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Old 09-22-2012, 03:03 PM   #21
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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The trainer called today and we had a nice long talk. She thinks Tess is just nervous, not aggressive. She told us some things the kids can do with her and explained how to correct her at the first sign of nervousness and to then distract her with something she likes. And she explained some ways we can show her who's alpha.

Today she's been great. She has been fine around the kids. She's a little stiff when they go to pet her, but has been tail wagging and upbeat for the most part.

The trainer said dogs don't like to be patted, which I had no idea. That's what DD was doing when she snapped at her. So, I've instructed the kids to only pet her gently on her head and behind her ears for now.

The trainer said, being that she's still a puppy, has not bit, and that she's probably just nervous, that we should be able to correct the undesirable behavior.

So, I definitely want to give her a chance. It's easy to keep a close watch with the kids since they're in school most of the day. My main concern though, is, if she does get better, will she snap one day when it's not expected. I don't want to always wonder if she's gonna snap out of nowhere.

I really appreciate all of the help

Based on this update, definitely give it a little bit more time. Any dog (or child) will have an adjustment period. Hopefully she will become more comfortable around them as she gets use to all of the attention.

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Old 09-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #22
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

I suggest taking the dog back. A dog should tolerate patting, hands in food bowl while eating and so forth. It is not worth taking a chance. Dogs are born with certain temperaments.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:57 PM   #23
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:35 PM   #24
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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No you are not wrong, the person at the SPCA is. Timid dogs are more likely to bite because they are afraid. This dog has not been properly socialized and so she does not know how to behave. The woman never should have said those things to you, you did not "ruin this dog". A dog with poor socialization and timidity should never have been adopted out to a family with young children and little dog experience. That is just a ticking time bomb. It is not fair for them to say they will not adopt a different dog to you simply because this one did not work out. I think it is more a sign that they did not know much about this particular dog's temperament or needs when deciding on placement. It is possible that working with a good behaviorist might help, but it is also possible that this dog may never be good with children.
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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
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:18 PM   #26
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Edie's dig have a safe place FROM your kids? You can't expect her to go from no one poking, prodding to the family dog. It takes time to adjust and bond. I'd say doggie needed time. She's probably stressed and needs to be allowed alone time.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:32 PM   #27
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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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
Was she being kept at the shelter at the SPCA or with a foster family? There is a huge difference for a dog between living with other dogs and socializing with one or two adults who are used to handling dogs and living full time with a family. It is impossible for an SPCA worker to judge a dog's personality based on how she acts at a shelter. Being raised at a shelter is very unnatural and can cause some lasting issues in dogs of a certain temperament.


I think it is true part of what you are seeing is an adjustment period, but you are also seeing some of this dog's natural temperament. Yes giving her a place that is just her own will help, but if she is just poorly socialized and timid that will take work to fix. There are dogs that are just not a good fit for life in a family with children because they are too high strung.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:38 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iris0110

Was she being kept at the shelter at the SPCA or with a foster family? There is a huge difference for a dog between living with other dogs and socializing with one or two adults who are used to handling dogs and living full time with a family. It is impossible for an SPCA worker to judge a dog's personality based on how she acts at a shelter. Being raised at a shelter is very unnatural and can cause some lasting issues in dogs of a certain temperament.

I think it is true part of what you are seeing is an adjustment period, but you are also seeing some of this dog's natural temperament. Yes giving her a place that is just her own will help, but if she is just poorly socialized and timid that will take work to fix. There are dogs that are just not a good fit for life in a family with children because they are too high strung.
They do not have a shelter, so she was with a foster family. We spoke with the foster parent. No kids, not sure if there was a man or if it was just the girl. She had 20 dogs and they were outside. I don't know if she only had the one foster home or not. So, yes, lots of changes for Tess.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #29
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I don't know if I could live with the constant worry about my dog attacking my child one day simply for being a child and making noise or running. I guess that's why I don't have a dog. And I don't think the woman at the SPCA has any right to tell you anything about the dog. She's going off what someone else says, not from personal experience. And if someone is fostering TWENTY dogs... How can she say that Fido never growled but Pookie did!? There's 20 dogs!!!
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:53 PM   #30
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

How is she with you and your DH? Poor girl probably isn't used to much attention. Not to mention, her whole life has been shaken up. She went from being with 19 other dogs and no people, to a house of people and no dogs. After the kiddos go to bed, why don't you and DH devote some attention to her? See if she'll snuggle, pet her, give her a treat, just spend some time giving her attention. It'll be a lot less stressful to her to have two calm adults giving her attention than kids, you know? It sounds like she really just needs to establish trust, and what better place to start than the two leaders of her pack?
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