A Dark Day for the Doggie

July 12th, 2009

Riley came within about a half an inch of losing his happy home last night. That’s because his teeth were about a half an inch away from the baby’s face when he snarled at her. Ellie was playing on him (as she is wont to do) and I don’t know if she pulled something that hurt or if he was just tired of it, but regardless, he made an extremely irritated noise and snapped in her direction.

I yelled, the baby cried, Josh’s blood pressure skyrocketed and the dog slunk away in disgrace.

And now I find myself locked in a repeating loop of conversation – both with Josh and with myself. It usually goes something like this:

He almost bit her!

But he didn’t bite her. And if he had wanted to, he certainly could have. He was just treating her like a puppy who’d crossed the line — telling her to back off.

But she’s not a puppy. She’s a baby. What if he accidentally hurts her because he can’t tell the difference?

Well, she was manhandling him. She’ll need to learn not to.

Except that she’s going to keep doing it. At this age, we’ll only have moderate success with “don’t eat the doggie’s tail” lessons. He’s got to learn to tolerate her.

But it isn’t fair to expect him to endlessly put up with abuse from the baby, is it? How do we teach him to get up and go in his crate when he’s had enough, rather than snapping?

And, repeat.

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