We have a 14-month-old granddaughter who stays with us every other weekend and every Tuesday.
Our Rottie (Bailey) who is a 5-year-old male starts to freak out upon her arrival. We do not feel that he would harm her in anyway as we also have an 8-year-old grandson who the dog adores.
When we feed our granddaughter; hold her; or any kind of interaction he starts to pant, pace, makes strange vocal noises, etc. Any suggestions?
This is our second Rottie the first one being female never acted like this at all. We did get Bailey at 11 mths. old whereas the female was raised from a puppy. We are lovers of Rotties but Bailey’s behavior does not make for a pleasant stay with our granddaughter.
This is a situation that you’ll need to be careful about and always be vigilant with your Rottie and grand-daughter until he’s become accustomed to her and she’s a little older.
It sounds as though he really hasn’t quite figured out that she’s a person yet! Babies are obviously much smaller than an 8 year old or an adult, plus they move differently and make high-pitched sounds etc. – all of this can trigger the prey drive in some dogs, because they instinctively see the baby as a small animal.
Your Rottweiler hasn’t shown any signs of aggression towards her, but she’s obviously making him feel anxious and nervous. The more time he spends with her and the more accustomed he gets to her sounds, smell, movements etc. the better it will be and the less stressed he will feel, but it’s very important that you supervise closely any and all interactions between your dog and your grand-daughter (and even with your grandson as a matter of course, this is what I would recommend for ANY dog and ANY small child).
Encourage your Rottie to sniff the baby, be around her and so on, keep your voices calm and movements slow and try to help him relax. Don’t force him close to her if he seems anxious or scared though, just let him hang out in the background until he feels more confident.
I’d also recommend giving them time apart and using his crate in a separate room (make sure he has some extra-special toys to play with while he’s in there) to give him a break from the anxiety he feels and to give you guys a break from the vigilance.
I’d also recommend enrolling your dog in basic obedience class as it would probably benefit all of you. It will help you to control and understand Bailey a bit better and it will give him valuable socialization, plus you will be able to get hands-on help with behavior issues such as the one you’re facing right now. Altogether it’s invaluable.
I hope this has helped some and that the situation improves over time. Just be patient and careful and seek help if you feel that any of you need it. Best of luck.