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My friends male doberman growled at her baby. She needs some solid advice on how to prevent it from happening aagain.

The male dog is about 3 and has had pretty extensive training. Goes into a sit, stays, maintains eye contact and all that. Very obedient.

The little boy is of crawling age, uses things to climb on and pull himself into a standing position.

The dog has been around since the baby was born so they are not new to each other.

The mom was sitting on a chair and the little boy came over and climbed on the dog to get into a stand. The dog growled. It's the first time he has growled. The father took the dog immediately to his bed with no issues. Now the dog maintains a wide area between him and the boy.

Given that there is no medical issues and no injury to the area where the boy touched-my first assumption is that the growl is the warning that he does not want to be climbed on anymore. Would this be a correct thought?

So aside from letting her know to not leave the baby unattended with him and to not let him crawl on the dog, what can my friend to do to ensure that it doesn't happen and that the baby and dog can live together peacefully? She doesn't want to seperate them and/or have the dog avoid being any where near where the boy is.

Up to this point she has not had any issue with the dog and I beleive she is a good judge of character to notice if there had been anything. Any advice would be great.

Thanks much!
 

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crazyinluvwithmydobes - Our dobe in the 1980's did the exact same thing and I will not tolerate a dobe growling at a family member...period.
We were married for 1 week, when our first dobe puppy, came into our lives...family life evolved around the dog.
Five years later, we had our son, and when I picked up my wife and new born baby at the hospital (in a 1967 muscle car), immediately I could tell she was really jealous of him.
Our infant was now the center of attention, while the dog still had a great life.
When he started to crawl, and tried to climb on the dog...dobe growled at him.
Lets just say "I gave her correction(s) right on the spot" and put the child, back on the dogs back...for the next, 5 minutes straight / given a "stay" command.
Fully supervising and communicating for the dog to be good / my expectations were made very clear.

A few months later, our son crawled up on the love seat and dobe. She never growled, just looked over at dad / leason learned.
That was the first & last time, this dobe growled at our child / she died of cancer 3 years later.

Our current dobe, was also a puppy when we got her...she has never growled at any family member.
Our son was a teenager when Amy dobe came into our lives / so she was never jealous, and thought the boy of the house, was her big brother and care giver.
 

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Yep, the dog doesn't want to be climbed on. Since it sounds like they are used to letting their son crawl around on the floor with the dog nearby and nothing happened, and only growled now that the son is grabbing/pulling on the dog to help himself stand up I would interpret it that the dog doesn't like that and the child should not do that. But that is going to be difficult since it is normal for kids as they start to learn to stand/walk, to pull on things to help them stand. So it is the responsibility of the mother to really be pro-active at this time.
 

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Agreed with other comments. If the dog doesn't want the baby crawling on him, the baby should not be allowed, EVER under any circumstances, to crawl on him. The growl was his communication of that, as our dogs don't speak our language.

A good blog for them to have a look at is Dogs and Babies...Learning to Live Happily Ever After, which discusses everyday approaches to having your dog and baby be able to live in harmony, with the dog unharried and the child under control.

ETA: apparently they have a new website as well: Dogs and Babies
 

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First, she should be thankful that he growled. He was able to communicate his discomfort so that she could intervene before he felt the need to escalate. I would recommend your friend do some reading on dog body language so she can see those signs earlier. Turid Rugaas's book, "Calming Signals" is a fantastic book that's cheap, short, illustrated and very easy to understand. She can also take a look at this video, which illustrates some of the concepts: How to communicate with a dog in their own language- dog training dog communication - YouTube

Second, I would STRONGLY recommend she work with a professional trainer on this. Some places offer "dogs and babies" classes. I'd personally try to find a trainer from this list: Search for Professionals. She also needs to be sure the dog and baby are closely supervised at all times, and that the dog has a safe place to retreat to where the baby cannot bother him. But truly, get a professional in this circumstance who can come out and work out a plan with her.
 

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I would simply not allow the baby to climb on the dog, that shouldn't be something that would be allowed... Personally, I would consider a growl to be a GOOD thing (as opposed to turning and biting) and I would be more diligent about watching my baby and the interaction with my dog. I would call my girl extremely well socialized, and extremely well behaved, and I'm 100% confident that nothing would ever happen. She loves kids, and loves everyone for that matter. But at the same time, I would never allow a baby to be around her without me right there, just in case. The best behaved dog in the world can have a bad reaction if he gets poked in the eye, or elbowed in the gut while trying to rest...
 

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Beaumont- I accept and respect that is how you handled the situation, but this is the Internet. We don't know these peoples experience level, dogs temperament, etc. Advising someone to put their baby on the dog to desensitize it seems, well, dangerous.
Correct / Granted - everything shared on the internet, should be taken with a grain of salt...because the dog background information and training history, cannot be truly explained in the first place here...by the OP. (hopefully, this is understood)
But, if we all presented the most obvious and easiest solutions (like keep your infant away from your dobe, at all times, in the future) and ignored a real-life story (that worked first hand) from a different & subtle approach, corrective options would be limited and the risk of repeat offense would always be present, in the parents mind.
The first point I was trying to highlight was that, “I made the correction for undesirable behavior...immediate and right on the spot.
- for a serious act, I don't believe in taking a dog to its crate for a time out or in redirecting it with a toy
Since the alternative is often to simply put the dog down, I want a dog that I can trust, moving forward...and this doesn't come by waiting for an accident to happen again, one day or always walking around the dog "on-egg-shells"....Nip the problem in the bud, before it exculates, and effects only one or more family members.

Sure we should all fully supervise our children and pets, every waking second of the day / just like we should never take our eyes off the roadway or ever have an auto fender bender.
(but stuff happens)
So if we let our guard down, for even a moment...I still want to avoid the future risk or potential danger...with some level of certainty.

The idea of dobe euthanize in these situations, easily crops up and crosses family member(s) mind.
One can live in some or constant fear with a family dog and young child around or have a level of renewed confidence, by testing the obvious...and deal with growl problems (against an infant) directly and swiftly.

What I did, was strictly a personal choice (with training experience)...that I was more than willing to undertake and I had all the confidence in the world, my actions would work most successfully.
My first dobe was smart enough, that it was not going to pull this stunt again / and it clearly knew (from that initial moment) what was in its best interests.
I choice, not to beat around the bush (in certain situations, of training) and did make my expectations towards the safety of our small family member, loud and clear...dobe got the message.
 

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As a mother of 2 (now grown) I never allowed my children to climb over the dog. To my mind there are no if's no but's. Just because the child is learning to stand up fact is (to my mind at least) it shouldnt be done using the dog. Now if the mother doesnt want to have to keep them apart, she is going to have to stop her child bee-lining towards the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all so much for all the advice and links to articles. It was very helpful. I know the family will appreciate too-looks like there is a good bit of hope for them. I'll check back to see if anyone has more suggestions-thanks again!
 
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To reiterate the point that should be taken from all of this... A dog is a living, sentient being. He's not a bouncy chair or a sofa. The growl is a good thing, it shows remarkable restraint, he DIDN'T bite the baby. Good dog! They aren't furniture. Letting their baby crawl on the dog and use it as a "pull up" device... Lord, they have a good dog that he grumped about it rather than physically changing the situation. Please please please don't recommend putting the dog in a "down stay" and using the baby as an expierement to proof his obedience.
 

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crazyinluvwithmydobes - Our dobe in the 1980's did the exact same thing and I will not tolerate a dobe growling at a family member...period.
We were married for 1 week, when our first dobe puppy, came into our lives...family life evolved around the dog.
Five years later, we had our son, and when I picked up my wife and new born baby at the hospital (in a 1967 muscle car), immediately I could tell she was really jealous of him.
Our infant was now the center of attention, while the dog still had a great life.
When he started to crawl, and tried to climb on the dog...dobe growled at him.
Lets just say "I gave her correction(s) right on the spot" and put the child, back on the dogs back...for the next, 5 minutes straight / given a "stay" command.
Fully supervising and communicating for the dog to be good / my expectations were made very clear.

A few months later, our son crawled up on the love seat and dobe. She never growled, just looked over at dad / leason learned.
That was the first & last time, this dobe growled at our child / she died of cancer 3 years later.

Our current dobe, was also a puppy when we got her...she has never growled at any family member.
Our son was a teenager when Amy dobe came into our lives / so she was never jealous, and thought the boy of the house, was her big brother and care giver.
I love you solution. I agree that this matter should be delt with in a way that the dog KNOWS there is no tolerance.
 

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Just like some people don't like children some dogs sont either. I feel that it needs to be clear to the dog that behavior will not be tolerated, but I also feel the owner needs to be sure the child does not crawl on the dog.
 

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I recommend immediatley finding a Schutzhund club and trainer. They usually are the most knowledgable on how to handle a dog. The fact that the dog growled regardless of what the baby did shows the dog does not respect the baby and that can mean disaster.

Please get help now - Until then do not leave them or turn your back for one second and if the dog approaches the baby immediately back the dog away and make him go to his place and lay down. Get help - this will not go away. It is deeper than the dog does not want the baby to crawl on him. What else will he suddenly decide he does not like??? Even better crate the dog when the baby is down on the floor and you are not holding him. Do not hold the baby putting the baby between you and the dog.
 
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