Home > Case Studies > We Cured Dog's Jealousy of New Baby: A Case Study

We Cured Dog's Jealousy of New Baby: A Case Study

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 3 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Baby Dog Prepare Jealous Arrival

James and Fiona were thrilled with their new baby and they were sure that their Cocker Spaniel, Molly, would be as well. In the rush of the last few months, what with Fiona’s difficult pregnancy and preparing for the baby’s arrival, they hadn’t had much time for Molly but they were sure that everything would be fine as soon as they brought the baby home and Molly met the new member of the family.

“We did feel a bit guilty that we hadn’t been spending much time with Molly - missing her walks and not doing any training or playing games with her,” admits James. “And some friends of ours had told us that it was important to do certain things to help the dog prepare for a new baby but we thought they were just being paranoid. I mean, how could anyone not love babies, right?”

Unfortunately, Molly didn’t share Greg’s feelings and it was apparent from the first that she viewed the new arrival with deep suspicion.

Molly the Spaniel was Jealous of the New Baby

“She wouldn’t come near the baby when we first came home – she sort of skulked around near us, looking at it suspiciously and then she really freaked out when the baby started to cry,” remembers James. “But the worst was when Fiona carried the baby over to her to try and get her to sniff him – she actually growled at him! She also growled if she was being petted by either of us and the other one came over with the baby – it was almost as if she was jealous of the baby taking attention away from her!”

Greg and Fiona also noticed that whenever they were busy with the baby – such as changing his nappy or feeding him – Molly would start acting up, doing naughty things like barking or running around grabbing things like shoes and other prohibited items. Exasperated, they called their friends who had warned them about preparing Molly for the baby.

“They told us that we needed to associate the baby with good things for Molly, so that she would learn to like his presence rather than resent him. At the moment, she just saw him as this strange creature making loud noises that took her humans' attention away from her – no wonder she wasn’t very fond of him!”

Changing the Dog's Attitude

So following their friends’ advice, Greg and Fiona set about changing Molly’s attitude to their baby. They started feeding Molly yummy treats whenever she came near the baby and giving her lots of fuss and praise for showing any kind of positive interest in the baby. They ignored any naughty behaviour but as soon as Molly was calm around the baby, they rewarded her with praise and treats. They also did this around any baby equipment, such as the stroller, so that Molly would associate any activity around these things as positive and rewarding. Soon they noticed that Molly started wagging her tail when she saw the baby as she thought he brought her nice things.

In the past, Greg and Fiona had always fussed Molly when she came to them for attention but now they started ignoring her sometimes, especially when they didn’t have the baby with them. This was important so that Molly would not only associate “being ignored” with the baby’s presence. It also taught Molly that sometimes, she had to just lie quietly and amuse herself – that she could not always have attention on demand from her humans, regardless of whether the baby was there or not. This was something that Greg and Fiona should have started practising before the baby came but it was still not too late to start now.

Baby Towels in the Dog's Basket

They also placed some of the baby’s dirty towels in Molly’s bed, so that she would get used to the baby’s scent. And finally, they both committed to spending some quality time with Molly – whether it was taking her for a walk, doing a bit of training with her or playing a game with one of her favourite toys. This way Molly still got the attention she needed from her humans and did not mind so much if she was ignored some of the other times.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Mygranddaughter is now 4 months old and my dogs behaviour has not improved ,he pants whinesand follows us every time we move with the baby he seems very hyper love my dog and my grandchild ! Torn !! ??
Vorny54 - 3-Dec-18 @ 7:50 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Sprinkles
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I live beside someone who has 3 dogs. This person doesn't work but disappears for over 10 hours or all night and doesn't come back until…
    14 June 2019
  • sherrie
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    our calico cat was in a fight last monday morning and we had to take her to the vet. We had to put her down because she had a deep…
    12 June 2019
  • Kiwi
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    We recently moved into an apartment that has lots of outdoor cats I don't know if these are ferel cats or pets my cat Kiki likes to go…
    26 May 2019
  • Rani
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi I live with my in laws and they have recently bought a dog, hes a big alsatian. I have 4 kids 6,4,2 and 8 months. It's hot and they want to…
    23 May 2019
  • Jillybags
    Re: Keeping Mammals in an Aviary
    So it's ok to have 2 bunnies and ( say ) 4 budgies, lovebirds or cockatiels in the same outdoor aviary ? They'll have plenty of…
    21 May 2019
  • Soph
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    Just herd me cat (maui) and another tabby fighting opened the door and both cats scattered I do have a female tabby (tiger-lily) who…
    11 May 2019
  • Nightfall
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Hi, I know it’s illegal to not have a ID tag but does the tag have to go onto a collar, can it go onto the dog harness we have instead?
    6 May 2019
  • Rae
    Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
    I had luck once by putting a little bit of butter on the new kittens back. Then the older cat naturally wanted to lick it…
    28 April 2019
  • Fin
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    With the antibiotic jab at the vets, Quin recovered really quickly. I think it's inbuilt resistance, especially with moggies…
    25 April 2019
  • Fin
    Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
    I have been seriously mauled - on both hands - by a cat, that I was putting into a carrying box... My comment to the…
    25 April 2019