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Canine Behavior/Introducing my 4.5 year old Rottie to a baby stroller

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Question
Hello,
  I am expecting my first child in early June of 2013 and I have a 4.5 year old Rottweiler named Terror. She weighs about 135 lbs and is a huge love bug. She is great with my friends children and has never shown any known signs of people aggression. She is very well trained and even though she has her stubborn moments listens very well. I am worried on how she would react to walking along side a stroller. She doesn't mind cars or other big noisy objects on our walks but then again she is used to only walking next to me. I am very nervous that she'll react negatively or be afraid of it. How can I introduce her to a stroller on our walks without scaring her mentally and causing her to be terrified of it?
-Lyla

Answer
First: your anxiety is contagious to your dog.  
Second: dogs and babies don't mix, don't ever leave them alone together

Have your husband walk with you.  Ask him to "meet" you halfway through the walk, pushing the stroller.  Observe the dog closely as he approaches.  Let him speak her name (wearing no hat or scarf, clearly identifiable as himself).  If she is clearly happy to see him, he should praise her LAVISHLY when you "connect".  At that point, swap dog for stroller and walk parallel together.  Stop occasionally if dog shows interest in stroller and allow her to sniff it.  If she backs away at any point, turn your back on her and wait until she has settled down and is clearly looking at YOU now, then turn back and go on, casually.

Report back using followup feature after your initial "set up".  I think under these controlled circumstances, the dog will do just fine.  We'll go from there.

Canine Behavior

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.

Expertise

I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.

Experience

30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for ThePetChannel.com for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, K9Shrinks@egroups.com. Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Organizations
Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Publications
Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Education/Credentials
Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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