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Hi there!
We have an 11 week old, male,standard poodle puppy. He is not our first Spoo but he is our first puppy after having our kids. Our old Spoo was 8 when our oldest boy was born and loved having kids around. I have experience with dogs, just not with dogs and young children.

We've had the new puppy, Jasper, for two weeks and in the last two days he has decided that the three year old should be below him on the pecking order. Jasper challenges our youngest all.the.time. if he thinks I can't see him or am out of arm's reach. The verbal correction that gets him to stop other behaviors does not work with this so I have started tethering the dog to me. I don't feel keeping the dog away from the children altogether will help the puppy learn how to interact appropriately with them. The children do not torment the dog-it's a zero tolerance rule in our household and I've been close enough to see (just not stop) the offences. The couple of times I have been close enough to get hands on the puppy after he tries to dominate (by mounting, nipping at clothes, hands or feet, chasing and jumping up) I have put him in a submissive posture until he submits. It seems to make no difference long term as he will go right back to the behavior 2 minutes later if he thinks I'm not watching or close enough to catch him.
Help a tired mom out!

Any advice? Give it to me straight-what am I doing wrong?
TIA-
Dina
 

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Have the kids be the ones giving treats and praise too. I only do supervised contact with my kids/poodle, because he wasn't around a lot of kids before we brought him home. I have my older son (he's four) have Captain sit and give him a treat when he responds appropriately, and then he can be petted for a short time. For my younger son (he's 2.5, harder for the dog to understand and not much taller than the dog), I make sure to pick him up while I give the sit command, then my son can give the treat and pet him for awhile. I have the kids try to do a lot of things with the dogs, but when things get overwhelming for everyone involved, the dog gets pet, let out and then crated for awhile. Honestly, it takes time, and persistence and consistency to fix problems.
 

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Okay the thing is that by you putting the dog into a submissive posture he submits to you not the kids. He won't rationalize that you are doing this FOR the kids. He sees you making him submit and then he does. If the kids do things like command and then treat after he complies, he will learn that they have power over something he likes and food is a good motivator in dogs. I had my daughter feeding Harry when this started happening in our household, and had her put him in a sit before I'd let her put the bowl down. My daughter is 2 but he got it eventually and he does downs for her for no treats now. Do not allow any bad behavior and I'd even do timeouts in the crate if he is not able to behave. Kids are puppies to a puppy so until he's old enough to see them as humans you have to be in charge of the situation at all times. Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with separating him from the kids at all times until he's older and more trained. It's not going to not "unsocialize" him with them. He will learn positive behaviors along the way by you being there 100% of the time and correcting or providing positive rewards. I don't let my kids stay alone in a room with either of my dogs yet the dogs will comply with their commands when they ask it of them and they would play and chase a ball if one of them threw it. So my advice is to keep them away from each other unless you can be there and observe 100%.
 

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My spoo is 12 months and the first dog sense having kids too. It's harder...Now we have a great dog (except he jumps the fence:doh:) He knows how to play with the kids. (ages 6 and 5) I don't know what we did right with that part LOL! I used a play pen a lot till he could jump out. (still my problem) Then I moved the kennel where he could see us. If there was any time I was busy he had to stay away from the kids.

I know that the worst problem we had was around 3/6 months when he wanted to nip at them lots of ruined clothes we did puppy kindergarden with him and the trainer said to have the kids put something in his mouth. We had toys left all over the house. My girls also feed him and let him outside.
Like the PP said you will have to watch him all the time until he gets the picture. It does get better.
 

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This is an 11-week old baby, and what you've described is typical puppy behavior having nothing at all to do with dominance, or your puppy thinking he's higher in the "pecking order" than your 3-yr. old child. Mounting, jumping, chasing, and nipping at clothing, hands, or feet are normal puppy play behaviors.

Rather than focus on what you don't want Jasper to do, think in terms of what you do want him to do, and then ask for it, and reward for compliance. Teach him to sit. When he starts to jump up, ask for a sit, and then reward. It's simple, really: ignore unwanted behavior, distract and redirect, following up with positive reinforcement.

Forcing a puppy into a submissive position doesn't teach him anything other than you're unpredictable and maybe even scary. It more likely will damage your relationship, cause more problems in the long run, and solving none.

From Sophia Yin:
Dominance in Dogs | Dr. Sophia Yin
QUOTE:
"Some owners may also incorrectly try to pin a dog on its back and reprimand it if the dog has misbehaved in some way. This treatment is based on an incorrect understanding of what happens in the wild. For decades trainers have assumed that higher ranked wolves pin lower ranked ones in this alpha roll as a powerplay. In reality, it's not the higher ranked wolf that forces the lower one down, rather the lower ranked one offers this ritualistic posture as a sign of deference the way one might bow or kneel before royalty. Consequently a more appropriate term for this posture would be a submissive roll (Yin 2009)."

And,

Why Won't Dominance Die? | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

QUOTE:
The “pack” and “dominance” theory of domestic dogs is a harmful meme. It prevents many owners understanding their dogs, causes untold misery for both and is perpetuated by well-meaning but uninformed dog trainers around the world. It is proving extremely resistant to extinction.

Here's another by Kathy Sdao:

http://www.kathysdao.com/articles/Forget_About_Being_Alpha_in_Your_Pack.html

Young children get dogs riled up with their jerky movements and shrill voices, so interactions should be supervised at all times. Children should never be allowed to get down on the floor with the puppy, or run. If/when Jasper gets overstimulated and starts with the nipping, mouthing, jumping up behavior, then play time is over.
 

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I agree that while nipping, chasing etc may be normal puppy behaviors, that they are totally inappropriate in a family situation. This is why I so often recommend that people do not get puppies with children this young in the house. Little kids get puppies riled up and it is exasperating to manage and supervise the situation.

First..... puppy and kid do not get to interact unless you are directly supervising. This means that you should tether puppy or set up an X pen in your kitchen/family room. This way puppy can be with people but contained and controlled. Puppy needs to be quiet in X-pen. Use squirt bottle to enforce this.

Next..... multiple times a day ON LEASH, have kid and puppy interact. I like quiet time where kid can sit on the floor and hold and pet puppy. This is training time so puppy should be a good citizen. Any mouthing, jumping, or humping gets a strong collar POP and a firm QUIT! Good quiet behavior gets PRAISE (don't party too much with the praise or you will get puppy too excited).

Next.... by 11 weeks your puppy should be retrieving to hand. This is an excellent exercise that even your 3 yr old can do with the puppy. Do it indoors. I do it in my galley kitchen so that the puppy does not have distractions or too much room to do anything other than go out and come back. Again, supervised and on leash, have the kid hold puppy in lap. Have kid toss small ball . I like the soft ones they make for cats, but be careful that they are not too small that they can be swallowed. Puppy goes and gets ball PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. Ideally he will bring it back to kid and kid can take it out of puppy's mouth. Treat! If the puppy does not come back, have kid reel him in. This sets up the relationship that puppy works for kid. (If puppy does not retrieve well, you are going to have to teach him.... that is for another post).

I would have kid start walking puppy around on leash in house. SUPERVISED. If puppy starts to jump, show kid how to give collar pop. Teach kid how to correctly tell puppy to SIT. Teach kid how to time the giving of treat. Graduate to walking outside. Use a pinch collar if puppy pulls or is unmanageable.

I would have 3 yr old feed puppy every day. Have kid make puppy sit before he gets the food.

DO NOT ALLOW PUPPY ON FURNITURE AT ANY TIME.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the replies and help! I'll definitely start implementing some of them right away to see what works and go from there. :)
 
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