Monday, November 8, 2010

Dogs vs. Babies

So I guess the title doesn't quite reflect how I feel. Babies are WAY over dogs in my opinion.

What am I talking about??

I was emailed by someone in my family who's baby was just bitten by their family dog of over 5 years. They were shocked, upset, and scared. Of course! Who wouldn't be? they asked for my advice on what to do in that situation.

I gave them my advice and while doing so I realized how much being a dog trainer for GDA has shaped my attitude towards dogs. I do not want to go into too much detail here. I have to protect GDA's reputation (which is still quite intact!), and I don't want to to cause a huge controversial discussion. but I was surprised as I was writing down my advice. I spoil my dogs like no one else. Fala is SO ridiculously spoiled, even Belle is spoiled, and they know it! They know Mom spoils, and Dad trains. I am the "fun" one.

Since when??? I guess I just feel that owning a dog and training a dog for guide/service work are two completely different things that can allow for different training methods. However, my basics are still the same. Fala disobeys, she gets corrected, followed by praise. I'm just so much more relaxed about it now!

Now, my cousins situation is very serious. The baby, thank goodness, is perfectly fine. But action does need to happen. They are not even thinking about re-homing their dog, which I think is great. But they know there are steps that need to be taken in order to re-establish a healthy balance in the little family or not. And whether or not the dog likes it, she is bottom of the totem pole!

Babies win!


  1. *sigh* I like a good controversial debate on dog training lol. Glad to here the baby is ok. Had a simular situation with a classmate..she's pregnant and has a child reactive dog. She wants to keep the dog and work with him...
    Unforutnatly I couldn't give her good news in this situation, personally I think she needs to start looking for a new home, since modifying a dogs reaction is (2years and counting) I don't know if she'll take my advice or not, but its another one of this situations we gotta think of baby first.

  2. I have a child-reactive dog, my boy Teddy. Growing up with children/being around the stimulus constantly makes the behaviour modification work go so much faster. Is it safe for me to leave Teddy alone with the kids? Not really and I never do, but considering 5 years ago he would RUN from children and even last year he would snap at them if cornered and now he gives the 4 year old and the 2 year old hugs and kisses and loves to cuddle with them, it's possible. Hard work, and a lot of management, but I suppose it depends greatly on the situation, the level of reactivity, the level of commitment of the parents and the level of management that can be acheived. Not a fun situation to be in! I hope it all works out!