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Foxy is not fond of my 1 year old.
  • Hello everyone. I am stuck in a bit of a situation with my Shiba. She is almost 8 years old and my son is going to be one next month. Foxy has always been pretty obedient and well behaved. When we got her as a pup we had another dog already that was older and they go along great but after Baxter passed Foxy has become anti social I believe and does not like other dogs, seems to be females more than males and she is having a bit of an issue with my son. She does not start fights or instigate at all but when approached too fast by another dog she will and she has bit them. The only time she bit a dog was when the owner just brought the dog right up before we could tell him no and she just bit him right in the nose. We were both on a walk with our dogs on leashes and I was also pregnant. She had never bitten a dog up to that point and I am wondering if she was being protective of me being pregnant, but since then she has not liked any dogs to approach her. All the dogs she has ever been around are not well behaved and basically just get her upset and so she has resorted to just being a jerk to all dogs..

    Also I think I should mention, when we first brought her home we brought her to a neutral territory to introduce her to the two dogs we had and the one female we had got upset and bit poor Foxy in the snout... It was a bad first day :( but the male was great, that was Baxter and Foxy and Baxter were best friends after that. On walks when we pass other dogs we does not go crazy, she is alert but we get her attention and keep walking and she just whines a bit and tries to look back, if the other dog is calm then Foxy doesn't really pay any attention to them.

    My husband wants to get a coonhound pretty soon, in a couple months. He wants to get a dog for hunting and also a family dog for our son to play with which leads me to that next issue. First Foxy has to get along with this new guy, it will be a male and also the baby. Foxy does not attack him or go after him...the only time she is aggressive towards him is when he chases her around or back her into a corner where she can not run away or when she is on the back of the couch and he tries to touch her while she is up there. Bc the back of the couch she thinks is her territory, she has been up there in the window her whole life...She has showed her teeth and growled at Titus and even snapped at him when she is on the couch. But say we are on a walk and he touches her while he is in the stroller, she is fine with that. I don't think she wants to bite him bc she runs away from him when she can. She always gets to her safe spot on the back of the couch but soon he will be able to get up there too..

    My husband wants to get rid of her...He loves her but he does not want her if she can't be a family dog, he does not want an animal to be ruling his life, he wants her to know her place in the pack, which I totally understand and agree. I think she thinks that she is above Titus(my son) in the pack and she is trying to put him in his place in her eyes. I try my best to not let him bother her too much but he is still young yet. I think that it everything, sorry for such a long post but I wanted to make sure I got it all in. If anyone has any advice please feel free to share.

    Oh and also my husband does not want to get a professional behaviorist bc it seems that Foxy knows but is just being stubborn and wanting it her way. She really is a good girl 90% of the time, a good walker, takes commands pretty good, is never aggressive towards us or others unless I try to shove her off the couch, then she tries to get snappy with me but she has never bit me and when she does that I make her get off the couch for being snappy with me. Thanks in advance!!
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    First, dominance theory is not a thing. Dogs don't think of themselves as a member of the family "pack" and aren't trying to put humans in their place. It sounds more like she doesn't trust your son (or you guys) and is trying to do what she thinks will keep her safe and comfortable. Shibas aren't as forgiving as like labs or other dogs that will let you push them around and hit them and still love you regardless. Shibas trust and love needs to be earned.

    I think a positive training behaviorist would be great and would teach a lot of things that you don't know about dogs and training. It's the humans that need to be taught how to train. Also, in my opinion, if your husband has it in him to get rid of a dog and "trade it in" for something else that he wants like it's an article of clothing, I don't think he should get a dog at all. Dogs don't exist to just provide services and entertainment for humans. Dogs are members of the family. Just like your son, you wouldn't trade him in if he was displaying behaviors that you dislike. You would work with him and do your best to improve the situation. If he/you really decide you can't keep her and that it's best for her to find a family that will love her, that's understandable. But recognize that part of the responsibility of dog ownership is providing a forever home and being an advocate for them, not expecting them to do everything you want and serve you when you haven't trained them and haven't built any trust.

    Sorry I don't have a ton of advice. I would recommend a lot more positive training between the whole family.. You, your husband, and even your son can start offering her treats when she's gentle and calm around him. Don't allow him to chase her around and then blame her for it... Teach your son to give her her space when she wants it, and to be more gentle with her. Give her treats while he pets her, be in control of the interactions they have and make them positive experiences for everyone around.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2016-08-09 10:53:21
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Post edited by sunyata at 2016-08-09 12:25:23
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    Yeah, of course your son is still young and it will take time before he can fully understand to respect her space. Good idea having him give her the treats. He still definitely shouldn't be permitted to chase or pester the dog. He's too young to know that it's inappropriate behavior, but that doesn't make it allowable.

    Cesar Milan popularized a very ineffective, and ultimately pretty cruel approach to dog training. I'd look more into people like Sophia Yin (YouTube and has a book tho is sadly passed now) for training tips. :) Not only does it strengthen the bond between owner and dog to train more positively, it's also immensely more effective.

    Even though you're husband doesn't want to like trade an old dog for a new one, I still wouldn't advise anyone who isn't wholly committed to their pets to get any animals... So many times, people don't want to make the effort to teach their dogs and then are mad at them for not being exactly what they want and just neglect or get rid of them... If he doesn't want your dog to bite your child, the solution isn't to get rid of the dog (or the human lol). I think him being more involved in the training and helping to strengthen the whole family bond would be a great thing. If you do turn to a behaviorist, he should definitely be present. Especially if he wants to add another dog to the family. It might require a very keen eye and complete monitoring of your son and your Shiba until he's a bit older. It will also be helpful to make sure your boy is learning dog body language as he grows older, so he knows when the dog has had enough and needs time to mentally recuperate. Dogs almost never just bite someone. They give many warnings first... Growling, licking when no food is around, panting even though they aren't hot or tired... If people don't recognize these signs and keep pestering a dog, the dog shouldn't be blamed for trying to show them it was uncomfortable and anxious.

    If you're unable to have your full attention on your baby and your dog at the same time, maybe a baby gate separating them could be arranged for these periods.

    Glad you're looking for advice tho. Obviously you want to work it out with your Shiba and love her very much. :) I still recommend a positive trainer and checking out more relevant training methods. :D
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2016-08-09 12:45:26
  • Hi Sunyata, if you read above in the comments I talked about a couple more things. Thank you for your tips I first want to say. I do not allow him to chase her around, I do intervene every time bc I know that if I were her I would be upset too.

    I agree she is fearful and reacting from fear. I do have a baby gate and I often keep her and the baby separated so I don't need to worry about Titus bothering her. When I know I can give full attention to both I take the gate down and let Foxy in and she just gets up in her spot in the window.

    Like I said in the comment above my husband is so not like that. It is just a very last resort thing that we want to avoid at all costs. I do think we know our dog pretty well but she just is not used to having a baby around , well not one who is so mobile now. She was always happy to be around him and give him kisses when he was smaller and less able to get to her so now she is scared of such a high energy child. We will continue to teach the baby and also continue to work with Foxy on socialization and positive reinforcement. Thank you again for your insight.

  • Thank you Lilikoi, I will look into Sophia Yin and do some more research to help my Foxy girl. Actually, my hubby is the one who has trained Foxy and she listens to him the best and has the strongest bond with him. She loves me but she respect him more I think bc he has worked on her the most with training and he has majority used positive reinforcement. I will suggest to him we focus more in doing positive reinforcement than what we have learned from Caesar. I do wonder why it looks like his approach is so effective tho? He seems to love the dogs very much and wants the best for them.

    I do have a baby gate and I can keep them separated, I do this quite often but I feel bad sometimes like maybe Foxy feels like I am shunning her from the family but I want her to have some peace also so I put up the gate, when she is with us, she usually is just up on the back of the couch in the window sunning herself. If we get this new puppy, I am thinking I will keep them separate until the puppy is older and trained and also Titus is older and understands more not to hassle the dogs. Right now I keep telling Titus no and trying to distract him with other things etc but he just goes back to crawling after her, he thinks it's a game or something so I might have to get a little more stern with Titus when I stop him from doing it so he knows that I am serious to leave the dog alone. Today she was on the back of the chair and he kept going over and just touching her paw. He won't grab her or anything, he just likes to touch her and she was showing her teeth etc, so I kept taking him away, telling him no, doggy doesn't like that you need to leave her alone, a few seconds later he is over there touching her foot and laughing his head off about it. ugh....idk why he thinks touching her is so darn fun and funny. He doesn't seem to get it that she is not happy to be touched by him. In time and repetition I guess Titus will learn to leave her alone.

    Although she is not sure about Titus right now, she is okay with older kids that don't crowd her. She even let the little neighbor boy, who is 4 years old walk her around his driveway. She was careful not to pull also, seeing that he is small. It was very cute and I was happy to see her be okay with him. Also the other day, my in laws had their dog out (the same one who bit foxy as a puppy) and foxy approached Nala when nobody noticed, Cody saw it after it was too late and Foxy didn't bit her or attack and Nala didn't either. (Nala is about to pass on though) She is very old now and I can see the signs that she is about to pass, :( so sad. So maybe that's why Foxy left Nala alone? Nala didn't even acknowledge Foxy was there I don't think. So it seems as long as Foxy doesn't feel threatened then she is fine. So this all must be fear based, Ik she is not an aggressive girl, she is actually very friendly and loving. There is hope, I know there is.

    Anyways, thank you again for the tips and I will check out Sophia. :)

  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1272
    The reason Caesar's stuff looks effective is because it gets quick results. And many people just want instant results rather than a lasting and strong relationship. The dogs may put up with it and seem like they're being obedient, but if they're obeying because they "have" to and not because they want to, they're going to choose not to obey before long. It really destroys the trust and the relationship becomes built only around control and negativity... Shibas in particular are a very sensitive breed. It takes a lot of work to earn their trust, and they are not forgiving if not treated with the respect that all animals deserve.

    Stay consistent. I don't think you need to be more stern with either party, I just think it takes time, dedication, and consistency. Consistency is so key. Even if you don't think what you're doing is the absolute most effective strategy, it's definitely better to stick with one approach instead of constantly switching back and forth to other methods. I would stop him touching her before he gets to her. He might keep trying, but so can you, continuing to make sure there is no failure or undesirable contact. Set the interactions up for success, so there are only good and positive experiences and very minimal / no bad ones for your son or Foxy.

  • Yes that makes sense to me. I am watching a video on youtube right now from Sophia explaining about the dominance issue, it is very good so far. I will continue to intervene and do it sooner before he is able to touch her. I think we should set a small amount of time each day where my hubby and I have Titus and Foxy interact in a positive way, like Titus giving the treat. This way she sees him as a reward each day. Do you think this is a good idea? and as he gets older I am sure he will stop crowding her, I think the same for the puppy. Limit their time together unless it is positive, like going on walks together? Do you think the puppy would actually help to socialize her to dogs again if we do it in the right way?
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    My son tried those Cesar Milan bullying methods with Quakey when he first adopted Quakey and what happened is that Quakey acquired generalized anxiety and also stopped trusting my son. I have always used positive training methods with Quakey. I did a lot of reading including Sophia Yin's books, hired a behaviorist trainer, and also took Quakey to a behaviorist vet. It took time and commitment to help my Quakey recover and it was worth every single second of my time and dedication. My Quakey and I have a beautiful bond that was built on love and trust.

    In your case it sounds like your husband has one foot out the door with regards to Foxy. Dogs can feel when you are not that interested in having them around and it will take the whole family working together to make Foxy feel safe. You have already received some excellent advice from other members of the forum as to what to do. What I find very sad is that Foxy is facing feeling afraid in her own home at the age of eight years. Too many owners decided an older dog is not worth keeping for whatever reason. I really hope that is not the case here.
  • Thank you for sharing Antoinette. Yes it makes me sad also that she is afraid. She is not always afraid though, so that is a plus, just recently since the baby as been here has she become like this. Before she was so happy and a very good girl although she still did not like other dogs, I think bc she has had bad encounters with them since Baxter has passed and we were not diligent to keep her socialized with other dogs. That is our fault :( My hubby is just a little frustrated at the moment, I know he loves her and he has spent a lot of time with her in training and bonding etc so I know he really does not want to get rid of her. He is just thinking about Titus and his safety and some days gets frustrated that we have to be very vigilant on making sure Titus is not pestering the dog and that Foxy doesn't bite him etc, but I know that this is all a part of being a dog owner and a parent. Some days it is just hard and we just get tired and frustrated I think.

    We are going to work on this and it will turn out for the best bc really Foxy is my dog and I am not willing to get rid of her, she's my furry baby and I know she can't live without us. When I went to give birth to my son, We were at the hospital for a couple days and Foxy was with my in laws. She would not eat and was very unhappy, even tho she was with familiar people and was walked everyday like normal etc, so I know she loves us very much. She is such a good girl, we just have to work on these couple things.

    I don't want people here to think we are bad pet owners :( We have and are trying our best with what we know and we just don't know enough so that's why I came here to get advice from people who have Shibas bc we do know that they are a tough breed sometimes and they are stubborn and do not react well to negativity. Foxy doesn't at least, she got mad at my hubby the other day and she slept with me all night instead of him (she usually sleeps with him) lol but she is okay now. I am going to discuss all this from these comments and wonderful advice I have been given with him and we will start implementing what we are learning. Actually I am excited :)
  • The AVMA, vet behaviorists, etc. have all issued statements against Cesar Milan. He bases his "training" on outdated ideas of how wolf packs function. The study he bases it on was done on captive wolves who were thrown together randomly, and subsequent research has shown that a wolf would rather be alone than with strange random wolves. However, in the wild, wolves don't form hierarchies, they make families... Like in your family, there is a breeding pair ( a mom and dad) and babies. The old notions of rank don't hold up; as in a human family, mom and dad are in charge of the babies. Wolves in the wild don't ascend the ranks by fighting. Instead, a wolf becomes part of a breeding pair and has its own pups. The wolves in the study Milan uses were tossed together from different groups, in an artificial situation, and so fought over resources.

    Furthermore, feral dogs don't even behave as wild wolves do. They form much looser groups.

    Dominance as a term is only correctly used when applied to a given resource (food, toys, etc). It's based on something called resource holding potential, or the perceived ability to win in an altercation. So big dogs, older dogs, etc tend to have preferential access to resources over puppies or small dogs... Unless the resource is of such value to the other dog that it's willing to risk a fight. So, dominance can change depending on a resource.

    As others mentioned, there's no evidence to suggest dogs form hierarchies with people. They understand we are not dogs and are not trying to conquer us. When they do things, it's because they want something, get a reward, avoid pain, etc. So no, she is not trying to outrank your son.

    She is an aging dog whose life has been altered dramatically. Babies and young kids are taxing on even the most patient dogs, and kids have to be taught to respect a dog's space. Your dog gets upset when bothered on the couch because she wants to rest and is being disturbed. "Let sleeping dogs lie," as they say. Imagine if someone speaking in a foreign language startled you out of your sleep and started poking you. You'd snap too.

    There are lots of things you can do, but above all, I'd put getting a new dog on hold until you have improved the situation with the dog you have now. Adding a puppy now will only create more stress for Foxy and you. Work on her first; there will be time to get a puppy later. Consult a trainer who utilizes current behavior theory and positive reinforcement. I'll pop some links in below.

    Cesar Milan's stuff seems to work because it's TV. It's not sustainable long term and has the potential to ruin relationships with dogs. We are talking about setting dog training back 30 years! Most importantly, it's not good science. -- vet opinions on dominance -- more about dominance and why it's not good for dog/human relationships -- more about dominance -- why vets hate Milan -- why consulting a vet behaviorist is wise

    Remember: dog training is an unregulated industry! Milan didn't have to do anything to train dogs, he could have set up shop on the roadside if he wanted to.

    Finally, never punish a growl. It's like removing the batteries on a smoke alarm, and tends to produce dogs who bite without warning.
    Post edited by Lrose1990 at 2016-08-09 16:05:52
  • Thank you for all the helpful and informative information Lrose. I will definitely check out those links you gave.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Hello!! And welcome to the forum.

    I am a mother of an active 16 month toddler. As well as mommy to a 5 year old Shiba and 5 year old shih tzu / Maltese mix.

    After reading you initial post, I had the same response as Sunyata. Stop your toddler from chasing and messing with your Shiba.

    Did you expose/socialize your Shiba with kids before you had Titus?

    In my personal experience, I think you should wait until Titus is older before adding another dog to your family. That way, there will be time for you guys to improve your relationship with your Shiba. I think it'll be a too much if you add a puppy now as it'll stress the entire household.

    I socialized my Shiba with kids when I found out I was expecting. I always monitor her with my son and saved her when she had enough. Even then, it still took her some time to get use to him. its only recently my Shiba has been initiating play with my son and asking to play chase :) remember Shibas take time to grow a bond.
  • Hi Bootz, thank you for your insight. :) Foxy has always been good with Kids as long as they do not pester her too much. My two younger sisters used to live with us and she was good with them as long as they did not bombard her.

    I want to give a small update. The past few days we have been working on techniques from Sophia Yin and encouraging only positive encounters with Titus and Foxy and having Foxy focus on us for guidance instead of being afraid of him or other dogs and I have to say she is improving. She has hardly growled or lip curled at Titus since we have been having him hand her treats with our help of course. She is feeling more comfortable with him already and I am being diligent to make sure he does not stress her and leaves her alone, if he persists to bother her then I let her be alone to nap in the other room and put the gate up. But I am happy to say things are moving in the right direction and I am more at peace. Thank you all! :)
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 887
    I am so happy to hear that things are moving in the right direction. Thanks for the update and keep up the good work!
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    That sounds promising!
    My shiba stopped liking kids quite early and I think apart from them being erratic in their movements they are also too noisy for her. When my sister had a baby she was very interested in the baby and fussed over him if he cried. But once he got mobile and walking around at about her height she disliked him. She snapped at him a few times. We rarely see each other so it's not much of a problem. We never let them be in the same room together.
    Now when he is five she is fine again with him. And she doesn't mind being around children in general but we always say no if they ask to pet her.

    I think your shiba will be fine as long as you don't push it too much. Let her have her space and take it slow and watch over both of them so all interactions are positive.

    I also want to mention that adding a second dog to the mix right now may be double the trouble. What if that dog doesn't like your child either?
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Brittany Guiles

    Things change as family members develop and as dynamics change over time.

    Management is going to absolutely essential in keeping stability. You will need to be an advocate for your Shiba, particularly when educating your husband or others who need to learn too. Just because hubby has "trained" your shiba thus far does not mean he's fully knowledgable about it. You as mom have great if not greater influence and sometimes better skill sets! : ) Yeah, like parenting knowledge often comes with decent resources available to you. So glad you are here.

    Below are some really great links. When you peruse through them you will see common themes. (As others have advised above, It's best to stay away from corporal or force based methods such as CM.)

    Also, remember adding another animal/ new dog/puppy into the equation when your current dog is stressed about your child is not conducive to for success until you have worked on the initial current issues at hand. Tackle the problems in bits in pieces before adding new ones.

    Good luck to you


    Living with kids and  dogs - Specifically the article
    "Things Change When Your Baby Learns to Crawl"

    doggon Safe

    Sophia Yin


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