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When farm dogs and toddlers don't mix - a novel, vent, and seeking advice

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  • When farm dogs and toddlers don't mix - a novel, vent, and seeking advice

    Yes, this is an alter. I don't really want to air my day under my real username.

    I was upstairs working on something when I hear my husband downstairs with our baby (almost a year) telling her "you need to leave the dog alone." Seconds later I hear a snarl and baby crying. I fly down the stairs and my husband hands me a bleeding baby.

    GREAT. Just effing great. Take baby upstairs and flush out the cut above her upper lip. I notice she's got a puffy spot under her right eye too. Might be a shiner in a few days. Hard to tell.

    We took the baby to the ER at the Children's hospital and she was given antibiotics just in case. They cleaned the already closed "superficial dog bite" with betadine. I was also informed the Department of Health will be notified about the dog bite. They are required to report all dog bites and I understand that.

    My dilemma is that it was an accident, but a preventable one. We have 3 dogs, but it is the corgi girl who is the boss. She's not liking the fact that the baby is able to follow her around now and bother her. Baby also doesn't listen when dog says to back off. I have been very closely watching them when baby is on floor and dog isn't crated. When dog's patience wears thin she gets crated for a break or I baby gate her in a seperate room.

    I do 99% of the baby watching and almost everything with the animals. It's probably just as much my fault for thinking I could go upstairs and work on something for 40 minutes or so. The bite happened when my husband turned his back to do something. He didn't see what happened. When he turned around he said the baby and dog were about 5 feet apart on the floor.

    I'm really aggrivated and annoyed that I have some very grown up decisions to make. My husband (who was in denial about the incident trying to tell himself the corgi just poked the baby in the face) was telling everybody who would listen that there would be "total seperation" from now on. Not very realistic for our house. We have 10 gallons of crap in a 5 gallon bucket. There's not a lot of extra rooms for keeping dog and baby seperated. It can be done, but it'll be a real PITA.

    I really DO NOT want to rehome my corgi since I've had her since she was 8 weeks old. She was very protective of the baby before she was mobile. It's just now that baby is acting more like a toddler that we're having issues; snarling, posturing, and now the bite. I KNOW this a people issue more than the dog's issue. I'm just not sure how long this phase will take to pass, but I cannot risk another bite again. I am confident that I can keep dog and baby safe, but less sure that my husband can do the same. I am the animal person in the family and I also take care of the baby 99% of the time. It was stupid to think I could take a short break today and let dad watch baby.

    It was an acccident, but I'm still pissed I now have to make some decisions. I'm not sure what the Dept. of Health will say or do, but one thing is for sure is that if it happens again there will be hell to pay.

    I don't really want to pick up the phone and bounce ideas off of baby's grandma, but I need some objective input here. Baby is priority 1, but I just hate the idea of rehoming my corgi girl.

  • #2
    No need to rehome the dog. This isn't her fault. Just crate her if you don't plan to be right there watching the dog and child together in the same room, regardless of who is supposed to be watching the child. It's the easiest way to keep her safe from any unncessary harrassment and it keeps your child safe too. You can't expect the child to understand doggy body language.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


    • #3
      Animal control's primary issue will probably be that the dog has a rabies vaccine certificate and a dog license. Dig those out before they come around, or get them a dog license if yours is expired. Where we are, animal control quarantines your dog in your own house for 10 days, as long as you can find the rabies certificate.

      Some dogs can tolerate a toddler, others cannot. Find some Corgi people who can tell you the usual limits of Corgi tolerance. Toddlers are rough on dogs. We have always had Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. They will go after any strange adults, but are extremely tolerant of abuse by their human children. You may need to keep the baby and the Corgi apart when you cannot watch them carefully. Being a parent is never easy.


      • #4
        I'm sorry this happened.

        This is a no brainer for me, find the Corgi a fabulous home free of toddlers. This is all about what is best for your child.


        • #5
          First let me say I'm sorry for your child & you are very lucky! It could have been alot worse! Second I'm going on what you wrote & maybe reading between the lines a little. It's hard to judge without seeing the interaction first hand.
          I think you need to change your(the people) additudes towards this. The dog obviously believes she is in charge & you have let her take that role. When you say she was very protective of the baby before, your wrong. That wasn't the dog being overprotective. That was a dog dominating the baby. By not reading things correctly & getting control of the situation is what led to the posturing, snarling, & now biting.
          You need to change your whole household dianamics & teach the dog that you(all people) ar in charge/the boss, not her, NO MATTER WHAT! I'd start by doing NILIF all the time, everytime. Do some OB training to reinforce the good behavoir & correct the unwanted. At first I would correct every small, tiny behaviour that is not appropriate or a wanted action.
          You'll have to stress to your DH that he NEEDS to be on the ball & follow whatever plan you choose to take. It will do no good if he doesn't. Also baby is never too young to learn "no" & some boundries.
          If you don't have any experience dealing with these types of situations, contact a local "respectable" trainer for help and/or ideas. Good luck


          • #6
            I agree with some of the other suggestions. Crate the dog when you can't directly supervise. Work with the baby to teach her to leave the dog alone (even fairly young kids can learn what not to touch, even though you still need to supervise 100%, especially for now. )

            I would try to teach the dog to take herself to her crate if she is being harrassed, and try to teach the baby that the crate is totally off limits.

            The phase will probably last at least until you can teach the baby not to bother the dog. Dogs can't be expected to tolerate endless abuse, but at the same time, if she cannot tolerate normal kid activity, it obviously won't work. It does sound like the dog was being bothered long enough for your husband to issue a warning, and that the dog had a long enough fuse that she didn't snarl until after that, so maybe there is a chance that some training on both sides will fix this. It's too bad you didn't see exactly what happened. My BIL just had to rehome one of his dogs after she bit our niece in the face for fairly minor pestering, and our niece is almost 4 You might want to have him actually remove her from bothering the dog immediately, while giving her the warning, so that the dog is not put in the position of defending herself.

            If you can't commit to 100% monitoring and seperation, I would go ahead and rehome the dog. You've gotten a warning, and you don't want to risk a serious bite, nor putting your dog in a position where she is quicker to be snarling because she knows she is going to be mobbed.

            ETA - I also agree with the PP. NILIF is a wonderful thing, very good for dog's attitudes, and this will help you a lot. On the other hand, I don't know if you are ever going to change a dog's innate tolerance for being mauled, you will get farther by modifying your child's behaviour and access to the dog. The dog has a set level of tolerance and self preservation, and your ultimate decision is going to be whether you can create an environment that does not exceed that.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks for the input. I have made plenty of errors. I need to make time for doggy and I to have alone time. She also needs to be more tired at the end of the day. She was doing well crating herself when she wanted to be left alone.

              This morning they were getting along well. Corgi girl was tolerating being petted on the head by baby (with supervision.) I talked to a trusted friend who knows my dog and baby. She can't believe the dog bit the baby. She is convinced dog must have been provoked.

              We can crate or seperate with baby gates. Baby will be 1 year this week so she is starting to get the concept of no. Problem is that she has to try 3 times before she accepts the "no."

              I will also have a renewed excuse for finding an agility class for corgi girl and I. She loves agility and would do well with the attention and outlet. She has been allowed to let her manners slip and has gotten too big for her britches. Time to reestablish my position and then teach my husband how to establish his position as well.

              I hope I'll feel better about all of this in the morning. It was just a long day and if push came to shove I know what I would have to do. I just don't want to give up on my corgi girl without trying to make it work. I cannot put baby at risk while doing that though. I will crate and baby gate for now and look in to making more time for corgi girl and myself to do something constructive together.


              • Original Poster

                Forgot to add that corgi girl is on Predisone for a skin outbreak. I'm sure to some degree that is affecting her tolerance for being mauled. I will work harder to make a baby free zone for her until baby is better at "no" and dog is feeling better.


                • #9
                  Sound like you have a good plan in place. I wish you the best


                  • #10
                    I hate to be negative, but I don't think it's going to work out keeping the dog in the situation. Small house, very young child, intolerant dog - this is all a bad setup but the biggest problem I see is that the husband doesn't really grasp that the dog will bite the child deliberately, and that keeping everyone safe means constant vigilance on the part of the adult humans of the family. One thing that I'd keep in mind is the future - when not just my child but her friends will be around, and AC will have that bite report on file if there's any other problem. I do wish the OP luck; it is a tough situation.


                    • #11
                      This may be unpopular, but I would suggest rehoming the dog. The dog will now have one strike, another one could mean euthanisia in some areas, not sure about your local laws. In any case the dog is now officially "dangerous". The child will only grow more mobile and there is no way you can control every move a toodler makes. The dog does not like being harrased by the toddler. Unless you want to spend every minute of every day keeping them apart, it's probably best to find a new home with no children for the dog.
                      Turn off the computer and go ride!


                      • #12
                        Doggie muzzle for times when everyone is together? I have seen some people use them when walking their dogs around other dogs.


                        • Original Poster

                          I'm not ruling rehoming the dog out. It's just my next to least favorite option. My least favorite is having baby get bit again.

                          Foggybok, I think you hit the nail on the head about why I'm so mad too. My dog now has a strike against her. I'm in NY and didn't have much luck finding information on the health department and dog bites aside from all the horror stories. I'm not sure what policies are in this state.

                          Last night dog had kitchen to herself until baby went to bed. That worked ok. We will take it a day at a time, but I haven't ruled out any options, including rehoming.

                          Thanks for the suggestions and support. I sort of feel like I'm on my own here since I don't think DH understands all the ramifications. He isn't the animal person and doesn't see the big picture here on what may have to happen. He had himself convinced dog only forcefully poked baby with her nose when he turned his back. *sigh*

                          Off to do more research on NY policies and find the contact for our closest corgi rescue.... just in case.


                          • #14
                            here is the law for ny http://www.dogbitelaw.com/PAGES/New%20York.html

                            I think you might be okay because it sounds like this bite was provoked.

                            I second the suggestion for the muzzle when around your toddler. I also think the agility is a great idea- herding dogs need to have excercise for the mind and body.

                            Tough situation, good luck!


                            • #15
                              I raised four little girls in the midst of at least three Dobes and at times more. All those yrs and not one bite. I have found Dobes to be very tolerant of children. I also from the moment the kids could move about on their own taught them respect for the dogs. There are going to be times even if you do youir best to keep youir child and dog separated that they will end up together and it only takes a second to get bit.

                              When ppl with children come to visit now I try to explain to them that when the dog approaches the child and shows affection that that is on the dogs terms, he is making the approach. It is a completely different thing when the dog is laying somewhere nad the child makes the approach. Dogs see that as the child invading HIS space. Dogs in general do not like their feet, tails, ears screwed with and feet are usually the first thing a crawling baby comes upon.

                              Some ppl say to make sure yoiur kids leave the dog alone while he is eating. I have never done thta. Everytime my dogs were eating I made sure to involve the kids. I used to sit there on the floor with them while the dog was eating. The dog needs to be used to that. IT is another one of those situations that are hard to avoid if you are going to raise kids and dogs together.

                              I have two rescues, have had for three yrs, they've never bitten anyone but I did not raise them and now have a baby grandaughter who comes often. When those two are in the room I either hover over baby while she toddles around or ask the boys to go upstairs and take a nap on my bed. They are happy to comply as I am asking them to leave but also giving them something they like to do to replace it. I am not taking away something do to the baby and not giving something in return. That in my opinion would create a feeling of the baby taking away from them and make for resentment.

                              Now that the dog has already bit your child once I feel it is much more likely to happen again. I would have started out with letting the baby get close to the dog with me right there. If the dog so much as curled a lip he would have been corrected right then and there. And you work on from there. Praising when he tolerates and correcting when he doesn't. And I wouldd never leave them alone again. Never.

                              IN my state a dog gets one bite, after that they can be taken and destroyed. I would rather find the dog a childless home.

                              All can get along well together but I would have started working on this before now. Your husband needs to get a grip on the situation before something worse happens. The dog has now warned you, listen before its too late.

                              As an example of dogs totally accepting a child I always offer this example although some will find it gross. My second born was 7 months old and nursing. I also ahd a litter of pups who were four weeks old. I came into the living room to find my daughter nestled between the pups also latched on and nursing. I was just in disbelief. My sweet Dobe looked up at me as if to say look mom, I can take care of her for you, I can babysit. I told her what a good girl she was, picked up my baby, and told her not to expect the same out of me, that I had all I could do to nurse mine, I was not going to nurse hers.


                              • #16
                                I would rehome the dog now. You just can't give a second chance to a dog that's bitten a child. It's just not worth the risk. The next time could mean permanent scar, puncture an eye and what if the dog really goes off and doesn't stop with just one bite. The dog would already be out of my house.
                                In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.—Thomas Sowell, Is Thinking Obsolete?


                                • #17
                                  i think you are doing the right thing by trying to keep the dog. Dogs can only handle so much grabbing. Once the baby is older you won't have any more problems. YOU know your dog better than anyone. I hate that so many people are willing to GIVE up a pet instead of doing the work and fixing the problem. Dogs are not disposable. They are part of the family and they have feelings, too. There are trainers out there who would be willing to come to your home, and help you.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
                                    i think you are doing the right thing by trying to keep the dog. Dogs can only handle so much grabbing. Once the baby is older you won't have any more problems. YOU know your dog better than anyone. I hate that so many people are willing to GIVE up a pet instead of doing the work and fixing the problem. Dogs are not disposable. They are part of the family and they have feelings, too. There are trainers out there who would be willing to come to your home, and help you.
                                    Not so sure this is that kind of situation though. Getting a trainer in is not so likely when the husband isn't even getting that there is an issue. Also the limited area they are living in doesn't help matters either. Hard to separate when there is no room to begin with. And trainers cost lots of money too. Husband isn't likely to dish out money for an issue he don't believe exists. I would agree if they were just now noticing that the dog and child were an issue but now that the dog has already bitten the child that is going to be the way the dog handles the situation again. I would rather rehome my dog than have the authorities take it away for my mistakes. I could not live with that. It would not have got to this point if my dog, but it has and the next time there might not be another chance. When you are going to keep kids and dogs that should be something worked upon from the birth of the child on. IT sounds to me like they felt all would just be hunky dorry and now finding otherwise. AS I said above this can be done, all can get along fine, but at this point not so sure, child MUST come first, before there isn't a child to worry about.


                                    • #19
                                      i still think they should be able to TRY to fix the problem before just giving up.


                                      • #20
                                        What is NILIF?