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Hi everybody,

I'm very worried. My four year old Basset, Hank, nipped at our one year old baby yesterday. He has tolerated her for the first twelve months, but is becoming increasingly annoyed by her, especially now that she is moving all over the place and paying some attention to him.

I feel like I've failed in my obedience training with him. He jumps on counters for food at every opportunity, doesn't always come when commanded, and doesn't follow most commands. I realize I have to start over and so some serious obedience training. In the meantime, what is the suggested reaction when he growls at the baby? Obviously he is not trusted around her anymore. I'm ready and willing to put in a lot of time fixing this.

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks all,
Grif
 

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Hi everybody,

He jumps on counters for food at every opportunity, doesn't always come when commanded, and doesn't follow most commands.
Sounds like a perfectly normal Basset Hound!

I'm sure Mikey will be along shortly with a slew of excellent suggestions and links, however in the meantime do not allow the baby to harass the dog, or better yet keep them separate for now.
 

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Dogs see little kids as puppies so I'm sure since she is getting around better he gets annoyed if she pesters him a little bit. If he listens to the word "NO" use it when he growls but for now it is best to keep them separated.It sounds like he is getting away with a lot of bad behavior at the moment and this could be another part of it. Never ,never let a child alone with a dog for any reason(I'm not saying you did this)if you leave the room so does the child. Just a warning for whoever.Good Luck.
 

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Hank, nipped at our one year old baby yesterday
Please define "nipped at" did at any time teeth make contact with skin?

Dogs see little kids as puppies
I don't think so most dogs a very tollerant of puppies, With Babies and toddlers there is always a potential conflict with dogs. The problem most dogs have with them is they are unpredictable and unreliable. The do not move the way other humans do, they are oblivious to warning the dog gives etc.

what is the suggested reaction when he growls at the baby?
Why do you think the dog growls at her?

The most consistent reason dogs growl, bite and get "aggressive" is fear. When you daughter gets to close the dog fears, being bumped pulled, fallen on, lossing something it values like a toy or simply the unkown. The first thing you don't want to do is punish the dog for growling. While punishing the dog can stop it from growling it does nothing to change the underlying emotion that cause the growling So instead of growling the dog now must resort to something else which is usually much worse. I spent over two year retraining one of mine to growl after it was surpress by punishment. She was a truely dangerious dog that would bite first then ask questions later.



What to Do If Your Dog Growls or Snaps
A Normal Dog Delivers Several Warnings

My dog Izzy, the one who growled at me over a pig ear, once delivered a beautiful lesson in how to escalate. We were at the dog park, and a bouncy boy dog just wouldn’t stop humping her. I was so flabbergasted by his obliviousness to her signals that I didn’t intervene. The first time he got on Izzy’s back, she walked out from under him -- the equivalent of “Nah, I’m not into that.” He came back for seconds. She whipped her head around at him -- a low-key warning. Third time: She whipped her head around and curled her lip. Fourth time: Izzy whipped her head around and snapped. The fifth time Mr. Humpy got on her back, Izzy threw herself into the air with a roar and drove him off, snapping and snarling. Nobody got hurt. “Wow,” said Mr. Humpy’s guardian. “Your dog sure is aggressive.”

So behaviorally healthy dogs take most of life in stride, and they deliver warnings when they’re pushed. Those two facts together help explain why it’s best to respond without confrontation to a dog’s growl or snap. First, underlying almost all aggression is stress -- whether that’s a huge stressor in the moment or an accumulation of small stressors over an hour or a day. Bear in mind that this is stress from the dog’s point of view, and that many dogs aren’t in perfect behavioral health. No matter how much you enjoy the toddler next door, if your dog growls at her you can take it as a given that he finds something about her presence distressful.

If you punish your dog for growling or snapping, you’ve essentially punished him for warning you that he’s close to the limit of what he can stand.

Second, if you punish your dog for growling or snapping, you’ve essentially punished him for warning you that he’s close to the limit of what he can stand. If your punishment is perfectly calibrated, he may never growl or snap again. Now that cute toddler can pet your dog on the head and he’ll hold still. But he’s not feeling okay about it. What happens when the little kid, who doesn’t know any better, pulls the dog’s tail or sticks a finger in his ear or runs up to him when he’s eating dinner? You, the child, and your dog may well get lucky and go the dog’s whole life without finding out. But I’d rather not leave everybody’s safety to luck.


... But if your dog growls or snaps, or if you’ve caught one of those more subtle warning signs I mentioned earlier, your best bet is to back off. Exit the situation. Take a deep breath or 50, enough for you and your dog both to settle down. And then think. What, exactly, were the circumstances around the behavior? And can you identify any new or old stressors in your dog’s life? You and your dog need professional help, and the best thing you can do right now is to gather information.
The fundamental thing to understand about dog growling is that there ought to be a reason for such behavior, unless the dog is unwell physically. The most common reasons are threat, insecurity and possessiveness

I'm ready and willing to put in a lot of time fixing this.
There is no way to get the resources you need on a forum such as this You need the help of a certified animal behaviorist. First to observe and determine if any sort of behavior modification can be done safely in the first place. Given the unpredicablity of toddler it is extremely difficult to work on modifing behavior in a systematic way as it should be done. Also the time frame is short. babies do not remain todlers for ever. Many times management is a better option.

Find a Diplomate
American College of Veterinarian Behaviorist

Directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

Find a Consultant
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants


TODDLERS & DOGS


Babies, Toddlers and Dogs: Helping Babies and Dogs Get Along

[How To Handle An Older Dog Around Toddlers
I general, you should evaluate the dog with the toddler and see how it goes. If the dog snaps, growls, barks, or attempts to bite the toddler then you should keep them separated at all times.

...If your dog is old and does not care for your toddler then it is important for your dog to have a place all his own. You want to gate off an area where your dog will feel comfortable and happy and where you won’t have to worry about keeping your dog from potentially harming your child.
Infants, Toddlers, Dogs, and the Human-Animal Bond

Dogs bite babes and toddlers more often
They found the incidence was highest in 1-year-old patients and decreased with increasing age.
Dogs and Toddlers
Toddlers and dogs do not have the moral reasoning power to make good decisions and thus cannot be expected to be “friends” until the child is at least around age five.
· Success comes from your work with your dog and your work with your child. It is never about the relationship between the dog and the baby/child

...Left to their own devices, toddlers will NOT choose appropriate, safe behavior with dogs. That’s just not what they do (see below). Parents are in the middle between dog and toddler, working with both to learn how to foster friendship and live in peace. They do this by preventing bad experiences and encouraging goodwill and tolerance between child and dog.

...Who Really Wants to Live With a Toddler?

Remember – toddlers and children are not the same creatures! Most of our memories and mental pictures of kids growing up with dogs are geared towards older children. Here are just some of the things toddlers do every single day:

· Throw things · Play with obnoxious, loud toys
· Scream and yell · Hit, kick, pinch and grab
· Walk unsteadily, fall often · Throw tantrums
· Stare · Run, run, run!

Who in their right mind would CHOOSE to live with someone like this? Dogs don’t get the benefit of frantically paging through the parenting books to see when each new challenging stage will be finished.

There is very little a toddler has to offer a dog that a dog would enjoy. We love the little monkeys because they can be so cute and funny and we know that this time will not last forever. In fact, your dog doesn’t know that toddlers will ever grow out of this stuff and they aren’t swayed by any of the cute little things toddlers say to melt your heart.

Can you imagine how tough this can be for your dog? Sympathize with your dog’s perspective while you remind yourself, “This too will pass.” Soon enough, your toddler will become a child and his or her behavior will be more predictable and safe to your dog. Until then, the trick is to get through this period without any harm done.

...The best way to keep your toddler safe from your dog is to keep your dog safe from your toddler.
 

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Just wanted to jump in and say that I do agree with the info about stress in a Basset. We adopted a shelter/rescue companion, age 1.4 yrs. two weeks ago and the poor dog had been abused. We are using lots of love and hugs just to get the dog settled into the animal it is meant to be. We had a cocker spaniel for over 11 years and it was greatly abused--lots of love and just allowing the dog to be what it was meant to be made it into a wonderful companion. We adopted a soft-coated wheaten after we sent our cocker on to 'the rainbow bridge' and he was an abused animal too. Again, we used love and the same type of training we had used on Caesar, our cocker. Salem lived for 16.5 years before he suffered a stroke and we had to tell him 'good-by'. We are now owned by a Basset named Basil (think of Fawlty Towers) and again, another abused dog that we have the joy of turning into a wonderful companion. He is already changing and is not the same jumping, stressed out animal that I brought home two weeks ago. He is listening and obeying most of the time. When he does not listen and refuses to do what is requested, he is ignored. He loves to play and is learning to do typical dog playing. He was a former military dog; family was sent from Tennessee to So. California and the dog was either left here or got out and the family did not claim him. He does not like to be spoken harshly to (no yelling), he does not like leashes or belts (he goes beserk, loud barking, growling), he does not like flashlights (again, same behavior as with leashes). When my husband was doing push-ups, Basil got very emotional. He will cower when a clicker is used. He is on a very healthy diet (Blue Buffalo) and his treats are mostly chicken and no preservatives or sugars. We are being patient and knowing from experience that he will turn around eventually.
 

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Grif: I hope that you take care to never leave your dog alone with your child until your child is older, but I do think that your family can work through the issues with your dog and benefit in the long run. I just joined this forum in memory of our best dog ever, our beloved Basset Columbus whose pic you can see was taken only a week before we had to put him down. He is dirty in the pic, but he hated baths and he was on marked time so we were spoiling him. He lived nearly 17 years and came to us as a puppy when our kids were 4.5 yrs, 2 years, and 6 months. I spent much time on the floor holding my kids (and/or the dog) and pulling hands back from ears and praising the puppy for being tolerant. I can't say when it happened, but eventually everyone got comfortable with everyone else. Some of that is the training of the kids NOT to do what they do naturally, and some of that is encouraging the dog not to feel threatened by their behavior, partly because when then interacted, we were RIGHT THERE on the floor with each during that learning period. Since you said you were willing to spend some time, I encourage you to do this all together in a friendly space and spend some time letting the kid and dog get to know each other under deep supervision.
 

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There is no way to get the resources you need on a forum such as this You need the help of a certified animal behaviorist. First to observe and determine if any sort of behavior modification can be done safely in the first place. Given the unpredicablity of toddler it is extremely difficult to work on modifing behavior in a systematic way as it should be done. Also the time frame is short. babies do not remain todlers for ever. Many times management is a better option.

Find a Diplomate
American College of Veterinarian Behaviorist

Directory of Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

Find a Consultant
The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants


I agree with the advice to find a behaviorist; I think you can find one in your area for a reasonable fee and it will be well worth the money spent. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.
 

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My family and my parents before me have had a lifelong ownership of Bassets... always either two or three together, both pups and older rehomes and we have found all of our Bassets have been extremely docile with people of all ages and especially our babies and young children.

None of ours ever snapped at anyone, even when being teased by our kids' friends, they have remained very gentle and placid and although I have not read the replies to your topic, I'm sure people on here have been helpful to you.

In my experience, this is very typical of how Bassets react with babies




These videos are just so typical of all of our Bassets going back many years!!!


 

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Thanks for your replies, everybody. I read all the articles posted by Mikey and will follow the advice. Hank is a good dog and I can understand how a little baby in the house stresses him out. We'll put in the work and hopefully I'll have positive changes in a little while.
 
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