Dealing with Bamm and kids
I have an honest question and I'd really like to be able to post about this without judgment.
Josh and I have been off and on talking about kids for a while. He is 27 and I'm almost 27 (in August). I don't want to wait too long to start having kids (we want one or two) especially since fertility issues tend to be quite common in my family it seems. Mainly PCOS. I've been trying to lose the weight and it's been up and down, but losing the weight should hopefully help make it easier to conceive. We haven't been using any protection for a few years.
Anyways... the big thing that keeps popping up in my head is Bamm. When I got him I wasn't even thinking about kids and he had been ok around the few older kids I had introduced him to so I wasn't aware that he can tend to be iffy around kids. He seems to do ok around most older kids... I'm talking like 7ish and up provided they aren't rowdy kids. The biggest things that tend to set him off with kids are sudden movements, a kid falling, loud noises or if they are walking towards him or past him. But even then sometimes he will react and sometimes he wont so there has to be another common denominator that I'm failing to notice right?
I want more than anything for us to be able to have a kid within the next year or two and Bamm still live with us and everything be peaceful... but I'm worried how the reality of things might go. I don't think I could trust him around an infant and at the same time I don't think keeping him crated up or penned up somewhere away from the baby and rest of the family is any quality of life to live and I love him too much to do that to him. I don't want to be one of those people that "oh I just had a baby so I'm going to get rid of or kill my dog," but at the same time I feel like keeping him around a baby would be disastrous in the long run and I feel like he would be constantly stressed out.
I know I don't have to make a decision right now. I'm not even remotely pregnant, but eventually we might be faced with decisions and right now the thought of having to make a decision that might result in me losing him one way or another... it just hurts.
Some people have mentioned "why can't you just wait to have a kid until he passes on?"... umm... he's 7. He could easily live another 7 plus more years.
He has bitten people which makes rehoming him difficult if not irresponsible. I guess I could rehome him if it was to a trainer that I trust that knows his background but I worry about the risks and if he did bite someone it would fall back on me. Putting him to sleep would probably be the kinder response, but the idea of doing so just makes me feel like a failure to him.
I guess my question is... what would you do if you were in my situation? I know there are quite a few chazzers that don't ever want kids... but... if you did and you were in my position what would you do? I'm not asking for anyone to tell me what to do... just trying to get input and perspectives.
Is there a way to safely work on his reaction to kids? I don't want to put someone else's kids in any kind of potential danger so I don't know how to even go about training him further in this area. I really think there has to be some sort of common denominator I'm missing... or maybe I just need to accept the fact that he is never going to be kid friendly... or even kid tolerable at best. His threshold is SUPER low when it comes to kids which is why I don't allow him around kids. We've worked on him looking to me when he sees a dog, kid, adult for years and he still doesn't get it. He will do it sometimes and I reward reward and make a party out of it to try to show him that's what I want, but when he gets focused on something he will. not. look. away. and he gets that hard stare going. In that case I just have to manage it and walk away from whatever is catching his attention. We've done click to calm and it helps to some degree. It might be helpful one day, but then the next day no amount of click to calm work will ease his anxiety. It doesn't help that I have serious issues with anxiety disorder myself and even the last trainer that worked with him (who is a friend of mine too) said that he thinks that Bamm feeds off of my anxiety a lot.
I'm just stumped right now. Like I said, not making decisions right now regarding him, but... oy.
The reason I'm bringing all this up is because today I was walking him for his morning potty. My landlord's grandson's are visiting (ages 2 and 4 I think). The boys were playing with a basketball in the driveway and I was standing in the grass with Bamm and talking to my landlord's daughter inlaw because she happened to drive up and was asking me how things are going. Bamm was looking over at the kids, but he wasn't really tensed up. He'd look at the kids for a minute and then look over at a nearby bush or whatever. I didn't have treats on me but when he looked away from the kids I told him what a good boy he was and he wagged his tail and looked for the most part really relaxed and normal. Then the basketball bounced past us and the 2 year old went to grab the ball. My leash was still nice and loose but then he lunged at the end of the leash barking and growling at the little kid. Thankfully he was muzzled (I knew there are kids at the house) and the kid was still nowhere near in reach, but I was really unhappy about it.
So again... I'm not asking what you guys think I should do and I'm not making any decisions right now... what I am asking for is what you would do if Bamm was your dog and if you were at a point in your life where kids might soon become a reality.
Outside of this he really is a good dog. He is still dog reactive even though he is doing much better, but I can live with a DR dog... been doing so for years and we have worked hard to even get to the point we are at now. Years ago I couldn't even walk him in the same park where another dog was. Just the other day we went hiking with 9 OTHER dogs and had zero issues. What I have a harder time dealing with is him being a constant bite risk with people. He does REALLY well at my work and anyone there seems to be able to handle him with no issues, but out in the real world he is more difficult. If it was easier to predict what his triggers are it would be easier to manage I think. Kids are a little easier to predict when he might trigger than adults.
I wish I knew else how to explain how uncomfortable it is when he starts getting all weird about people. Nolu might be able to help out on this one. He was fine with her and knew her VERRRRRYYYY well and even still sometimes he'd get a little sketchy around her. He gets like that sometimes around my husband too when half the time he chooses to hang out with my husband over hanging out with me nowadays.
One time Bamm was lying down and Josh was sitting on the couch. Josh stood up to walk into the kitchen to make food. As soon as he started walking to go into the kitchen Bamm jumped up and went after him growling. He didn't try to bite Josh, but he stood there growling. From what I remember Josh was calm when he stood up and calm when he started walking towards the kitchen. There was nothing alarming about the way Josh stood up that caused me to understand why Bamm did that. But then 5 minutes later Bamm was happy wagging his tail and begging Josh for food. This isn't a type of behavior that happens often with Bamm though. Just once in a while it's like something in his brain snaps... almost as if he is honestly mentally unstable.