Dogs and Children – Friend or Foe?

(Still waiting for a positive OPK, so here is some more pre ovulation rambling from me!)

As many of you know, Amy and I have two wonderful fur babies – Misty and Gizmo. gizmo is our seven year old Parsons Terrier, and Misty is our four year old border collie. They are wonderful dogs the majority of huge time and really help make our house a home.
Over Christmas our friends came over with their little girl. We have no worries at all about Misty with children, as she lived in a house with a child before we got her, but gizmo is another story. See, when he was a puppy he was kicked in the stomach by a child whose parents were not paying attention. When he yepled and barked at the child, the mother ended up having a screaming row with me and that understandably scared him further. This child was between the ages of three and five, so consequently children of this age really freak him out.  When our friends came over a few months ago, he was very wary of their little girl and did have a bit of a bark at her, but my the end of the evening they were firm friends and had shared a few treats.

So, fast forward to yesterday. Our friends came over again with their three year old and new baby. Misty, as usual, was an absolute joy and was gentle as ever with both children. She was absolutely fascinated by Ellie, having I don’t think ever met a baby before. Gizmo barely noticed Ellie, but really look a disliking to Maisie, who is almost three. Don’t get me wrong, when I say he took a disliking, he was in no way aggressive or trying to harm her. He just gets so freaked out that he barks and barks and barks and we have to separate them. Thankfully Maisie is a wonderful little girl and made several valiant efforts to make friends with the little hair ball, but yesterday it just wasn’t meant to be. Our planned walk with the dogs ended in Amy staying home with the (exhausted) dogs and me, Adam and the kids heading out for a walk.

It is frustrating because I know that he is just scared, but we can’t seem to get past the jumping and the barking. Even after playing with the hose pipe (which is his absolute favourite thing in the world ever) he still would not calm down and even just ignore our visitors. 
We are going to be seeking help from a behavioural therapist for him, because I really want to be secure in the knowledge that not only will he be ok when Amy and I eventually get pregnant and have our baby, but I want our friends to be able to come round without worrying about him. As I said before, thankfully he is not aggressive so it is just the fear we need to deal with, but I’m very aware that fear can turn into aggression and I want to nip it in the bud before that has a chance to happen. We have plenty of areas around us where kids go for walks on the weekends with their parents, so im thinking of taking him out around semi-busy times and just desensitising him to the kind of noises children make. Then when he is ready, maybe we can take Maisie on a walk with us and she can give him some treats, before reintroducing her to his territory again. 
If anyone has any tips or tricks, I would be happy to hear them. At the end of the day I want our dogs AND our future child in our life. It’s not a case of one having to go to make room for the other. Our dogs are as much a part of our family as our child will be, and I want to keep it that way. 
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This entry was posted in babies, barking, behaviour, children, Dogs, fear, toddlers, trying to concieve. Bookmark the permalink.

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