howling when human baby or toddler cries - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
pjm
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howling when human baby or toddler cries

We have a 6 y.o. V male. Essentially from within the first few weeks that we brought home our daughter (4y old now), our V has cried, whined, and howled any time our daughter cries. It seems to make him very anxious. He oftentimes runs TOWARDS the crying baby. Other times we seems to pace. We have a 1.5 year old sone, and our V does the same with him. He sometimes does it as well with the neighborhood kids who he knows the best, but he does not seem to do it with random kids crying.

He used to whine/cry/howl when ambulances and high-pitched motorcycles drove by, but he seems to have outgrown that.

I am asking if anybody else has experienced this with with their V, if they have any thoughts on what exactly our V is experiencing/feeling (it seems to be anxiety-related I think), and if any body has any ideas on how to resolve.

Anybody who has or has had kids knows that they cry ALOT. And sometimes, it is necessary to allow them to cry (i.e. when throwing tantrums, etc.). But our V is making it very stressful in our house! (It also makes it very difficult to travel, camp, etc since we are always worried about waking the entire hotel or campground up if one of our kids cries in the middle fo the night)

Here is a link to a video of the howling. https://photos.app.goo.gl/UPi1BBwn4gwxxZiK7
This is a relatively mild example. But it nonetheless recreates the situation. This happens over and over and over again on a daily basis. petting, soothing, calming the V does not stop the howling. The only thing that works is getting the child to stop (and even then the V continues for sometime).

Yes, it was marginally "cute" for first few times our V "cried" almost like he was sympathizing with our child. But the 1000th time is NOT cute!!!

Thanks in advance for any advice/insight.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:19 AM
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I'm not really sure how to handle this one.
Instead of soothing him, have you tried making him do commands with a high value treat as a reward. Comands that keep him moving, like up downs, spin, touch.

Not all those who wander are lost.

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Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 01:16 PM
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Get rid of the kid. j/k...


Look, V's are very sensitive and aware, so this is common, it's his way of recognizing her distress and alerting you to it. Two things: Come up with a strategy to address her crying and tantrums that gives her the tools to manage herself. And intervene with the V and provide reassurance everything is OK and redirect him to some other activity. He shouldn't be left there unattended howling away. Maybe you all should leave, and allow toddler to cry alone.

There's a better chance of addressing this with the toddler, she can learn how to self regulate and manage herself. Your Vizsla is reacting based on instinct and temperament, which are harder to address.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
pjm
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Thank you for the replies. Yes, I agree that we probably have a better chance of modifying the toddlers behavior than the dogs!

Toddlers obviously need to work through their tantrums sometimes, and thus I don't think a solution is to get the toddler to stop crying by giving into her tantrums so that the V will stop howling. That's a recipe for a spoiled kids n naturally.

Our V is incredibly NOT food/treat motivated. Its just not this thing. Treats will sit on the floor for a hour until he has decided he is ready for it. Same goes for his wet and dry food.

We have tried to redirect him to his bed, since we reinforce his bed as "his space" protected from the kids interacting with him (and kids trained to leave V alone when he is on his bed). It doesn't seem to affect the howling as long as he can hear it.

Thus far, our best option has been to remove our V from the situation. We don't live in a large house. It usually means putting him outside in the yard or secluding him to a bedroom or something until the toddler drama is over. . .

It is not always possible to address all the crying at once of course. When the toddler crying is tantrum related, sure, the best option might be to ignore her crying and pay attention/engage the V. But when the crying is injury related or something similar, ignoring the toddler is not necessarily the best option! Sometimes there aren't enough adults to individually engage all the crying bodies.

As most parents with attest, raising young kids/toddlers can be stressful/frustrating enough. Adding the additional layer of stress/anxiety of a howling V can be overwhelming at times. As I joke, the best thing our V has going for him is the fact that he came before the kids. If we brought him home after the kids were born and he did this behavior on day 1, that probably would have been a deal breaker.

For the record, he is well loved by all in the family. He is my trail running buddy. We spend about 30-50miles per week off-leash on trails out our back door. He is the best trail dog ever!

Thank you for replies. Always looking for new ideas.
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