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Boxer 'jealous' of baby getting attention

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by dora, Jan 10, 2014.

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  1. dora

    dora Boxer Booster

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    My boxer girl Proxie is 1.5 yrs old. I am single, and so Proxie is the only 'baby' at my house :) and she is used to getting all my love and attention.

    My sister has a 2 month old baby, and Proxie and I are at my sister's house a lot or they come to my house. Whenever I hold the baby, Proxie wants attention. Sometimes she does the bratty bark, or if I am sitting she is trying to get in my lap with the baby, or is on her back with her feet in the air for a belly rub right beside me. She gets really upset when I am talking to the baby, I think because I normally do that same kind of excited talk to her and maybe she gets confused?

    Now I realize jealousy isn't maybe something dogs 'feel' (I've heard arguments both ways, not trying to debate dog emotions!) but that is the best way to describe it and it really looks like it to me!

    Normally Proxie is very good with her obedience: No, leave it, down stay, etc. I can put treats on her nose or drop a steak and she will leave it on command! But all training is gone when the baby is around.

    So far I have had some luck with getting her to do a down stay, and then praising her (only if she knows I have treats though) - I think maybe she just wants some of the fun and action with the 'baby talk' and excitement going on!

    She also constantly wants to lick the baby.

    She has never growled or acted aggressive at all - just pushy 'love on me too mom!' kind of behavior, and the bratty barking (which she hasn't done in ages! not since the teen phase passed 6 months ago!).

    I have also tried 'time out' but it is hard, she has only recently over come extreme separation anxiety, so I don't ever want the crate to be a time out spot. My house is a really open floor plan, not really anywhere to block her off with a gate or anything.

    Anyways, any advice appreciated!!

    Just want to make sure I am approaching this correctly and using the right training and corrections! And obviously the baby's safety is top priority!!!

    Thanks!

    Jenny
     
  2. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    I think you just need to borrow your sister and her baby for some "training time" that's really all about Proxie and teaching her to relax while you "work" with the baby.

    Every dog has to "re-learn" the same ol' commands when a distraction like that is added.

    Think of it like distraction proofing.

    This is what I'd do.

    I'd bring her bed over to your sisters house and place it somewhere near where you are sitting. Somewhere Proxie can touch you but still be laying on her bed.

    Then you have her lay down on the bed - down stay, relax, settle ... whatever command you use.

    Then sister and baby come and sit next to you. You ignore sister and baby. And ignore Proxie. If Proxie stays on her bed - praise, treat, praise. If she breaks, then next time have your sister come in and sit a little further away from you. If she doesn't break then next time spend a few more moments focusing quietly on the baby - maybe reach out and hold her finger or something. But still don't move from sitting next to Proxie's bed. If Proxie holds her down stay, praise treat ...Etc.

    It'll be annoying work for your sister - but it's really the kind of training sessions that your Proxie needs.

    Slowly begin to add "attention to the baby" - but not too much excitement or sound at first. And for very short periods of time. If Proxie stays settled, praise, treat, praise!

    You can only add one thing at a time - either distance, time, or distraction. Dont do more than one of those things at once until the behavior you want is solid at the place you are.

    ie: don't move away from Proxie, and give attention to the baby. Or don't give attention to the baby for too long a time - see what I mean? You can add attention to the baby, but keep it short and close with Proxie settled. When she has THAT down pat, then add something - time, or distance, or more noise but not two of those things at once).

    It's just like someone who can't understand why their dog behaves itself perfectly at doggy school, but terribly at home. A dog learns contextually. You have to help them relearn it all over again when they are in a new place. And then it has to be practiced until it's a solid behavior again. Same thing with a new (and bigger!) distraction.

    Hopefully you can catch this before it turns into full blown resource guarding.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  3. dora

    dora Boxer Booster

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    Thank you so much for the tips! My sister said she is up for trying it! I will let you know how it goes!
     
  4. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    You're welcome.
    But don't be soft on Proxie.
    If she budges even one inch, move her back into place - once she's back in place, wait a couple of seconds and treat - then start over. :)

    And try to make it fun for her to do what she's told. :)
     
  5. dora

    dora Boxer Booster

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    So hard not to be soft! Those big puppy eyes!!! haha, but I know, I know, I know, I gotta be firm! Plus I am working towards therapy certification with her, so she needs to be at like 99% on all obedience commands! Really appreciate the help, will be doing a first run of the new training this weekend at my sisters and will let you know how it goes!

    Jenny
     
  6. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    Pretty much what Kisa suggest. Treat the baby like you were cat proofing "not one foot forward!" She'll learn the baby is to be respected, and you are free to give attention to the baby without her input!

    And she will be much less likely to punch baby in the face down the road! Your in control not her and don't fall for the sad face and mornful eyes look! :)
     
  7. dora

    dora Boxer Booster

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    Just wanted to give an update, took all the advice and Proxie is doing awesome around the baby now! She hasn't tried to lick the baby at all the last 3 or 4 times we were around him! Yay! She does still perk up and look if anyone is doing baby talk, but doesn't come get in the middle of it anymore. In addition to the training, she has been at daycare (mainly because it has been so cold and can't walk outside with temperature and the salt everywhere) and that has gotten her energy out, so that has helped a ton! Her being sleepy allows her to inadvertently do the right behaviors, such as be in the room but not in the middle of the action (such as laying on the couch wore out) which has allowed me to praise her and reinforce those behaviors we want. I think her seeing the praise she gets from being mellow are sinking in and clicking for her. Even the other day, she was in her crate and not at daycare and she went and sat nicely on the couch and of course I gave her praise and treats for being so good! She seems to be realizing leaving baby alone is rewarding and that she can't be involved in the baby excitement. So proud of my girl :) Thank you guys for the advice! So cool to see positive changes in your furbaby!!

    Jenny
     
  8. Kisaq

    Kisaq Super Boxer

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    yay! I love hearing good news! :D

    Good job! Both of you. Well... all four of you I guess, you, your sister, baby, and fur baby. :D
     
  9. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    Man that turned around quickly congratulations!

    The doggie day care is she safe there? What kind of monitoring do they do? Don't take it for grant stay on top of them.

    Dog parks and daycare are a non starter for me, If it's optional for you, I'd skip it. If it's a necessity stay on top of them. :)

    Starting to get "stories" on the GSD board about day care, doing things that the doggie parent didn't know where happening.
     
  10. dora

    dora Boxer Booster

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    Thanks Gunther about the daycare info. This place seem reputable, they are very strict on shot records and also they have a mandatory evaluation before any dog can go to day care. They introduce the new dog to one dog at first (a stable dog), then slowly bring in a few more, and if any issues are noted the dog isn't allowed. If any issues arise once they are in daycamp, they are banned. The evaluation took about 1 hr.

    Also, they have webcams in all corners of the rooms, so I am able to watch online from work which is awesome! There is always 3 to 4 people in there with the dogs (probably 20-25 dogs).

    So I think its a about the best I can find in my area. As soon as this cold streak breaks, she won't need to go and we can play outside!!

    I never do dog parks, don't know other dogs vaccinations or temperament, not worth the risk for me!!


    Jenny
     
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