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dog behavior question (long)

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  • dog behavior question (long)

    I haven't been on in a while so hi to everyone!

    Anyway, my 4 year old rottie/golden mix has been growling at my 10 month old son. She likes him most of the time and will go to him and lick him. But sometimes if he crawls to her or walks to her in his walker she growls and walks away.

    I don't think she'd ever bite but I don't want her to think it's ok to growl at him. She also does it if she's on the couch with me, and he comes near. The first couple of times I just firmly told her no but that didn't work. She's making me so mad that I actually slapped her in the butt a couple of times, and trust me I never thought in a million years I would ever hit her.

    I have taught my son to touch her nicely but she doesn't even give him the chance 95% of the time. She does have some past issues with children. She went through 5 homes before I got her at 8 months old. The last home I got her from had 5 young children with no respect for dogs. They would hit her, jump on her, punch her, then she bit one of the kids in the face and got beaten badly by the kid's dad. So that's where all this comes from I think.

    What should I do? Thanks to anyone that can help!

  • #2
    We have a jack russell that is like that with the other dogs, we keep a water spray bottle on hand and she is quickly learning that this behaviour is not acceptable. Wouldnt work on our kitten though, she thinks its great fun to be sprayed. You need an instant correction when she is growling and a way to associate your son with good things for her. And dont ever leave them unsupervised, even for a few minutes.


    • #3
      Originally posted by pretty_green_quaker View Post
      I don't think she'd ever bite

      then she bit one of the kids in the face What should I do? Thanks to anyone that can help!
      I'm sorry, but re-read your own post. It makes me say, "REALLY!" What makes you think this dog would never bite, when she has a bite history and with a CHILD and on the child's FACE! I'm sorry and others may flame me, but I can't stand to see a child put in danger like you are placing your child in. My in-laws had a greyhound that had growled at several children, yet they never thought she would bite, untiel she bit their own daughter in the face. My cousin had a dog that growled, but said he would never bite, until his son was bit in the face and almost lost his eye. I had a little crested I rescued and had for years, she was my four-legged baby, but when the two-legged baby started walking, the dog started growling at her. I placed the dog with a rescue group who found her a home with an elderly couple with no grandchildren. That dog needs a professional and then still cannot be trusted.
      Lisa VanVleet, RVT


      • #4
        You are in denial if you honestly believe this dog is not going to bite your child.
        1) she is growling. growling is a warning. when growling no longer works, she will escalate
        2) she has a bite history of biting a child in the face. enough said.
        3) you have a dangerous dog around your child
        4) you are putting your own child at risk

        What should you do? Protect your son. Remove this dog from your home immediately. No dog is worth the risk to your own child.


        • #5
          how can you teach a 10 month baby

          to touch softly, that's a baby not even a toddler yet and your placing your trust in a baby,,keep that dog away from your child, where it bite a child in the face already, do you really wanta take a chance with your son, no matter how long you owed a dog you should never leave a small child with a family pet. Stop trying to be a hero to this dog that needs to be in an adult only home, listen to the another post and get rid of the dog now.
          Last edited by desertdogs64; 04-01-10, 08:47 AM. Reason: more needed


          • #6
            I have to ask why you "don't think she'd ever bite" when she already has !? She has had bad association with children, and proven that she is more than willing to 'defend' herself. I'm sorry if it seems harsh, but i would be very uncomfortable having a large powerful dog with a history of problems and biting with children....around any child , especially my own.
            Please think hard about this , because it would be a horrible shame if your child (or any child) is bitten by your dog. It happens in an instant and can have lifelong lasting consequences.


            • #7
              Get a experienced trainer in your home asap. Slapping the dog will do no good. One thing you should do is not permit the dog to be on the couch.... especially if the growling occurs when he is on the level as you. The dog is presently walking away from the child BUT this may change and probably will, like others said NEVER leave the dog alone for a second with the child.

              Make the dog work a bit for attention ect. Did you take him threw obed classes and re socialize him when he came to you at the young age? It will take time and effort to get threw this....hopefully you have lots of time to re educate the dog . Otherwise things may not be very pretty. Hate to say it but ....a bite could very well occur.



              • #8
                I would not have taken on a dog with child biting history like that to begin with.

                Right now you need to run to behaviorist or good trainer instead of asking questions here unless you want your kid to be bitten next.

                You need to teach you dog that you son is part of the pack and stand higher on pecking order than she is and meanwhile you need to protect your son and keep them separated. I mean they should not be together in same space without a barrier between them even if you are there.
                You dog is actually doing good by avoiding your son. Right now she is giving him a warning by growling, but don't expect 10m. baby to understand that. At some point she would decide that she had enogh and it is time to teach him. Do you want to risk your sons well being because you think you dog will not bite? She did it before.


                • #9
                  I disagree with punishing the growl. Sometimes when you punish the warning (the growl), the dog can learn to suppress that warning and then appear to bite "out of nowhere". I am not saying that the other advice will not work, it may work, but it may make things worse in a way that you don't see coming. I have seen dogs learn not to growl, but still have the emotion that the growl was warning about. You also don't want your dog associating punishment with your child.

                  I have a simillar situation with my dogs, my oldest, largest dog (a puli) does get fed with my rambunctious, young lowchens. I have taught him to go get in his crate on cue. Anytime he starts to snarl at the youngsters, i just tell him to go to bed. The lowchens are not allowed near that crate. This gives the grumpy dog a safe place to get a way from them and a harmless default behavior that he pretty much offers on his own now. He no longer has any reason to growl at them, he knows how to get away from them. He plays quite well with them when he is in the mood. The crate is not punishment, it is simply a safe zone, that helps him feel relaxed and safe. I never close the door on him, so when things settle down he can come back out and join the family. It is important that the child cannot get to the dog in this place.

                  Another thing to do, is to really praise and reward the dog when she is calm and relaxed around the child.

                  This is just something that I have found that works quite well for me, I don't know your situation well enough to know if this is something that you could do. With something as serious as a dog showing warnings of aggression towards a child you may want to consider getting professional help. I am a trainer as well as a groomer, but without witnessing the behavior myself, I can't really give much help. The things that I have suggested may or may not work for your situation, but they will do no harm.



                  • #10
                    I think you're approaching this from the wrong angle. If you're getting so frustrated that you've smacked her (and I'm not totally against smacking) all you're really doing is making her associate the kid with the smacking.

                    First of all, do not ever assume that she's not going to bite! She very well might. It's the dogs that we're sure won't bite that get us every time.

                    Because we aren't going to assume the dog won't bite you need to take extra precautions to assure your child's safety. DO NOT leave them together unsupervised. Not for a second. And ounce of prevention, and all that.

                    If she's growling when she's sitting on the couch with you, make her get down as soon as she does it. In fact for the time being I'd forbid her to get on the couch at all. Getting on the furniture is fine for most dogs, but if you have one that's in need of a set-down, you have to, well, set them down. On the floor.

                    Ditto for your bed. If she's allowed on the bed, keep her off until she regains her place.

                    Start rewarding her for good behavior with your son. Sit on the floor with her, and have some treats handy. When the baby starts coming over, watch her closely for signs of acceptance. If you see any, praise her. Talk to her in a positive way whenever your son touches her, and praise her for being good. End the session with more praise and treats. Let her start associating your son with feeling good.

                    But, just to reiterate, no matter how good she gets, do not leave them alone together. That's a recipe for disaster.


                    • #11
                      you said you do not think she would bite, but clearly she has before (even though it was in a different household). please do not leave them together unattended ever...

                      i would not let her on the couch, especially if your son is in the room. i believe that being up on the couch will make her want to be more dominant over him, plus she obviously does not want to share you. get her a bed on the floor, and teach your son to respect her space.

                      it also sounds like she wants interaction with your son to be on her terms, maybe you could work on some commands with her while your son is present. reaffirm who is in charge, maybe he could toss some treats to her in the process

                      just my thoughts best of luck


                      • #12
                        Want a frank answer?

                        Get rid of the dog. It ain't worth the risk of having your kid become yet another dog vs. child statistic.

                        That dog has already bitten one kid in the face and you are setting up a perfect situation for a repeat.


                        • #13
                          To be honest,this dog needs to be kept away from your child.I know it seams unfair to the dog to be separated from the family in this way ,But due to his past you have no other option.unfortunately it is only a matter of time before the baby does get bit and then again the dog will have to be rehomed or worse.As much as you may love this dog he should never have been placed into a home that has any children or planning to have in the future.during the times the baby is awake put gates up to keep the dog out of that area in which the child can play. I wish you the best of luck.


                          • #14
                            You could take all the handling & behavior modificaiton advice here and try doing things differently with the dog, including not ever leaving her alone near your child. But honestly your description of the problem scares me and my advice is to rehome the dog. To a home with no kids.
                            The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


                            • #15
                              My BFs parents had this problem when his sister was born. The dog went to live with auntie. I wouldn't risk. Rehoming is probably the safest for both baby and dog.