It should have been a time of joy and celebration.
They had, they thought, prepared their two dogs well for the arrival of baby a few days ago.
Brought back home after a day with a dog sitter, one of their two dogs, little Romanian rescue Poppy had an emotional crisis.
Joy turned to nightmare
Poppy can’t accept baby at all – most particularly when baby cries.
When the man holds her back beside the baby she is still frantic to get at her, even when baby is sleeping.
When baby cries Poppy becomes frantic – screaming, barking and trying to lunge.
The couple feels that when baby cries it triggers some sort of predatory drive in Poppy. I’m not sure. I do know from personal experience that some dogs react badly when another dog cries in pain and may go for them. It’s an instinctive behaviour.
This is how it seems to be with Poppy when baby cries. Thankfully their other little dog, Peggy, is much more accepting of the new arrival.
So what should be a special time is tarnished. They absolutely love little rescue Poppy. For the past three years she has been their ‘first baby’ – before joined by their other rescue, Peggy.
All is not lost.
Very fortunately they have a very good dog walker/dog sitter living nearby who took the two dogs in for the day baby was born.
When the dogs’ return erupted into something they had not foreseen from Poppy, the two dogs went back with the dog sitter.
We have a plan. With a sleeping baby is where they will start.
The sitter will bring the dogs back for a very short time initially, while baby is asleep.
She will take Poppy away before baby cries.
So, their first goal is for Poppy to be interested but not aroused when near the sleeping baby.
They will need her on harness and lead. They themselves will make sure they behave relaxed as Poppy will be picking up on their anxiety.
Baby is now safe.
Now, every look at or interaction with baby by Poppy will trigger something that she loves.
Next step, an awake baby but not a crying baby.
With the help of the sitter they can move on to Poppy still being there when baby stirs and begins to wake up. She must be taken back to the sitter well before baby cries.
Meanwhile when baby cries they will record her so both they and the sitter can play this to Poppy at very low volume to start with whilst all the time feeding her something special.
Then the next step will probably be when baby cries but from another room, further away. It could be the recording first – from the other room.
If they take it slowly, they should soon be able to enjoy both baby and their two dogs together. At the moment Poppy simply can’t cope when baby cries. Something instinctive kicks in.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help