One Reddit mom was all shook up when her family dog, a 5-year-old female cockapoo, started showing signs of aggressive behavior. She was excessively barking and growling and then one day, she took a snap at the mom’s 3-year-old son.
She explained that in the past, she and her husband tried breaking her dog’s aggressive behavior through resource training.
She has had issues with resource guarding and we have hired trainers for that, when she was in puppy preschool and then private training at our house when she was a little older.
The protective dog had a particularly difficult time adjusting to her owners’ newborn son three years ago. After the baby’s birth she started “acting out.” The user explained that the cockapoo “took it really hard.” But now things have gotten much worse.
The mom wrote:
I was raising our kid around the clock so my husband took over caring for the dog. She went from a mommy’s girl to a daddy’s girl.
Fast forward three years later and the barking is out of control and she’s resource guarding again. She snapped hard at my hand yesterday.
Recently, when the mom tried taking a sock from the dog, she bit her and broke skin.
She also shared that her son is now in danger. One day, not too long ago, her toddler reached to pat the cockapoo on the head and she snapped at his face.
She thought the dog had bitten her toddler’s cheek.
It was so sudden and violent that I was certain she’d bitten his cheek. It was horrible. He’s fine now, but we both got shaken up.
After the incident, she didn’t feel safe having the dog around the 3-year-old, so she tried discussing this with her husband. But it upset him.
I’m not sure what to do. I’m raising our child full time and working weekends and my husband works 70+ hours a week. He works from home so he said he’ll work on the resource guarding again, but with his schedule I’m skeptical.
I love this dog but I’m sick thinking about what almost happened to our son. I feel I owe it to my kid to protect him from our dog who’s bitten me before.
My husband was acting pissed and said fine, he’d keep our dog in the basement and when that doesn’t work we’ll have her put to sleep because that’s obviously what I was hinting at.
Her husband accused her of wanting to put the dog to sleep, but the mom said she would hate to do this. For advice she spoke with her father. He also loves the dog and takes her for walks, but recently he’s also been alarmed by her behavior.
The mom explained:
[My dad] mentioned ‘she’s been acting weirder’ on walks lately, being aggressive toward other dogs when she used to just be indifferent. I hope my husband and I can have a serious conversation later today.
The mom was unsure of how to confront the situation. So she reached out on Reddit for advice. Commenters responded, writing:
I have two friends who experienced similar situations with having kids after the dog. Both kids were eventually bit and injured. One still has the dog but has to go through extremes to keep the 15 lb dog away from people (The dog bit friends and guests before the kids were born) this makes zero sense to me, the dog is now isolated.
The other family had their dog out to sleep.
Personally, I would be more concerned with my children’s safety than my partner’s feelings. I still don’t trust our own dogs to be alone with our kids….things can happen…
A vet tech responded and assured her that she’s not overreacting. The vet tech said she needs to ignore her husband’s feelings, take action, and prioritize her son over the dog.
You should never have had the dog remain in the home when it bit hard enough to break the skin.
The home environment is not conducive to the dog. She is clearly anxious and poorly adjusted.
I’m a vet tech, I’ve spent thousands upon thousands of hours with all kinds of dogs and dog families. Guidelines for pet ownership should be discussed when the idea of a child comes into the picture. Obviously you guys didn’t do that.
The dog cannot be prioritized over the child. This is a safety issue. Sure, MAYBE it can be dealt with SOME DAY at some point in the undefined future, but it’s not fair to put yourselves at risk waiting for that to happen.
Other commenters made alternative suggestions:
Are you able to separate them with (indoor) gates and playpens?
You could try asking a professional trainer their opinion on how to stop her barking and whining and scraping.
Many said having her aggressive dog around her son “is a tragedy” waiting to happen.
GoldieLox9 ended by saying she had a “long tear-filled conversation” with her husband and he finally agreed the dog needs to find a new home.
They don’t know how to proceed but they’re doing their best to figure it out— her son’s safety is her priority.
What would you do?