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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16852
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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I am babysitting a 2 year old neutered male welsh terrier

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I am babysitting a 2 year old neutered male welsh terrier that I bred. The owners just had a baby. He is about 3 weeks old. When they brought the baby home the dog "was very excited" trying to get to the baby. I videoed him trying to "get to my cats" (behind a door)and they said the behavior looked the same, very excited and hard to control. They are afraid the dog thinks the baby "is a squirrel" and may harm the baby. They cannot decide if they should try to introduce them or give the dog away. They love the dog but it is their first do, and first child, and they are afraid the dog will hurt their child. The dog has been fine with children and selective dogs.He doesn't like all dogs, but that is a terrier. It is their only pet. They live in a city in a small NY apartment. The dog goes to day care during the day when they work. It's hard to give advice because if the dog bit the child that would be horrible, but in my experience I have never seen a welsh that did not like children.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.
Hi Keden,
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My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
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I'm going to tell you what I tell owners who are worried about dogs around their newborn babies. My recommendation in cases like this is to train the dog to stay a certain distance from the baby.
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I know you bred this dog and feel that you have bred a good temperament into your lines,. However, if a dog has not been socialized around babies and children, it can be a dangerous situation even for a smaller dog than a welsh terrier.
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Dogs seldom see babies and children as their bosses like they might see the adults in the house. A dog's reaction to a lower member of the pack doing something that is unacceptable is usually first a growl and then if that is ignored, they might then nip as a form of reprimand. So if the baby does something the dog feels is not permitted or unacceptable, the dog reprimands the baby. so teaching the dog to stay away from the baby is the safest solution at least until the baby is old enough to command the dog.

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The following part, I'm going to word to the owners since they will be the ones to teach the dog.


I would start teaching your dog to stay a certain distance away from the baby. You will leash your dog and if the dog gets within 3 feet of the baby, you will give the dog a short tug on the leash and a firm, low toned NO. It may take a bit of training before he realizes that he is no longer allowed in areas near the baby since it is unlikely you have restricted his access around the house. Once he starts stopping the required distance from the baby, start rewarding him with a tasty treat like a thin hot dog slice. At this point you will see him stopping long before he gets to the baby. It is important that you reward this behavior with both treats and praise. Once he has it down pat, you can start sometimes just using praise and sometimes treats so he doesn't know if he is getting treats or not.
At this point, you will want to teach him to move if the baby gets within 3 feet of him. So you will move the baby into his space and then using the leash move him away from the baby the required distance and give a treat. Since he already know he isn't supposed to be close to the baby, it may only take a couple of times before he sees that he needs to get up and move if the baby enters his space. Since treats are involved, they usually learn quickly. Again, treat for desired behavior. This is important because when the baby starts walking everywhere, the dog needs to move out of his way.

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Most of the dogs that I have trained have learned within a few weeks but the owners worked with the dogs daily and were very consistent. Once the baby is around 3 years of age, then the baby should be able to say sit and down with a little conviction. At this point, the owner will start the baby giving the dog known commands to teach the dog that he has to obey the child as well.

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Owners do need to be concerned about dogs around their babies. Even a tiny toy breed has killed an infant when left alone with the baby so it is a real concern. Parents need to know they can not leave a baby or young child alone with a dog regardless of how good the dog is with children. I breed rotties and do breed for good temperament as I'm sure you do as well. I raised 5 children around rottweilers and all of them were taught to stay away from the children while they arer babies and toddlers. When taught this way, it helps keep not only the baby safe from reprimands, but stops them from being knocked down accidentally or jumped on. It also helps prevent the dog from being poked or prodded in inappropriate places, prevents them from being stepped on or fallen on and injured as well.

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So while the dog can be introduced to the baby from a distance and allowed to smell the baby's blankets and things, I tend to think it is best to keep some distance between them at this age.

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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16852
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 11 months ago.
Hi Just Trying To Help,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler

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