I have a 6-year-old Rottweiler that I love dearly. We just had a baby 5 weeks ago and we need help with introducing the baby. So far, I am not too sure about what he is thinking. He is probably jealous and I’m not sure if he is aggressive towards the baby or just concerned. I am wondering if it’s fixable?
Hi Anne J.
Now maybe I’m reading too much into your inquiry, and as a result, I’ve misinterpreted the level of your concern, but something has your mother’s intuition humming enough to write, so the following is broken into two separate replies. The first, a better safe than sorry response and the second less doom and gloom and some direction. You can write or contact me for a consult if the input you were looking for is not found below.
Doom and Gloom – Good Bye Dog
There are some things you just don’t gamble on. I’m a huge believer that when a mom’s intuition has her in doubt – it’s simple – the dog goes out. In this sort of matter, I give far less weight to what anyone else in the family has to say, the veterinarian has to say, or the dog trainer says. If a mother’s intuition in situations like this senses smoke, there’s very likely the potential for fire so, go with her gut and accept her word as final.
When there’s doubt in a mother’s mind, at this late stage in the game (baby is here instead of preparing dog in advance), it may not be about whether a dog is “fixable.” He may be but if someone that loves him as much as you is “not too sure about what he is thinking” something is off. You should have absolute certainty that he is comfortable with the new addition. Otherwise, he may need to be doing his thinking elsewhere. A child’s safety always comes first.
Preparing A Rottweiler Or Any Dog For A Baby
There is no way we can ever be sure about how reliable a dog may be around a child. There are too many variables. Dogs that do not react to a quiet immobile infant may respond very differently to one that is screaming and months later crawling, then toddling and that one day turns into a mischievous 8-year-old. As a result supervision around children is always essential particularly during times of significant change in the child’s development.
The good news is that there are ways to be more confident and a good start for expectant parents is to get an assessment from an experienced dog trainer. However, there are far too many dog trainers with problems making distinctions between the value of a child’s life and a dog’s life so here are four recommendations for selecting a trainer:
- Look for a trainer that has raised children of his or her own (and likes them).
- Avoid any trainer that uses terms like Fur Baby or Pet Parent
- To be sure the trainer knows their stuff, read this eBook first – Prepare (Assess) Your Dog For Your Baby – The Right Way with John Wade
- Read this free booklet from top to bottom – ‘What Are The Different (and best) Puppy and Dog Training Methods?’
I wrote the book Prepare (Assess) Your Dog For Your Baby – The Right Way with John Wade after being exposed to some really dumb advice provided in the prenatal classes my wife and I attended over twenty years ago. The same foolish advice is still being circulated.
The dog owners amongst us were told we should acclimatize our dogs by carrying a doll around as much as possible. In spite of my wife’s before class reminder that I was to “be seen and not heard” I asked our instructor if she’d considered that since dolls are made of similar and sometimes identical material as dog toys and that if one were to have a dog so simple-minded that it couldn’t tell the difference between a toy and a living creature whether her recommendation might potentially backfire? Surprisingly agile for a woman in the advanced stages of pregnancy, my wife gave me a “what did I say” elbow to the ribs.
We were also told, “bring the baby’s hospital blanket in first for a sniff.” Even with my wife’s poised elbow trained on me I couldn’t help myself and blurted out that a sniff of a blanket could no more desensitize a dog for a baby’s arrival than viewing the ultra-sound imagery of her fetus would prepare a woman for labor.
The bright side of my wife neglecting to include me in the drive home was that the walk gave me some time to think about what to add in Prepare (Assess) Your Dog For Your Baby – The Right Way with John Wade that might better advise parents and expectant parents.