First post - shiba inu aggressiveness with baby? Need help/advice Questions

Discussion in 'General Dog Chat' started by ZBJ, May 20, 2019.

  1. ZBJ

    ZBJ New Member

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    First post - shiba inu aggressiveness with baby? Need help/advice

    Hi all, I’m hoping the internet hive mind can help us out with our predicament.

    We have an 18 month old Shiba Inu, Kenji, who has just begin growling/barking/snapping at our 7 month old baby girl.

    Our baby has just started crawling and her movements really seem to be stressing Kenji out. He has never been aggressive with her before. He has also never been aggressive to ANYONE (dogs or humans alike) before.

    We were so happy that he seemed to be taking to the baby so well. He has an otherwise lovely temperament - very fun and friendly. I don’t want to get really angry at him and make him more stressed but also, this behaviour HAS to be nipped in the bud.

    Thankfully, he hasn’t mouthed or bitten the baby, but I’m worried that it could happen imminently. Of course, I’m just being very vigilant and not leaving them alone at all.

    It’s strange because in one moment he will snap at her and then turn around and lick her! Which makes me think that it’s stress as opposed to him not liking the baby.

    Anyone had a similar situation? And what did you do to make sure everyone was safe?

    Thanks in advance.
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  3. My bear Yoji

    My bear Yoji Member

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    How stressful for you, you must be exhausted too
    I don’t have small children, so, I’ve no idea what you are experiencing...I can only imagine
    I can only state the obvious about keeping them separate, I don’t mean to sound judging at all
    I see so many pictures on Facebook/internet of children sleeping and cuddling dogs, it makes me cringe
    I’m hoping someone will come along and offer some advice
    In the meantime I did read something that I felt made sense
    It was suggested that when you baby is in another room, bed or being bathed by someone else you totally ignore your dog, when you baby is in the same room really make a fuss of your dogs including treats galore. It was suggested that the dog will relate happy relaxed times when the baby is about....worth a try until you get more help
  4. Malka

    Malka Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    Hello Zoe - two sentences made me think.
    and
    Before the baby started crawling she was presumably in a baby chair, buggy, or cot - above the floor so to Kenji she was no threat to what he might have considered his territory, ie the floor where he could run around at will - or wherever you allowed him.

    Now she is crawling so she is at the same level as Kenji, and possibly he thinks she is taking over what he had always considered as his place/space. So maybe his growling and barking is telling her that he does not like her on the floor, because it sounds more like jealously than stress.

    Unfortunately I am sorry I have no idea how to stop this, but you are right to be vigilant and not leaving them alone at all. Could you possibly contact a behaviourist about Kenji's actions when he is sharing the floor with the baby?
  5. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I suspect that Malka is right about floorspace. Do you have any baby gates?
    These are the best way of keeping your baby safe, whilst allowing Kenji to still be a part of family activities. They could be together at times when baby is not on the floor, and you are able to give them your undivided attention. I hope the situation resolves, but if not, I agree about seeking the help of a behaviourist.
  6. ZBJ

    ZBJ New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. We read up on shibas before we got Kenji, and everywhere I read said that they were really good with children. I’m hoping that this is a phase...
    Yeah, I respect the fact that at the end of the day, he is still an animal with instincts that aren’t human and cannot be clearly communicated to us.
    When I’m with the baby and Kenji is in the room, I try to give him lots of attention and treats. I’ve even gotten the baby to hold her hand out and give Kenji treats herself so he’ll associate good things with her.
    I’m hoping this strategy works!
  7. ZBJ

    ZBJ New Member

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    I’d never thought that he might be jealous, as he’s such a fiercely independent little dog! But I suppose she is much more demanding of my time and physical touch these days that she is mobile.
    We’ve yet to get baby gates because the crawling just started but that’s a good idea to fence off “an area” for her to play without disrupting him.
    I hope this is a phase. I looked at getting a behaviourist to consult but it’s so expensive. If we don’t see any improvement then we definite will though...
  8. ZBJ

    ZBJ New Member

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    CaroleC likes this.
    I definitely will if the behaviour gets any worse!
  9. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    Malka and CaroleC like this.
    I think some dogs get quite worried about an approaching toddler, especially a crawling one, as they just don't understand this little thing crawling around or toward them.

    My two Gsd’s I had at the time were 18 months old when our son was born, one was fine but the other was a bit unsure and uncomfortable when he started crawling, and always kept his distance, rather than stressing him out I chose to put him in another room with baby gate so he could still see him, once our son started walking he was fine.
  10. ZBJ

    ZBJ New Member

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    Phew... that’s good to know the behaviour righted itself! As I said, he’s never ever been aggressive to anyone before, dogs, children OR adults. I think the baby gate plan is a really good idea and will order some ASAP. Thanks

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