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Dealing with a jealous dog

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#1 Electric_Blue

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

Hi all,

Hoping someone may have some advice for a situation I'm in. My son is 4 weeks old today and of course he takes up a lot of my time. Especially since I am adjusting to my new life as a mum. Everything has been going mostly well...although the breastfeeding has been a bit of a nightmare...but I think it's improving.

I also have 2 dogs...a Pug x Boston Terrier named Dexter and a pure bred Pug named Rogue. Dexter is 4 years old and Rogue is 3 years old.

My DH and I bought a house in South East Melbourne nearly 4 years ago. My DH was working and living in Portland with his parents (which is a 4.5hr drive from Melbourne) So I lived in the house we bought on my own with Dexter. It was just he and I for 3 months.
My DH was made redundant due to the GFC and moved into our house. Suddenly Dexter no longer had me all to himself. Dexter wasn't too impressed but he got over it.

As my DH and I worked full time and were not home a lot we decided (okay, I nagged DH) to get another dog. So we bought home Rogue. I wouldn't say Dexter was really jealous then...but it was another change for him. He and Rogue play and look after each other. But DH clearly has a soft spot with Rogue (he loves Pugs and she's a pure bred where Dexter isn't) but I made sure Dexter was given attention from me. DH would come home from work and pick up Rogue and play with her. He would also play with Dexter but it's pretty obvious that Rogue is the favourite. But that was okay...Dexter was mine.

However, I've now got a baby and Dexter's not happy. He hasn't shown aggression towards the baby in any way shape or form. But he went to bite my friends 2 year old the other day (mind you she was unintentionally digging her foot into his back) I went to bed and took Dexter with me and when DH came to bed he went to pick up Dexter to take him into his own bed (dogs sleep in the laundry) and Dexter growled at him.
When I am breastfeeding Rogue will lie down next to me...and Dexter will lie in my lap. Of course this isn't ideal so I kick them both off me.

I'm not sure what to do to make Dexter feel a bit more at ease with this change. I understand that once upon a time it was just he and I and it's gone from DH, to another dog and now a baby. Those changes must be really big for him. My DH did bring home a baby blanket from the hospital for the dogs to sniff so I am sure they knew what was going on...

Does anyone have any suggestions? When DS is down I do try and spend some time with Dexter...mostly just sitting on the couch with him in my lap. And for those who don't know...Pugs are lap dogs.


Edited by Electric_Blue, 21 February 2013 - 08:51 AM.

#2 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

I'd probably have posted this in the Pets Forum - or at least started a second thread. Most of us dog training people don't usually hang out in the 'your family' bit. I am looking after a sick child this morning, so just cruisin' EB. Otherwise I totally would have missed this!

Part of your issue seems to be that your dogs haven't really been treated as 'dogs', rather, they've been your substitute children or family. It also sounds like you haven't prepared them for your new arrival.

What I would encourage you to do is get a dog behaviouralist to visit you in your home, and help you to retrain both your dogs. One of the stand out things is that your dogs sit at the same level, or even on you, and that means (to a dog) that they are 'in charge', not you. Which also means (to a dog) its okay to correct human behaviour - by biting, nipping and growling. You need a behaviouralist, to get your 'in charge' back, and to make it a pleasant experience for all concerned.

First off, the best place to start is with your DH taking over the doggy-related chores, and encouraging more doggy play. He needs to build a rapport with your dog, and the best way to do that is via their tummies. wink.gif Get him to use treats, and to practice skills such as sit, down, stay etc - and reward with small bits of food for good behaviour.

There are some additional rules that need to be imposed on your household.

1. No picking up dogs. When you pick up a dog, your elevate its status, possibly above your own. A dog is not a toy or a handbag. 4-on-the-floor is the goal, except when helping an animal into the car. A dog has legs, it can walk. Even pugs. Especially pugs.

2. No dogs on furniture or laps. Ever. A dog's correct place is at your feet. Yeah, I know, little dogs seem so cute and they don't take up much space, and they're almost cat-like on your lap. But, in allowing a dog on the furniture and in your lap, you are sabotaging your 'in charge', and giving it to the dog. Again, lots of rewards for being on the floor. Get them a special blanket or cushion, and reward them for sitting nicely at your feet. Remember, you can chat to the dog while BFing, and this will encourage the dogs to see it as their job (ie, sitting at your feet while you BF).  No dog is a 'lap dog'. Ever. Not if you intend to have children or other animals in your lap, and relationships with other people. YOu should not be putting this dog in your lap, even when you are not BFing. You are causing the dog to think it has the right to your person, and at some point, you may be putting your baby at risk. So please stop doing this. Pat the dog while it is on the floor.

3.Dog gets fed last. Doggy dinner occurs after ALL of the humans have eaten. Not before, and they never ever should get scraps directly from the table. Or the coffee table. Yep, again, this tells the dog that their status is lower than everyone else.

4. Dogs go through doors AFTER people. A dog should sit and wait for a command to go out, if you're not going out as well, and should only go through a door after you have. I'm personally slack on this one - but my dogs know I'm in charge, so I don't really need to amend my routine. You probably do, because your dogs don't understand that they aren't really in charge.

5. Dogs get attention AFTER the people are finished their activities. Doggy attention-seeking behaviour is to be ignored.

I am sure that a visiting behaviouralist will give you additional things for your dog's personal quirks, but these are the top 4 that are always on the list.

There is a great brochure about Kids N Dogs, that's worth a read.

I would be putting the dogs away when you have very young visitors. Its pretty easy to injure small dogs, even accidentally, and even when you are supervising them, as you've discovered. What's more, a dog that bites is in danger of being on the receiving end of a PTS order from the Council, if the council receives more than one complaint. The thing which concerns me is that your dog chose not to move away from the child, but rather, it chose to bite it. If it had bitten a child because it was being hurt and couldn't avoid it (ie, cornered), I would be less concerned about the possibility of it happening again, but your dog is a risk without a lot of work on your behalf. There is every reason you should expect that it will bite your child, in the same circumstances unless you teach it how to be a proper dog.

Okay, enough from me - hopefully you have enough to get started. Good luck, and if you want further advice, PM me, or find me in Pets.

Edited by *Spikey*, 21 February 2013 - 09:23 AM.

#3 Purelle

Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:50 AM

Great advice spikey. I'm going to start using this at home as well. original.gif

#4 Electric_Blue

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:22 PM

Thanks Spikey,

I was actually going to mention I may have posted this in the wrong area...there's so many threads I often get confused! Thanks for your advice though....it's great. And you're right they were treated like children rather than animals...

#5 PurpleNess

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:32 PM

Pugs are dogs just like any other dogs & should be treated as such...there is no such thing as a lap dog & that's where your problems begin.
Spikey is the resident expert on here so do listen to her advice & it will assist  you no end.
You can still love your dogs but they need to understand they are dogs , not humans, with a different set of rules, they'll still love you but the adjustment will take time.

Good Luck, be firm & consistent with your messages & they'll do just fine :-)

#6 Cirrus

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:55 PM

Hi There,
Good luck with the regime change in your household. My dog has been getting worse with dominance behaviour with other dogs - so a few weeks ago I decided to help him know his place.
Not allowed on couch, must wait for command before he eats, must not pull on lead - etc.

The hardest part is some of these are losses (eg I now have to get on the ground if I want a cuddle and I have to ignore his demands for attention occasionally) - but it is clear from improvement in his behaviour that this stable structure is best for him and other dogs and therefore me!

The growling you mention is very worrying. Your dog thinks that bed is a throne and he has a right to it!
That could be a safety issue with visiting children.
He need to be demoted from prince to family-dog!
Dogs love prectability and those with a clear place in the pack (family-dog) can relax more.

The other important responsibility you have to your pet is to give him the exercise he needs. This will also make for a calmer dog - and one you feel less guilty towards, reducing spoiling behaviour.

Good luck !

#7 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:08 PM

Completely off topic,

But DD is totally enjoying singing along to Icehouse's Electric Blue. Now I can't get the song out of my head!

If you ever post in the wrong spot, you can ask the Mods to move it for you, they're pretty good like that. Don't forget to update us with your progress. original.gif

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