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Old 02-01-2013, 07:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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We are new owners facing a lot of trouble and we need a lot of help. We love our poodle pup, but he is showing aggression towards some of our children and tried to bite one of them. Anyway, that's why I'm here. Well, and I needed to get some info on what to tell the groomer tomorrow.

Sorry, as a mom of 6 children I am fairly confident and other people come to me for advice. As a mom of one adorable poodle pup I am heartbroken that we have done something wrong and might have to get rid of him. My children love him and will be heartbroken too. My vet says that my children's safety has to come first, yet as she says it Obie is laying at my feet letting one of the kids pet him. My dog is Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

Ugh. I'm crying and looking at pictures trying to figure out what my pup needs done tomorrow and wondering if he will still be my pup next week. Sigh....
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe your children are accidentally scaring him. Could you give them training in how to be calm around dogs?
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've got two young children (2 and 4) and occasionally they can be rough with my dogs. Even our most laid back gentle guy has snapped at my daughter for pulling ears/tails. I'm not condoning snapping, but I'm also not going to let my kids get away with harassing the dogs. I'm not saying your kids were being rough with the dog, but if the dog isn't used to kids, kids can be really scary. I would make sure they all understand how to handle the dog and how to play appropriately with it, because sometimes rough play can encourage biting and bad habits. That's how puppies play with each other. I would find a training class the whole family can attend to learn how to help you and the puppy he's learning too. Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I should give more info. I have 6 children and as far as I am aware none of them have been mean to this puppy since the very first day when we had to tell the 6 year old that he could not pick up the puppy and try to carry him. They were all very energetic in their greeting of the puppy and we quickly instructed them each as to what they could and could not do with the dog. It's been a while since I've had a dog, but I know generally kids are more a danger to a puppy than the other way around.

Obie has become progressively more aggressive over the past 3 weeks. First there were a couple of issues where he growled at someone while he was eating. The child in question in those cases had not touched him, but gone near. We had each of the children take turns feeding him, even giving him food from hand. No more problems with food (though we do not encourage them to mess with the dogs food when he is eating.) Then Obie would growl when someone took away his cotnraband chewing items (hats, socks, etc.) We worked ont hat, problem solved, mostly.

Then it all got very scary very fast. I was sitting on the couch nursing my 1 year old. Obie was on the couch next to me. My 7 year old walked up to me (he was awake and saw her coming) to get info on her next chore. She smiled at him and went to pet him and he growled. I took his muzzle in my hand and said, "No." I told her to pet him again. He growled again, I repeated the muzzle hold and said no. She reached down to pet him again and he lunged and bit at her hand. She thankfully pulled back and he got nothing but sweater. I put him in his kennel until I could get the baby and my other two little ones down for a nap. I didn't feel they were safe around him and he definitely needed a moment to compose himself. He knew he had done wrong.

The next two days, if he walked past her or she past him he growled. Every time I or my husband took his muzzle in my hand and said no. I thought it was just her and I had a long talk with her, the 7 year old, trying to figure out if she did anything. She is a sweet girl and was puzzling through trying to think of what she might have done. I really don't think she did anything to him at all short of accidentally stepping on him when we were all getting used to having a puppy underfoot. I double checked with my other children, older and younger and all have the same story, she is innocent. They definitely would have let me know otherwise.

This was further reinforced by Obie's behavior yesterday. I took him to the vet to make sure there was nothing wrong with him. The vet said he probably needed to be rehomed since he was a threat to our children. So, I was a bit stunned and, actually, she did not ever even look at the dog. at least she did not charge us for the visit. Anyway, we came home and I was keeping him in the kitchen and the younger children in the living room while I made dinner. My four year old (who dearly loves this pup and is dearly loved by Obie in return) let him out of the kitchen as she was walking out. He hopped on the couch and she plopped down next to him. I knew he was out when I heard him growl at her. I came and told him no and got him off the couch and told her to not sit next to him again. When she came into the kitchen for dinner the dog growled at her. I am certain my 4 year old has never done anything to Obie.

So, what research I have done has clued me in that dear Oberon shall find himself residing only and always on the floor. No more sleeping on the couch or bed for him. Sad, as we love cuddling him, but kids safety comes first. We have also stepped up having the kids feed him, give him treats. We are looking for a trainer to help us. We thought we could do it on our own. We had dogs before and trained them both with no problems. Apparently, when children are in the mix things are different.

However, at the same time, I keep hearing the vet saying that my children are not safe with him. She was certain we could not keep him. My friend who is training to be a dog trainer said the same. So, I'm researching what to do to help him, but at the same time, our "professionals" are advising us to rehome him. He's 7 months old. My cousin has his sister and she has none of these issues. Her dog is docile and fairly calm. Our Obie seems to have become more energetic and aggressive since he was neutered.

Are we being foolish to consider keeping him? I tend to think that every dog could be aggressive like this. So, rehoming him and getting another puppy doesn't eliminate the possibility of running into this again. Also, with the other children (12, 9 and 6) we have no problems. The 7 and 4 year old are our problems at the moment and of course I am a bit terrified at the idea of letting our 16 month old near him, but she toddles around the house looking for him. She can't say mama, but she says, "Ob'on, cuh!"

I don't want to get rid of him, but I don't want to endanger my children either. I don't knwo what to do.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Dogs can sense the difference in children and adults. I would instruct children to ignore Obie, and Obie to be in crate when children are around. Complete separation for a while, so that everyone feels safe. I would try that before giving him up.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama24_7 View Post
I should give more info. I have 6 children and as far as I am aware none of them have been mean to this puppy since the very first day when we had to tell the 6 year old that he could not pick up the puppy and try to carry him. They were all very energetic in their greeting of the puppy and we quickly instructed them each as to what they could and could not do with the dog. It's been a while since I've had a dog, but I know generally kids are more a danger to a puppy than the other way around.

Obie has become progressively more aggressive over the past 3 weeks. First there were a couple of issues where he growled at someone while he was eating. The child in question in those cases had not touched him, but gone near. We had each of the children take turns feeding him, even giving him food from hand. No more problems with food (though we do not encourage them to mess with the dogs food when he is eating.) Then Obie would growl when someone took away his cotnraband chewing items (hats, socks, etc.) We worked ont hat, problem solved, mostly.

Then it all got very scary very fast. I was sitting on the couch nursing my 1 year old. Obie was on the couch next to me. My 7 year old walked up to me (he was awake and saw her coming) to get info on her next chore. She smiled at him and went to pet him and he growled. I took his muzzle in my hand and said, "No." I told her to pet him again. He growled again, I repeated the muzzle hold and said no. She reached down to pet him again and he lunged and bit at her hand. She thankfully pulled back and he got nothing but sweater. I put him in his kennel until I could get the baby and my other two little ones down for a nap. I didn't feel they were safe around him and he definitely needed a moment to compose himself. He knew he had done wrong.

The next two days, if he walked past her or she past him he growled. Every time I or my husband took his muzzle in my hand and said no. I thought it was just her and I had a long talk with her, the 7 year old, trying to figure out if she did anything. She is a sweet girl and was puzzling through trying to think of what she might have done. I really don't think she did anything to him at all short of accidentally stepping on him when we were all getting used to having a puppy underfoot. I double checked with my other children, older and younger and all have the same story, she is innocent. They definitely would have let me know otherwise.

This was further reinforced by Obie's behavior yesterday. I took him to the vet to make sure there was nothing wrong with him. The vet said he probably needed to be rehomed since he was a threat to our children. So, I was a bit stunned and, actually, she did not ever even look at the dog. at least she did not charge us for the visit. Anyway, we came home and I was keeping him in the kitchen and the younger children in the living room while I made dinner. My four year old (who dearly loves this pup and is dearly loved by Obie in return) let him out of the kitchen as she was walking out. He hopped on the couch and she plopped down next to him. I knew he was out when I heard him growl at her. I came and told him no and got him off the couch and told her to not sit next to him again. When she came into the kitchen for dinner the dog growled at her. I am certain my 4 year old has never done anything to Obie.

So, what research I have done has clued me in that dear Oberon shall find himself residing only and always on the floor. No more sleeping on the couch or bed for him. Sad, as we love cuddling him, but kids safety comes first. We have also stepped up having the kids feed him, give him treats. We are looking for a trainer to help us. We thought we could do it on our own. We had dogs before and trained them both with no problems. Apparently, when children are in the mix things are different.

However, at the same time, I keep hearing the vet saying that my children are not safe with him. She was certain we could not keep him. My friend who is training to be a dog trainer said the same. So, I'm researching what to do to help him, but at the same time, our "professionals" are advising us to rehome him. He's 7 months old. My cousin has his sister and she has none of these issues. Her dog is docile and fairly calm. Our Obie seems to have become more energetic and aggressive since he was neutered.

Are we being foolish to consider keeping him? I tend to think that every dog could be aggressive like this. So, rehoming him and getting another puppy doesn't eliminate the possibility of running into this again. Also, with the other children (12, 9 and 6) we have no problems. The 7 and 4 year old are our problems at the moment and of course I am a bit terrified at the idea of letting our 16 month old near him, but she toddles around the house looking for him. She can't say mama, but she says, "Ob'on, cuh!"

I don't want to get rid of him, but I don't want to endanger my children either. I don't knwo what to do.
I am not an expert or anything, but my dog sometimes shows some aggression too.

This is the reason why. It all started when we went on vacation for two weeks. We practically spent 24/7 together so he became really attached to me and over protective towards me. Now when my mom comes near me when I'm sleeping (since Teddy and I sleep in the same bed) he growls at her. It has nothing to do with her because in other instances Teddy loves her. Its just in situations like that. Or when Im carrying him and people get close to me he sees them as a threat.

Maybe your pup became really attached to you and feels like the kids are a threat?

Maybe all the commotion kids make when they play makes him scared of them, since he's small and they are soo big compared to him?

What I do is make my mom give him threats when im in bed and she comes near. It has been helping.
Teddy and I go to training classes and the trainer always tells me to have people give him threats so he could associate new people with a good thing.

She also told me that sometime when he's in the floor and people tower over him he feels like they are invading his space. He doesn't show aggression he just gets scared. But everyone is different and maybe you pup deals with fear by showing aggression.

I'm sure the problem could be fixed with time and patience, if Cesar Millan could "fix" dogs, then I'm sure it can be done, but your right you shouldn't put your kids safety at risk.

I hope you find a solution
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It sounds to me that your pup thinks he ranks higher than the children in the pack. I would get him in some training right away. I hope this can be worked out , so sorry.
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I think you can overcome it if you are really committed, but it's going to take a hecka lot work. You are right to look into training, because training really reinforces trust and connection between the dog and owners, besides correcting the specific behaviour. Also, he needs lots and lots of exercise as an outlet. But I agree with the post above that if you are going to work on this behaviour, you're going to have to separate Obie from the kids all the time except for the specific occasions that you are working with him, because you need to make sure that each interaction between him and your kids is positive until the behaviour is natural to him. The kids are going to have to be trained too, so that there is no spontaneous petting or interactions without you right there instructing when/how. But having said that, do you have the time and energy for it? Or do you think it might be better to find a home for the dog with no kids (or maybe one or two older kids) where Obie would himself be more comfortable? It's a tough situation, and I feel for you!
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi there, some dogs just aren't meant for busy homes with lots of kids. It sounds as tho your dog has potential to do some harm.

2 options i may recommend. 1- private assessment by a reputable dog trainer. Perhaps contact your local animal shelter and see if thy have a trainer come into asses dogs to see if they are suitable for rehoming. These trainers usually have more sense of aggression in dogs as these are the ones they are usually called to asses. They may be able to help you with your decision.

Secondly call the breeder where you got the dog. Question them as to the other dogs personalities or problems. How were the parents? Were you able to meet both?

We had the same issue with a past dog we owned. We did have to rehome the dog as she also had the potential to bite. We were heart broken, but so relieved when she wasn't with us. A pet should be a joy and trusted part of the family.

Make your decision with your family's safety in mind.

Good luck :0)
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Just my two sense. Your children's safety should come first, but this does not feel like an aggression towards children. It could escalate into an aggression towards children very, very fast though.

This sounds like food guarding and resource guarding (which is of his toys, and his spot beside you on the couch/bed/"good" spots). He may also not respect your children if they don't individually train with him.

How old is he?

I would probably hire a dog behaviorist to come to your home and asses the situation. Maybe with 6 children it's too stressful for your dog, perhaps it's something else all together. They can help you pin-point the issue, and help you deal with the resource guarding. Get him down off of all the furniture as soon as possible. Start adopting a "nothing is free" regimen with him where he must always perform "something" before he gets his resources/affection/attention. I would also probably tether him by a leash ALL the time, to keep an eye on him and keep him from assuming location guarding.

I would also highly recommend hiring a VERY good training to do a 1 on 8 with the children, you, and Obie. Your kids have to treat him like a dog, and ask him for respect, just like you have to do. Having a good perspective on how to do this would be a great step.

I would then enroll in a SMALL class with him, you, and your oldest kids so that your kids can continue to learn about him, dogs, and so that he will learn that the kids are the boss, too.

It's not going to be an easy fix, and I am sure that with having six kids that even a super-mom like you has to sleep. There would be absolutely no shame in finding him a home and waiting for the children to get a little bit older before trying again for a dog.
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