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aggressive to other small animals

June 2nd, 2004, 10:58 AM
I have a 8 y/o lab mix (from the pound). He has always been very very energetic, and very playful and sweet to people of all ages - however has had a "killer" instinct for small animals (rabbits, cats, fawns). He is about 75 pounds, and very strong. We do not ever let him off the leash (unless he accidently gets loose) - because we are afraid he will hurt/kill a neighbors pet.
We are expecting our first child, and my husband is very concerned about our dogs behavior - afraid that our dog will possibly be aggressive with an infant (however I have never seen him react this way around other kids). Also, my hubby is very concerned about potential liability (which I understand).
I am very attached to our pet - but don't like his tendency to hurt/kill other animals. Is there anything that can be done to tame this instinct in dogs? My husband wants to get rid our dog to be "safe instead of sorry", but I would rather exhaust all options before doing so. Any suggestions or help??? Thanks.

June 2nd, 2004, 11:30 AM
I posted to the same one under Vet Help...

TRAINING and learn the "leave it" command, begin indoors and then gradute to outdoors. Medication is not the solution!!!

Lucky Rescue
June 2nd, 2004, 11:33 AM
I agree with you. Since you have no reason to believe your dog is aggressive to kids, getting rid of him would be very unfair, especially since you say he is good with kids.

Your dog has a strong prey drive, which is pretty normal in many dogs who are, after all, predators. You cannot eliminate this. Many people associate this with human aggression, but they are two very different things.

Your dog can very easily tell the difference between a cat and a child. Just take normal precautions as you would with any dog after your baby arrives by never leaving him/her alone with your dog.

Prepare your dog for the baby's arrival by getting things like baby powder, etc for him to get used to the different smells that will be associated with the baby. When you have the baby home, give your dog treats and toys when the baby is near, so he associates baby with good things and attention.

Lots of people make the mistake of relegating the dog to the yard or garage after a baby comes. This naturally would make the dog see the baby as the reason for his exile and lack of attention, so it's understandable that the dog would resent the baby.

My dog has a high prey drive too, but has no problem differentiating between a rabbit and human baby.;)