"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Rottweiler and Baby

– Posted in: Columns

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 its fixable?

Anne J.

Hi Anne J.

Before both my sons were born I dutifully attended pre-natal classes. Once should have been enough for my wife to realize it was unwise to try and engage my amateur coaching skills in what amounts to the equivalent of an olympic event of any woman’s life but some good came out of it as part of our lessons included how to prepare a dog for a baby and that led me to write a book.

We 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 quiet, just listen” I asked our instructor if she’d considered that dolls are made of similar material as dog toys and that if one were to have a dog that simple minded her recommendation might back fire? Surprisingly agile for a pregnant woman, 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 prepare a dog for a baby than an ultra-sound image would prepare us. 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 include in a book that might better advise parents and expectant parents.

I wish it weren’t so but at your late stage in the game it’s not 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” then he needs to be doing his thinking elsewhere. When a mom’s intuition has her in doubt – it’s simple – the dog goes out. There are some things you just don’t gamble on.

There is no way we can ever be certain but with more wiggle room than you have there are ways to be more certain and a good start for expectant parents is to get an assessment from an experienced dog trainer. I’ve met too many dog trainers with problems making distinctions between children and dogs so I’m going to add – that has raised children of his or her own (and likes them). A trainer can also help with teaching baby-safe kitchen, stair and doorway manners and show some simple ways a dog owner can help their dog relieve stress.

Preparations aside all dog owners should also be aware that a dog that is “good” with a quiet immobile infant (or its near equivalent – a sniffed blanket), may react very differently to one that is screaming and months later crawling, then toddling and that one day turns into a mischievous 8 year old boy.

I’ve never got as far as publishing the book in hard cover but I do have it in e-book form so for anyone expecting or expecting to expect drop me a line and I’ll send you the link.

Pawsitively Yours

John Wade
www.askthedogguy.com

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