|Barked: Sun Oct 23, '11 5:05pm PST |
|Thanks to all who replied, I appreciate the different outlooks into my situation. I DO know my dog's triggers and have been thusfar successful with his aggression except for one or two outbursts. When we first got him, I couldn't go near him when he had a treat and when he was eating and my son walked by to get outside, he full on snarled at him. So what I did is sat with Baxter, and my son, and would give him treats as a reward system and only reward him on our terms. My son also helps to feed them and water them. He also gives them rawhides but I only let them have them when the boys are away from the house, in bed, or when the dogs are in their own area as I don't like them to have anything that they could get aggressive over lying around. We also had issues when my son played with the dogs ( I saw that Baxter was extremely agitated by loud playing or chasing) so we devised some games that he could play with the dog without doing these things(fetch, tug-rope and taking him on walks). I also have the dogs sit down with the boys for socializing purposes and so the boys know the proper way to pet and love the dogs. That being said, sometimes I find my three year old being a three year old but I always reprimand him, not the dog, when it's his fault. The dogs aren't allowed to be alone with the kids (not only for the kids' sake but the dogs' as well) and I make sure that the environment isn't a stressful one for anyone if I can manage it.
The whole other side of the situation is that my other son, my one year old, doesn't even really like the dogs. He doesn't chase or grab them and he hates it when he's licked by them. I've sat down with him and the dogs and pet them with him and he just wanted to go about his business. So I don't really think that my son did anything to him when he walked by him and Baxter snapped at him.
The only thing I can think of is that Baxter might have been tired (which it didn't seem like he was, when he's tired he usually goes into his area or stays by me) from being outside while we ate breakfast and since he doesn't really prefer interaction the kids, got agitated when he thought the baby was approaching him. The problems with this is that A)I can try and teach my one year old to stay away from the dogs but in the end... he's a one year old OR B) I can keep Baxter away from the kids just in case he's tired or whatnot, but what kind of life is that for him?
I firmly believe that Baxter is part of the family and I've tried really hard to integrate both of my dogs into mine. I've also accepted the fact that he's a shelter dog who's obviously had some issues in his past and I've spent a large amount of money and time working with him. But when it all boils down to it, I have to not only do what is best for my kids but also the dogs. Also, of course I'd let whoever is adopting him know about the situation and I'd hope to give him to a family member if I go that route.
I'm sincerely hoping for any advice anyone else can give me as I'd love to keep him in my family but in the end the most important thing is to make sure everyone's quality of life (both the dogs and the kids) is as good as it can be. Thanks again for any help you can give me!