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Old 09-23-2012, 04:17 PM   #41
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

I personally don't think they screened the dog well enough. The dog should have been fostered in a family with children to see how she reacted to kids. I know it's hard, but please don't feel guilty like the shelter person is trying to make you, especially given the dogs background. If she lived with 19 other dogs, she was not well socialized. The reason that the shelter person got so defensive is because placing a potentially child aggressive dog with a family with children REFLECTS VERY BADLY ON THE SHELTER, and they are trying to deflect blame.

I have no advice about the dog, but something similar happened to us a few years ago, when the rescue we tried to adopt bit my then 6 year old son in the face twice in 24 hours with absolutely no provocation. It turned out the dog really hadn't been screened. When I insisted on her immediate removal, the rescue person found out that the dog was aggressive, period, and tried to attack her own dog.

My whole reason for writing is to tell you not to let others take their own shortcomings, and make you feel guilty. This was a high risk dog, they didn't do their homework. I hope it works out for you!

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Old 09-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #42
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Originally Posted by emerino View Post
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.
You are exactly right - he is a kid, and kids are going to be loud and unpredictable, and they're not always going to be really aware of the dog. Teens, sure, but little kids just aren't capable of that. And you definitely don't want to be on eggshells worried about what she may do to whom.

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She had 20 dogs and they were outside
I really don't understand, and don't like, that this facility allows foster homes with that many dogs. No matter how good you are with dogs, you couldn't give 20 of them the attention they all need and deserve to be social (with people, I mean).
That many dogs, especially kept outside, is just asking for trouble - they will pack up, it's what their instinct is.

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Originally Posted by somo_chickenlady View Post
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.

I do find it surprising that the trainer told you that dogs don't like hard pats.
I really agree with this - her growling is, yes, a warning... a warning that if you (the kids) don't stop, she will become more aggressive. As a family dog, she is the lowest on the "totem pole" and has no right to show any aggression to anyone in the family - everyone in the "pack" is higher than her.
That's definitely not saying to beat her or hurt her in any way - but correcting her with a firm "No growls", is definitely called for.
Allowing her to continue growling at the kids is allowing her to continue her attempts of dominance - she is not the boss, she is not in control in the house.

I found that strange too - although maybe she meant dogs in this situation? I can see that - a dog with aggression issues would not tolerate being patted, they'd likely take it as being attacked and would attack in response.
But any dogs I've been around (my dad had tons of hunting dogs when I was growing up, and we've always had our family mutt) have loved a good hard pat and rub.

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Dogs growl as a warning to a bite. DON'T take away that warning by shutting the dog down.
She has no right to be giving a warning, because she has no right to ever feel like she could bite the kids.

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Dominance and dogs don't go together. Read up on it.

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.
You should meet our very submissive dog. He is a loving, happy, and completely trustworthy animal. This is in part because of his personality, but also because we didn't allow any shows of dominance in him when he was a pup.

If they constantly tell the kids "no" and make them move away, they're just teaching the dog that her growling is working - she is getting what she wants by growling. That's not okay.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:58 AM   #43
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

Dogs are a land race that work on a shifting dominance scale according to value of desired items. Please research before asking people to attempt dangerous and outdated ideas.

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/iss...s_20416-1.html

www.clickertraining.com/node/2297

www.woofology.com/alpha%20myth.html

http://www.trainingyourdog.ca/articl...ce-theory.html

Please remember. Dogs are not wolves. They DO NOT dominance display like wolves do. PLEASE don't promote dangerous and out dated methods.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:59 AM   #44
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Dogs are a land race that work on a shifting dominance scale according to value of desired items. Please research before asking people to attempt dangerous and outdated ideas.

Please remember. Dogs are not wolves. They DO NOT dominance display like wolves do. PLEASE don't promote dangerous and out dated methods.
In our house, in our family, there is no shifting dominance scale for our dog - he is always the dog, always the pet, and always "lowest on the totem pole". There is no wiggle room for him. We are his masters (DH, I, and the children all included here). Period.

No, a socialized, domestic dog is not a wolf. But a dog left to "pack up" and in that pack mentality is much more like a wolf in that way.

Dogs are wonderful creatures. And they can be seriously dangerous and deadly as well.

ETA: I've read through your links.
I definitely agree that abusing a dog (as many of the older techniques described there are advising) is not helpful - no matter the personality of the dog. It is terrible to abuse any animal.
But there is a HUGE difference between correcting a dog and abusing him. Like us saying "no growls" when he growls - that is correcting the behaviour, not punishing him for it, and certainly not abusing him.

And different breeds or personalities of dogs require different degrees of training, IMO. Our dog is a corgi/lab - both breeds are quite "happy", easy to train dogs. But my friend has 2 boxers - that breed is just as happy, but not as easy (laid-back on the part of the human) to train. They require different techniques.
No matter what, no dog should be hurt while training and they should never cry or yelp.

If you read through my first (long, lol) post on the first page, when I describe what we did with our own dog it involves tons and tons of praise, treats, pets and positive reinforcement to teach him what the correct response is.
With our dog we did find it helpful to wrestle with him and pin him down. This was a way he wanted to play with us, as he did with his littermates. But part of it was him attempting to assert dominance over us while playing, and so we stopped it by making sure we always "won". There was never any pain or fear on his part - he would never cry or yelp, and he never showed any form of anxiety towards us. Even now, he enjoys playing "rough" like that... although he's not able to much because of his bad legs.
Anyways, my point with that is that we followed his lead - he wanted to wrestle and play, so we did, but not while letting him do whatever he wanted to do - no nipping, for example. If you had a dog who didn't show this desire to play like that, I certainly wouldn't start doing it with them just to assert dominance over him, kwim?

I do understand the idea of the shifting dominance with other dogs/animals. We have seen that over and over again with our own dog, when he's with other animals. But, again, we don't believe there is "room" for that shift in the household. We are all "above" the dog, he is always to submit to us - and he is praised and loved for doing so every time... and he's always happy.

One quote (in the link from the clicker training woman) stuck out at me. She was talking about speaking with a vet behaviourist about these things, and the vet said something to the effect of "when they are pups, they have to do what the human says. then they hit 2yrs and don't listen anymore, fight back, and end up in a shelter."
I'm not saying that doesn't happen with dogs - they go through different "growing phases" like humans do. A dog at 2yrs is usually hitting their "teens", their "terrible 2's" - just like kids! But there are almost always signs of this coming about, without waiting around until they bite or show a lot of aggression, and those signs should be watched for and then more training (more tricks, more treats and praising to positively reinforce the correct behaviours) should be used.

Really, I think the problem is that people think "oh a puppy, how cute!" and do all this training, ending with a cute puppy who can do some tricks. Which is great... but that training, that positive reinforcement, needs to be a continuing thing, not just in the "training phase", kwim?
Even now, even though our dog is 11 and far from a puppy, we do "training" with him almost daily - for a bone he has to do a trick or 2, while we are eating he must stay out of the dining room but then he knows when we leave the table he can come in and clean the floor, we call him and he comes and is lavished with pets and "good dog"s.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:37 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by canadianbakers

In our house, in our family, there is no shifting dominance scale for our dog - he is always the dog, always the pet, and always "lowest on the totem pole". There is no wiggle room for him. We are his masters (DH, I, and the children all included here). Period.

No, a socialized, domestic dog is not a wolf. But a dog left to "pack up" and in that pack mentality is much more like a wolf in that way.

Dogs are wonderful creatures. And they can be seriously dangerous and deadly as well.
I completely agree with this.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:16 PM   #46
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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In our house, in our family, there is no shifting dominance scale for our dog - he is always the dog, always the pet, and always "lowest on the totem pole". There is no wiggle room for him. We are his masters (DH, I, and the children all included here). Period.

No, a socialized, domestic dog is not a wolf. But a dog left to "pack up" and in that pack mentality is much more like a wolf in that way.

But there is a HUGE difference between correcting a dog and abusing him. Like us saying "no growls" when he growls - that is correcting the behaviour, not punishing him for it, and certainly not abusing him.

I do understand the idea of the shifting dominance with other dogs/animals. We have seen that over and over again with our own dog, when he's with other animals. But, again, we don't believe there is "room" for that shift in the household. We are all "above" the dog, he is always to submit to us - and he is praised and loved for doing so every time... and he's always happy.
I completely agree with everything said. As for the bolded...this dog most likely DID have pack mentality b/c it was in a pack of 19 other dogs. With that many dogs, it is next to impossible to properly socialize all of them. Particularly so, since they were all kept outdoors and NOT part of a family unit.

We have an Australian Shepherd that is working dog for our 5 acres, so she is outside all the time. We also have 2 barn cats that she interacts with. I do see the sliding scale among them, especially when it comes to food. We tolerate and allow her to show dominance over the cats and chickens, but absolutely under no circumstances is she allowed to show ANY form of dominance over us whatsoever.

Same goes for our little dog. He is allowed to growl if he senses a threat outdoors (coyotes, etc) and we actually encourage it, but he is absolutely never allowed to growl at me, DH, or DS.

I also agree with the continued training. Our indoor dog is 7 months old, and while he has been trained to do some tricks, we still work with him on a daily basis and will for the rest of his life. The thing we are working on right now is his excitement and his want/need to get up into people's face (particularly mine). Sure, our Australian Shepherd may tolerate that from her (sliding scale of dominance...) but that is not allowed with humans.

Like I said before, I'm absolutely not saying that I beat the crap out of my dogs, nor am I suggesting that. But a simple "NO" (or whatever term or phrase you choose to use) is plenty effective. We tell our dogs no all the time, and they have NEVER turned on us. If a dog is SO sensitive that telling them a simple no is going to push them over the edge and turn them vicious, then honestly that dog has no place in a family setting, particularly with small children. I don't understand why I would tell my dog NO for jumping up, or barking excessively, or chewing on things he is not supposed to, but I'm supposed to allow them to growl at me? Not going to happen. They are just pets, not at all on the same level as humans, and I'm not about to start attributing human thought patterns and behavior characteristics to my DOG.

Just like with parenting...there are different ways to do things. What works for one may not work for another, but just b/c I do something that you do not do or do not agree with, that does not mean that it doesn't work for us.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:27 PM   #47
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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I completely agree with everything said. As for the bolded...this dog most likely DID have pack mentality b/c it was in a pack of 19 other dogs. With that many dogs, it is next to impossible to properly socialize all of them. Particularly so, since they were all kept outdoors and NOT part of a family unit.

We have an Australian Shepherd that is working dog for our 5 acres, so she is outside all the time. We also have 2 barn cats that she interacts with. I do see the sliding scale among them, especially when it comes to food. We tolerate and allow her to show dominance over the cats and chickens, but absolutely under no circumstances is she allowed to show ANY form of dominance over us whatsoever.

If a dog is SO sensitive that telling them a simple no is going to push them over the edge and turn them vicious, then honestly that dog has no place in a family setting, particularly with small children.

They are just pets, not at all on the same level as humans, and I'm not about to start attributing human thought patterns and behavior characteristics to my DOG.
Yes, exactly. This poor dog was kept somewhere with 19 other dogs - I am very disturbed that the facility dealing with these animals is okay with a foster home like that. Anyone would know that that many dogs couldn't possibly be socialized properly with humans, and would realize that a pack mentality is going to happen - which sets those dogs up for "failure" to come into a home with no other animals, and especially with small children. It's very sad to me that they allow those conditions for their animals.

Our friends have an australian sheperd to work their farm as well - exact same situation you have described. He is outside all the time, he has the run of the farmyard and is allowed to interact with all the animals however that works. But he is NOT allowed any dominance over any of the family or any people that come on the farm - he knows this and is a really good farm dog, as well as a really nice pet.

And yes, if saying "No" firmly and sharply is going to freak out a dog and bring out aggressive behaviour, then there's really no way (at least not without major major training with a professional) that the dog is going to integrate into a house with small children. Little kids can be (and SHOULD be!!!) taught to be gentle and loving with all animals, but they can't be expected never to speak loudly or sharply, or to scream or squeal, or to never run around a dog. That wouldn't be fair to the child.

It's almost like these theories "debunking" dominance in dogs are saying a dog can't learn to distinguish when he is allowed to do different things, so you have to allow him to act the same with everyone/every animal.
That's exactly right, too - saying you shouldn't be the master or be dominant over your dog is like saying they have rights the same as the humans in the house. Nope. Not here.
Our dog has the right to food, shelter, and a loving caring home - but he has no right to be "in charge" in any area of interaction with any person - in our family or otherwise.
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:49 PM   #48
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

I've have worked in canine behavior and rescue since 1995. I am a firm believer in dominance in dogs.

Here in the Southeastern US where our animal control facilities have kill rates over 90% and our humane societies are anywhere from 30-80%, there are a herd of "rescue organizations" and I use that term loosely. These organizations "pull" animals that are scheduled for euthanasia and farm them out to a "foster home", often outside with limited human contact with as many as 30 other dogs. OP, I don't know where you are located, but I would strongly guess this is what happened with your pup. I have "rescued" many a dog from these warehousing conditions. The foster parents consider it a success that the dog wasn't euthanized, but honestly, the fear aggression, the insecurity, the lack of socializing that I confront in these "saved" dogs is overwhelming and not what I would consider a life worth living. These dogs are nearly feral and do revert to more of a primitive state, more wolf-like if you will. They do pack up and the unbalanced climate of scared, lonely, neglected creatures "feeding" on those very undesireable traits of each other is horrendous. Honestly, OP, your dog has been traumatized and will need a great deal of patience and positive reinforcement and confidence building before I would consider her a well balanced, kid safe, predictable, stable member of your family. I will also say, not all of them are save-able. I had to put to sleep one dog I pulled at 10 months from her "foster home" aka warehouse. I worked with her as a member of our family for over a year. She remained untrustworthy and dangerous. There are lots and lots of stable, loving dogs put to sleep every year while we save some fearful, dangerous ones.

IMO, I would work with this dog for some time. I think growling exists for a reason, its a warning. I don't train it out of dogs as I think warnings are vital to living with one another. I do, however, focus on building up and encouraging insecure and timid dogs. The "stiffening" you mention. Correcting, bossing and dominating a fearful, insecure dog is both foolish and ill-advised IMO. She already would rather crawl and hide at times so Lording over her just makes her more insecure and afraid and unstable. We would be doing a lot of the "no free lunch program" here. "Kujo, its time to eat. Sit. Good girl, great job. What a good dog". "Kujo, time to go outside. Sit. Way to go,wahoo! Awesome." Simple instruction given that's easy to follow and rewarded with praise and doing something she loves like a walk, treat, play, outside, dinner, etc..." Showing the scared-y dog that she is smart and good and capable of doing all kinds of good things. You are reinforcing your position as the head of the household as a side bonus, but most importantly, you are giving your insecure dog the knowledge that she is capable and successful. You are marking good behaviors and expectations for behavior in various situations. You are teaching her good things to do, not just correcting the bad things. Know how that's important to your children, so it is to your dog. GL!
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:28 PM   #49
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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I've have worked in canine behavior and rescue since 1995. I am a firm believer in dominance in dogs.

Here in the Southeastern US where our animal control facilities have kill rates over 90% and our humane societies are anywhere from 30-80%, there are a herd of "rescue organizations" and I use that term loosely. These organizations "pull" animals that are scheduled for euthanasia and farm them out to a "foster home", often outside with limited human contact with as many as 30 other dogs. OP, I don't know where you are located, but I would strongly guess this is what happened with your pup. I have "rescued" many a dog from these warehousing conditions. The foster parents consider it a success that the dog wasn't euthanized, but honestly, the fear aggression, the insecurity, the lack of socializing that I confront in these "saved" dogs is overwhelming and not what I would consider a life worth living. These dogs are nearly feral and do revert to more of a primitive state, more wolf-like if you will. They do pack up and the unbalanced climate of scared, lonely, neglected creatures "feeding" on those very undesireable traits of each other is horrendous. Honestly, OP, your dog has been traumatized and will need a great deal of patience and positive reinforcement and confidence building before I would consider her a well balanced, kid safe, predictable, stable member of your family. I will also say, not all of them are save-able. I had to put to sleep one dog I pulled at 10 months from her "foster home" aka warehouse. I worked with her as a member of our family for over a year. She remained untrustworthy and dangerous. There are lots and lots of stable, loving dogs put to sleep every year while we save some fearful, dangerous ones.

IMO, I would work with this dog for some time. I think growling exists for a reason, its a warning. I don't train it out of dogs as I think warnings are vital to living with one another. I do, however, focus on building up and encouraging insecure and timid dogs. The "stiffening" you mention. Correcting, bossing and dominating a fearful, insecure dog is both foolish and ill-advised IMO. She already would rather crawl and hide at times so Lording over her just makes her more insecure and afraid and unstable. We would be doing a lot of the "no free lunch program" here. "Kujo, its time to eat. Sit. Good girl, great job. What a good dog". "Kujo, time to go outside. Sit. Way to go,wahoo! Awesome." Simple instruction given that's easy to follow and rewarded with praise and doing something she loves like a walk, treat, play, outside, dinner, etc..." Showing the scared-y dog that she is smart and good and capable of doing all kinds of good things. You are reinforcing your position as the head of the household as a side bonus, but most importantly, you are giving your insecure dog the knowledge that she is capable and successful. You are marking good behaviors and expectations for behavior in various situations. You are teaching her good things to do, not just correcting the bad things. Know how that's important to your children, so it is to your dog. GL!
Yes!!!! I agree with all of this post.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:17 PM   #50
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Thank you, Junebug, that's how I feel, that it must be just in her temperament and the foster parents never saw it because they didn't have kids. But I'm no expert.

The trainer is supposed to call me so hopefully she'll be a little nicer.

I'm torn, because Tess really has the potential to be a great pet, if she would just treat the kids with the same respect as me and DH.

Oh, I forgot that she also growled at a neighbor (an old man) when we were walking, oh, and my MIL, too. I need to tell the girl that...nothing to do with kids there. Obviously this dog wasn't well socialized, and that's not MY fault!
I agree with the temperament issue too. I think the girl on the phone was not being understanding of your issue. I would have thought they would not adopt a dog out with kids unless it came from a kid friendly home. That's what they do at our local SPCA.
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