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  1. #1
    maestramommy's Avatar
    maestramommy is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Default Dog keeps knocking my 2yo over: how do I stop it?

    Shep has a way of sideswiping Laurel, which knocks her flat. He does it in one of 2 situations: 1) He just gets in a playful mood and runs past her, but not quite so it knocks her over, or 2) When Dh comes home she runs to greet him, but Shep wants to get there first, so he knocks her over because she's the littlest and the only one level with his head. He never does it with anyone else, so I'm thinking he knows what he's doing.

    For the second situation I'm going to leash him as soon as I hear Dh coming up the drive, then make him sit while he says hi to the kids. But what can I do about the other situation, which seems to happen out of nowhere?

    We are due to start obedience training in about 3 weeks, but I'd rather not wait that long to ask the instructor. Just wondering if anyone has had this experience before and what you did about it
    Melinda
    Mommy to
    Dora 10/01/05
    Arwyn 5/25/07
    Laurel 6/27/09

    "Mommy, I need to put on my goggles, because I have too much energy."


  2. #2
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    bubbaray is offline Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Its a pack/dominance thing and you need to stop it RIGHT NOW.

    I would leash him and have him be the LAST "person" to greet your DH. He should not be allowed to get to the door before those people above him in the pack (ie., humans). If he does get to the door first, you need to hold him back (collar, leash, scruff of the neck) and have all the humans greet your DH first.
    Melissa

    DD#1: April 2004
    DD#2: January 2007

    "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." Jack Layton 1950 - 2011

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    No experience with that. One possibility is a doggie time out each time he does it. You would say TOO BAD and take him out of the action briefly. But I would email the instructor now and ask.

    Catherine

    ETA. I agree with preventing it in the second situation. The time out is the advice our trainer has given for our puppy humping ds.

  4. #4
    dogmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    On a side note, the most control I have over the dogs (which isn't much) is when I feed them. I have always been paranoid about food aggression in dogs and kids. I want my dogs to sit put while my kids pry open their mouths to get something. I had both my kids learn to feed the dogs, including the sit and stay command, since they were 2. It quickly got the "kids are over you" message across to them. I also had to be very vigilant with stairs and excitable dogs in the am. Somehow I manage to institute a lane system for going down the stairs.

  5. #5
    twowhat? is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    This is a simple fix that just takes time and consistency.

    Set up several "mock coming-homes" for your DH, without your 2yo around. Have him come in the house, and COMPLETELY ignore Shep. He should not say anything to him, or even look at him. If Shep gets in his face or in his way, he should turn his back and walk the other way (slowly, and calmly). He should avoid trying to push Shep out of the way and instead simply turn his back or side to the dog. This might require your DH to zig-zag around the house, opposite of where he wants to head. He should go about his business in the house for several minutes until Shep has calmed down. THEN he can quietly and calmly ask for a "sit" and ONLY if Shep sits and STAYS sitting will he get petting/attention. If Shep jumps up or breaks the sit, then have DH turn his back and ignore him and then try again when he is calm.

    Lather, rinse, repeat. Try to vary the location where your DH asks for the "sit" - in the kitchen, in the living room, in the hallway, out in the backyard, etc. so that no one place in the house becomes "high-value".

    For the real deal, if Shep knocks over your 2yo, have your DH attend to the knocked over child while completely ignoring Shep. This might mean he has to pick up the child and turn away multiple times. When Shep is calm, he can ask for a "sit" and then give attention. The next step is to have your 2yo next to your DH WHEN your DH asks for the "sit". Here, Shep shoud not get attention unless he holds his sit, and it will be more difficult for him because he sees the toddler as competition for attention. If he breaks his sit to try to get between your 2yo and your DH, DH should immediately get up and walk away.

    As long as you are totally consistent, Shep will very quickly learn that only calm, polite behavior gets the attention that he wants.

    For the accidental knocking-over, that's harder because he just doesn't keep track of where his body is in relation to the child. One of our dogs is genius at doing this, and the other (ironically our more gentle dog) just isn't - bull in a china shop. He just doesn't realize where his butt is when he turns and bumps one of our girls over. What we do is when he gets so excited as to knock over a child, he gets ignored and everyone must calm down. Be sure to provide appropriate opportunities for him to expend that energy - throw balls outside or something like that.
    Last edited by twowhat?; 05-11-2011 at 05:46 PM.
    5-year-old twin girls

  6. #6
    maestramommy's Avatar
    maestramommy is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Thanks so much! I had the idea it was a pack dominance, but did not know how to address it. I tried posting in a dog forum, and so far the only concrete suggestion I got was to use a spray bottle whenever Shep got within 1 foot of Laurel. Considering she initiates at least 50% of their interactions I didn't see how that was going to work.

    Twowhat, I will print out your suggestions and absorb them. Dh just got home, and I put Shep on a leash in a sit position. He sat beautifully, and waited til Dh got done with everyone else including me. So it appears that at least the leash has the correct effect on him for this application. We will keep using it. It feels a little funny using it indoors, but I can see how necessary it is right now.
    Melinda
    Mommy to
    Dora 10/01/05
    Arwyn 5/25/07
    Laurel 6/27/09

    "Mommy, I need to put on my goggles, because I have too much energy."


  7. #7
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    Thanks for starting this thread. Our terrier is always knocking my son over or even worse jumping up in excitement and landing on DS1. I wasn't sure how to stop it but will definitely try some of these techniques.

  8. #8
    maestramommy's Avatar
    maestramommy is offline Pink Diamond level (15,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogmom View Post
    On a side note, the most control I have over the dogs (which isn't much) is when I feed them. I have always been paranoid about food aggression in dogs and kids. I want my dogs to sit put while my kids pry open their mouths to get something. I had both my kids learn to feed the dogs, including the sit and stay command, since they were 2. It quickly got the "kids are over you" message across to them. I also had to be very vigilant with stairs and excitable dogs in the am. Somehow I manage to institute a lane system for going down the stairs.
    Jeanne, I've been feeding Shep, but sometimes I would allow Dora and Arwyn to scoop in the food. Maybe I will practice letting them put the bowl down. Shep will automatically sit and wait for his food bowl now, so it's probably a good time. The kids are always asking to feed Shep, give him his chewy, cookies, etc. Even Laurel wants to feed him

    Shep is the most patient dog ever in all other situations. he doesn't care when the kids, esp. Laurel aren't all that gentle in patting him, although I coach them on being considerate. But he has this exuberant episodes a couple of times a week.
    Melinda
    Mommy to
    Dora 10/01/05
    Arwyn 5/25/07
    Laurel 6/27/09

    "Mommy, I need to put on my goggles, because I have too much energy."


  9. #9
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    Our dog class instructor is a big believe in just leaving a leash on, even inside. It make it much easier to catch the dog and fix things right away. She is also a big believer in management, at least for puppies. So gate and crates, etc are good things, especially if you have kids.

    I would not try to spray the dog overtime he goes near Laurel, seems like it would set him up to associate her with bad things. My trainer is big on trying to have our puppy associate our baby (13 months old) with good, good things. So I am petting him and praising him, and giving him treats when she is petting him and even when she is doing things like pulling his tail. The trainer's view is that kids will do those things no matter how hard you try to stop them so you need to teach the dog to not care. This is with a puppy with no issues though so I wouldn't automatically transfer that advice to other dogs.

    Catherine

  10. #10
    fivi2 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    This won't be a popular solution, but we kept our dog separated from our kids the majority of the time (until they were older). I have a large dog and didn't want to risk anything. So the dog was either baby-gated in a separate area (and definitely gated when dh was due home) or outside. They had very well supervised structured interactions when everyone was calm. The dog is fine with the kids and tolerates them very well, so I don't think it caused any issues keeping them separate. My girls are now 5 and I allow everyone in the same room more often. The dog listens to them pretty well.

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