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Hi there. I'm a new mom of a 10 week old F1 cream labradoodle. We've only had her a week, and so far, I think things are going pretty good. I have a couple of questions though. First, I have three kids--a 12 year old son, a 10 year old daughter, and a 16 month old baby girl. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to help our new pup (Sage) learn that my baby is not a chew toy? She's really not too bad, but I'm very guarded whenever they are together considering my wee one's face is so close to Sage's face. With ourselves and our older kids, we are doing the Alpha thing and establishing ourselves. With my babe, I don't know what to do to make Sage understand that the baby is higher in rank too. If anyone out there has gone through this, or has any advice at all, I would sure appreciate it. My second question is about stubborn puppy syndrome. Well, maybe it isn't a syndrome, maybe it's just Sage. When on her leash, sometimes she will just decide that she isn't going to go where I want to go. I hate the idea of dragging her. I have gotten down on one knee to praise and persuade her (sometimes that works), but it is getting kinda tiresome. Any advice? By the way, I love this forum, I am learning so much everytime I visit.
 

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Hi! Congratualtions! I have learned alot from all these kind doodle folks, too! It's hard to come up with a question or problem that someone here hasn't addressed, so you're in the right place.

I will give you my opinion about how to deal with your doodle and your wee one, and you will probably get some other opinions from some more experienced doodle moms than I am. Only you know your dog and your kids, so just take it all with the salt of your own wisdom:

My doodles are loving and affectionate. They play rough with each other (littermates) and have had to learn that their human family members are not littermates. How do littermates play? They grab each other's ears. They bite tails and flanks and wrestle each other to the ground. They play at establishing dominance all the time. Their mouths are open and whipping around a lot of the time. This is how they explore their world. Sometimes they snag an ear or a lip on sharp puppy teeth and occasionally somebody draws blood. It takes time and patience to work this all out. In my household there are no kids anymore (all grown up!) and both my husband and I are very experienced dog owners. Even with that, our doods ( 8 months) still have to be reminded of their manners on a daily basis. These are not indicators of aggression, but of the boundless joy and enthusiasm for life that these guys have. And they are completely clueless about how strong the are.

Because of these characteristics I would never leave a 16 mo. old child alone with a doodle pup. The chances that your pup will be aggressive are very small. But a loving excited puppy with a wide open mouth and sharp teeth can very well accidently snag a baby cheek or finger. Time will change all this - your pup will come to know how to "play nice," and he'll figure out that a baby is special and requires even more gentleness. But right now your pup is a baby too, and can't be expected to be 'get it' just yet.

So in answer to your question about helping your dood understand that the baby is not a playmate I would say: constant supervision.

I hope this helps. (Sorry it's so long.) Best of luck with your sweet family.
 
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