My Corgi, Twinkie, is two and a half or so. He has only ever had interaction with children around 10 and older and does pretty well, but recently my cousin had a baby. She's about 5 months old now and comes over to my place often. Whenever she is around Twinkie is very curious, he will sit at the feet of whoever is holding her.
Now this is all pretty cute, and I'm glad he is good around the baby but he is really possessive, or protective maybe, of her. If any other dog comes near the baby or the person holding her he barks at them and puts himself between the other dog and baby. He also barks at people who are waving or cooing at the baby from afar (there is a lot of baby talk from Grandma). This worries me and I don't really think it is a good behavior to have. Is there anyway I can break his possessiveness? Has anyone else had this issue with a dog?
Any help is really appreciated!
Being protective of a baby isn't uncommon amongst dogs. Yuki's mom habitually placed herself between strangers and the youngest of her humans (a 3-year-old toddler). Yuki himself exhibits protective behavior, too. I just had my second child in October and for her first month, if anyone other than myself or my husband was holding her, he would get up and "check" on her every few minutes. And if she started crying while that stranger was holding her, then he'd be right in their faces and sniffing her as if to say, "What did you do to her?! Give her back to mom!" He also sniffs her like crazy and licks her feet after the stranger puts her down.
Correcting the barking is like correcting any other behavior. You need to let him know that it is not okay (a sharp "no!" and redirection when he misbehaves) and then reward him for the desired behavior. If you don't want him placing himself between stranger and baby, then guide him to where you want him to be and reward him when he stays back.
Our 3 year old pembroke max has always been such a well mannered dog. He used to never bark and always listened and did what he was told. Now we just got a tri female 3 weeks ago. She is 9 weeks now. At first he hated her and now he loves her. Problem is he is VERY protective of her. If someone he doesn't know is picking her up and "taking her away" from him he starts barking and growling. Which is not ok with us. He has never been aggressive before. He even presented his teeth and growled at a strange dog that got too close to the puppy's playpen. We try to disipline him about it. I guess its good that he is protective of her but i dont like him being aggressive to people/pets who dont pose a threat. People I have talked to said that he should grow out of it once she is more of an adult. The advice i was given was to continue letting him know that the behavior isn't ok and eventually when he feels like she can defend herself the behavior will stop. So I'm hoping it works.
There is a world of difference between a dog that displays aggressiveness toward people and a dog that directs that toward other dogs. I would consider the situation you describe quite normal. Of course you can discourage it, particularly if it's directed to one of the dogs that lives in your household (not a visiting dog, or dogs outside the house).
I definitely wouldn't put up with the barking. He's guarding what he thinks is "his". My German Shepherd/Husky mix would sit in front of whoever was holding our kids. She'd very quietly come sit directly in front of them, and stare at them the whole time. If they moved with the baby, she'd follow. She was great with the kids--she'd sleep under their crib all the time, and if they cried and you didn't hear them, she'd come get you. When they crawled, she'd follow them around the house.
When he barks, I'd just shush him, and when he does what you want, treat him. He'll get the picture soon enough. I don't think he means any harm, just doing what he thinks is right.