He Snapped at the Baby…Please Help!

  • Today is my baby's first birthday. He was playing on the floor, Corky was laying on the couch with Buddy (beagle mix) and when the baby stood up by the couch Corky growled and snapped at him. His hair was all up on his back. Buddy did nothing. I was furious and grabbed him by the collar and made him go into his cage.

    My first response was "I'm calling the recue!!!" My husband is heart broken because he loves Corky. I'm not so heart broken although I do love Corky and would rather he stay with us. Honestly, I'd much rather fix this problem before my son gets even more mobil. Please help me. What can we do?

    This has happened before just not a severe.

  • Where did you get your basenji from?

  • Define did nothing.
    I know that when it comes to human kids it's hard to distance yourself from the situation, but did Corky perhaps invade Buddy's space. Was buddy sleeping. It sounds like he was warning Corky. I know that is not the best thing to hear, but I know with my nephew that he has received a growl and a snap a couple times from invading Charlie's space while Charlie is sleeping. The only thing I have found to avoid this while I am babbysitting is to be EXTRA vigilant when the dogs are relaxing and the nephew is near them at all.
    It is important to note that you did not say he bit your son. The growl and nip is how dogs tell eachother no, sometimes that can be a problem around little ones.

    I am sorry to hear this happened it must have been quite a scare.

  • This is NOT ACCEPTABLE for any dog, regardless of their breed.
    They are DOGS first and foremost and your child has a right to be anywhere in the house w/o being growled/snapped at, UNLESS he tries to get in the crate with them, as that IS the dog's home and they do have the right to protect it.

    Have you have your dogs around other children prior to the baby? I suggest some more socialization and training. You dog sounds like he is feeling insecure in that the BABY, that THING in his opinion, is taking over his space in the house.

    Since I am not sure of the background of your dog, I can't give more advice as to what would be appropriate. I have two kids, and my three brothers and myself were raised with basenjis. So, I do have a great deal of kids/babies with basenjis.

  • Kathy's b's are very well socialized with children.
    So, I sure would take her advice.
    I asked about the dogs breeder to find out if they can also give you some help.
    Breeders often are the last ones asked re behaviors of their dogs, and they really should be the first ones, IMO.

  • IMO, you should seek a behaviorist that uses positive reinforcement techniques to help teach you how to address this behavior. Doesn't really matter if the behavior is unacceptable…it is what it is, and you can change it with some fairly simple behavior modification steps.

    It isn't at all uncommon for dogs who were not raised around kids to be uncomfortable with them when they start toddling around. Sounds like Corky was resource guarding the couch when the baby got near his 'place'.

    A growl with or without snap is a warning. I am assuming no contact was made...and that is a good thing. Please don't reprimand Corky harshly, because it is possible that he will associate the reprimand with the growl, learn not to growl, and go straight to a snap or bite to guard his resources. You CAN change/improve this behavior with some good advice/training. Look into the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

  • It sounds like to me that maybe the baby stood up right where ur B was sleeping ? did ur B just wake up when he did that ? Phoenix is great with babies so much that he acually will keep track of where they are every moment but when he's sleeping i keep the kids/babies away from him and let him have his space

  • Thank you everyone! I'm assuming Corky was sleeping or almost asleep. We have decided to not let him on the couch when the baby is free ranging. Hopefully this will correct this problem.

  • You know my daughter got bit in the face by one of my basenjis - and the basenji lived - Now here was the scenario - 3 kids (old enough to get on the bus in the AM without adult supervision) They started to argue on who would crate the dogs and the argument got so nasty that my daughter said - oh fine I'll do it - walked over to the couch - scooped up a sleeping dog and got a bite.

    The dog had never given any indication that there was a problem kids had tussled with him before - was fine with kids and my kids were normally fine with him - except this time. It was clearly my kids fault and as adults our fault too - we could have crated before we went to work but wanted to give the dogs an extra 30 min of out time - am I happy that the dog bit her - nope - did he have reason to - well I don't know but if I was scooped up in the air from a sound sleep no telling what I would do. I will say that I did watch that dog carefully to see if a pattern emerged.

    There is some instruction that even small toddlers can get about space - so don't forget to provide that as well when you are doing some training. You can teach - 'shh doggies sleeping - walk away". Obviously won't prevent stuff when the kids stupid chip kicks in - and it will - but it should help a lot.

    As the child gets older - you are gong to need to make sure your dog undersand that all 2 legged critters are above him in the food chain.

    note - 3 months later the dog got out the front door and got hit by a car but I dont think that he was the problem in this specific incident.

  • In my experience (only as a long time dog owner; and several dog personalities) dogs don't like to be awakened suddenly - it's a survival instinct. I don't think anyone/dog was at fault in your situation but I would definitely heed the advice given in earlier posts, including training your baby how to behave around the dogs as well (babies learn early about the world around them).

    I've found that even young children can elicite unexpected responses from my EL D – the neighbor girl (preschool) across the street likes him but has a (bad) habit of shreeking whenever he comes to her -- not only does it get on my nerves, her shreeking iritates EL D (his hair starts to rise) and I have to always talk/pet to him to calm him. Another neighbor has a grandson (with a constant grin on his face) who loves to call EL D to him and then tries to poke him in the eye or nose. Luckily so far EL D has always taken that as accidental (which it clearly is not) and has generally turned away. People have a tendency to train/change dog behavior but ignore/forget training the behavior of children.

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