Ask the Vet Archive

Your chance to ask Dr. Mindy Cohan, VMD, our resident pet health expert, what's on your mind!

Topic: Behavior Problems with New Baby

Question from Michelle in New Castle:
I have a 4 year old westie named Shadow. We have had him since he was 10 weeks old and he has been treated like our baby. I had a child a year ago and we also have a 13 year old daughter. Shadow is now peeing on the baby's toys, messes in the house, and snapped at my husband when he was putting Shadow in his crate at bedtime. Shadow is always crated at bedtime and he was showing his teeth and trying to bite my husband through the door of the crate.

I never leave Shadow and the baby alone. We took Shadow to the vet to have him checked and he was fine. My husband feels he cannot trust Shadow and that we should have him put down. I don't know what to do, please help.

Answer from Dr. Mindy Cohan:
It was appropriate for you to have Shadow examined by your veterinarian to rule out an underlying medical problem. If there were no signs of urinary tract or other illnesses, then a board-certified veterinary behaviorist should be consulted. The issues that you describe are of a very serious nature and must be addressed.

I do not suggest a dog “trainer” for your situation. To find a veterinary behavior specialist in your area, go to The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has a behavior clinic. You can schedule an appointment at the clinic by calling (215) 898-3347.

Shadow deserves a chance and you must be willing to devote the time,energy and finances to resolving his problems. Until you can find help, be certain that you continue to separate your infant from Shadow at all times.

Posted November 6, 2007

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