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Old 09-25-2012, 08:18 AM   #51
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

Is it wrong that I giggled, thinking "Naming a dog Kujo is just setting him up for failure!"

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Old 09-25-2012, 08:39 AM   #52
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Growling is important, to an extent. It is a warning. BUT obviously it means something is not right.

Kid jumps on dog. Dog growls. Dog was in the right. Pain is never okay to inflict on a dog. Kid need to learn to be nice.

Kid comes near dogs bowl. Dog barks. Dog is 'owning' the bowl. Not okay. I changed this by hand feeding our dog. My son and I both. Kibble by kibble. You must be in control of your pet (not physically, but mentally) to teach them hierarchy. It's not as simple as 'no touch no talk no eye contact' but that's a start. Make dig earn any reward. We no longer treat our dogs. Ever. We never reward with food. Only love and affection. Command trainning started with treats but once we mastered those, I only use a treat as temptations and grounds for a lesson.

We had a wonderfully beautiful senior dog that we adopted. Awesome awesome awesome dog. But he growled at my youngest a few times for over zealous hugging. It hurt him and it created a bubble around dog that said 'if this lid comes near me, he could hurt me' at the time DS was 2 and we did it ALL to get him to stop hugging. No bueno. We actually had a mini attack on DS (no injuries as dog had no teeth) the growls previously were telling ME that cisco was in pain, but I thought it was normal and not a huge danger. Now this same dog and my 5 year old were inseparable. And very very very very bonded. It was the super squeezed that was the issue..

So, he went back to his foster family that had children and was adopted by them (they were 5 and over, their kids)

The next dog I got was younger. And much bigger!! Double the size. I fostered him before I adopted so I could test him myself. He has now been with us 2 years. Temperament and age of child is critical. Our senior never felt 'above' anyone in the house but was old. He hurt. An eager squeeze from a crazy two year old wasn't a blissful
Life to him. Now my guy now? He'd follow the kids around hoping they might lay on him and read a story (head only. The dog loves it)
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:00 AM   #53
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Kid jumps on dog. Dog growls. Dog was in the right. Pain is never okay to inflict on a dog. Kid need to learn to be nice.

We had a wonderfully beautiful senior dog that we adopted. Awesome awesome awesome dog. But he growled at my youngest a few times for over zealous hugging. It hurt him and it created a bubble around dog that said 'if this lid comes near me, he could hurt me' at the time DS was 2 and we did it ALL to get him to stop hugging. No bueno. We actually had a mini attack on DS (no injuries as dog had no teeth) the growls previously were telling ME that cisco was in pain, but I thought it was normal and not a huge danger. Now this same dog and my 5 year old were inseparable. And very very very very bonded. It was the super squeezed that was the issue.
See, I know where you're coming from... and I do understand... but I feel like growling is just too aggressive for communicating these things. A dog has other ways to communicate these things without aggression.

Our dog was taught not to growl or bark (unless to speak on command or yipping while happy and playing), but he has plenty of other forms of "verbal" communication - he howls (not in a crying way, but a weird "OOoooOOOoooo" way... it sounds like he's talking when he does), and he whines (when hurt) and groans (when getting a good scratch, for example).
Maybe part of why he "took" to using these ways to "talk" is because we reacted to them and figured out what he wanted and helped him. We positively reinforced those forms of communication, I guess.
Like if he needs to go out badly - a tiny whine and one of us will go to open the door right away. Or if Levi jumps on him and it hurts, he'll yelp or whine a bit, and we'll stop Levi from doing that.

Also, our dog is always free to walk away - if the kids are bothering him or hurting him, more often than not he'll just walk away from them. If they continue bothering him, we'll step in and stop them because he's told us he doesn't want it by walking away.
It's just that there are many non-aggressive ways of saying he doesn't want to be bothered or whatever. Growling is never a necessary thing.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:16 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by canadianbakers

See, I know where you're coming from... and I do understand... but I feel like growling is just too aggressive for communicating these things. A dog has other ways to communicate these things without aggression.

Our dog was taught not to growl or bark (unless to speak on command or yipping while happy and playing), but he has plenty of other forms of "verbal" communication - he howls (not in a crying way, but a weird "OOoooOOOoooo" way... it sounds like he's talking when he does), and he whines (when hurt) and groans (when getting a good scratch, for example).
Maybe part of why he "took" to using these ways to "talk" is because we reacted to them and figured out what he wanted and helped him. We positively reinforced those forms of communication, I guess.
Like if he needs to go out badly - a tiny whine and one of us will go to open the door right away. Or if Levi jumps on him and it hurts, he'll yelp or whine a bit, and we'll stop Levi from doing that.

Also, our dog is always free to walk away - if the kids are bothering him or hurting him, more often than not he'll just walk away from them. If they continue bothering him, we'll step in and stop them because he's told us he doesn't want it by walking away.
It's just that there are many non-aggressive ways of saying he doesn't want to be bothered or whatever. Growling is never a necessary thing.
Yeah that's kinda weird that growling is the expected response from a dog when he gets hurt. A whine is much more appropriate if he's hurt.
I would be incredibly hesitant to have my kids around another persons dog that growls. Our dogs never growl. They do the same thing as the above quoted person. They quietly howl (same ar-ooooOooOar thing), whine, one chomps that hair when he's excited, and they have only once or twice barked ever. We have a very big old dog that our kids ride like a horse. If he hates it he gets up, the kids fall off and he leaves and goes to lay in bed or goes to wait by the door to be let outside. If he growled at them, he wouldn't be in our family anymore. So I fully agree with what canadianbakers has said so far.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #55
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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I would be incredibly hesitant to have my kids around another persons dog that growls. Our dogs never growl. They do the same thing as the above quoted person. They quietly howl (same ar-ooooOooOar thing), whine, one chomps that hair when he's excited, and they have only once or twice barked ever. We have a very big old dog that our kids ride like a horse. If he hates it he gets up, the kids fall off and he leaves and goes to lay in bed or goes to wait by the door to be let outside. If he growled at them, he wouldn't be in our family anymore. So I fully agree with what canadianbakers has said so far.
Glad someone else understands the weird howl-but-not-howl thing! I actually love it, it's really cute, and Myles really acts like he's talking when he does it - he'll carry on "conversations" with you if you respond to him.

That's really the only trouble our dog is getting - he's part lab, and unfortunately he's getting the achy hips that can come with that, but Levi wants to ride him all the time. The dog will just sit down when Levi climbs on (causing Levi to slide off - it's funny to see) and then walk away. If Levi keeps doing it, we tell him to knock it off.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:20 PM   #56
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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Glad someone else understands the weird howl-but-not-howl thing! I actually love it, it's really cute, and Myles really acts like he's talking when he does it - he'll carry on "conversations" with you if you respond to him.

That's really the only trouble our dog is getting - he's part lab, and unfortunately he's getting the achy hips that can come with that, but Levi wants to ride him all the time. The dog will just sit down when Levi climbs on (causing Levi to slide off - it's funny to see) and then walk away. If Levi keeps doing it, we tell him to knock it off.
HAHA! Our little dog does the same thing! He can now do it on command if you say "speak". LOL I think it is absolutely adorable. He does it most, for some reason, when I'm sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom (TMI sorry LOL). Maybe he thinks the toilet is trying to eat me? haha

I agree that a dog should be able to communicate in other ways than growling. I'm not saying that growling doesn't serve a purpose, but it should never be directed in an aggressive way towards the humans in the household or guests in your home. I've said before that there are certain times when our dogs growl and it is allowed. In fact, I was just playing with our little dog, and with one certain toy he always growls at it. He isn't growling at me, and not in an aggressive manner (just playful), so I allow him to do that. If he ever turned around and growled AT me, that is where I draw the line.

If your dog is hurt, how are you supposed to help them if they get that aggressive? Our Australian Shepherd broke one of her toenails last month, and she let me hold her foot and inspect the nail, and never once growled. She also cut the pad of her foot once a while back, and same thing. Never once did she get aggressive with me b/c she was in pain.

Also, personally...just b/c a dog is timid/shy does not mean that they should be allowed to get away with things you wouldn't allow a non-timid/shy dog to get away with. THAT is just asking for trouble, IMO.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #57
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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!
This is very helpful. Yes, I am in the southeast. I wish I would have known better to adopt a dog that wasn't familiar with kids and/or well socialized.

So, I'm still unsure if we should keep her or not. Being such a doggie amateur makes me nervous to have an "iffy" dog. But what if she snaps out of it? She's doing a lot better. She seems to like DS now. She approaches him and looks like she wants to play, but if he is going toward her, especially playfully, she sometimes backs up or gets stiff and tail down. I don't think she's growled since Saturday. So, it's confusing.

And I'm still unsure if I should correct her when she shows unnecessary nervousness. I can see both sides of the argument. But since she's not growling for a reason other than being nervous, it seems logical that it would be ok to train her not to be nervous in those situations.

If she wasn't such a good dog otherwise, this would be an easier decision. She's soooo easy.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:28 PM   #58
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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This is very helpful. Yes, I am in the southeast. I wish I would have known better to adopt a dog that wasn't familiar with kids and/or well socialized.

So, I'm still unsure if we should keep her or not. Being such a doggie amateur makes me nervous to have an "iffy" dog. But what if she snaps out of it? She's doing a lot better. She seems to like DS now. She approaches him and looks like she wants to play, but if he is going toward her, especially playfully, she sometimes backs up or gets stiff and tail down. I don't think she's growled since Saturday. So, it's confusing.

And I'm still unsure if I should correct her when she shows unnecessary nervousness. I can see both sides of the argument. But since she's not growling for a reason other than being nervous, it seems logical that it would be ok to train her not to be nervous in those situations.

If she wasn't such a good dog otherwise, this would be an easier decision. She's soooo easy.
Honestly, I think its too early to consider whether to keep or return her. She's less nervous on the whole and interested in your family and children. She's not initiating aggression. She's improving. I vote keep loving her and teaching her positively what she SHOULD do and not so much what she SHOULDN'T do. See if she continues to relax and settle in. Sounds like you may have a great dog in there, only time will tell.
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:47 AM   #59
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

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HAHA! Our little dog does the same thing! He can now do it on command if you say "speak". LOL I think it is absolutely adorable. He does it most, for some reason, when I'm sitting on the toilet going to the bathroom (TMI sorry LOL). Maybe he thinks the toilet is trying to eat me? haha

I agree that a dog should be able to communicate in other ways than growling. I'm not saying that growling doesn't serve a purpose, but it should never be directed in an aggressive way towards the humans in the household or guests in your home. I've said before that there are certain times when our dogs growl and it is allowed. In fact, I was just playing with our little dog, and with one certain toy he always growls at it. He isn't growling at me, and not in an aggressive manner (just playful), so I allow him to do that. If he ever turned around and growled AT me, that is where I draw the line.

If your dog is hurt, how are you supposed to help them if they get that aggressive? Our Australian Shepherd broke one of her toenails last month, and she let me hold her foot and inspect the nail, and never once growled. She also cut the pad of her foot once a while back, and same thing. Never once did she get aggressive with me b/c she was in pain.

Also, personally...just b/c a dog is timid/shy does not mean that they should be allowed to get away with things you wouldn't allow a non-timid/shy dog to get away with. THAT is just asking for trouble, IMO.
at the dog talking to you on the toilet!!!

We, too, allow our dog to growl in some situations - if he's playing with another dog, there's tons of growling, barking, and yipping, but as long as they're actually playing and not fighting to harm, we let them be. And we give him praise and pets for warning us when strangers come into the yard - he has never growled at people or kids he knows, only strangers.

Very good point about when they're hurt - we took our dog to the vet once for ear mites and they asked about needing to muzzle him. They said even really well behaved dogs often have to be muzzled for the vets to deal with them when they're hurt We said definitely not needed. And it wasn't - the vet and assistant were really shocked.
Our dog has had leg troubles his whole life (he's the size and near the weight of a lab... but has corgi legs) and every so often will twist a leg - he'll let us ice it and wrap it with an ace bandage The most he'll do if we're doing something that hurts him is whine a bit and lick us like crazy - he's always known that we don't like him licking, so I'm sure it's a "stop that" type thing, but not aggressive.

I've never gotten that way of looking at dogs either - like with little "lap dogs". So often they are timid and yappy, and the owners just allow that?!! My "dream dog" is a miniature yorki - I plan to get one when I have an empty nest, lol. But even a teeny dog will be held to the same behaviour standards as our dog now. I wouldn't want them to act differently just because they're small.

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This is very helpful. Yes, I am in the southeast. I wish I would have known better to adopt a dog that wasn't familiar with kids and/or well socialized.

And I'm still unsure if I should correct her when she shows unnecessary nervousness. I can see both sides of the argument. But since she's not growling for a reason other than being nervous, it seems logical that it would be ok to train her not to be nervous in those situations.
Unfortunately it's a hindsight thing. I'm still sitting here blaming the humaine society (or whatever) that has those dogs fostered in a home (or homes) like that. They are setting all those dogs up for failure, and if they know anything about dogs and really care about them (rather than only caring that the animals aren't put down) they should be doing better for those dogs.

Definitely work with her to teach her the correct behaviours, and teach her that she is able to feel safe and comfortable around all of you. Instead of letting your DS approach her, have him sit somewhere and call her over. When she comes, she gets a "good dog" and a treat. Maybe a gentle pat, though that may take time to get comfortable with.
That's exactly right - she needs to learn that she doesn't need to feel nervous around anyone in the family/house, ever. She is safe and protected.
If she's getting tense when the kids are there, I would call her to you, give her praise for coming and get her to lay down. Then have the kids approach her - but while you are right there. Praise her the whole time, have the kids bring her a treat.

Like I've said, I still definitely wouldn't be allowing the growling towards the family. Ever. At all. But just saying "no growls", then giving her praise for stopping, would teach her the correct/expected behaviour.

I really hope you can work with her and she can get comfortable around your family. It sounds like you like her and care for her a lot Hope she becomes the best dog ever for you guys!
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:20 AM   #60
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Re: Advice please! Adopted dog is aggressive toward kids

Haven't read all the responses, but as someone who HAS had a lot of experience with dogs, just wanted to give my opinion!
I would take her back.
It sounds like she is a sweet dog, but timid. That is not a good combination with younger children. Children move differently, make loud noises, and are generally more active and therefore stressful to timid dogs. That she has snapped at your kids doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong, it means she is stressed out and doesn't know what to expect from them, and so is showing her nervousness and uncertainty.

She may eventually get used to being around them, but she may also get more timid and fearfully aggressive. The best thing for the dog would be for her to go back to her foster home and find a place without children. I can't believe that the woman at the SPCA was so rude to you. I would call again and ask to talk to a supervisor or someone higher up.

Sorry if any of this is repeat info!
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