My Dog Does Not Seem to like Baby

Updated on April 02, 2013
S.F. asks from West Palm Beach, FL
27 answers

anyone with a little dog and baby, i need some advice. i have a 6 yr. old shihtzu. she was queen of the castle and always well loved ( while was spoiled (and probably still is a bit), aggressive behavior was never an issue for her nor was it ever tolerated from her. when the baby came home (11 mo ago), my dog did NOT like the baby as she was no longer center of attention. i will admit the dog does not get the same attention that she used to. but we still cuddle and play. now that my dd is 11 mo, the dog seems to like her a tad bit (but not too much). sometimes she will bring her ball for the baby to throw and will give her kisses. but other times (and more lately) she will bark at the baby and growl. we have reprimanded when the behavior happens and we try to be very vigilant of the baby around the dog. sometimes my dog is warning the baby who is trying to pull or poke at her. today the dog growled and barked at dd so i reprimanded right away (but i had taken my eyes away for a second and i didnt see why the dog acted that way). a few min later i noticed a scratch on baby's eyebrow. it looks like dog either scratched or snapped at her. her eye is fine and the mark will probably fade before the day is done. she has snapped at her once before but never made contact. now even if my dog wanted to bite, she cant do much damage (she only has bottom teeth as her top ones are all gone unfortunately). i try to reprimand both and redirect both when i see the naughty behavior. any advice? i do not plan on getting rid of the dog or the baby (lol). i want them to be friends. i know little dogs are more finicky around babies. not sure what else to do.

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So What Happened?

I really appreciate all of the positive (and friendly) suggestions from many of you. Thank you for responding in a caring manner. I plan on contacting Petsmart on Monday. My dog has been trained by them before and has always done wonderfully. With the exception of this, she is a VERY well mannered dog. Yes, I am aware of how serious this is and how serious it can get. I have been researching all day ways to handle this situation and help both my dog and my baby learn to be around each other. I think getting rid of her is my absolute last (nothing else has worked) resort. I believe that when we have an animal, we are taking on the responsibility of making them feel loved and caring for them. All of which I have done and have been working on even more since baby arrived. I believe that just getting rid of them without trying to at least solve the problem is irresponsible. A few moms I know with pets have encountered similar reactions from their dogs when baby became mobile. They have also given me advice and the names of some trainers they worked with to successfully solve the problem without casting the dog out. Thank you again for your kind advice.

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answers from Honolulu on

Not all dogs will like babies, or kids.
It just is.
And young kids are not always good with pets. Especially when they are so, young. Kids do not have fully developed impulse control yet and not until even 4 years old.

And in the meanwhile, you CANNOT leave the dog around the baby, nor the baby around the dog.

Big dogs or little dogs... does not matter in how they like or dislike kids or babies. Some dogs just do not like babies or kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

We went through the same situation with my then 6 year old lab. I would never have believed he would have growled at my son but he did. So I bought a large baby gate and kept them separated. I then began to teach my son to respect the dog. Had him throw the ball for him. He gave him treats ( small piece of chicken no dog treats). Fast forward 6 years later and they hang out in the pool and he has not growled at him since. It took a lot of patience but I was not going to give up my dog that easy. I think people are too quick to just give them up. So glad to hear you are going to try to make it work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

I had a min-pin who did not like children as a result of children in a previous neighborhood having thrown things at him when he was outside. I tried to socialize him to my daughter but he was afraid of any small humans. I had to rehome him. I gave him to the friend of mine who had had the dog's parents, and who had no kids and no plans to ever have kids.
I had a cocker spaniel who was fine with my daughter until one day he wasn't. He was a previously abused stray that I had adopted when I was pregnant and until she was two, he was very protective of her. One day he went off the rails, jumped up on the kitchen table while she was eating breakfast, stuck his nose in her cereal bowl and bit her when she tried to take it back. I had him put down.

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answers from Wausau on

"sometimes my dog is warning the baby who is trying to pull or poke at her. "

This should NEVER be allowed. I mean, your baby being able to poke/pull and the dog being close enough to scratch/bite. You can't have these two in a situation where they have physical access to the other. You'll need to use gates and pens to make sure one can't reach the other. Just being in the room with them is not going to be good enough, as you've already experienced. They can't be free-roaming in the same room together.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You treated your dog as a human, and your dog resents the other human. This is no different then a sibling pushing or biting the baby. My cousin's baby just got bit by her little dog. (Who was also treated like a child.) She has probably 3 teeth, OK. She is a 7 year old shih tzu mix, in fact. The teeth caught her cheek and she had to get 3 stitches. The dog is under a 10 day quarantine. The doctor told her if she doesn't find a new home for the dog, then he is a mandatory reporter to CPS. Please, don't allow yourself to be in this situation. Your dog WILL bite this child, and you WILL be held responsible.

Get a dog trainer to your home ASAP. Take the dog to the vet, and ask for advice. You need someone to come train YOU more then the dog. You have handled this dog all wrong and you both need to be reconditioned.

If you think your dog can't harm with just bottom teeth, you are very naive. Have you ever seen the marks a baby with 2 teeth can leave on a person? Your dog can do MUCH worse. Especially, if the baby s caught in the eye. Your dog has shown you that it WILL bite your child. Seriously, your child WILL be bitten by this dog. I am repeating that, to implore to you how dangerous this situation is.

If your dog can't be retrained, then you have to get rid of the dog. WANT doesn't matter. You choose the safety of your child over your dog. Period. Please keep them separated, no matter what.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Please seek help from a trainer right away! An experienced trainer will be able to tell you how to proceed, whether the dog can stay in your home, etc. This is very important!

In the meantime, YOUR DOG MUST NOT HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR BABY. Supervised or unsupervised, I'm not convinced you are prepared to do the training necessary to allow the dog near your child on your own. Keep the dog in a separate room, use baby-gates to separate them, whatever you do, do not allow the dog access to your child until the trainer says you're ready (and a good trainer won't say so right away!) A dog that is growling at children shouldn't be close enough to kiss them or snap at them, even if you're in the room.

I also had dogs that growled at my baby once he became mobile, and we were able to successfully train them. I don't necessarily think growling means you have to get rid of the dogs, and since you didn't see the snap, I'm not completely convinced that's what happened. A lot of people will immediately say "rehome," but you have responsibilities to both the dog and the child, to see what can be done before you decide nothing can be done. My kids are now 4 and 2.5 with no issues with our dogs - the dogs had had no experience with children, and simply had to learn that the children had all sorts of rights that dogs do not. It was not easy training, because it takes dedication, but it wasn't impossible, either. In some cases, it can be done. But allowing the dog and the child to be together without the necessary steps is asking for trouble, and then you'll really regret it. And if the trainer believes the dog will forever be stressed by young children, you will need to choose the safety of your child over your dog.

Best of luck.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

red flags red flags red flags.
no way would i let a dog that has been known to growl and snap at the baby to EVER get close enough to 'kiss' her.
if one of those bottom teeth punctures your baby's eye, 'not much damage' will be way too much.
if rehoming the dog is not an option (my first choice) i would keep them completely separate. the baby is almost a year old, and the dog hasn't adjusted yet. thus far you've been lucky.
doggie would get lots of love and attention when baby's asleep, but when the baby's out and about the dog would have to be contained.
it's nice to want them to be friends. but you're putting your baby at risk.
protect your baby.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


I'm sorry - you have a problem on your hands. Your dog is not getting along with the child.

Do not minimize the "snap" or whether or not the dog has bit her. Sorry. But if my dog, without provocation - however much I love him - bit my child - he would be gone. No top teeth or all top teeth. The dog can still bite. That mark - think how bad you would feel if it hadn't "just been" a mark...what if the bottom teeth connected with the eye? yeah - extreme and unlikely, but it can still happen.

I am a HUGE dog lover. HUGE. So for me to tell you to get rid of the dog is huge. And NOT being said lightly. You will have to make a choice. The dog or your child.

Can you do something else? Yeah. You MIGHT be able to. However, you would have to be EVER vigilant and NEVER allow the two to be alone together. EVER.

Your daughter may end up being afraid of dogs if you continue to allow the dog to be around your daughter and growl and bark at her - even snapping at her...

I wish you luck. I think you know in your heart what you need to do.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

You need to get a dog trainer that will train you and your husband on how to help better transition the dog.

Please don't blame the dog for behaving like a dog, and don't punish her for something that isn't her fault. She probably feels insecure and doesn't understand why when the baby hurts her and she warns the baby she's the one getting reprimanded.

I see this happening if my kid brother and his wife ever have a child. They treat their lab like a person and spoil him rotten. They even call the dog their "son."

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Talk to your vet about finding a trainer to teach your dog it's rightful place in the pack. Dogs are pack animals. Your dog was the leader and now it is not and it is confused and upset. Don't leave them alone. The dog is not evil, but it is acting like a dog. Watch the dog whisperer show - you can probably google it - to see what I'm talking about.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Wow! You are in denial. Your dog's bottom teeth could do plenty of damage. I personally think it is crazy to let your dog any where near your baby. Find a new home for your dog.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would suggest that for 6 years (or however long you have had the dog) you have made the typical mistake that many small dog owners do and you have treated this dog as your child (or at least like you would a human member of the family). Not only did you not do the animal a favor with this, now that you have an actual child you are in a bind, because everything you have ever taught this dog about her position in your family (her "rank") has been upended with the new addition.

If you do not want to give up the dog the first thing you need to do is keep your child safe. Even if you think the dog can probably not do much damage, chances are that is not so, so you must keep them apart at all times. Your dog simply must not have access to your child. Crate, use a baby gate.... just do it.

Second, I would think about getting some professional help. Your dog needs some major re-education. She must learn that she is indeed a dog and that her place is at the very lowest rung of the family ladder, WAY below the baby. This may not be how you see your relationship with your dog, but again you have not done yourself any favors by "spoiling" her and while you dog may go through an initial period of adjustment, you will NEVER be happy with your family if you live with an animal that you cannot trust around your children. As your DD gets older, more mobile, more exploratory and more assertive this WILL get worse. Tackle it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Bug is right you treated the dog like a person and now she thinks she should be above the baby in the pack hierarchy. We love our animals so much and have always had a dog but they are dogs and people come first. When you treat them as the animals they are they know their place and don't challenge the people in the house.

At six years old this may be hard to train out of your dog but I would try. Contact a good trainer immediately. I've seen too many kids bitten by dogs whose owners thought it would never happen. Don't put you're little one in danger.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Your child is not another dog. If this dog injures your child, it could be a lifelong injury and mean pain and possible perminate damages. You want a child having a tough time in school because you loved the dog too much to deal with this? This is not a competition. Baby wins, hands down.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I hate to say it, but the dog has to go. We spent tons of money trying to get our dog to adjust to our first, it didn't work. After he snapped once at my daughter, we got rid of him. He didn't touch her, but we knew he would eventually, and we'd have to live with putting our real child in harms way.

I hope you keep the dog gated away from your child when or aren't right there.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I have twins and when they came home my dog was also pretty put out as he was THE king of the house. He use to come and put his toys between me and he twins as I would try and feed them, etc.

That being said - he NEVER nipped at them or anything like that. And we have loads of pictures of them pulling at him, leaning on him, etc. You have a big problem on your hands and if you choose to keep the dog you will need to gate your dog off from your child.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am an animal lover, esp of dogs, however you need to get rid of yours. Your child comes first.

I suspect, but could be wrong, that like most small dog owners you never properly trained your dog. You probably treated you dog more like a human than the animal it is. Did you carry the dog around all the time? Dress it up? Let it have free reign of the house, ie jumping on the couch, getting in your bed etc? If so, your dog was/is probably a pain to everyone who visits your house.

I see so many people act like b/c the dog is little a bite isn't a big deal....NOT true. People make excuses for it all the time and you are doing it now. This is your child's home and safety zone, your dog is making it a danger zone. I don't care that your dog only has the bottom teeth, she still has teeth and can still harm your child. What if she had taken out the baby's eye? It can and does happen. Growling and nipping are aggressive behavior. You should've either better trained and prepared your dog for your child's arrival or gotten rid of her.

Your responsibility is to your child. You also need to let whoever you give your dog to know that she is NOT a child friendly dog, so they can place her in the right environment.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I agree that some intense training is needed if there is to be any hope of keeping doggie.

Besides possibly hurting your daughter physically, your daughter may instinctively learn to fear dogs. This happened to my younger son and it took us many years to get him over it. I don't think he even consciously knew why he was afraid, because he probably couldn't remember the dogs who scared him (didn't hurt him physically though).

For your daughter's sake this situation needs to be addressed. I really hope you can work it out for doggie too. Good luck.

ETA: I agree with the other moms . . . these two can NEVER be alone together.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I was in phoenix this past week and my brother has 2 pit bulls who have NEVER seen a baby and they let my 1 year old jump on them pull ears and tails and never once growled or nipped. I would be worried if after almost a year your dog is still doing this. Keep them separate and consult a dog trainer.

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answers from Kansas City on

We had a small dog when our dd was born. Dog was fine when baby was around, but hated it when hubby (it was his dog before I was in the picture) was holding the baby and not her. Her response was to poop in front of the baby's closet if no one was looking. But I never left the baby and dog alone together. Even a small dog could do serious damage to a baby, and quickly. Even if she only has the bottom teeth, I'm assuming she also has claws?

The dog doesn't really like the baby. You have to keep an eye on them or keep them separated. You don't know what, if anything, set the dog off. Could have just not wanted the baby around, could have been the baby pulled the dogs tail or ears or accidentally dug her nails into the dog. But either way, you can't leave them alone together. If something were to, God forbid, happen to your baby because of your dog, it would be 100% your fault for not keeping an eye on the two. In my experience, small dogs are more aggressive towards children than big dogs.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My precious dog was the center of my world. Guess what ? He thought so too so he did not want my baby in the house. He growled at the baby once the second day my baby was home. No contest. My son trumped the dog. I could not rest in the house with a dog I could not trust. What was the point? I gave him to my in laws and firmly believe it was the right thing. How will you feel if the animal scars and wounds your child? Of course, it may all be fine but why are you taking such a risk? I wish you all the best but IMHO you are not serving your child's best interests by keeping the animal.

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answers from Norfolk on

The dog needs to know that the baby outranks him in the pack/family hierarchy.
It's not cruel - it's how dogs think - and it's something they understand.
As for the bite/scratch - NEVER allow the baby and the dog to interact without you being right there on the floor WITH them - ready to grab one or both of them in case one attacks.
All kids under the age of 4 think every animal is a stuffed toy - they pull fur, ears, tails - and they don't know it hurts.
Little dogs get cranky, possessive and snappy as they age.
You don't want him to snap/bite/scratch the baby - even a toothless dog can do some serious damage to a child.
Even a bottom tooth can damage your child's eyes or bite enough to require stitches and can means scars after they heal.
You love them both - but you can't give them the opportunity to hurt each other.
Keep them mostly separated (unless you are right there - not cooking or attention elsewhere) and spend some quality alone time with them both.
The dog will be dead of old age in roughly 10 years.
If he scars your child - she'll have that the rest of her life.

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answers from Fort Myers on

I think this is more common with small dogs because let's face it, big dogs can take quite a bit of rough play from a child without getting hurt. Your dog is probably the same size as your 11 month old or even smaller and children can inflict pain and injury without intending to. I have 3 dogs, 2 small (pugs) and one big (boxer). The Queen was my oldest dog, one of the pugs. She didn't like my son for a long time either. She would growl sometimes and usually walk away from him, but when my son was your daughter's age and learning to walk he cornered her and kind of fell on her. She nipped at him and gave him a small scratch. I realized I couldn't count on my pug just ignoring him and started teaching my son how to be nice to the doggies. I'd say "nice", "gentle", and show him how to pet the dogs and correct him when he was rough. Before anyone freaks out, of course I would not keep my dogs if there was an ongoing problem. However, we as pet owners and parents can't just expect to put a baby in the mix and think everything will be fine without doing teaching of both dog and child. I do recommend talking to your vet or consulting a trainer and at the same time your daughter is old enough to start understanding how to be gentle with animals. My son is now 3 and he and the Queen get along fine. Good Luck :)

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answers from Amarillo on

Your dog never got over the baby coming into the family. She/he tolerates the baby but that is it.

It might be time for the dog to have a new home. It's hard but you don't want blood or a torn up face because dog bit baby.

When we brought our son home the dog wanted to have attention. Hubby when to mailbox and when he returned I had dog in one are and baby in the other. I told hubby to take one of them I didn't care which but one he took the dog. We treated the dog as the older child and all settled down and he became very protective of the baby.

Good luck on your decision.

the other S.

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answers from Raleigh on

You'll just have to keep them separated while the baby is up and about. Do you have a fenced in yard? That might be your solution. Get her a nice dog house with lots of fluffy cushioning. Put it in a dry place with a view of the house. We put ours under the overhang of the house on the deck. He's happy as a clam.
Our older dog just prefers to stay outside when my kids are up and around. He's not aggressive, they just get on his nerves and he wants out. When they nap or go to bed, the dog comes in.
My son was bit in the face by my mom's dog, and all he did was fall down near him (not on him). He still has that scar. You just never know what might happen so they have to be separated. As the baby gets older, the dog will probably come around. My mom's dog is fine around the kids now. It's the baby stage that just make some dogs nervous.

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answers from Spokane on

the dog is just exercising her boundries the the baby. when the baby is pulling on the dog you correct the baby and tell the baby to pet the dog nicely while taking her hand and gently petting the dog. if the dog is growling for no reason then of course correct the dog. when you see the dog continuing to move away from the baby as baby is pulling on her etc maybe utilize a baby gate and give the dog free time in the kitchen or even letting her outside. when baby is alseep that is the dogs play time.
making sure the dog is well exercised will help so much in the behavior area. for people to say to get rid of the dog seem to have little idea on how dogs are. no im not saying the dog should be able to bite anyone. but there are cues the dog gives off when they are getting tired of being messed with.
i have never feared my border collie or my sisters pitt bull would bite my child and yes she has been left alone with both of them when i shower or have to run across the street. but i have also taught my daughter to treat dogs/animals with respect. she is not allowed to hold on to the dogs if they are trying to get away. she has learned this by my teaching her to be gentle with them.
and really nothing is funnier then seeing my sisters 50 pound pit pull my 50 lb kid across the house with her hanging on to her tug rope.

and look at it this way. parents who teach their children to ride horses. do they get rid of the horse when it bucks them off or kicks their kid? no they correct the childs behavior and show them the appropriate way to manage the animal.



answers from Tampa on

I didn't read all the responses, just wanted to share our personal experience. We have 2 boys, 5yrs & 2yrs old. Our dog has always had some anxiety issues and didn't really particularly care for people outside of those she didn't know, especially men & kids. She was able to tolerate our oldest and he did well with her. However, by the time our youngest was born she was about 11yrs old. She did fine initially, but once he started getting mobile her anxiety increased. Add in that he eventually started wanting to be all over her she had had enough. She was growling from time to time, snapped a couple times, never bit though. We also found ourselves always yelling at the boys to calm down, leave the dog alone or telling her to go lay down (where the boys tended to follow her). She was placed on anxiety meds, but in the end we had to re-home her to my husbands parents for her sanity and the kids safety. She is much happier, has limited access to the kids so she is needing her meds less now too. She has only been with us for a few days when my in-laws were out of town, but usually she goes to my parents house when that happens (where she still gets her meds, but it's because they have a houseful of cats and dogs that she's not usually around). Hope you have luck with your dog!

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