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Old 09-22-2012, 10:09 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by iris0110
She is stiff when the kids are close to her? How is her tail wagging? Tail wagging is not always a sign of happiness for a dog. You said she growled when the kids got close to her when she is chewing her bone or just on the mat near her crate? I'm trying to get an idea of what exactly is going on with this dog and if the situation can be salvaged safely without major intervention. If you really want to make this work my first suggestion is to get a good book on canine behavior and body language. Most people simply can not read a dog and that is where they go wrong. It is possible for you to learn how to read her and then how to train her to make her a happy, healthy member of your family. She is young and it sounds more like she is just nervous and poorly socialized, not really aggressive. The question is if you can do that and keep your kids safe or if it would be better to return her and attempt adopting a dog that would be a better fit for your family. Either way learning about canine behavior and training can only help.
She gets stiff when they are near her (within 6 feet), no matter where we are inside the house. Her tail would be all the way under her belly. She doesn't like crossing their path. She cowers. It's not when she is chewing a bone or anything. She could just be standing in a room and they are walking in the room. There is not a mat near her crate. The crate is about two feet from the edge of the living room area rug where she spends her time lounging.

Like I said, she did well today. However, she did bark and growl at DS once. She was sitting between the ottoman and the couch. DS walked up to the opposite side of the ottoman and plopped his arms down on the leather ottoman, making noise, which apparently startled Tess so she let out a bark and growled at him. Other than that, she was more comfortable than ever with everyone.

It seems there are some of you who say don't keep her, some say work with her. Today I felt hopeful until DS startled her. He's not rowdy, but he is a boy and has a less-than-stellar attention span, so he cannot be trusted to always be aware of the dog, nor do I feel like we should have to walk on eggshells. I may just have to keep the kids and Tess completely separated until we make a decision. I would die if someone got bit when we have these warning signs.

I really don't understand how the SPCA girl said she has never even growled (they have had her since she was 3 weeks old) but she has growled every day since we got her

Again, I appreciate all of you
Emerson - happy, far-from-perfect, Christian, not-so-crunchy wife to K(3/05) and momma to M(11/06), S(2/08), and N(1/12)
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