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The dog is growling at my daughter

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  • #41
    We had a similar issue with our resuce pointer, it started out a simple growl, didn't want me on "my bed" and it escalated from there. It got to the point she attacked my coonhound because she jumped in front of me when the pointer growled. We gave her one more chance, she is on prozac and will be forever. I truly believe her issue was fear. She gets worried and stressed. If the prozac didn't work we would put her down, I could never take a chance she would hurt someone. We didn't have kids in the house but they are in our lives. She is happy as a clam these days, but I never trust anything with teeth.

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    • #42
      I agree that the options should be either rehome with knowledgeable adults or PTS. It would be unethical to take her to the pound and pass on a known problem.

      Spacy, I know you will do the best for your daughter and the dog. Your vet might be helpful for rehoming and advice. I'm so sorry you are in this position.
      “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

      St. Padre Pio

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      • #43
        OP, how old is your dog?

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        • #44
          Microbovine, is growling ever ok in your book?

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          • Original Poster

            #45
            She is approximately 3.

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            • #46
              did this just start?

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              • #47
                If this is a sudden occurrence (i.e only happened on the rawhide night), it might just be because of the nature of the treat. Dogs are very possessive of "real" "instinctual" treats - this doesn't make her behavior okay, but it might help you understand the problem: if you've only observed the growl after the rawhide, it's probably from the fact your dog is worried that the child will take away her new-found "good thing". I can use my rescue as an example: she is very amiable and very submissive to the other dogs in the house and is not a resource-guarder - but when you give her a bullystick or rawhide she becomes a very assertive and defensive dog (to the other dogs). This just means I give her her special treats in private. (: Maybe for you it means you never give her rawhide again, and stick to things like a Kong-ball or another non-"food" toy. A dog is going to be less inclined to guard a toy than it is to guard a 'foodtoy' - I've seen rawhide make a lot of dogs a little frenetic because it is a high-value and very exciting thing for an animal to chew/consume.

                Growling, to me, is not an unacceptable form of communication. A growl can stress a lot more things than "I'm going to attack" -- for dogs, a growl is really their ONLY source of communication with non-dog-savvy people, for instance your child. It is a verbal warning - a lot of dogs understand that it is the only way they can communicate with other things (not just human) that have very little conception of their body language. Many dogs will growl and not bite or attack - hence the source of "bark is bigger than her bite" -- and while it may not be okay for you in this instance because it is your child in the line, the dog may have no true intention to attack her. I'm of the opinion that if a dog truly were to attack after it issued a warning, you would have never heard a growl at all.

                The other thing is that your dog is, despite the 'real age difference' a lot older than your child - which may be another reason why it felt compelled to growl assertively at your child. Your child is clearly still a child - a yearling - your dog is (if it's 3) an adult. Your dog may feel as if your child is overstepping her boundaries - particularly in this instance because she may have gotten too close for the dog's comfort while she was enjoying her "good thing". While naturally none of us ever want children to be hurt, I would strongly observe if this happens outside of the rawhide - if it does happen again over another toy or something else, then it is an issue and for the sake of the child the dog must either be rehomed or destroyed.
                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                • #48
                  Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                  Microbovine, is growling ever ok in your book?
                  Not microbovine, but no, growling at human family members is never ok in my book.

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by gogaitedgo View Post
                    Not microbovine, but no, growling at human family members is never ok in my book.
                    and why is it never ok? How do you expect a dog to indicate worry, fear or please leave me alone?

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                    • #50
                      Growling at a child is never okay. I am not an expert dog trainer and will not deal with a growling dog around a child. As I previously mentioned, the most common bites on children occur on the face. if dogs growl at each other, that's one thing, but not at our child. We also have big dogs. Our German Shepherd is very well-trained and very well-adjusted. We do proper training and socialization. As puppies, our dogs met over 100 people before they were 12 weeks. It's a simple guideline, but it seems to work. We get our dogs out around people and in a variety of situations throughout their lives. If something were to happen to us, they would be easily re-homed within our own family. Our dogs are friendly around other dogs and other people. We expect a lot, but we train them to be well-adjusted dogs. In fact, they could qualify as therapy dogs, if we had the time to train them formally.

                      There are too many good dogs out there and other are homes with no children, to put your own at risk. It's just not worth it to us.
                      “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                      St. Padre Pio

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                      • #51
                        Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                        and why is it never ok? How do you expect a dog to indicate worry, fear or please leave me alone?
                        Get up and walk away. Our son knows not to chase and is always supervised around the dogs. If our dogs are worried about something, you can easily see it on their face. As far as fear, they express that pretty dang well, too, with simple facial expressions. I've never had a dog who growled because of those emotions. I've never had a little dog. maybe growling is more common with them. My big dogs communicate quite effectively and I respond accordingly.

                        The smallest dog I've ever had was a blue heeler. She was also well-adjusted, friendly and very tolerant of our child. In fact, I'd say she adored him. I have many cherished pictures of her with him. She had every reason to be unsure of herself. By the time she was 4 years old, she was effectively blind from PRA. She didn't growl. Incidentally, she was very clever. She knew where every tree and fence was on our farm. If we moved something, either inside the house or out, we called her over and showed it to her. She registered it in her internal map and wouldn't run into it despite frequently chasing her toys at full tilt. We kicked her toys for her and she would cock her head, follow the sound and find them that way. She was a joy to have around and I really miss her. She passed away a few years ago.
                        “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                        St. Padre Pio

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                        • #52
                          Microbovine, not trying to start something (just trying to understand your viewpoint a little more thoroughly), but do you always expect a dog to "get up and walk away" from a distressing situation? That is not a dog's natural instinct (they are not flight animals) - which means it is something you have to train in them.. What if the dog is in discomfort? Would you expect your family members to "get up and walk away" if they were in pain or discomfort?

                          I am sorry to hear about your blue heeler. She sounds like she was a remarkable dog -- they are great children's dogs if trained accordingly, which sounds like you did a good job of. (:
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                          • #53
                            Originally posted by beowulf View Post
                            Microbovine, not trying to start something (just trying to understand your viewpoint a little more thoroughly), but do you always expect a dog to "get up and walk away" from a distressing situation? That is not a dog's natural instinct (they are not flight animals) - which means it is something you have to train in them.. What if the dog is in discomfort? Would you expect your family members to "get up and walk away" if they were in pain or discomfort?

                            I am sorry to hear about your blue heeler. She sounds like she was a remarkable dog -- they are great children's dogs if trained accordingly, which sounds like you did a good job of. (:
                            Seriously?

                            Dogs do certainly run away when they are frightened.

                            Gah.

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                            • #54
                              No offense taken.

                              Most of the dogs I have known get up and walk away if annoyed. If that ever happens, it's the fault of whoever annoyed the dog, not the dog. In fact, our GSD has come to me before when the kitten annoyed him. He knows he's not allowed to chase, growl, or hurt the kitties so he tattletales, LOL! It's my job to adjust the situation and keep everyone getting along well BEFORE an incident happens. The dogs know they can depend on me so they come to me if they need something. I don't let the dogs get pushed but I expect a basic level of civility and no food or toy associated aggression. Some things I have taught our son are to "Let sleeping dogs lie" and how to ask the dogs to sit before he gives them their food. Yes, our 4 year old can feed our GSD. Our other two dogs are bird dogs and they are amazing gentle with children by nature (remember all the classic paintings with kids and spaniels or setters?).

                              I think these highly socialized creatures are quite well-adapted to living with humans and sharing the house with cats. I see no difference between preventing them from growling at cats and humans. I certainly don't think it is a stretch at all to expect them to behave. Dog behavior is fascinating and more complex than we give them credit for. If you haven't read any of Dr. Temple Grandin's book, you might enjoy them. My favorite is Animals Make Us Human.
                              “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

                              St. Padre Pio

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                              • #55
                                @Greyarab - Do dogs always run away when they're frightened? No.. We aren't talking about just frightened dogs - we're talking about any dog that is outside of a comfort zone. That doesn't facilitate fear in every instance. Some dogs just aren't afraid. Your tone is so very pleasant (I love your condescension), but it sounds to me like you're not very familiar with the canine species?? We were having a rational discussion - can we get back to that without the rudeness?

                                @Microbovine - I love how you say "it's my job to adjust the situation". I love GSDs personally, they're great family dogs and I see no problem with what you said. I've read Animals Make Us Human too -- it was a great and educational read.
                                AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

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                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
                                  Seriously?

                                  Dogs do certainly run away when they are frightened.

                                  Gah.
                                  if they can. Sometimes they can't get away or there is no place to go.

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                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
                                    I'm sure lots of dogs get PTS or sent to the pound for behavior like this.

                                    I'm sure a lot of horses get sold on the spot for bucking under a poorly fitting saddle or tossing their heads with their 1975 long shanked Tom Thumb bits in their mouth.

                                    And then sometimes people try harder.
                                    Thank you for this.

                                    It's sad when animals pay the price for people's inablity to learn how they communicate, and learn how to train them, rather than just immediately kill them. If you are someone who would euth for growling, then you shouldn't own any pets.

                                    You don't want to take away a growl. You take away the reason for the growl. If the dog is resource guarding, you train trade up games, so they no longer feel the need to guard it. If they are fearful of childeren, you can desensitize them to them, and make them learn that good things happen when kids are around.

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                                    • #58
                                      Look, I'm no expert. Have had dogs since I was a kid and we had numerous dogs when our 2 boys were growing up. Never had an incident. I think the mollycoddle, think everything through a "canine prism", forgiveness over and over for growling, snapping, and so on creates monsters. I am a black and white kind of person. I don't see reams and reams of gray areas.

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                                      • #59
                                        @gogaitedgo: I think the mollycoddle, think everything through a "canine prism", forgiveness over and over for growling, snapping, and so on creates monsters.

                                        so how do you handle this? what do you do?

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                                        • #60
                                          @gogatedgo: if growling is never ok, how do your dogs indicate worry or fear?

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