Good morning, Chihuahua People!
Anyone have any advice about an older dog reacting unfavorably to a new toddler?
This is Taz (now 6+ year old shepherd mix.) He's my sister's dog.
He reminds me a lot of our dog, Bear:
Last year my sister had her first son, Zane, with her boyfriend, Colton.
Taz and Colton got along great, too. Taz moved out of the house with the family once Zane was born.
Everything was going great until a few months ago. Coupled with my sisters now second pregnancy, lots is changing for Taz. After Taz left our house pack he became the only one using anything from the doorknobs down so he didn't have the "pressure" or "activity" that comes with sharing a world with other dogs and having a back yard. He was always a very shy yet well behaved dog to begin with, so he thrived when he left my parent's house to just be with his master, his best friend and their "stinky new human thing."
I'm not exactly sure what happened, but since Zane has become more mobile/human/louder/whatever & McKinsy is now pregnant again...Taz has snapped at Zane more than once.
Colton is rightly becoming furious, as a new father and a good man he is very protective of his son. They're now set for another kid next year which is catalyzing the anxiety about Taz's strange and startling new phobia... the toddler.
The tension grew and now Taz has been taking "mini breaks" back at my parent's house (he's not pictured but here is a great pic of their pack as it was: )
(Looks a bit like my pack, eh? I did
grow up there!
... but that may be it. This next one may be his last one, and he may stay at my parents house, where he would have to adhere back to "pack rules" and get his back yard back.
Although I'll say that I think Taz is better off at my parents house: sun, a yard, other dogs and challenges (he also has demodectic mange and needs constant treatment for that, another thing new parents are hard pressed to maintain) I want my sister's family to be whole. A family's life is not whole without a dog! She really does love Taz very much, so I tried my hand at trying to help:
I suggested games that both Taz & Zane can participate and get exercise with together as to relieve the pressure that Taz feels when he's not given direction around the toddler (and the toddler can't fully understand yet, either.) Currently, the toddler means "anxiety" which is fueling the downward spiral, but when you give both "nervous" parties something to participate in AROUND each other, not necessarily WITH or AT each other, it relieves pressure and opens the mind to other less terrifying scenarios. I suggested the "Sit, Stay & Come" game with both Taz and Zane... but she thought I was trying to compare her child with a dog and got upset with me. (You know, because I have 0 idea how a child works, dogs are NOTHING LIKE CHILDREN
Any suggestions to help this situation? Experiences? Advice? Anything is appreciated! I don't have children so I have 0 experience. Should Taz just go live with my parents, or can this be accomplished?
Thanks for your help!