OK and viciously vocalized at the baby.
We made the dog sit in her crate (in the same room as us) for a bit to cool her off.
The dog has, a few years ago, snapped at a toddler she didn't know when the toddler was kicking at her face in an aggressive manner (no physical biting occurred). In a high-stress situation once with lots of excitement and people and dogs, the dog once bit my cousin's smaller dog with a little bit of blood drawn.
Should we be worried? Is this a lost cause? We love the dog, although we are not perfect pet parents. Is there hope for baby and dog to get along or should we surrender her back to the humane society?
TLDR: Is there a way to make our dog more baby-friendly?