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Wow, this brings back memories. I haven't posted on here in years. I currently have a very spoiled basset hound, Winston. Winston is ten years old, and he is very much our baby.

My husband and I are currently trying to get pregnant, and I worry about Winston's ability to acclimate down the road. When he was young, he was great with kids. As he's gotten older, that has started to change. I think its because of a couple of incidents that happened a few years ago. We were staying with my mother in law--and some kids taunted him through the fence. We didn't find out right away. Also, some kids set off fireworks over the fence (now Winston is also petrified of thunder and fireworks).

Anyway, I digress. In recent years, Winston has not been around kids as much. When he is, he is pretty good with older kids. I don't know what it is about younger kids, but he is not as good. Last weekend, our friend brought their 2 year old over. At first, it was fine. But when she was standing near him, he kind of did a low growl and then kind of pounced at her ( I honestly couldn't tell if it was play or if he meant it). Maybe it was a height thing? He uses similar stances and sounds when he is playing sometimes--giving mixed messages. The little girl didn't react or even cry--which is good, I guess. She thought he was playing. But, it bothered me because for most kids this is scary when a 69 lb basset hound growls at you. We've had similar things happen in stores when a bunch of kinds surround him--which I now keep from happening. I don't know if he's just jealous or just thinks they are a dog to play with. Also he's a rescue and he's always been a bit funny about feet--which might be part of the problem.

Anyway, I don't know if this makes sense. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can get him to be better with little kids? Perhaps, it will be different with our own baby--although we would never leave the baby unattended with him or any other dog.

Please share your thoughts or suggestions. He is very food motivated--anyway to use food to get him past this. He's a wonderful dog.
 

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I'd find a good behaviorist if I were you. Alot of folks here might have opinions about how to handle this, but with so much at stake, I'd talk with a professional.

Good luck!
 

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Regardless of how good a dog is with kids they still can not be left with them unsupervised. An no that does not mean both dog and child in the livingroom, which you make dinner the dog and child need imeadiate and full attention either one or both need to be confined.

It is a good to dog is not use to crate confinement to start to introduce a crate to the dog in a friendly manner so he learns to associate the crate with pleasant thing like meals and enjoys time spent their. Trather than having to engage in a wrestling match to get him in.


A couple thing about toddlers an dogs. There is a reason that it is this age group that sufferes a disperportionate amount of dog bites. First a toddler has very limited self control. expecting a toddler to actual behave as he is told to is folly. But from a dogs perspective thy do not know what to make of them. Their waddleing gate is dissimalar enough as not to be human. The lat of impulse control means they tend to charge right at a dog which is treating ect.

Exposing the dog to toddlers and younger in a non threatening manner is a good way to help bullet proof the dog. This requires a technique called counter conditioning and desensitization. The dog is never put in a position in wich it feels threaten. Thi means the ability to clearly ready doggy body lanquage, hence the advantage of someone to help you hands on.

You can find listing for behaviorist on the Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists website or the American College of Veterinary Behavior website as well


A good small referrence on training using desenatation and counter conditioning is CAUTIOUS CANINE - HOW TO HELP DOGS CONQUER THEIR FEARS, 2ND EDITION

Will Baby Make Four?

TODDLERS & DOGS

Crate Training

Crate Games for Self-Control & Motivation DVD
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Mikey. I completely agree with you. Like I had said in my original post, I have no intention of leaving our dog or any dog alone with a child.

Also what you said about toddlers makes sense. I had never thought of them in that way. But it does seem like he is unsure of them. I thought it was perhaps the fact that they aren't that much taller then him or the way they approach him. And, I do think its a good possibility he's trying to play--but this still needs to be overcome. I don't want to risk it for his sake or any child's especially our own.

He's a good dog. He definitely has some issues from being abused as a puppy. And, we've learned to work with him and overcome a lot of them. Definitely need to de-sensitize him. We've worked with a behavorist in the past and I'll look into it again.
 
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