Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Help needed. New dog growling and nipping child :(

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Ash Banke, May 26, 2017.


  1. Ash Banke

    Ash Banke PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi there

    I'm new to the site and was wondering if anyone could help with my current situation please?

    My family and I recently rehomed an 8 month old King Charles/Cocker Spaniel cross named Lady. Lady has been spayed and came from a previously loving home prior to ending up in the sanctuary. Her previous lady owner was in her late 70's and told the people in the sanctuary that she was just too much for her energy wise and that she felt she wasn't giving the dog the best home/life and that she felt it unfair.

    So after spending almost everyday, throughout the initial 2 weeks in the sanctuary meeting her, taking her for walks, feeding her, having vet checks, house checks, police checks etc (the place we got her from is very thorough, and rightly so) we have now had lady in our home for just over 2 weeks. Everything seemed to be going fine behaviour wise with the dog until 2 nights ago when after a long walk the dog growled and snapped at our 4 year old son catching him on his neck and leaving a bruise. We put this down to tiredness on the dogs part, and continued to instill in our little one that you do not go near the dog when she is resting. Keep in mind she wasn't resting when this happened, but was standing in the kitchen and he simply stroked her back like he has done numerous times.

    Then last night, our son was lying on the floor eating his dinner (as he does from time to time) and THE DOG APPROACHED HIM, lay beside him and started to growl and bare her teeth. The only thing we could think of to make her do that would have been his dinner. We moved her away and put her out the back until he had finished.

    The vet has confirmed Lady is in great health and we have been looking for a dog behaviourist in our area but the ones we have found are starting at £60 per hour which in all honesty we can not afford that at the moment. If there is anyone on here who has experienced this before or has any advice I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you all
    Ash :)
     
  2. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Messages:
    6,533
    Likes Received:
    7,605
    Ash Banke and Lurcherlad like this.
  3. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    12,914
    I appreciate the difficultly with cost, believe me I can understand, but I do think when there is potential aggression particularly when children are the in equation you need to tread very carefully. That does unfortunately mean getting a professional to come and assess her. You say she comes from a "sanctuary", do they not offer behavioural assistance? most rescues do?

    In the mean time I'd be micromanaging all interactions and definitely do NOT allow the dog access to the children when eating, or vice versa. I wonder if given the Spaniel ancestry there could be resource guarding involved, they can be one of the worst breeds for it.
     
    Sarah1983, Sairy, kimthecat and 2 others like this.
  4. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    24,045
    Likes Received:
    35,710
    The dog has been through an upheaval so is probably quite anxious and unsure of everything in her new life, home, family.

    I would advise ensuring that interactions are supervised and that food and toys are kept out of sight while the dog is around. Ensure she is fed her meals in a room away from everyone and without interruptions. Maybe use a house line in the home so that you have control of where she goes, in relation to your child. Put her bed somewhere completely secure from the child, perhaps in a pen?

    If she's been in kennels, chances are she won't have had much exercise so be careful about overdoing it at first, as tiredness can affect mood. Avoid getting her over excited too. Keep everything calm and relaxed, with lots of positive interactions to build her confidence in you all.

    Your vet could probably refer you to a behaviourist covered on insurance. Choose someone who only uses positive, reward based methods as anything else will add to her anxiety.
     
    Sarah1983, lorilu, MiffyMoo and 2 others like this.
  5. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2012
    Messages:
    14,446
    Likes Received:
    21,714
    You do need professional help.

    I have had many adolescent dogs here and not one of them has ever bitten my children and particularly not on the neck, which I find worrying.

    It isn't okay for your dog to use her teeth on your Child.
     
    Sarah1983, StormyThai, lorilu and 2 others like this.
  6. Ash Banke

    Ash Banke PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thank you so much for the speedy replies :)

    My husband and I have now set some new ground rules in the house as follows;

    No interaction between Lady and our little one without supervision.
    Dog is no longer allowed in the living room at all when we are eating. (She has a tendency to beg or get up on the sofa and try to sneakily snatch something of your plate. I believe this was allowed by previous owner :oops:)
    We do not go near Lady when she is drinking or eating.

    I don't know if it would help but if we were to allow our little one only to give the dog treats when she is good, do you think that would have any positive effects at all?

    Also, do you have any suggestions with regards to sorting out the pecking order in the house if that makes sense? We are just unsure if the dog thinks of our little one as a toy or below her and could that be the reason for this?

    The rescue don't offer behavioural training, they offered advice (where we got the idea for the rules above) and then they referred us to a trainer again that costs around £60 per hour.

    We are hoping that it is the adolescent stage and that she will grow out of it with enough practice and training. I will absolutely have a read through the links!

    Thanks so much :)
     
  7. Ash Banke

    Ash Banke PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    Oh that's definitely something I will check with the insurance company and vet! Thank you.:)
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  8. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    10,725
    Likes Received:
    12,914
    She won't think your child is 'below' her, dogs really don't think like that.

    She won't grow out of it either unfortunately, these issues are usually routed in genetics......

    Is she insured? some insurers will cover behavioural costs, but you have to go via a vet referral (which isn't difficult).
     
    ouesi likes this.
  9. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    24,045
    Likes Received:
    35,710
    Dogs don't think they are above or below anyone in my experience. More than likely she just finds your child more exciting than you! ;)

    I would keep her off the sofa though at least for the time being as that can often be a reason for guarding behaviour in some dogs. It will be easier for her to learn the house rules if everything is nice and clear. Once she has settled and you know her well enough then you may decide to allow her access.

    I would avoid getting your child to give her treats until you know her better and have worked on her unpredictability, as they can often trigger excitement. Make treat time something she has when she can be left in peace - though of course you can use them in training, but I would do that when your child is out of the way, for the time being.

    If you have insurance for her, do try and get a vet referral as it will then be covered.

    Hopefully, as you say, this can be rectified with time, patience and training. She is probably feeling quite anxious at the moment.

    Good luck! :)
     
  10. Ash Banke

    Ash Banke PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    3
    lol that is probably true! :D:p

    Yes she is insured so i will have a chat with the vet again and she if she can refer. would much rather get it nipped in the budd as quickly as possible or at least get the formalities in place to minimise accidents although i am aware this will definitely take time and patience too.

    Thanks for your help! It's been great! :)
     
    lorilu and Lurcherlad like this.
  11. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    24,045
    Likes Received:
    35,710
    This chart is useful to help recognise the subtle signs that dogs give when they are feeling uncomfortable, which we often miss ;)
     

    Attached Files:

    lorilu likes this.
  12. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    I agree with @Sweety I've had tons of dogs go through adolescence and it doesn't involve biting a child (or adult).

    A very rough guess based solely off the posts, it sounds like resource guarding, and yes, you will need some professional help with this. Resource guarding is generally very fixable, just stay away from dominance or "alpha" type trainers.

    If you can share where you are located, someone may be able to recommend a trainer in your area.
     
    Sarah1983, Rafa, StormyThai and 2 others like this.
  13. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    16,021
    Likes Received:
    19,987
    Also , if she was brought up by an elderly lady , she may not be used to young children . Not all dogs like children .
    if you have to manage her and becareful of your son's interactions with her , then she might not be the right dog for your family .
     
    Jobeth likes this.
  14. Jobeth

    Jobeth PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    Messages:
    5,767
    Likes Received:
    2,763
    My sister's first dog was a rescue and resource guarded her husband and didn't seem used to children. I was there when all my niece (8 at the time) did was walk towards her dad. I'd never had a dog either at that time and I was scared of the dog's reaction. My niece was petrified. I was on the sofa and pulled her behind me. The dog continued to snarl and bark at her whilst she cowered there. They made the decision to return the dog, but my niece took a long time to get over it. The next dog they got was a retired guide dog and perfect for them.

    Whilst I admire you for wanting to do the right thing with your dog - I personally wouldn't risk it with a 4 year old. There is too much management needed and your child needs to feel safe in their own home.
     
    kimthecat likes this.
  15. ouesi

    ouesi Guest

    Though returning the dog is an option, I wouldn't rush to return just because of RG.
    Have the dog professionally assessed, then make the determination. RG can be very straightforward and easily solved. We have taken on resource guarders who in a matter of months were absolutely fine.

    Some breeds (spaniels, goldens) can have some weird, OTT guarding that is harder to deal with, but these cases are fortunately still fairly rare, and odds are this is a simple fix.
    It's also good for the child to see the behavior being managed and solved with proper b-mod. There are good lessons in there for the child as well, and opportunities to learn important things about dog body language and safety.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice