Mike's Q&A

An interactive question and answer forum with expert dog trainer Michael Wombacher for all of your most pressing dog behavior and dog training-related questions.

Smart Dog Doesn't Lisen if Baby is in Hand...

Q: I have a 5 year old Shiba Inu named Odin who is really, by far, the best behaved dog I've ever had or known (thanks to your training!). I get compliments on how good he is all the time. In preparation for a new human baby to the household, I read your book "There's a Baby in the House." There were a few changes we made to prepare for my son's arrival (mostly about less attention, more quiet time, and more time away from us), but really Odin was in good shape. He's been amazing with the baby and is extremely respectful. The baby is four months old and Odin lets him touch him, even in the face, without any signs of aggression. However, Odin is extremely smart and has figured out that when one of us is holding the baby, that person will not raise their voice or chase after him if he decides not to obey a command. So, he's essentially stopped listening to the person holding the baby. If you set the baby down or hand him off to someone else, Odin goes back to listening. We've tried to support each other to show him that he still has to listen to the parent holding the baby, but if the other parent isn't around it's clear that he "decides" himself whether he wants to listen. Any ideas on how to get him to understand that he still has to listen to the parent holding the baby?


A: That is hysterical! I would leash Odin and have the person holding the baby also try, at least as best as possible, hold the leash or at least tether him nearby. Since he already knows all his commands and needs only to be convinced that you mean business, giving him a small leash correction when he blows you off will probably do the trick. Let him know that you can still get to him regardless of the baby in your arms. Of course, if he complies love him with lots of verbal praise and physical if possible