Jealous Issues....help!

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by wsudduth, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. wsudduth New Member

    My husky is 2 years old. He's always been extremely stubborn and very reluctant when it comes to training. My husband and I have had him since he was 4 weeks old. House training him was no easy feat and I am not one to use kennels, so...My problem recently (and he is house trained now) is that we now have a 10 month old son and Loki (my husky) has shown extreme behavior issues towards my son. Loki has never shown a hint of aggression towards another person or animal....ever. Not even so much as a growl. He loves kids. He was raised around them, although they were never kids that lived with us. Nieces and nephews and such. Now that my son is here, if he gets anywhere close to Loki he starts growling. Not only that but now, all of a sudden, Loki finds the house to be his own personal toilet. And it's not all over the house. I can no longer keep my sons room opened because Loki will ruin the floors. So after I started closing the door Loki then just took that as a sign to use the bathroom in front of the door. I then put a gate up to keep him away from that area and then it just got worse. Some of my sons bigger toys are kept in the living room. You can only guess where Loki then decided to use the restroom. He's ruined my floors to the point that I'm now having to get the wood replaced in certain parts of the house and I have had to throw away multiple toys. I've tried the kennel training, but that only seems to make him more mad. Walks, personal time, treats, new toys, training books on disciplining. Nothing is working and the more I try to correct the behavior the more off put Loki gets. I am at my wits end. I don't know what to do.

    Also, Loki has never attempted to bite my son nor are they ever left alone together. With that being said I would like to keep it that way. I need help in also getting Loki to accept my son and me being comfortable with the two of them being close together.
    kassidybc and running_dog like this.

  2. running_dog Honored Member

    In my opinion you urgently need a positive behaviourist. The risks are too great if things go wrong and from what you have said you already struggle to communicate with your dog.

    You have described very worrying symptoms which as you have already realised indicate there could be a real potentially very dangerous underlying issue.

    Never never never try to correct a growl. A growl is a warning, a symptom, if you punish or verbally correct a growl you will stop the dog growling but not change his mind about the trigger. Next time he might just bite without warning. If a dog growls you quietly and calmly remove the dog from the room close the door and leave him out there for about half a minute.

    It is not "disciplining" that you need so much as counter conditioning - and eventually making your dog like having your son around because good things happen when he is there. I don't have time to go into that in detail right now but hopefully I will be able to come back on later and fill in the detail if someone else hasn't already.

    BUT

    I repeat, in my opinion you urgently need to find a positive behaviourist who will identify triggers for you and coach you in counter conditioning.

    Do keep checking back here not all our experienced members are on every day so it may take a while for you to get detailed responses
  3. lindsay_dogids Well-Known Member

    Great advice from running-dog. So sorry you are in this difficult situation. I think you can work through it with the right trainer/behaviorist to help you out. Or, the trainer may say the dog would be better off in another home. I know that's not easy to hear, but it would be good to get an opinion from a professional or two.

    I agree, I wouldn't discipline the dog for growling, and I like the idea of using counter conditioning to change the dog's emotional response to your son. You want him to think, "Oh! The kid is here. Yay! I get good things!"

    It sounds like he may also be urinating in the house as a marking behavior. A trainer could give you some suggestions for that as well. I would probably go back to the basics and treat him as though he is not potty trained. Keep him in a kennel when you can't supervise or at least in a small area with a gate, since I know you don't like to use kennels. Keep him on a leash when you can. Basically decrease his freedom for now, and of course reward him when he does go to the bathroom outside. I know this is not easy when you need to also supervise him around your son and to keep them separated much of the time.

    I'm sure he's getting plenty of exercise, but if not, is there anything you could do to make sure he's getting enough walking/running/training time? Maybe a run with him every morning with you or your husband? A dog backpack? More Kong/puzzle-type toys?

    Just brainstorming here. Best of luck. I'm sure it's very stressful, and I hope there is someone in your area you can contact for help.
  4. running_dog Honored Member

    I'm back :) but now I have splitting head ache :( so I've just tried to find a link that describes counter conditioning so you know what a good behaviourist should be advising you to do.

    I cannot ever recollect advising someone on this forum that they need a behaviourist, but you do. When the object of jealousy is a small child the cost of making a mistake is so high you should get an experienced positive behaviourist immediately. Although you never leave your child unsupervised with your dog if he chooses to attack you may not have time to intervene, these things can happen lightening quick and your dog is much bigger and more powerful than your child.

    Your dog has given you ample warning that he has a problem.

    You clearly understand that warning.

    If anything happens now it will not be his fault.
  5. southerngirl Honored Member

    Please take R_dog's advice and get a trainer.
    I know it's hard but try to keep all of your son's toys in his room unless he is playing with them. Keep Loki in your site at all times to prevent him from marking.
    Some things you could work on right now is make your son's presence very exciting to Loki. Such as have Loki in the room and have say your husband walk in the room with your son and throw a little party for Loki, when I say party I mean give him some treats and love. Than have your helper walk out of the room with your son and the party stops immediately. Do this at least once a day. Maybe bring your son along on one of your walks. First if you haven't already teach Loki to walk with a stroller before bringing your son along.

    Here is an article on urine marking.
    http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/urine-marking-dogs
    kassidybc, running_dog and Ripleygirl like this.
  6. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    Great advice above, I completely agree that your dog is giving you ample warning that he is not happy with the situation and feels threatened by your child, this is a very serious warning but MUST be listened to and you do need a behaviourist to help all of you live in unison. DO NOT silence the warning as Running_Dog said, that makes the situation more dangerous... Has your dog's exercise regime changed due to the child?
  7. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Great advice from everyone else. Definitely contact a professional positive behaviorist. With most behavior problems you can usually solve them on your own, without contacting a behaviorist, but it sounds like you need a behaviorist in this situation. Is Loki neutered? I've heard people say that male dogs often loose interest in marking so much once they are neutered (Though I can't attest to this personally, I've never had a male dog). It obviously isn't a substitute for contacting a behaviorist, but it may help if he's not already neutered (would love it if someone else could give their experience with this, as I only know what I've heard others say!)
    running_dog likes this.
  8. running_dog Honored Member

    You've summed that up perfectly (y)
    kassidybc and Ripleygirl like this.

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