Teaching a Dog to Go to Her Kennel to Avoid Being Grabbed by the Baby

By: David Codr

Published Date: December 7, 2017

For this Mar Vista dog training session we worked with Lila, a 9 year-old Bichon who barks a lot, gets excited easily and is sometimes anxious and jealous to the new baby in the house. Dogs and newborn babies – always a good idea to set things up right so everyone is safe and comfortable.

To keep her from marking the bed and away from the baby’s occasionally grabby hands, the guardians had set up a puppy play pen in the cozy living room. I suggested a way to double the area the dog had inside this enclosure that will also allow the family to easily convert it away when the baby is in its room.

Because we can’t ask a toddler to not grab the dog, I knew I needed to set things up so that the dog could move away on its own if the baby was getting grabby. Failing to do so can easily result in a dog who nips the child which is obviously something everyone wanted to avoid.

I showed the guardians how to set up a kennel in a way that will give the dog a sanctuary only she can get to. It only took a little practice before Lila caught on and was heading into her new kennel location (codeword “penthouse”). This is different than the kennel training I usually am asked to do for my at home dog behavior clients.

Training a dog to go to its crate instead of nipping or barking to disagree with a baby is an approach that will help everyone.

While providing the dog with a safe place / way to get away (baby crate training) was important, I also wanted to help the humans communicate things the dog could do that were desired. This will give the dog a boost of self esteem and also motivate it to engage in desired actions instead of things that are not wanted.

Next I went over ways to help the dog start to see and respect the humans as the leaders in the home. There were a number of little things that they did that had confused her into thinking she was their leader.

The more the family pets with a purpose, reward desired actions and enforce rules and boundaries, the faster Lila is going to transition into a follower’s mindset. Add in a safe place for the dog to retreat to and you have a winning combination.

To help the family remember all the dog training secrets I shared with them in this session, we shot a Roadmap to Success video.

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