Training a Dog to Move Away From the Baby When it Gets Anxious

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 26, 2018

For this Fremont dog training session, we taught a pair of dogs (Lady, an 8-year old Shepherd mix and 8 year-old Shepherd mix Dora) to move away from the baby on command. I also shared tips to help the dogs relax and feel comfortable with having a new baby in the house

These are some very gentle rescue dogs. I could see right away that Lady was the more stressed of the two dogs when the baby approached or moved about. I spotted the guardians petting to reassure her when she was feeling this way. This is a common mistake many people make when they have an anxious or nervous dog.

Anything a dog is doing when you pet it is what you are rewarding. This includes unbalanced states of mind. So each time they petted Lady to make her feel better, they inadvertently made her slightly more anxious.

I went over my petting with a purpose method to help the guardians stop reinforcing insecurity and instead celebrating and rewarding desired actions and behaviors. I also suggested they pet with a purpose to further motivate the dogs to offer desired behaviors on their own.

To help the dogs feel more comfortable around the baby, I knew I needed to change the environment so that the dogs had a refuge they could get away to. You can watch me discuss this strategy and train the dogs to move away from the baby in the free dog training video below.

I also recommended the guardians teach the dogs to leave a room on command as well as how to train them to go to a specific room. Teaching dogs to move away from a baby when its stresses them out is a very easy and effective dog training approach. This was easy for the dogs and humans to understand, It will just take practice. Id like to see them practice for each room with each dog separately a few times a day for a week or so.

We headed outside towards the end of the session to work on Lady’s leash pulling. While discussing the pulling issue, the guardians mentioned that Lady went to stay with some in laws for a period previously and that when Lady returned, it was like she was a new dog.

Id like to see the guardian boarding Lady at the in laws home one day a week for a week or two to see how se does. Giving her abreak may be just what the dog behavior expert ordered! It may turn out a few days are needed or a longer stay to start (maybe for a week) then one day a week.

As the baby matures, the stress on the dogs should dissipate. My hope is that the changes we introduced, along with periodic weekly breaks will help Lady return to balance. I asked the guardians to text or follow up with me once a week for the next few weeks with updates so I can offer any dog behavior tip that can help.

To make it easier for the guardians to remember all the dog behavior suggestions I shared in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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