Only Aggresive with Toddler

Discussion in 'Behavioral Issues' started by naughtyamber, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. naughtyamber

    naughtyamber Junior Member

    Hi, I am hoping for advice on how to handle an unfortunate situation with my pembroke corgi, Lola.

    About Lola:
    5 year old female
    not spayed, never bred
    family member since puppyhood
    gets along with cats
    sweet & spunky

    While I was pregnant I sent my loving little dog to live with my parents for awhile. She had habit of running under my feet & once I got really big I was afraid I would trip & get hurt. My son was born last december. Since then I have visited my parents multiple times. Every time I have visited I have held my son where Lola could walk up & sniff him to satisfy her natural curiosity. The idea was to slowly introduce the two of them before bringing her back home. Each time it has gone very well & I was hoping this latest visit would be the one that ends with her coming back home with me.

    My son was sitting on the floor next to me when my dad called Lola in the room. She made the rounds getting pets from everybody but avoided my son. That was fine, I figured it would take her a little while to work up to checking him out. After several minutes of playing with her rope she walked back up to me. My son was crawling around behind me & she saw him. She growled, ran over my leg & tried to attack him as I was grabbing her & pulling her off of him. She was lunging so hard it took my dad running across the room & lifting her in the air to stop her. He immediately put her outside & she calmed down. The whole things scared my 11 month old son so bad he was screaming though thankfully not hurt.

    What should I do? He wasn't near her food, crate or toys. She came to him, he didn't have her cornered. Since they've been extremely closely supervised every time they've ever come into contact with each other I know he's never hurt her or threatened her. This was her first act of aggression & was totally focused on him, no one else in the room. I was terrified by how close she came to biting him in the face, it could have been a serious injury. My husband said that because our son is crawling now that Lola might have mistaken him for a strange dog. She doesn't go after other dogs while we're out walking though.

    Sorry if this is overload, especially for a first post. I just love my dog & of course my child & don't know what to do :(
  2. Peggy

    Peggy Senior Member

    Well, first off she doesn't see him as a pack member or she sees him as one she can drive out.

    Look up NILIF (Nothing In Life is Free) and start her on that. At this point I would not take her home with you and would NEVER leave her alone with children.

    I've not had this problem so I can't really help beyond that. You might look up dog aggression towards children in a google search.

  3. Peggy

    Peggy Senior Member

    P.S. spaying her might help, and I'd sure do that ASAP.

  4. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Spot on! Corgis don't tend to respect children as above them in the order of things as it is; and her being away from your home for this long, her "pack" dynamic has changed, even though she still has attachments to you.

    Sorry I can't offer more positive options, but I agree she does not need to come home with you. I've had far too many rescues owner turn ins for this very reason with children of this same age.

  5. ColColt

    ColColt Senior Member

    I'm certainly not nearly as knowledgeable as Peggy or Debbie but, take this into consideration. Maybe try putting your little one in a stroller and tying the leash to it with your Corgi on the other end as you push it down the street. Hoping that your girl will get the message that the baby is also the "pack leader" in the family and dominant over her as well as the other pack members(you and hubby)...keeping an eye on him, of course. I'd even consider taking a small blanket or towel with the baby's smell on it and leaving it in her crate for a short while.
  6. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Good ideas David and are all ideas and methods used to help a dog in the home adjust to bringing a new baby home. Lola's been out of the home for almost a year it sounds. It also appears she still has attachment to her owner, but the dynamics of who is her pack has changed. There is also a big difference when a baby is still in a lap and when it gets mobile. Lola I fear will never be reliably safe with the baby.

  7. ColColt

    ColColt Senior Member

    That's such a shame, Debbie. I know you've seen a lot more of this than I ever will but, I keep thinking maybe there is restitution for Lola and would like to see them all be as "one pack". Perhaps that's not always possible and merely wishful thinking.
  8. Dillydoodle

    Dillydoodle Senior Member

    I would also not be quick to bring Lola home at this point. Lola was rehomed for a year during a very important time. She should have been included in all the new sounds and smells right from the begining and she might have looked at this new creature as part of her pack before the baby became mobile. Now, she has been rehomed and has a new pack.. and Lola might not see you as part of her pack anymore as she doesn't live with you. The baby is most definatley not a part of her pack in her mind, thus the reason she acted the way she did towards the baby. You know maybe Lola is stressed or even jealous that her old family sent her away and "replaced" her with a baby. I am sure that you were not replacing her with a baby, but she doesnt undertstand that your intention was a temporary rehoming.. I know some will say that dogs do not think that way, but you tell that to Dillon who gets jealous when i pet other dogs ... they DO feel jealously.

  9. naughtyamber

    naughtyamber Junior Member

    Lola is still with my parents; she did not come home with me. At this point I'm seriously considering offering her for adoption.

    I'm not a good dog trainer. Lola & I made it through potty training, leash training, sit & stay together, but have never attempted anything advanced. Remembering how many tries it took to get those things right, I don't think I'm skilled enough to keep her from ever attacking my son again. The big problem with it is one oops could be too many. With potty training I could just be patient & keep cleaning up puddles til we got it right. We had looked my son over that night & didn't see any marks. In the morning we found little rows of bruises on his leg where the jeans he was wearing kept her from breaking the skin. She wasn't just threatning, she did get him. Thank god it was somewhere he had thick clothing.

    We had been trying a slow introduction with the two because I thought it would be less stressful for Lola. That's obviously not working. Is there any further advice before I try to find her a new forever family(without young children)?
  10. glencorgi

    glencorgi Senior Member

    Is it not possible for your parents to keep her? At the times you are visiting with the baby, she would need to kept crated and/or secured away from him -- no interaction.

    In the stories I get from owners in your shoes - corgi in home before baby is born, kept isolated from baby - it rarely goes well.

    Where are you located? I will be glad to pass along some rescue contacts.

  11. olli

    olli Member

    I have a yar old niece who abosolutely loves my dogs and they are wonderful with her. But I also have had a lot of other opportunities to get them accostomed to babies when they were puppies. I'm wondering if your dog just doesn't understand that your child is a little person. I have heard of a lot of dogs being aggressive towards kids because they were never around them when they were puppies.

    I also think that her not being spayed could be playing a role. Females of any kind can be very good with a baby animal or human for a while and then last out for no reason. I know my family has see this alot with their horses exspecially. But I think that in her case, she's always been the little one and feels that she "controls" the lower levels of the house and that your son is invading. Since she has been living in that house for sometime now, se probably sees that as her territory now, and is tring to defend it. What I would suggest is to take them to a friends house, or if it's nice outside, to the park or an area where your dog can feel safe.

    Don't go thrusting him and her onto eachother, give your son a something to occupy him, and give your dog something. Try small treats that she can focus onto you with. And if you feel confortable, let her walk around and decide when to go over and check him out, let her get close and give her a treat. If she should act aggressive, scold her and take her away. Deffinately do not physically do anything to your dog, for this can mae everything much much worse.

    Hopefully, if everything is going right, you will work up to treating her for sniffing him, treating her for sitting near him. Ect. However, at this time, I would try your best not to let your son touch her. She may feel threatened again and that would ruin everything.

    That is about all the help I can give you, I wish you and your family the best of luck.

  12. Katie Finlay

    Katie Finlay Senior Member

    In my experience, spaying Lola will not make any difference at all. Generally speaking, if you want behavioral issues in a dog changed, spaying and neutering needs to be done between 6 and 9 months of age. After that, the dog is developed and has their own personality that isn't likely to change. Before and they miss out on vital hormones for growth and it is dangerous.

    In fact, many females become MORE aggressive when spayed. This is quoted on the ASPCA website:

    "Spaying Is a Quick Fix for All Behavior Problems
    Some people think that spaying a dog will get rid of all her behavior problems. Although it often reduces undesirable behaviors caused by the heat cycle, there’s no guarantee that your dog’s behavior will change after she’s spayed. The effects of spaying are largely dependent on your dog’s individual personality, physiology and history. Even if spaying does remedy behavior problems that are influenced by hormones, it’s not a quick fix that will instantly transform your dog into an angelic companion. If you want her to learn polite manners, you’ll still need to teach her basic obedience skills. If you need help with training, please contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) in your area. If your dog has a more serious behavior problem, such as fear or aggression, and it persists after she’s spayed, please see Finding Professional Help to learn how to find a qualified professional who can assist you."

    The rest of the information is found here:
    ASPCA - Virtual Pet Behaviorist

    I believe this is a handler issue and not a dog issue. Lola should have been involved in all of the preparation of the baby, which includes your pregnancy and the lifestyle changes you make before the baby is born. Is Lola crate trained? I highly suggest it as it will be very beneficial for you if done correctly (you need to make the crate a fun place for her to go, not a punishment). I also would suggest always having her on leash around the baby. Assuming you are going to check out NILIF (which I also suggest), having her on leash in the house will remind her that you are in charge, not her, and you make the calls to who is and isn't welcome.

    Good luck, I hope this works out for you!

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