• Michael D’Abruzzo

    February 9, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Neutering will be a good thing, but I’m sure you know that it won’t make a huge change in behavior – especially at 4 years of age. But, it can possibly help with the intensity that testosterone adds to the equation. Testosterone is never a good thing when it comes to aggression issues.

    I would say you did the right thing for verbally correcting the posturing toward the baby and not the growl. It is important either way to direct the hybrid away from the baby when he feels unsure to give him an alternative behavior.

    Regardless, as a professional I am very concerned about the baby – and do stress keep maintaining supervision with a plan that makes it impossible for him to get a bite on the baby. This is definitely considered a high risk situation.

    The shake bite toward you husband sounds like a more severe correction. Especially because of the circumstances surrounding the incident The quick bites that don’t break the skin are generally referred to as “hits” with the wolves and hybrids. It shows how they do have great bite inhibition, but can obviously turn up the juice when they are trying to make a better point. But, keep in mind that the average domestic dog does not have triggers as easy as this. Generally, you can untangle a dog without worrying about getting bit.

    I definitely think this hybrid has high hopes of being managed and trained with patience, but as a father myself I would never trust him around anyone but informed ADULTS.

    If you are going to keep this hybrid I would recommend getting him desensitized to a comfortable basket muzzle to be worn around the baby at all times while supervised.

    You have to keep in mind that if it is easy for adults to make mistakes that cause a trigger, it is likely a child will cause a trigger.

    If you get him on a muzzle you can start some counter-conditioning work around the baby while you work on obedience for control. This can always help to put him at ease around the baby with time, but i firmly believe it will always be part of a management plan to make mistakes impossible via a muzzle when they are together. At least for the near future and toddler years before you reevaluate. Right now is the statistically highest probability for a tragedy to happen.

    What do you feed him? Is he treat motivated at all?