So Saskia has been nothing but love and deference toward Walter until today. Well, also today except for one moment. Someone at the pet store gave her a new squeaky toy, and she was on the sofa with it (it has now been reduced to rubble by her and thrown away by me). Walter approached, with me right there, and Saskia snapped the air about 2 feet from his face.

It was obvious she was just issuing a little warning, but she shouldn't have felt comfortable with that. I was on the phone and reacted instinctively, whapping her not too hard on the nose with the paper I was holding. She was very sorry. I took the toy away from her and gave it back a few times, praising when there was no reaction.
I was planning on desensitizing Saskia to Walter touching her things by praising for no reaction when he got near, but her trainer feels this would be a bad idea. She suggested making it very clear to Walter that Saskia's things are no-go, but when we did this it seemed to make Saskia more concerned when he did touch something. So the trainer now suggests trying to ignore it and not act like anything special is happening when he handles her things.
Saskia's trainer feels that we need to immediately stop letting Saskia on the sofa (we're throwing this one away anyway before we move) and stop letting her into our bedroom but especially on our bed. She thinks these two things are "the most damaging things we've done" in bringing Saskia up with a baby. My husband is 100% against either thing having anything to do with it. He says this advice and attitude proves the trainer doesn't really know Danes, that Danes get on furniture, it's just what they do.

The trainer also said we should get Saskia used to a crate again, and crate her whenever we can't be right there while Saskia and Walter are in the same room (now he goes into the playpen but of course he'll outgrow it soon enough). We will be doing this at the new place, and we will create a Saskia-only "safe zone" for her.
How worried should we be (the trainer says "very",) and what are you folks' suggestions now that it has happened again?
Thanks,
Katrina
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So Saskia has been nothing but love and deference toward Walter until today. Well, also today except for one moment. ... trainer now suggests trying to ignore it and not act like anything special is happening when he handles her things.

That seems like a sensible course of action. No need to inject stress into the situation if it isn't there. (What do you do when the dog picks up the child's toys?)
Saskia's trainer feels that we need to immediately stop letting Saskia on the sofa (we're throwing this one away anyway ... advice and attitude proves the trainer doesn't really know Danes, that Danes get on furniture, it's just what they do.

That's nonsense. Any breed of dog will get up on the furniture if you allow it, or keep off the furniture if you don't allow it. I personally have never allowed my dogs GSDs and Goldens to get up on the furniture. They have the run of the house, they are always with us but the furniture is for the humans. I 'm far from a neat freak, or I wouldn't have dogs who shed so heavily, but I don't want to live in a kennel. That's just as bad to me as people who allow their small children to trash the furniture. Neither the dogs nor the children will ever learn to coexist with nice things if they aren't taught. But YMMV.
I also see no reason to allow dogs up on the bed. My dogs sleep in the bedroom with me from day one, but they have their own bed. But I don't see any reason to ban them from the bedroom unless you have allergies.

In my experience, there tends to be a certain degree of sibling rivalry between a young dog and a baby/toddler. I can see that letting the dog sleep on the bed with you might give the dog the idea that she outranks the child.
The trainer also said we should get Saskia used to a crate again, and crate her whenever we can't be right there while Saskia and Walter are in the same room (now he goes into the playpen but of course he'll outgrow it soon enough).

Sounds like a good idea to me. I would never leave a baby or toddler alone in a room with a dog, especially a large dog who has snapped at him.
We will be doing this at the new place, and we will create a Saskia-only "safe zone" for her.

Sounds to me as if the baby is the one at risk. What message are you sending the dog if you make a big deal each time the child touches her toys have you trained the dog not to touch the child's toys? and if the child is the one "crated" and the dog is free?
How worried should we be (the trainer says "very",) and what are you folks' suggestions now that it has happened again?

Let's face it: a Dane could kill or maim a two year old child in an instant. I'd be concerned. You need to nip this in the bud.
How worried should we be (the trainer says "very",) and what are you folks' suggestions now that it has happened again? Thanks, Katrina

I agree with your trainer.
Your dog should lose all furniture priveleges, and no, that is not impossible to do with a Dane Emotion: smile My Dane isn't allowed on furniture, he has his own bed, and he's never complained about it Emotion: smile

Your trainers suggestions are all right on, things I would suggest as well. A Dane bite to a baby could be fatal, this is nothing to beat aroud the bush about.
As an added measure, I would also put your dog on NILIF. I'm sure you are familiar with that, if not, heres a link:http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

Always make sure you are in the same room as the dog and baby, supervision is key here. Teach your baby to never approach a dog who is eating, or chewing bone, or toy. This is for his safety. Good luck Emotion: smile
Thanks. I'll reply to both of you in more detail later, but I did want to assure you that a) the baby and dog are never alone together, even across the room from me, and b) the dog simply does not pick up the baby's toys. Once or twice she's poked one, but we simply say "leave it" in a reasonable tone and she does.
Katrina
Saskia's trainer feels that we need to immediately stop letting Saskia on the sofa (we're throwing this one away anyway ... worried should we be (the trainer says "very",) and what are you folks' suggestions now that it has happened again?

None of us are there. The trainer is. None of us have met the dog, the trainer has. If you have good reason to believe the trainer is not competent, then find a competent trainer. But dog should not be snapping in reaction to anything the child does. It does not make the dog "bad" but it does mean the situation is serious.
I don't think that letting dogs on the bed is "damaging" in the abstract. But if the dog needs a clear structure of its place in the pack, displacing the dog from the bed is part of the prescription. Set things up so that Sasika can be successful. Make it hard for her to make a mistake. You can do this with love and affection, but good management will develop good habits and keep everyone safe and happy.

Diane Blackman
There is no moral victory in proclaiming to abhor violence while preaching with violent words.
http://dog-play.com / http://dogplayshops.com /
How worried should we be (the trainer says "very",) and what are you folks' suggestions now that it has happened again?

I am not going to comment. Others have and I don't know enough about the situation to even warrant a guess. However, I have a question:

How close were you or your husband when Saskia snapped/growled at Walter? Is it possible that Saskia is jealous of the time that Walter is spending with you or hubby?
As for the trainer, whether or not the trainer is competent is not the question. The question should be whether you and your husband feel confident in what the trainer is doing. After what she said and your husband's response, I get the impression that he would have a great deal of difficulty following any requests from this lady...

Marcel and Moogli
http://mudbunny.blogspot.com /
As for the trainer, whether or not the trainer is competent is not the question. The question should be whether ... response, I get the impression that he would have a great deal of difficulty following any requests from this lady...

A lot of people will trainer shop until they hear what they want to hear. The trainer may be completely out to lunch but the people happily follow the advice because they have already decided what they want. They have a LOT of confidence in the incompetent trainer because they are hearing what they want to hear. Sometimes the bottom line is the person needs to open their ears and hear. Sometimes prescriptions are unpleasant, but they save lives and families. Kind of like grieving there are usually steps or phases involved in a person dealing with (or not) dog behavior issues. Katrina's family has reached the denial stage "yes, but ..." etc

Diane Blackman
There is no moral victory in proclaiming to abhor violence while preaching with violent words.
http://dog-play.com / http://dogplayshops.com /
As for the trainer, whether or not the trainer is ... great deal of difficulty following any requests from this lady...

A lot of people will trainer shop until they hear what they want to hear. The trainer may be completely ... is the person needs to open their ears and hear. Sometimes prescriptions are unpleasant, but they save lives and families.[/nq]Ideally, you have confidence in the trainer and in their methods. However, it doesn't look like it in this case. I don't know how well her husband will react to any suggestions by their current trainer. With a baby in the picture, I am loathe to suggest that she stick with the current trainer if hubby will only be paying lip service to what the trainer suggests. Perhaps if another trainer suggests the same thing, it might sink in to the husband that in this case, what the trainer is suggesting is the appropriate action to take.

(Note that I am not saying that what the trainer suggested is the only course of action. Like I mentioned previously, I don't know near enough about the situation to even hazard a guess, and my very limited skills/knowledge of training in general would prevent me from making any other comments.)

Marcel and Moogli
http://mudbunny.blogspot.com /
I was planning on desensitizing Saskia to Walter touching her things by praising for no reaction when he got near, ... things are no-go, but when we did this it seemed to make Saskia more concerned when he did touch something.

I like to teach kids and dogs to play with toys together. "Help" Walter throw a ball for her for instance.
So the trainer now suggests trying to ignore it and not act like anything special is happening when he handles her things.

The dog has to accept him handling her things. But not necessarily when they are in her mouth (not right now anyway).
Saskia's trainer feels that we need to immediately stop letting Saskia on the sofa (we're throwing this one away anyway ... advice and attitude proves the trainer doesn't really know Danes, that Danes get on furniture, it's just what they do.>>

Dogs "do" other things to - bite, chew, jump - are those all acceptable to him as well? I agree with getting her off the couch and bed. The bedroom is a little less clear.
The trainer also said we should get Saskia used to a crate again, and crate her whenever we can't be ... enough). We will be doing this at the new place, and we will create a Saskia-only "safe zone" for her.

I disagree - they need to learn to live in a normal flow.

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
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