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Old 09-22-2012, 11:59 PM   #31
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

From your description, she is just acting out of fear rather than aggression. She is scared to death, and she is sharing that the only way she knows how.

I also would not tolerate her growling. Pack members are never allowed to growl at those higher than them in the pack order. She shouldn't be allowed to growl at her alphas, and you AND the children should be above her. You need to correct her when she growls, until she realizes that she isn't alpha in that pack. In her foster home with 19 other dogs, she was probably above some in the pack and this is how she treated them when they did something she didn't like. She needs to be retrained to be at the bottom of the pack, rather than the middle. This is why she does this to the kids, but not to you.

I do find it surprising that the trainer told you that dogs don't like hard pats. I do that to every dog I have ever owned as well as my parents' dog and my inlaws' dog, and they all seem to love it, even my timid, scared of everything including his own shadow, 5lb dog. *shrug*

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Last edited by somo_chickenlady; 09-23-2012 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:52 AM   #32
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

If you decide to keep her I would highly recommend the books:

Child-Proofing your Dog
by Brian Kilcommons
and
Dog Talk by John Ross
Both are available used on Amazon and very cheap.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:17 AM   #33
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Originally Posted by somo_chickenlady View Post
From your description, she is just acting out of fear rather than aggression. She is scared to death, and she is sharing that the only way she knows how.

I also would not tolerate her growling. Pack members are never allowed to growl at those higher than them in the pack order. She shouldn't be allowed to growl at her alphas, and you AND the children should be above her. You need to correct her when she growls, until she realizes that she isn't alpha in that pack. In her foster home with 19 other dogs, she was probably above some in the pack and this is how she treated them when they did something she didn't like. She needs to be retrained to be at the bottom of the pack, rather than the middle. This is why she does this to the kids, but not to you.

I do find it surprising that the trainer told you that dogs don't like hard pats. I do that to every dog I have ever owned as well as my parents' dog and my inlaws' dog, and they all seem to love it, even my timid, scared of everything including his own shadow, 5lb dog. *shrug*
I don't mean to come across as mean but this is very, very dangerous advice. Dominance theory was debunked quite some time ago and using it on a fearful dog WILL get you bitten.

Dogs growl as a warning to a bite. DON'T take away that warning by shutting the dog down. Please! PLEASE don't use Cesar Milan nonsense. I beg you.

Give her space and time. She will come round.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:23 AM   #34
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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I don't mean to come across as mean but this is very, very dangerous advice. Dominance theory was debunked quite some time ago and using it on a fearful dog WILL get you bitten.

Dogs growl as a warning to a bite. DON'T take away that warning by shutting the dog down. Please! PLEASE don't use Cesar Milan nonsense. I beg you.

Give her space and time. She will come round.
I don't recall telling her to beat the dog into submission. A simple no is sufficient enough to stop growling. I have a timid dog at the moment, and have in the past also. I tell them no, and they stop. Simple as that. Telling a timid dog no isn't going to make the dog turn around and lung at you to bite you.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:52 AM   #35
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

I was addressing your dominance comment. Dominance and dogs don't go together. Read up on it. They live in a shifting social structure as do most land races.

I think the only No should go to the children if the dog is growling. Just move away from her. She is asking to be left alone. There is nothing wrong with that.

This is coming from years of experience as a trainer.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:57 AM   #36
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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I don't recall telling her to beat the dog into submission. A simple no is sufficient enough to stop growling. I have a timid dog at the moment, and have in the past also. I tell them no, and they stop. Simple as that. Telling a timid dog no isn't going to make the dog turn around and lung at you to bite you.
Teaching them not to growl is dangerous. A growl is a warning. It's not going to turn them into a super happy friendly dog; it's going to turn them into a dog that bites with no warning growl.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:18 AM   #37
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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?
She's great with me and DH. I spend as much time as I can with her and the kids go to school, so most of the time it's very quiet with just me, Tess, and my 8mo DD. The kids don't give her a lot of attention. They don't even pet her unless I tell them to do so. When I see that Tess is comfortable I tell them to pet her head and then they go about their business. We have them feed her and give her treats.

Is been another good morning. Relaxed, tail wagging, approaching the kids playfully.

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Originally Posted by an_aurora

Teaching them not to growl is dangerous. A growl is a warning. It's not going to turn them into a super happy friendly dog; it's going to turn them into a dog that bites with no warning growl.
I read about this, so I have not been correcting the dog, just telling the kids to back off if she growls. But the trainer told me to correct her, as in, let her know that she shouldn't feel nervous. She said to snap at her, like say "Hey!", then distract her with something she likes. I'm not sure if that's different from just telling the dog "No" when she growls. The trainer said the point is to show her that she doesn't need to feel that way, to correct her feelings, not the growling.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:18 AM   #38
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

It sounds like you are on the right track. I wouldn't follow what the trainer says about the growling. I would just quickly remove everyone when she growls. Like, as soon as she growls get up in an upbeat way, take the kids and walk off. She will probably follow you. All sit down again in a new place. When she approaches in a friendly manner, welcome her back with a happy tone and give her a treat. That way she learns that she has space and is not under threat, when she growls you all leave and when she returns in a happy way she is rewarded.
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:21 PM   #39
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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She's great with me and DH. I spend as much time as I can with her and the kids go to school, so most of the time it's very quiet with just me, Tess, and my 8mo DD. The kids don't give her a lot of attention. They don't even pet her unless I tell them to do so. When I see that Tess is comfortable I tell them to pet her head and then they go about their business. We have them feed her and give her treats.

Is been another good morning. Relaxed, tail wagging, approaching the kids playfully.
I hope it continues to go well. It sounds like you guys are doing everything right, and are committed to this dog. My dog sounds pretty similar in that he had a difficult transition from dog life to family life, and he's thrived. It's a delicate balance of respecting your dog as an individual and their personal limit, and teaching everyone to respect those. Tess sounds like a good dog, and with your family working so hard in this, you have little reason to think you won't succeed
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:51 PM   #40
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

I think some people are just REALLY dog lovers. I am...but, I don't think I would get upset by what you told her. But, there are all different kind's of people, and some of these people are very passionate. It sounds like she's one of those passionate people.....I bet she owns 32 different t-shirts with pictures of dogs on them. (I limit my obsessions to one pinterest board)


Don't take it too personally, it's probably more her than anything else. Even other dog lovers probably try to get away when they see her coming.
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