Hi all,
On October 5, I posted that Saskia had air-snapped in the general direction of the baby when he reached for a new toy she was chewing on while she was lying on the couch. A couple of weeks before that, she had growled at him while he reached for a rawhide she was chewing on.

At that time, Saskia was under stress because we were preparing to move and so had the house stacked with boxes it was a very, very small apartment and there was nowhere left to move around. She was not getting the exercise she needed, either, what with packing and illness and so forth, everything was in daily turmoil, and just before all this we'd had a Mold Crisis and had to throw furniture away and all sorts of things like that, and we were under a great deal of stress ourselves. Walter had just started cruising on furniture, and was crawling a lot. I am not making excuses for Saskia just pointing out extenuating circumstances.
Saskia's trainer said the problem was entirely caused by her being allowed on furniture and allowed in the bedroom. She didn't want to see Saskia again and she hadn't seen her in months, since she was a puppy. We decided not to rely on this trainer for the solution to the problem.

I asked for help here. In general I got very good advice.
Anyway, long story I'll try to keep short, we moved to the new place, which is more than twice as large as the old place and has a park directly across the street and one just down the road, both allowing dogs offlead running. Saskia gets out for two good runs per day, usually with friends to play with. We instituted NILIF and we stopped allowing Saskia on the furniture. We work on training a lot, just reinforcing stuff she already knows, mainly. We got her a new bed, a big cedar-filled "Doggy Bagg".

We do not allow her to have any chew toys around the baby (or at all, actually, because she doesn't seem bothered). We make sure to reinforce both that Walter is human and "above her" and that we are all friends and good things happen when Walter's around. And any time he interacts with her and she is calm and relaxed we tell her what a good girl she is. We are sure to warn her to "watch out for Walter" or "watch the baby" when she gets rambunctious near him or backs up when he's behind her, etc.Saskia was allowed to keep a piece of blue cloth that came with her from the breeder almost two years ago (yes, we wash it regularly). The sole purpose of this cloth is to entice humans to play. Gradually we allowed more interaction between the two of them again. Saskia now always gets as excited to see Walter as she does to see either of the other two of us, and she wags at him and looks deferential same as with us. He walks most of the time now, instead of crawling, and she holds still if he comes past or to her, and she doesn't poke him anymore (a behavior that more resembled her behavior toward the cat than to us).

She also doesn't react in any way nervously anymore if he falls down (even very near her), drops suddenly to a crawl, or manipulates objects. Then one day he picked up the blue cloth. She got excited, and waited for him to play with her with it, exactly as though he were one of us adults. He gave it to her, and she took it gently. She gave it back. He gave it back. She gave it back. Etc.
Walter started making a bee-line for her anytime he finds the cloth. If she's asleep, he tries to press it onto her face to get her to take it (also with other objects). She reacts by looking at him and taking it, or by doing nothing at all. We always tell him (and help him) NOT to do this and if she's asleep to just put it down on the dog bed next to her and go away; he's starting to get the hang of it.
In all ways I would say the relationship has improved beyond no longer needing to actively worry, and two trainers who regularly exercise their dogs where we do and have watched them together more than once agree but we'll still talk to a behaviorist as soon as we find one who returns calls.
Saskia acts like Walter is human now, instead of some sort of animal she likes and wants to play with. We do now allow them to interact without us hovering nervously right between them, but of course don't leave them alone together. But I do admit I have stopped rushing over when Walter moves toward Saskia's bed. I do make sure I'm watching closely and usually directly involved, but I no longer leap hastily into the middle of things.

Saskia rarely does more than glance at Walter unless she actively wants to join in whatever he's doing or wants him to pet her; when she does, it's to wag or lick his hand or just rearrange her head and go back to sleep. She solicits petting from him now, too, as with us, by sticking her nose under his hand, and sometimes if he approaches her she rolls over on her back and wiggles.We are teaching Saskia not to take anything from Walter without checking with us first he's always trying to give her his snacks and shoes and stuff. She knows she is always allowed to take her blue cloth. The other day, I went into the box of as-yet-still-packed dog toys and found the orange rubber pentagon, another toy that as far as Saskia is concerned is only meant for human enticement, and had Walter give it to her. She took it very gently and bulldozed her nose into it and went back to sleep.

I had NOT intended to try the next step yet, but Walter reached right out and took it again with my hand centimeters from his. Saskia blinked at him and waited sleepily to see what would happen. Walter started chewing on the thing, and I discouraged this and asked him to give it back to Saskia. He did. Then he took it again. No reaction beyond mild interest from her. I let him walk off with it this time, and she watched him for a moment, and went back to sleep.

I removed the toy from Walter's grasp and put it back next to Saskia.

In addition, Walter has developed a habit of gently setting objects ON Saskia. This is usually while she is asleep, and she will sometimes react by stretching out her toes and sighing, sometimes by looking sleepily and briefly at the object, and very occasionally will check with me about whether or not she can have it (she cannot). I am always right there for these incidents. I do tell Walter not to do it.
I don't want to make it sound like we let Walter do just whatever to Saskia. We just watch and see what she really, genuinely doesn't mind, or even does like, and then allow that in future with our supervision. But I do think things are going very, very well now on this front.

Walter has also learned not to pull, whack, or otherwise abuse her (although he does still sometimes try to eat the cat). The other day he was standing and looking at something and Saskers walked up to stand beside him and dropped her muzzle down to just above his shoulder and studied whatever he was looking at I think it was my hairbrush on the coffee table but that may have been another incident. Walter automatically reached up and started fiddling with her lip, and she sighed happily and started wagging, and stayed very still and very relaxed. Then Walter turned to go, and found her head in the way. He reached out and pushed her muzzle aside, and she obligingly stepped back and let him by.
We are not complacent. We do our best to prevent incidents, but this is a toddler, and so we also want to make sure if something does happen it will not be shockingly out of the blue for the dog we DID have, the other day, the dreaded toddler-fell-down-on-dog's-head moment every parent fears, and she barely woke up, just stretched her toes, gave him a sniff without lifting her head, and sighed, but of course we will do our utmost to prevent this and similar happening again.
There has never again been any sign whatsoever of any behavior toward Walter that could possibly be interpreted as aggressive, dominant, resource-guarding, or indeed less than respectful. That day, 5 October, was the second and so far last such incident that has ever occurred.

We don't forget that something could happen again, but we have come to feel rather strongly that it won't, as long as we keep up the training, the now relaxed and modified NILIF, the consistency and stability in the daily routine, and the vigilance.
I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms again but I thought I'd update you folks on how it's been going.
Katrina
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I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms again but I thought I'd update you folks on how it's been going. Katrina

Katrina - above all else, it seems like you are very aware of all interactions and what they are about - that's a very, very good thing and a positive situation for Walter and Saskia to continue to grow together and be buddies. Good for you for being open to suggestions and taking this seriously - everyone is a lot happier for it.

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms again but I thought I'd update you folks on how it's been going. Katrina

Katrina - above all else, it seems like you are very aware of all interactions and what they are about ... you for being open to suggestions and taking this seriously - everyone is a lot happier for it. Janet B

Thank you. Yes, I am very serious about not having to worry about my toddler's relations with my dog, and willing to do whatever it takes to keep them harmonized, certain posters'... ehhhm... reservations notwithstanding. I appreciate your support. Here they are looking at a shoe: Katrina
Here they are looking at a shoe:

I had no idea shoes were so interesting! ;-D I love that hair though - just gorgeous.

Janet B
www.bestfriendsdogobedience.com
I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms again but I thought I'd update you folks on how it's been going.

I'm so glad to hear that things are going so well and that Saskia and Walter's friendship is thriving.

Catherine
& Zoe the cockerchow
& Queenie the black gold retriever
& Rosalie the calico
Here they are looking at a shoe:

I had no idea shoes were so interesting! ;-D

Riveting. They're absolutely riveting.
I love that hair though - just gorgeous. Janet B

Thank you! Mine looked like that, somewhat, back in the Cambrian era.. Those are his dad's eyes, though. Wait, they don't show up so well there, do they? Try this one (our neighbor gave him the hat): Katrina
I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms again but I thought I'd update you folks on how it's been going.

I'm so glad to hear that things are going so well and that Saskia and Walter's friendship is thriving. Catherine

Thank you! Here he is trying to give her a (different) shoe. She wanted to take it, but after giving it a good sniff she looked over to check with me if she could have it. I told Walter not to give it to her and I told her she's a good dog.
Katrina
I'm so glad to hear that things are going so well and that Saskia and Walter's friendship is thriving. Catherine

Thank you! Here he is trying to give her a (different) shoe. She wanted to take it, but after giving ... it. I told Walter not to give it to her and I told her she's a good dog. Katrina

What a good girl! I like that she looks to you to see if taking things is ok. However, I am sure she would agree with Z&Q that the small people can be a lot more fun! You probably never offer her shoes...

Btw, Walter is adorable.

Catherine
& Zoe the cockerchow
& Queenie the black gold retriever
& Rosalie the calico
I'm so glad to hear that things are going so well and that Saskia and Walter's friendship is thriving. Catherine

Thank you! Here he is trying to give her a (different) shoe. She wanted to take it, but after giving ... it. I told Walter not to give it to her and I told her she's a good dog. Katrina

great picture!
PS: How old is Walter these days? (I love that red hair)
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