Dog Barks and Jumps Up when Holding Crying Baby

by Emma Leonard
(UK)


I have a female neutered 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier. When standing up holding a crying baby the dog jumps up & constantly barks.

I've tried ignoring this behaviour but it goes in a loop, the more the dog barks the more it upset the baby gets and it continues.

I've also tried asking the dog to go to her bed & sit & reward that so she's a distance away from the baby but she's too fixated on the situation & she ignores me.

I'm unsure if she's excited by the baby crying or if she's scared. How do I stop this behaviour? Because I'll go mental if the dog's barking & baby crying all the time together.

Answer


Hi Emma!
I totally understand you may be going crazy with both a baby crying and a dog barking (baby crying alone is frustrating enough!). But, I am here to try and help out.

Try to relax, at least take a deep breath. You need to start working with your dog before she starts barking. So, when the baby is taking a nap take a little time to try these exercises.

  1. Search on YouTube videos of babies crying, or you can even make a recording of your baby crying (with your phone). Then play the crying baby with a low volume and immediately give your dog a treat. Keep feeding your dog one small treat at a time for about 3-5 seconds. Then stop the recording and stop the treats.

  2. Repeat 5-10 times per session and try to do 3-5 sessions per day.

  3. You should notice that after a while your dog should start looking at you expecting treats at the sound of the baby crying. At that moment, increase the volume a little bit and repeat the two steps above.

  4. Practice until you can have the crying baby at full volume and all your dog does is stare at you for more treats. At that point, you can teach him to sit and stay and increase the time before you give her the treat. That way the dog learns to wait until the baby stops crying to get a treat.

  5. Because this may take a little bit of time, you need something powerful and fast to stop your dog from jumping and barking when the baby starts crying. Instead of asking your dog to go to her mat, lay down and be quiet for a treat, I recommend you have a few Kongs (or similar toys) stuffed with delicious cheese, peanut butter, etc. ready to go on the fridge. They must be filled with something super good, liver paste if necessary. As soon as your baby starts crying, grab the kong, toss it on the floor for your dog and leave to your room to take care of the baby.

Training your dog while baby is crying is NEVER a good idea.


That is why you need an emergency tool (like the stuffed Kong) for when it happens. Then, take the time to get your dog used to a baby crying when you are calm and have the time to train it.

I always tell my students: Never train a dog during a REAL LIFE situation. Unless your dog has had previous training on the matter and your are simply testing if training is working.

Finally, never punish your dog around the baby. Your dog needs to learn that baby=fun+food. In a few months, that cute little thing will start crawling...and believe me when I tell you it will ONLY want to crawl towards the dog! So, dog must love baby.

Hope these tips help! Please feel free to ask other related questions or update us on your story by clicking on the "Post Comments" link below.

Nati.

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Jan 06, 2016
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Make it more real
by: Natalia

If the dog does not react to baby crying sounds, then make the situation more real. Grab a toy baby, wrap it in your baby's blanket's and practice (while real baby sleeps, of course!). Even if your dog doesn't react quite the way he does with your baby, it is still good to keep making her feel comfortable around baby sounds.

You are welcome!

Jan 06, 2016
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Thanks
by: Emma

Thank you so much for responding so quickly!! I've tried the playing baby sounds & treat rewarding with just the two of us in the room (forgot to mention that) & the dog seems not to react or bother just goes about her business looking out the window, walking around the house, playing with toys etc. As soon as there's a small live person in front of her creating the noise she goes crazy. I'll keep up the treat reward & playing the sounds through a speaker & I'll get the Kongs loaded with good stuff for emergency live situation. Thanks for you help really appreciate it!

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