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Old 08-26-2004, 12:55 AM
Salty Dog Salty Dog is offline
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Default Dog snapped at my toddler

Hi all...it's my 3rd day with my newly adopted dog. I picked him up from the SPCA. He's part Border Collie, part Australian Shepard. He's about 1 year and 4 months old. We spent a couple of hours trying to get to know him before taking him home, and at the time, he seemed really good with my kids.
The dog gets along really well with me, my wife, and my four year old. However, I noticed that he growled at my 1 year old this afternoon when my one year old was chewing on something near him. This evening, he did it again when my one year old walked toward his bed, this time he looked like he would've nipped her if my wife wasn't so quick to respond.
After these events, I'm pretty worried. Did I pick up a crazy dog, or is this something that I can try and resolve? He seemed well cared for from his previous owners because he seems good with people, other kids that have come by since, and seems well socialized around other dogs. He loves to play ball, and except for this one thing about him growling at my baby (this really big thing to me) he seems like a perfect dog.
I'd appreciate any advice that anyone would give me. What should I do? Take him back? Train him? How?
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Old 08-26-2004, 01:29 AM
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RD RD is offline
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First of all, keep your kid away from the dog's bed!
Second of all, you probably haven't introduced the dog and the baby slowly. The dog is still BRAND NEW in the house.

Personally I would not let this dog in the same room as my kids without a good basket muzzle, just in case.

I'd say it can be resolved, but not without a lot of sacrifice. First of all, the dog does not know your kids. You can't expect him to love and protect them after 3 days.

If I had kids, and my dog growled at them for a minor reason (walking near him, etc) I would correct the snot out of my dog, and let him know that it is NOT acceptable.. In contast, I would PRAISE my dog to high heaven if he allowed the kid to go near him.

There is a training concept (really it's just common sense) out there called "nothing in life is free".. Should you choose to train the dog, USE this to the highest degree possible. Sounds like you have a slightly dominant dog on your hands and he will really benefit from NILIF.

For example:
When the dog wants to go out, make him SIT and STAY for maybe 20 seconds AFTER you've opened the door before you allow him to go outside. If he gets up, tell him NO, correct, and place him back in a sit-stay.
When the dog wants his dinner, have him sit and stay for maybe 1 full minute AFTER you've put the bowl down. If he gets up, tell him NO, correct him, and place him back in a sit-stay.
If the dog comes to you and pushes his nose under your hand or sticks his head in your lap, he is demanding that you pet him. either IGNORE him completely or make him sit, down, sit, down, sit, down. Eventually he'll learn that demanding attention from you only leads to having to work and be bored. THEN, to show that you make the decisions, at a later time, when he's being good, call him over to you and pet him.
If he wants his ball thrown, he has to sit and wait until you tell him he can fetch it.

I'll find some links about this method. As well as NILIF,teach the dog basic commands and even go further and teach him advanced obedience..

good luck!
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:16 AM
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Hi Salty Dog, welcome to the Dog Forums!

I don't think you have a crazy dog, just a scared dog in a new place. He is trying to figure out his place and order. Grace has given excellent advise to try out.

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Old 08-26-2004, 08:35 AM
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Grace has definitely given you good advice. As Chazhound said, he's new and trying to settle into a place in his new family, and he doesn't understand why his old family threw him away. He's already been deserted and rejected.

When you've got him acclimated better and feeling more secure and he's learned not to snatch things out of your hands, start teaching your children to give him his treats - under your strict supervision; I'd suggest having the toddler sitting in your lap.

Remember, too, that this is a dog with real herding genes. I can't imagine a much stronger drive than a cross between an Aussie and a Border! You'll have to help him learn that children are for protecting, but they're not sheep or cows. One thing about it, you'll never have to worry about your kids wandering out of the yard!

Once he figures out the family dynamic, you'll have the most loved and safest kids you could ever ask for.
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Old 08-26-2004, 10:50 AM
Salty Dog Salty Dog is offline
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Hey guys, thank you so much for the advice. Grace, I'm going to take your advice and use it. This makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you again. I'll keep you all posted.
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:02 AM
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Good Luck! I hope it works! He sounds like an awesome dog!
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Old 08-26-2004, 02:45 PM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is offline
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I'd just like to add that the dog may be testing his role in the family. I've had simalar experiances like this because the dog thought that he was higher in the pack than the toddler, and that the toddler was going to take his toy so he snapped at him.
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start teaching your children to give him his treats - under your strict supervision; I'd suggest having the toddler sitting in your lap.
This sounds like a great idea to reinforce the fact that your baby is 'higher ranking.
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Old 08-26-2004, 08:35 PM
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Brattina's got tons of experience with shelter and rescue dogs. She really knows what she's talking about.
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Old 08-26-2004, 11:26 PM
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Your dog is probably a bit insecure because of the new surroundings...It also seems like your dog might have a little bit of territorial aggression perhaps..try not to bother the dog if its eating or sleeping in its bed..since the bed is probably the only place it feels secure right now..

Also, you probably already know, but I'm just repeating myself...never leave your child unsupervised with the dog..or any animal for that matter..I always stress that a dog needs their space...in other words..no tugging, pulling, screaming in the dog's face, etc by the child...and simply backing off and letting the dog have some time alone when it needs it..

Back to the problem at hand..I would call up a behaviorist or a trainer and ask them exactly what to do..it would probably be a wise idea to take the dog to a few training classes...you wouldn't believe how these classes create a stronger bond between owner and dog..I used to teach a training class and train some problematic dogs on the side...once a week for 7 weeks and you wouldn't believe the difference...the owners agreed that they had a stronger bond with their pet...that the dogs were more secure and sure of themselves..and best of all, well..they were obedient..

Anyways..you have some good advice from some people in here to get you off on the right foot... keep us updated and good luck.
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Old 09-05-2004, 04:43 PM
K train K train is offline
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Well in my opinon Grace just gave some HORRIBLE advice. The only reason you should keep your dog from going outside like that is if you like the smell of pee on your carpet. A dog isn't going to understand why you're putting food infront of him and not allowing him to eat and the is just cruel. You don't want to punish the dog for wanting your attention. Remember this dog is suppose to be YOUR FRIEND if your friend wants your attention you should feel happy that he wants it. If you make him think that when he wants your attention all he gets is work as someone puts it then he's not going to want your attention anymore. The dog's instincts are coming in with your child, children don't mix with dogs all the time. Children aren't as big as you so the dog doesn't feel that they have much authority over them. If this is such a big problem perhaps you should take him back and get a new dog and perhaps try a female. Females are more tolerant to younger members of their pack than young dogs males are suppose to be dominant to teach their young ones their place. Your family is the pack he's trying to show the young one that he is the young one and nipping is something that breed of dog does. I really really hope that you did not follow the advice you were given that poor dog is more than likely really confused. If you don't want to get rid of this dog since he does seem to be such a great dog besides the one problem there is something else you can try. Stay around your dog when he's around your baby and watch them closely if he behaves in a way you don't like them then it is time for dicipline start off with a rolled up news paper.
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