I'm worried about my dogs when baby gets more mobile.

Tinker1987 - posted on 03/26/2011 ( 123 moms have responded )

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Hi All.

I was wondering how your experiences are with your dogs,when the baby got to be more mobile and grabby...i have two dogs, one is small and really doesnt bother much with the baby,he will smell him and stick to himself.and i have another dog who is more curious. She has always been very good with him,follows us everywhere, she will check to see where he is at all times constantly wants to give kisses but i dont let her kiss my baby...anyway. im more worried about when my baby gets pulling on hair and stuff,i wont be leaving them unattended but i do know the dog does not like her hair being tugged, i used to tug on her hair playfully to get a rise out of her,and realised she hates it. I stopped doing it obviuosly when the baby was born. Any tips or stories with your baby interacting with your animals?? i hope everything will be ok. I hate the thought of getting rid of my furry kids!

thank you.

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Kate CP - posted on 03/27/2011

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Don't panic! I'm a dog trainer. :)

You can train your dog to not mind having his/her hair pulled on. Here's how you do it: Get some small really tasty treats and sit down next to your dog. Find a spot on the dog where they seem to not mind having their hair groomed backwards too much (usually around the back of the neck near the shoulders) and pet the hair the wrong way or the opposite of the direction of the hair growth. This IS annoying for a dog so while you're doing this give her treats. After a few days of this she should get used to the sensation so you can work up to a gentle tug on her fur in the same area. Immediately give her a treat before she can react to the tugging on her fur. I would only do this one time and then stop the exercise so she doesn't get riled up. Then come back in 15 minutes and do it again. What you're attempting to do here is recondition her to NOT give a response when her fur is pulled on. You can find more resources on reconditioning your dog using a clicker and positive reinforcement techniques online. You can also visit your local PetSmart and ask them about private lessons to work on this particular issue.

I don't think you'll have to give up your pup. Just keep an eye on the baby while he's on the floor with the dogs and work with your dogs to get them used to being kid-handled more. :)

Kate CP - posted on 03/30/2011

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Meredith: I want to make sure I understand everything correctly, so I'm going to repeat back what I think is going on.

You have a 7 year old beagle and an 8 month old son. Your beagle has been whining a lot and urinating in her own bed. She won't engage in eye contact with the baby or approach the baby unless you invite her to.

Based on THAT information alone, I would instruct you to do a few things:

1. See your vet. Because she's an older dog (yes, she's officially a senior now!) she could be having incontinence problems. Whining and urinating where she sleeps are signs of illness, pain, or possibly a serious behavioral problem (or a combination of the three). If she gets an all-clear from the vet then ask the vet for a referral to a behaviorist. If it's a behavioral problem that's something that needs to be handled one-on-one and not over internet forums.

2. DON'T PUSH THE DOG! She's showing respect for the baby and your pack by ignoring the baby. She's basically saying "He's higher ranking than me, he's obviously a high value object, so I should just steer clear so I don't get in trouble." Don't force interaction between the two. Whenever the baby DOES interact with the dog make sure you praise her constantly and keep the interaction short and sweet. If you notice the dog getting nervous or anxious it's time to walk away. The best way to do this is to say in a happy voice "Okay! Playtime is over!" and pick up the baby and stand up. You can bend over and pet the dog and praise her verbally and then walk away.

I never advocate just shoving a dog outside. That doesn't make any body happy and it certainly doesn't solve any problems.

Bianca - posted on 03/26/2011

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I had to get rid of my dog, he was a 11 month 100lb bulldog. He just didn't understand. It was sad at first, but honestly since he's been gone its been much easier. I'm not ashamed to say I'm happy he's gone. I know he's in a good home, and I dont have any worries. But thats me, I knew my dog and recognized the problems shortly after having my son. Only you can make the judgement call, but my advise is this: If its causing more stress than happiness, its time to reevaluate the situation. Bottom line, don't risk your baby for a dog.

Laura - posted on 04/07/2011

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sounds precarious.....be careful and watch them always.....dogs react without notice sometimes and can even nip growl or bite. You could Clip the dog hair very short while your child is still in the grabby pullling phase.....good luck

Cheryl - posted on 04/07/2011

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Yes, all children will be "cruel" to animals until they know any better. Be firm with your child from the very beginning. The child must learn to be gentle with a dog, that is huge. I would never get rid of my dogs due to having children, as thats not the way its supposed to work. They trust you and you are their owner. The child must be watched at all times to prevent any behaviour which is unacceptable towards the dogs. From the age of 2 little ones will begin even kicking a dog. That is just not on. Discipline! The dogs do not understand it and should growling occur, remember always, it is the child's fault and not the dog's. Good luck and look after those fur friends for their lifetimes.

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Tinker1987 - posted on 04/07/2011

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well i hope illbe ok with my dogs. ive played alot on all fours with my dogs since they were pups. ive gotten in their face and they never snap.just played back.if she shows even a ounce of aggression ill be making a serious decision. but i want to give it a bit of time.i couldnt imagine giving them away but i cant imagine my baby getting hurt either.SO SO So torn !!!

Serree - posted on 04/07/2011

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THings have gone pretty good with our dog she is a 50 lb 2 1/2 year old goldendoodle, she was 1 and 3 months when the twins were born, she found them interesting but pretty much ignored them when they were born. Now that they are really mobile she tends to let them mess with her for about 5 min and then she waits to be put on the other side of the baby gate. She is very patient, but rarely wants anything to do with them.

Anne - posted on 04/07/2011

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I am a dog lover, for sure!! But when it came time for my children, I had to make a really tough decision. I think it really depends on the breed and your specific dog's personality. If you are worried now, your worries are not over. I had an elderly dog, who loved only ME. Still, she was agressive, even with me. As my first child began crawling, just before my second child was born, I was forced to put my pup down. For a year, I attempted to adopt her out. I worked with our vet and several adoption agencies. My dog was 13 years old with health issues, and was deaf. There was no hope for her, unfortunately. By the time I was ready to move ahead, my vet completely supported my decision. It was tough, but there is no way I could respect or forgive myself for something I could (should) have prevented.
Ensure your next pet is family-friendly. It is tough to have a puppy at the same time you have a toddler, but allowing them to grow together will build the bond you are seeking.

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I am the grandma of a precious baby girl that was received a very serious life threatening bite on her face a few months ago when she was 10 months old and crawled near the dog's food bowl. Love, denial, and positive thinking are not going to prevent this sort of thing. The dog was a chocolate lab...a breed that is generally great with children. The dog had been friendly and seemed to love the baby up until the moment he bit her. He had never shown any outward signs of aggression toward her or anyone before that. Educate yourself on animal behavior and be willing to participate in training to specifically address how to properly involve the dog and the child with one another. We may think of our pets as "family members" but to think of and treat an animal as if they are people is not only very dangerous for your child, but disrespectful to the pet as well!! Waiting until "there's a problem" may mean your child's life or well-being have been at risk! You are right to educate yourself now and take the proper steps to ensure the safety of your child!!

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I think it all depends on the child as well as the dog, my daughter has never pulled or really bothered the dog she's always been super nice as has he, now that she's almost 4 he's even starting to play with her more, we have an 8 lb min pin who was never around kids before we had her but he's always tolerated her and let her pet him, even now when she's getting a bit rough with him he'll just lick her to make her stop, he has snapped at her once but she grabbed his penis so I can kind of understand! Getting rid of him was never even an idea, we just made sure that he was played with just as much as she is, its quite comical now because if your playing with her, he will come over and get in between you and her and have to be part of the action. If we have friends come over we do have to put him in the kennel though because our daughter is really the only child he tolerates.

Sarah - posted on 04/07/2011

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we just got a puppy staffordshire bull terrier and our 18 month old keep on pulling on her ears delibrately to be naughty and they can get gelous of each other but i can tell our dog puts up with a lot although she does tend to nip him or scratch him on the leg just hopes it all stops soon cause she is gonna be pretty big and very muscily

Jane - posted on 04/07/2011

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Be careful and watchful. We had a lovely little dog called Elly and she was the sweetest, daftest doggy you could meet and we never thought in a million years that she would harm our son, but she actually went for him once when he was crawling towards her and we had to rehome her. Luckily I was right there and was able to stop her, but it horrified me to think what could have happened if I hadn't been. She went to stay at a friends house straight away (who didn't have children) and we found her a lovely new home. Please be careful.

Tinker1987 - posted on 04/06/2011

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thank you lisa.i agree these situations leave a person torn!
Here's the thing...we weren't big socialisers.rarely had people at the house especially kids/babies. so they havent been braught up to social.i mean we have had friends over and they do their typical barking at first but then settle down. and if we are outside they are really good.Less protective of the house. Its our own fault for not making them social enough.and i know that.but they havent bit or nipped anyone.just bark. im pretty sure they are aware im the pack leader.if im mad at them they know it and put their ears down lol. so im sure i can control them. i wouldnt say they are nervous.just curious when people come around because as i mentioned they were antisocial before.

Lisa - posted on 04/06/2011

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Hi Keli,

We have 6 beautiful children ages 19, 17, 11, 9, 2 and 8 months. We have always had dogs however there are a few very important rules in this house that the dogs are completely aware of.

1. Dogs are always BELOW humans in the pack hierarchy. If they even so much as look wrong at a family member they are immediately chastised (usually this just takes a sharp NO and a stern look)
2. No dog is worth risking the safety or well being of a child.
3. Dogs can easily be taught their place in the family and are actually happier with consistency in this regard.

4. Most importantly, no sign of aggression in any situation with a human is ever tolerated

With those said, breed and upbringing are very important. Are your dogs nervous or brave? DO they love people or are they shy? All of our dogs are either labs, lab mixes or basset hounds and are so wonderfully tolerant that we have had some of our children literally learn to walk by pulling up on the dog and the dog loves it. our female lab is very considerate and caring of our children and actually keeps an eye on our two year old when he is outside.

I think your instinct is very important. If you are concerned then you may have reason to be, een if you cannot vocalize. Maybe it is just your motherly intuition. I completely disagree with other posters that have suggested you take a wait and see approach. If you are worried then go ahead and find them a loving home without babies. You would never forgive yourself if something happened to your child.

Prayer and Blessings to you and your family. These issues are never easy!
Lisa

Sharron - posted on 04/06/2011

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i have always had dogs , and each time i brought one of my babies home i always intoduced dog and baby. let the dogs satisfy their curiosity at the beginning (closely supervised), and depending on the relationship you have with your dogs , in most cases they will except the baby as another part of you. never shun your dogs harshly about trying to interact with the baby, this could cause some problems. set firm boundries with dogs/baby include dogs as much as possible and your child should have a loving/fun relationship my family enjoys.

Robyn - posted on 04/06/2011

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hey, i cant really help u here but i will tell u what i did.... i had a 3yr old 80lb pitbull when i got preg, from the day i found out i was preg i started panicking about what to do w a dog that big and roudy who hadnt really been around children that much, so when the baby was born i introduced them and my dog was nothing but loving and so gentle around the baby, but when the baby was about 5mos old my paranoia got the best of me and i ended up giving my dog up to one of my good friends who takes really good care of him and i can still see him from time to time, i totally regreted this decision bc of how much i missed my dog, he was my first baby and he didnt do anything wrong to make me get rid of him, i just was way to worried, i kept thinking that it doesnt matter how much i watch him and the baby what if something were to happen, it would only take one bite to do some real damage, like i said i dont think this will help much, i just wanted to share my story, if i could go back i wouldnt have gotten rid of him bc of how much pain it has caused me and my son loved him too!, although i try to tell myself that i just didnt want to take any risks w my baby, my dog is in a happy new home and my baby is in a safe home, you just have to do what u gotta dowhen it comes to protecting your child and i dont know what the right thing is i wouldnt suggest getting rid of your dog, though it is an option... i hope that the right answer comes to u, its only u who can make that decision for yourself, and it is a very hard, painful decision to make....i think the dogs really understand the incocence of the child and are patient w them, but at the same time accidents can happen however much the dog and child love eachother, good luck w your decision i hope u can find an alternative to having to get rid of the dogs

Tinker1987 - posted on 04/06/2011

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wow thanks again everyone for your replies :) i think we will be ok,the shepheard is very protective of us. she's a real sweetheart to her family members.ill just teach my son to play nicely,and ill only feed them certain times of the day. i know many people who dont leave the dog dish on the floor all day. my dogs tend to eat more at night just before they go to bed. so when i put my son to bed i can keep their dishes on the floor. I agree with Donna below...having animals i think is a lifelong commitment. i couldnt imagine giving them away.without good reasoning.so ill see what happens. ill be at arms reach with their interactions. and hope nothing ever goes wrong!.

Danielle - posted on 04/06/2011

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My mother always taught me that animals are unpredictable. With the cats she said, "Do not bother them. They WILL scratch you. And if you do, don't come crying to me, because I warned you." With the dog on the other hand, we were taught from the beginning that we were not to pull her fur, tail, ears or paws, not to near her food, not to put our faces in hers and whenever we met a new dog to ask if it was friendly and extend our hands, palm up, comp flat for the dog to sniff. We were both taught this from the very beginning. We got a seeing eye dog puppy through some program, named Bret. Black lab. My sister was a baby and my mom was tickling her. The dog didn't like the noise or the sound of her laughter and bit her. We had the dog for all of 3 days. Then in 2000 we tried again with a Husky-Samoyd-Black LabX. She is a very tolerant dog. Our neighbors child and the children in my mom's daycare pulled her tail, tugged her ears, tried to ride her, you name it. She never snapped, growled or snarled. I also know a pitbull name Jake who wanders the small town where he lives, crosses roads in crosswalks and LOVES EVERYBODY. He's never hurt anyone. Same with his pal Simon, who sadly passed away. I'm pretty sure I tried to ride him once. He never hurt me, even though he was a big, old, grumpy dog. He just knew it was a bad thing to do. It's never the dog that's bad. It's the owner. I don't believe in breed stereotypes. It's all your behaviour and actions.

Becki - posted on 04/06/2011

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I have a 20 month old little girl and a 4 year old Staffordshire bull terrier all I can say is there best mates and worst enemies depending on what side of the bed my daughter wakes up on =) !! we were really wary at first but have been totally pleased with how well the dog has been ! Soon as she's had enough she just goes upstairs cause she knows my daughter can't get past the gate.. We are now expecting baby number 2 and hoping she copes just as well cause I'd hate to have to get rid of her.. We have discussed the what ifs but only time will tell =) hope your dogs are ok with your baby then you can keep all together =)

Lisa - posted on 04/06/2011

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When our first was born, Moose was 125 pounds but lovable but had never been around kids. When Em got big enough there was a couple times when he would gently tell her she was crossing the line but was never mean about it. He'd nudge her hand, etc. Let both interact as much as possible. Help her pet the dogs, let the dogs sniff, etc. It sounds like the little dog will keep a large path between himself and baby and the curious dog will want to be a part of baby's life. Just keep working with baby about touching the dog nicely and work with dog about how to interact with baby.

Amy - posted on 04/06/2011

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being a shep i would bet it would protect b4 hurting you child since it will lay next to and rest its head on the baby

A'Lisa - posted on 04/06/2011

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We have 2 dogs and 3 kids ages 2, 4, and 6. Since my dogs were my first "kids," I was very worried about their future interactions. The most helpful thing I think was deliberately pulling on our papillon's ears, fur, etc., then immediately giving him a treat. He began to associate hair being pulled with something positive...getting a treat! Now that my girls are older, I have them give the dogs treats often, let them brush their fur (even pay them a quarter to do it!), and always pet and praise the dogs when I see the girls being rougher than they should. Of course, we've also discussed the rights and wrongs about how to treat a pet...even role played it a bit. It's a delicate balance, but it's worked so far, thank goodness! Good luck!!

Amy - posted on 04/06/2011

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your dog may tolerate your child just fine being they have such good sence they know we are older and they are smaller i have had 2 children which are 3 and 5 now i have an english springer and he is nippy but it all worked out the kids learned what they could and couldn't do if your dog sences you worrying every day that could maybe set something off i think that if the dog cheks on the child and wants to give kisses you can just relax a little every day is a new day for everyone you may be worrying for nothing a doggie kiss is just fine it is just a part of their socialization if you would allow the kisses maybe they would form a bond as you have with your furry children i to am an avid animal lover just go with the flow for now what happens happens if you have to tech your child not to pull hair it's the same as i did with my boys for they would pull my hair and the dogs hair pull their hair they learned fast that it didn't feel good and they didn't do it any more good luck

Tina - posted on 04/06/2011

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Hi. I have a dog and a 2yr old. When your baby gets old enough and tries to grab the dogs fur get on it straightaway and tell child off. Just make sure that you dont let ur child get away with it and you should be fine. My dog was scared at first of my boy but I tought ma boy that it was bad and hurtful to do that to animals and they are best friends now play all the time. Hope I helped. Tina x

Donna - posted on 04/05/2011

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I agree with Kate. I would also try not to act nervous when you dogs are around the baby. Dogs are very smart and know they have to be gentle with the baby. They will all grow up to be best buddies. It really makes me sick when people have a dog, then have a baby and get rid of the dog. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, Make sure you give your dogs plenty of love, attention and exercise and everything will be fine.

Angela - posted on 04/05/2011

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Amy, that's exactly what we did, too, when we had our daughter. I think the cloth got our dog used to her smell, which, of course, was different to that of the doll we used to acclimatise her. I also wanted the dog to get used to the baby in the car seat straight away, rather than being pushed away protectively by my husband. It all certainly worked for us - my dog has never shown any signs of jealousy towards our daughter.

Amy - posted on 04/05/2011

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I have golden retrievers and with both kids if they started to just walk near them, they got up and moved away. It was really as easy as that for us. If we were right next to the dogs, they stayed a bit and we made sure we told our kids to be gentle and showed them how to pet nice.

They are protective of our kids though.And during thunderstorms, they head for kids' room to make sure they're alright.

When we had the baby in the hospital, we wrapped her in a certain blanket that was ours and then my husband took it home that night for them to smell. Not that dogs understand human, but he did tell them baby was coming home and this is what she smelled like. We brought kids home and since were sleeping, left them in the car seat and put it down [our dogs wouldn't jump on the seat or anything, if yours do, i'd hold baby after they calmed down or soemthing] but ours just sniffed at her. Walked by, sniffed again. walked by...same thing for an hour or so. when baby woke up we took her out and introduced them. they did just fine with each other. kids got a few dog licks before they could move, but after they move, dogs stayed back until they were .....18/24 months and knew gentle petting skills. :) Now they just lay there and let my son used them like pillows.

Sarah - posted on 04/05/2011

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Keli,
I too had worries about my baby and dogs. I have a 65lb Lab- male (who's a big baby) and a 32 lb Corgie - female. When my son became more mobile I worried anout my Lab's reaction to my son. There were a few times I actually thought I would have to get rid of him. Instead what I have done is shown my Lav that the kid is his buddy. When we give treats my son gives them to the dogs and when it's walk time we all go. My son who's now almost 3years old treats the dogs like siblings and they barely pay attention to him unless it's to clean up the food he's dropped for them. You will know if you need to get rid of your dog or not. I closely monitored the interactions between my kid and dogs for a long time, actually I still do. It gets better.

Catherine - posted on 04/05/2011

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I was worried about my dog too, especially since she was older (11 when the baby was born) and couldn't see very well. But, honestly, it turned out to be not an issue at all! She loved my son from the start, and when he got old enough to be interested in following her around and touching her, she would allow it for a while and then just walk away to another part of the house when she got tired of it. She never showed the least aggression. She passed away in January, when my son was 16 months old, and he still asks for her and talks about her. I think many dogs are pretty tolerant of babies; many of my friends have similar stories. I hope yours will be, too.

Toni - posted on 04/05/2011

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I have a Rott and 13 month old boy that climbs on her and takes her toys. The dog just lays there and lets him do what ever he wants. They are the best of friends!! I have two other boys that also play with her similarly, but she plays back with them. However, we got her only a few months after the baby was born, we didn't have her before like you. Good Luck!

Jennifer - posted on 04/05/2011

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Our children (2 and 8 mos) are never, I mean never unsupervised with the pets. The baby gates serves both pets and children alike, keeping them safe and seperated...always.

Robynne - posted on 04/05/2011

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I have a 8 year old boxer (female) and a 2.5 year old daughter. My husband was worried about how the dog would react when the baby was born. But....those two are the best of friends! She tugs on her, hugs her, sits on her to drink her sippy cup, lays on her it's been amazing. The only time I don't let my daughter mess with her is when she is sleeping bc I don't want the dog to be startled. I think you should just keep an eye on the dog, and you may be surprised how gentle the dog is with your child. We are very lucky and our daughter always has someone to play with! Dogs are very smart and they know their place as long as YOU make it clear to them. Our dog is also VERY protective of our daughter. Good luck and I hope you can keep your dogs around!

Nicole - posted on 04/05/2011

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Ihave 2 english bulldogs and they are absolutely amazing with my daughter. She's 2 n half n has been frond them zinc she came home at 6 days old. She can do whatever she wants to them n they listen to her. The bulldog breed is wells known for being good grounds kids. I love my daughter n my bulldogs!! I will never get rid of them. My daughter loves them too.

Sandy - posted on 04/05/2011

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Start pulling the dogs ears and tail. When they are eating, reach for the bowl. If they don't growl or show their teeth, they should be fine with the baby. That is what I did with our dogs. When each of my sons were two they did get bit once by one of our dogs. He wasn't used to children in his face. But he was punished and it never happened again. They, too, when tired of the boys would get up and move or nudge their hands away. They did nip when the boys wouldn't listen to what they wanted, but I couldn't fault them for it. Children have to learn too.

Bethyny - posted on 04/05/2011

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My mastiff was beyond tollerant! My son learned to walk hanging off of him, slept on him, and was far from kind to the old bloke. It depends on your dog. My terrier wouldnt let him near her. Just pay attention and you can teach your child to be gentle earlier than you think, its a question of early enough. My Neo would have taken anything my baby wanted to do to him with stoic acceptance, my Boston would have bit him just for getting too close. I taught my son to respect her distance and be as kind as possible with him. I would have trusted the Neo in any way with my son. We had to have the old pair put down almost 3 years ago and my son still complains that our new pit isn't like the mastiff. He wants the cuddler and the puppy energy isn't workung for him, lol.

Maria - posted on 04/04/2011

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You probably don't want to hear this but dogs and babies do not mix and that is that! I have heard just too many horror stories and the owner of the offending dog always comes back with "he/she has never done that before. He/she is just so friendly usually". Too late really when baby's face has been mauled and scarred for life!

Mandy - posted on 04/04/2011

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hi I haven't read all of the replies so this may have been covered but it isn't so much about training the dog to have its hair pulled you should be training toddlers not to pull hair AT ALL, cats, dogs people etc etc. I have a dog, a 5 year old and a 2 year old so am going through it/have have been through it, I have taught my kids not to pull the hair of our pets-its cruel, but also if they run up to a strange dog at the park and pull the hair the child will more than likely get bitten! you also don't want your kids being a bully and pulling other kids hair, your hair etc so best to start how you mean to go and and train them not to pull ANYONE'S hair, including animals. Hope that helps!

Sarah - posted on 04/04/2011

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I am a mom of 2 and have 3 dogs. I am also a professional dog trainer. You can get a lot of tips online, but nothing will compare to getting some one on one time with a qualified trainer. I would suggest that you search for a trainer in your area who is part of the Dogs and Storks Program or The Dog and Baby Connection program. Or visit www.trulydogfriendly.com or www.ccpdt.org for trainers in your area. Often just one or two appointments can put you on a really good track.

Aimee - posted on 04/04/2011

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I have 2 germen sheperds. They are about a year old. I have a one and a half year old and a 7 month old that just learned how to crawl and they both climb all over the dogs and they do nothing but lay there. If they start to get bothered they get up and move. we have had the dogs since they were puppies. I would just keep an eye on them and if you notice any thing then you can take it from there. best of luck.

Tillie - posted on 04/04/2011

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You need to teach the baby kindness. It is natural for a little one to grab and hold on. I had two dogs and a cat when my children were little. I talked to the cat. I told him, the baby was going to be here long after he was gone, and strongly suggested he not bite or hurt her. Be darned, he never ever hurt her. He loved her. I always gave my animals one on one time, just like the babies. No one ever got bitten or hurt with them. Our one dog, now 17, still follows my 15 yr old around. It take patience, but well worth it. All three of my children love animals. My exchange students have learned to love them too.

Wanda - posted on 04/04/2011

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Hi Kelli,
I have 3 dogs, one small and 2 labs. The small dog doesn't do much with my son that is 2. She stays away from him as much as possible. My one lab that I was worried about is very good with him. She actually lays on the floor and doesnt move at all when he does anything to her. The other lab we do have to watch, but she is very skiddish and doesn't like quick movements. But we knew that before we had the baby. I just kept an eye on them when they were in the area where my son was playing. But for the most part...they did better then what I gave them credit for.

Angela - posted on 04/04/2011

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When I was born we had a totally spoilt 6-month-old corgi, who became so dominant that he would just attack anybody stroking him when he tired of their attention, without any warning. When I was born Dad said that if he attacked the baby he'd be off to the vet's straight away and, with one exception when he bit without realising it was me (I was about 8 by then, and he lived til 10), he never did.

When I got pregnant I was worried about our 5-year-old German Shepherd, who was used to being the centre of our attention, so I began to make some changes in preparation for our daughter being born, to avoid her blaming our daughter for them. The main thing was that the dog wasn't used to the strange, noisy things called babies, so a few months before I bought the most realistic baby doll I could find, that moved, cried and laughed, and started having her in my lap, making noises in the evening. To begin with the dog felt quite left out, crying for attention, but by the time our daughter was born she was used to it. Yes, she still found the real thing a bit strange, but at least she'd already had her nose put out of joint by the doll, not by the baby.

Once our daughter became mobile we found the most important thing was to have somewhere where the dog could go to get some peace and quiet. To begin with she hated being shut out of the living room when we were in there, but I think after a while she began to realise that it was for her own protection and now she often prefers her own space away from our daughter, as long as she can come back in with us once the latter has gone to bed. It's just getting a bit difficult now our daughter is reaching 3, and we have to frequently remind her that the dog really doesn't like being pulled around and hugged! Thankfully, the dog is fairly patient, and with her being a large breed I'm fairly confident that she would give a small nip if really provoked, as a warning, rather than a real savaging like our corgi used to. However, hopefully it won't come to that at all, as we try to keep an eye on them at all times when they're together; as others have said, never forget that at the end of the day your dog is only an animal, with natural animal instincts (in my experience it's the children, rather than the dogs, who are unpredictable!!).

Kelsey - posted on 04/04/2011

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My parents had a great dog before they had babies, it listened and never ran away or peed in the house blablabla and then they had my sister and thought the dog would be fine with her, then one day the dog bit her. maybe my sister did something to make it angry or whatever, but the point is that your baby comes first. I have a cat and he loves my daughter! they play on the floor and she pulls his fur and whiskers and sits on him and pokes his eyes and he has never hurt her. when he has had enough he gets up and goes somewhere she can't reach hm. only you know your pet and if you think he will hurt your baby, maybe rethink things? Or teach the baby not to go near the dog, or be nice or whatever. keep a close eye on them when they are together. who knows, the dog may surprise you!

Melissa - posted on 04/04/2011

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I am lucky, I have two Boston girls that are wonderful with my son. Juju Bee just lays there and lets him abuse her, I obviously correct him when he does it but either way she doesn't care. He can full out lay on her. Princess on the other hand is terrified of him. She just completely stears clear of him. Unless he has food, then both will take anything he will dish out with the chance of getting some of it!

Chantal - posted on 04/04/2011

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I taught my little one from a very early age how to be gentle with our dogs. When I saw that he was getting even slightly rough with them or could tell that the dogs were even slightly agitated, I would tell him to be gentle with the doggies and then demonstrate how by stroking them softly. He would then imitate me and now he just does it automatically at 18 months old.

It's perfectly possible for pets and babies/toddlers to live in the same house together - it's important for children to know their boundries, and respecting the space they share with their animals (or manimals as my little one calls them), is as good a place as any to teach them this.

WENDY - posted on 04/04/2011

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my lab did the same thing checking on my daughter giving her kisses etc. when she was a baby. my daughter is almost two her and my lab and her get along great, the one awsome thing about my lab is when she has enough of my daughter she goes to one of her hiding spots and i make sure my daughter respects her space. i started as soon as my daughter could crawl to pet Ruby nice, don't pull her ears, tail ( be nice to your puppy she loves you).

Renata - posted on 04/03/2011

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I would be very careful
Dogs are dogs
They are irracionals they don't think like us
We had a really bad experience with my granma 's dog and my baby brother
Family got distracted and my brother who was 2 at the time played with the dog in a way the dog did not like the dog almost killed my brother it was so sad I still remember today
It was aa very friendly dog that one day snapped with my baby brother that was used to see him all the time. Be very careful
I would never leave them by themselves
I would not trust the dogs
You never know

Jen - posted on 04/03/2011

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My husband and I wanted to get a family dog when we found out I was pregnant. We decided on a Rottie and took in a 2 month old female. She was about 1 year old when we brought our little girl home. We never wanted our pups (by then we had 2 Rotties) to think our baby was taking their attention, so we let them sniff her feet as soon as we brought her home, etc. Once she started to crawl, we just made sure to praise the pups for not trying to steal attention and for sniffing her gently. We always encouraged them to play with each other, obviously making sure they didn't roll on her or something (they're gentle, but clearly big dogs.) Our daughter is now 2 1/2, and we now have the 2 female Rotties, a female pit and are fostering a male Rottie. Our 2 female Rotties have a bond with her like no other. It's truly beautiful to see the relationship a child can have with his/her pet if they grow up together in a healthy environment. And even though we have 2 more she did not know as a baby, she still has a great relationship with them and when the foster gets too pushy (he's still learning) she's at the age where she can do her part in communicating that to him. Re-homing our girls was never an acceptable option for us (and we got evicted b/c they're banned.) It's absolutely worth the extra effort, in my opinion, to teach both child and pet how to live peacefully among each other.

Yvonne - posted on 04/03/2011

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Post a reply!When my son was a toddler he pulled the hair of my Yorkshire terrier, she endured it, but one day my West Highland White terrier obviously thought Carl was too rough on the yorkie so she 'bit' his wrist, that is she didn't bite him, she just held on and pressed a little, no marks but she made him realise he should stop pulling Maxine's fur!!! And he never did it again. The 'problem' was sorted out between the three of them.

Alyce - posted on 04/03/2011

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My dog was still alive for the first four months of our baby's life, and she was very good with him. Initially, like you, we limited her direct contact with the baby. Once we got a read on her behavior, we allowed her to be closer and even lick him. The most important thing is to watch for signs of aggressive behavior. If you notice any, you should be more careful with that dog. In extreme cases, you might even have to find the dog another home. That said, our cat has been remarkably understanding of the baby. He kept his distance initially but now comes up to check him out and even lets him "pet" him. When the baby grabs his fur, he just makes a little mewing noise and waits for me to extract the baby hand before making a quick exit. He also knows to stay away when the baby (who's now 9 months old and crawling and moving by holding onto future) is more active. Most animals learn quickly what the rules are. Just make sure that they understand that EVERY human in the house, no matter how small, is superior to them! You should be OK.

Heather - posted on 04/03/2011

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Well I have one dog..an 11 year old chihuahua and havent had any problems with her ever and my daughter is almost 4 now. my best suggestion would be to constantly monitor. buy lots of baby gates and dont let them near the baby unless you are there...

Shannon - posted on 04/03/2011

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i found it pretty easy with my kids to teach them that you have to pet the dog and cat nicely. Like you i wouldnt leave them alone with the pets (more for the animals sake then the baby's). Our dog is a lab and when she has had enough crowding she will grumble and we tell her to go lay down and redirect the baby; most of the time our littlest one likes to sit on the dog bed next the the dog and just pet her alittle and thats it. Before that we had a crate out for the dog and put the dog's blanket in it so she could go lay down. We taught the older 2 kids ( they were a few years old) that the crate was the dogs room and when she went in she wanted to have alone time, just like them.
You may even be surprised and how tolerant the dog may be with your baby. Friends of mine had a dog the would let a baby do just about anything to it, pull fur or ears etc. But when the baby was older the dog would tolerate less of the ear pulling and allowed a bit of the climbing over, then when their child was preschool age the dog wouldnt allow the pulling of fur without a warning growl -she was smart to understand/ sense that the kids were big enough to know better.
Also if something were to happen (a growl or even a snap, i pray never a bite) please look at the situation of what happend and why - not to assume that you would but, dont just blame the dog. eg. of a situation where a dog snapped at a toddler and understandably the child screamed and cried; the reason the dog snapped - the toddler had pinched/ scratched the dogs nose and drew blood. sorry if i rambled but its just my RVT side showing through.
good luck!

Tinker1987 - posted on 04/02/2011

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Just a little update.I put my son in ajolly jumper for the first time around the dogs. still no aggressive behavior they were just exremetly curious.and the shepheard just kept trying to lick the baby alot. they acted a little funny but i think its more the jumper then the baby.seeing him move and bounce kind of caught them off guard!! i made sure to sit in front of the baby and the dog was pretty much on me sniffing it out so i was in arms reach if the dog decided too nip or anything!!

Karen - posted on 04/02/2011

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Don't get rid of them, but don't ever leave them unsupervised together either. Baby's do things like poke their eyes and pull their tails, which could result in baby getting nipped or bitten. Supervised time together is the answer.

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