Lincoln is a beautiful nine-month-old miniature Daschund. He is friendly, gentle and affectionate. I had a lovely cuddle.

It’s obvious that he loves the baby too. What he doesn’t like is being left out. It’s very hard bottle feeding baby and at the same time continuously throwing a toy or fussing a dog to keep him quiet!

No longer their number-one baby.

I’m enjoying my cuddle

It’s understandable now Lincoln is no longer the only ‘baby’ that he wants attention when the lady is feeding baby.

Not much more than a puppy himself, he used to get all the attention after all. In the past barking has always worked, so he now persists until he succeeds. He gets thoroughly worked up, so much so that when having finished feeding baby the lady gets up and walks about, he goes for her feet.

It’s hard enough being a new mother alone with a young baby during the day; with Lincoln’s demands as well she is finding it hard to cope.

It was apparent almost immediately that the little dog is getting mixed messages. The lady never scolds him but the young man thinks the tiny dog needs more discipline and gives a mix of cuddles and scolding. Being suddenly shouted at for doing something he’s allowed to do at other times – things like jumping on people – must be so confusing for him.

Do people actually mind the tiny dog jumping on them and probably ending up having a cuddle? No. Then for now I would let him do it and if it’s a problem put him on lead until he has calmed down. He is adjusting to not being number one baby anymore so this isn’t the time for more pressure.

Jumping on and off people may of course not be good for his Daschund back so for that reason it may be best to have him on harness and lead until he has calmed down a bit. This will avoid any scolding which he doesn’t understand anyway.

Food for Lincoln’s brain.

Barks when feeding babyDespite what he looks like, Lincoln is a working dog bred to hunt small animals and he probably doesn’t get enough proper enrichment. They walk him on a short lead even in open fields as otherwise he runs off. Walks must be frustrating rather than fulfilling so I suggest a long line, about 30 foot long.

They need not worry about covering distance but can let him sniff, hunt and forage! They can take him on smell walks so he can use his nose.

Our starting point is to reduce stress levels in every way possible and to find ways to keep Lincoln happy while they are feeding baby before Lincoln starts to bark.

Feeding baby? Food for Lincoln to work for too.

They will prepare a frozen Kong and put some of his daily quota of dry food in a treat ball. Then, as mum starts feeding baby she can give Lincoln something to occupy him. He will then have work to do; while baby is eating, so is he. Baby feeding times will be fun for him, not frustration.

Keeping his stress levels as low as possible means changing their own behaviour by being consistent with him. They can share feeding baby times with him by giving him nice things to do at the same time. On a longer line walks will be more satisfying and they will give his brain a bit more to do.

They should then have a little dog that can happily cope with life which now includes a baby. Dogs, too, can feel jealousy and it’s not nice.

Second visit a couple of weeks later: Lincoln now quietly snuggles up beside mum whilst she’s feeding baby. He seems a much happier little dog.
NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Lincoln and because neither dog nor situation will ever be exactly the same. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog, you can do more harm than good as the case needs to be assessed correctly. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important, particularly where fear or aggression is concerned, or anything to do with children and babies. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page)