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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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We have a wonderful lab who is 3 years old. She lives with

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We have a wonderful lab who is 3 years old. She lives with just my husband and I and she has been the center of our attention since her arrival. her two sons are grown and both out of the house so she has gotten 100% of our attention an love (she has returned it with interest!!) We recently became first time grandparents and have a beautiful grandson!! Our lab Emma is very interested in the baby, but after awhile she has taken to barking. her bark is quite loud and it does startle the baby. Any suggestions on how to break her of this? I am sure it is related to jealousy, but we are not sure how to get her to stop. She is very gentle and has not shown any aggression towards the baby. It seems like she has had enough of the attention focused on him after about an hour and a half or two. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the new addition to your home! It's so good to hear that you are so invested in being able to show all your family members the love and attention they need.

I agree with you, it does sound as if Emma is having a hard time getting used to not being the center of attention all the time like she was before your grandson entered your lives. I do have a couple of suggestions for you.

I often recommend, with any new behavior problem, that you start with an obedience refresher. This can be as simple as asking Emma to sit before you pet her, or lie down before she has her meals. You can go as far as taking her to a new class if you have the time, or you can just work on reinforcing what she already knows at home. This just serves as a daily reminder that you are the boss and that following instructions is the way to get what she wants. It also provides time directly with her to help cement your bond.

When Emma is being good, during the first hour or so of your grandson's visit, every now and then give her a snack and tell her what a good girl she is. Holding out for even an hour is quite a feat for someone with the attention span of the average lab!

When she starts to bark, make a sharp sound to stop the behavior and get her attention. This can be a vocal noise you make, or any single, loud sound that makes her stop and look to see what's going on. Then, ask her to do a simple behavior (like sit or lie down) that you know she can do every time you ask. Reward her when she does it, then act as if nothing has happened and go about your business. Be consistent-- each time she starts barking, let her know that is not acceptable, then replace the behavior with a good one. Be patient, as well-- 4-6 weeks for improvement, 3-6 months for resolution is a good rule of thumb.

Another thing that can help is to give her attention before the baby visits. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog-- if she can go on a long walk, run, or trip to the park beforehand, it's more likely that she will relax and sleep or not be upset while the baby is there.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you!! We will definitely try your suggestions! We love Emma and want her to be able to enjoy Nicholas! She loves his dad because our boys grew up with labs and when he comes he always plays with her and she loves it! As soon as I tell her that Tommy (our son) is coming, she runs to the door and waits for him!!

Emma is a part of our lives and we definitely want to make this work for all of us!! :)


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank You for your suggestions! We will definitely put them into effect! Emma is an important part of our lives and we want her to enjoy Nicholas as he gets older and have Nicholas enjoy spending time with her!!

Great! Be sure to let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.