Babies and Dogs
Charles (Beagle) has mostly been great with the baby-he mostly leaves her alone, will just lick her face a little if we’ve been gone and come home. He’s definitely never gone after her aggressively, but he gets really aggressive when our dog walker comes in to walk him (barking, jumping, snapping). “Could we get some help with techniques to get him more comfortable with other people coming into the apartment.
I get this type of question a lot. The problem with this question is that is focusing on the outcome of the problem not on the problem itself. What I mean by this is that asking for a technique without having the foundation right is kind of useless. So first things first:
Step #1 is knowing why Charles is reacting like that. Is he acting out of fear, insecurity, overexcitement, anxiety, dominance, guarding/protecting? or a combination of some of this.
In this case I actually know Charles, and he is being protective of the house, the humans and the baby.
The question you have to ask yourself is: when big decisions have to be made who is the decision maker? In other words who is responsible of the house hold?, who is the parent? and who decides who is welcome and who is not? Is it you or is it Charles? If the answer is Charles that’s why he is acting out. He is just doing his job. The problem is that this is a very bad job and its also dangerous. The solution is to let Charles know that this is not his job. It´s yours. You decide who is welcome and who is not not welcome. Once you take over that responsibility Charles will calm down.
This question has to do with the relationship you have with Charles. You need to establish yourself as the parent. Once you have Charles’ trust and respect you can teach him and guide him in how you want him to behave. There are several techniques you can use, but they will not be effective if you don’t have the foundation right.
The first thing I would recommend is to be able to tell Charles to give space to the door and to calm down when a guest comes to your house. Once he is paying attention to you and he is relaxed let him greet and sniff your guest/s. Setting up a boundary and putting Charles in the right state of mind will not only teach Charles how to greet humans in a polite manner but will also send him a clear message that there is nothing to be worried about.
Probably your next question is: how do I get the foundation right? That´s a whole new subject on itself that I will be addressing in future posts.