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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kronk is not a very good Chipmunk Scout*

So as I had mentioned in a previous post, I was somewhat worried about the interactions between Mira and one of our dogs, Kronk. Well twice now within the past 3 days, when Mira has approached him rather than getting up and moving away Kronk has growled at her. Both times, he's gotten reprimanded *severely*. But now I'm at a loss about what we should do. Brian has suggested that we just spend a bunch of time on the floor with both Kronk and Mira, letting Mira be close to Kronk while we pet him to keep him comfortable. I guess we'll start with that tomorrow and I'll do some research to see if there are any other methods to try to get Kronk to accept Mira. I really really hope we're able to get this under control because the alternatives are to banish Kronk to the backyard, find Kronk a new home, or get Kronk a muzzle (none of which I am happy about). If anyone has experience/suggestions, I'm open.

*That's a reference to the movie The Emperor's New Groove, after which Kronk is named.


Marcy said...

I don't have dog-baby specific suggestions, but thinking of what I kept reading about introducing Nev to our household a BIG tip that kept coming up was just trying to associate pleasant things with the new intruder. Brian's idea of giving Kronk lots of attention while near Mira is great, could also give him special treats/favorite foods when she's around, LOTS of praise when he is near her and doesn't growl, etc... just anything to build up positive associations and reward good behavior.

I imagine this might be a growing issue as Mira gets more mobile and starts getting into Kronk's "space." I would also work on teaching Mira about Kronk and his boundaries, to not get too close if he's not comfortable, etc (tough, I know-- trying to teach that to D now about how when Sierra raises her paw it means she doesn't want attention, not sure we're getting anywhere) but I think seeing you guys stick up for HIM might help Kronk feel better (more secure?), too, if that makes sense.

I found this article on our local humane society's website, they have a list of tips for handling dogs and young children, some of which I would not have thought of (like keeping small children up above dogs to show they have a-literally- higher spot in the hierarchy). They also mention trying to associate positive things for your dog with the kids... and makes me wonder if, when Kronk growls, instead of yelling/hitting/whatever, it'd be better to immediately stick him outside and that the removal from the social environment might be enough punishment for him to stop doing it? Otherwise he might associate getting yelled at with being around Mira...?

Anyway, sorry for the long comment, here's the article:

And in case you're interested, here's the rest of the list of dog-behavior-related articles:

Hollyn said...

ya, don't yell at him, don't say anything to him, otherwise he is learning that growling at Mira gets him attention. If he does not like being outside in the backyard alone, then just calmly and quietly, yet firmly take him by the collar and put him outside in the backyard. No humans and no other dogs. I agree with Marcy, positive reinforcement is key. Treats when he is good and does not growl around her, a game of fetch,etc. Also, distractions might work at times. Balls stuffed with treats that come out when he rolls/throws it(favorite of Toby's).Some of it might have to do with pent-up energy. Make sure he is excersized. Doggy daycare a couple times a week or every few weeks could be a great idea(another Toby fave). Maybe try to get Mira involved in some of his favorite activites(walks, chasing the water comming out of the hose, be creative). I'm not suggesting you let Mira on the ground while Kronk plays in the hose, but have her in the carrier(the 1 that goes on ur chest or back) and have her touch the water or help grab the hose while he runs around. Toby will do this for HOURS! Also, spraying a sour green apple spray on his tounge at any undisirable behaviors has worked wonderfully on Toby. I've got plenty more suggestions if you need them.