Very serious behavior issue, please help
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Very serious behavior issue, please help

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Very serious behavior issue, please help

    We adopted our dog Turbo from a local shelter about a year ago. He is really wonderful and has been no trouble at all except that a few times he has aggressively barked at our your six year old which doesnt sit well with me but I also understand from the dogs persective that our son can be a little overwhelming at times. Recently though one our of six year old sons friends has become the object of aggressive barking and growling. From the time this little boy is ringing the doorbrll on the front porch to when he finally leaves our house our dog just seems to have a problem with him. We crate him when the friend is over but sometimes that can be for hours.
    I know the obvious answer seems like that the child has done something to our dog to make him act this way but I run a pretty tight ship around here and not much gets by me and I honestly dont think this child has done anything make Turbo act this way. I just dont understand it and would appreciate any insight into why he might be behaving this way.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3,193

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Dogs that are somewhat fearful can act this way in their home on their turf. My college-aged kid came home with a friend. The friend sat on the couch holding my fearful dog for an hour. They were the best of friends. Then the kid stood up and walked around. My crazy mutt followed. Then, the new friend bent over top of her and looked deeply into her eyes for a prolonged period of time. It creeped my dog out. She then ducked his hands and scooted out of reach and when her went after her to reassure her, she barked and ran away.

    Neither one did anything wrong. They had a "failure to communicate." When you own an edgy dog, the answer is crating or keeping the dog in another room or on a leash or a combination of the 3. No big deal. Allowing a bite to happen is a HUGE deal.

    Strange kids are creepy and unpredictable. If you can get them to ignore your dog at first, that's ideal. Then, if they can avoid eye-contact, pet under the chin only IF the dog comes to them first, toss treats gently... All of that helps. But safety first.

  4. #3
    Senior Member melgrj7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    3,804

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    For safety I would keep crating the dog when any of your son's friends are over. Even if your son or his friends haven't done anything to your dog he may have had bad experiences with little boys prior to you adopting him. Personally I would hire a trainer/behaviorist and start working on a counter conditioning program.

  5. Remove Advertisements
    DogForums.com
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    7,725

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I would do leash work starting with your son and throwing him treats, working around him adult like, etc. Try to get your son active in "training" him. Let him give him a treat, but make him sit first, things like that to build confidence in your dog around your son and boys like him. I'd also try making your son do this while standing near his friend. I'd only let them do it under adult supervision of course, and it'd be up to you to recognize your dogs signs of stress, fear, agression, etc, but I'm a fan of working through a problem, not locking it up.

  7. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3,193

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I believe in working through problems too, but if there is a child at risk and a dog at risk, I believe in not taking the risk without very competent help.

    A dog that is fear aggressive/reactive to children should not be around children without solid, professional help. The dog and the child are safe if they are separated.

    My reactive dog is a headcase. She competes in 3 venues and passed the Therapy Dog International registration test with flying colors. She had her CGC by 5 months. I don't shrink from a challenge, but I never take unnecessary risks either. If there were kids coming over, she would be in a crate in my bedroom or on a leash. It isn't worth testing an edgy dog with kids. Kids DESERVE to be safe.

  8. #6
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,615

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    I believe in working through problems too, but if there is a child at risk and a dog at risk, I believe in not taking the risk without very competent help.

    A dog that is fear aggressive/reactive to children should not be around children without solid, professional help. The dog and the child are safe if they are separated.

    My reactive dog is a headcase. She competes in 3 venues and passed the Therapy Dog International registration test with flying colors. She had her CGC by 5 months. I don't shrink from a challenge, but I never take unnecessary risks either. If there were kids coming over, she would be in a crate in my bedroom or on a leash. It isn't worth testing an edgy dog with kids. Kids DESERVE to be safe.
    This is good advice.

    The only way I would work on this is with a certified behaviourist with good positive methods to desensitize the dog...but I would STILL keep the kids and dogs separate. It's not fair to anyone to be put under the stress.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


  9. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    7,725

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Obviously the kids deserve to be safe, which is why I said to leash the dog. Caging it isn't going to help, but the more you bring the dog around said kids, the higher the chances of him getting over the issue, and as long as he's leashed, there should be no reason for any harm. So far it only sounds like barking and growling, so as long as the child doesn't step into leash distance, there shouldn't be a problem, and there obviously isn't much problem with the son already, besides the occasional barking, probably because the child did something to warrant it. Supervision and education solves that.

  10. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3,193

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    My concern about just working on it on leash is that it is really, REALLY easy to cross thresholds on fearful dogs. If you cross a threshold, you make the dog worse. Also, some dogs will try to cover a fear/defensive response, and if you misread it and let the dog and child get too close because it looks good, you can trigger a bite. Also, many dogs are much MORE fearful and reactive when leashed, so the very tool you are using for safety may contribute to the poor response. Having a talented trainer/handler/behaviorist present will allow you get the best possible read on the dog to try to resolve the issue. If you just try to wing it, you can make is so much worse. You can deepen the behavior.

    The child that the dog is responding poorly too is not the dog owner's child. The child would have to follow instructions very closely, and there really is no reason for the child to have to do this unless the child is very willing and his parents agree. If it were me, the dog would be put away and I would work on fear issues and training issues at another time with someone who could help me grow my skills and my dog's confidence.

  11. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Posts
    7,725

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I guess I just didn't read it to make it seem like a huge problem. It's barking; does anyone really know if it IS aggressively? I know a lot of dogs that bark and sound mean, but aren't. And she really didn't give any inclination that it was an aggressive or fearful dog to begin with, so my thought was "leash it, desensitize it, overcome it."

    Obviously, I could be completely wrong, but I'm just not the type to assume the worse to begin with I guess. Not that you're assuming, I just didn't understand it the way you did. If it was genuinely being aggressive, I would also recommend a behavioralist, especially if it's selective (not just one gender, age, etc). I just didn't imagine it being really aggressive, just barking.

  12. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Thank you all for your replies and imput. I really appreciate it very much. The reason that this is all so strange (and what I failed to mention in the OP) is that Turbo is a very calm dog. So much so that when he sheds, he lets me literally vacuum him. I put the hose right on him and he doesnt care, hes very chill, nothing really works him up except fireworks.
    Also, it doesnt matter what the situation is, he just doesnt like this little boy. If hes standing on the front porch, Turbo is growling at him. If Turbo is crated and the child simply walks past the crate Turbo jumps up and barks so mean at him so it isnt any one situation or senario that sets him off, its the child himself.
    Also I failed to mention in the OP that this childs family owns a pit bull. I have wondered if Turbos reaction could be from smelling the other dog BUT Turbo has always been fine around other dogs. He plays with them and gets along with with fine so I kind of doubt that that is the reason.
    I am going to call a trainer today who is known among our friends as being very good and knowledgeable and get Turbo enrolled in a class with him but this whole thing is just so strange and so worrisom to my husband and I, we simply can not tolerate aggression from any pet.

  13. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3,193

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I hope the very best for you! I think getting a trainer involved is a really responsible and smart move. I am glad you are taking the barking seriously and not excusing it or blowing it off. So many people wait for a bite before they react. By that time, it is often too late.

    Your dog sounds like a great pet.

    I have an old dog who is wonderful with people. She was walking into my kitchen while I was talking to my father in law. He didn't see her and swung a collapsable cooler at her while he was gesturing in our conversation. To this day, she will bark once or twice when he comes in and generally hates him. She won't get off the couch to crab at him, but she isn't going to forgive him either. He is unwilliing to make any effort to change her mind as he doesn't like dogs. So, I watch her closely. Perhaps this specific child did something that mattered to the dog. If I hadn't seen my "cooler" mishap, I would never have understood my dog's response to my father-in-law. No one meant any harm, but now they don't like each other at all.

    I hope everything goes well for you. You sound like a good owner.

  14. #12
    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Central IL
    Posts
    9,307

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    As a trainer I tell people some things can be trained/changed with a dog. Other things you change the environment such as crating your dog when this child comes over. As far as running a tight ship all us parents think we run a tight ship. Some times the ship springs a small leak.

    Dogs like people can also have personality problems with other dogs/people etc.

    Years ago I knew of 2 dogs that never fought with any other dogs. 2 GSPs (bird-dogs) and when entered in a trial both owners would say that the other owner could be a substitute handler. This way when they drew the braces to run these dogs they would not be braced together because if they were it was a fight to the finish or until the handlers could break them apart.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


  15. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    If I hadn't seen my "cooler" mishap, I would never have understood my dog's response to my father-in-law. No one meant any harm, but now they don't like each other at all.

    Thank you, I hadnt even considered that possibilty. That may very well be what has happened.

  16. #14
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    As far as running a tight ship all us parents think we run a tight ship. Some times the ship springs a small leak.

    I dont think that I do, I know that I do. I certainly am not suggesting that nothing gets by me, just that I make every effort to know whats going on in our home and and with our family.

  17. #15
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    7,942

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    When the dog is crated and this little boy is around, has anyone thought of giving the dog high value treats when the kid walks near the crate? just tossing them in there? Having the kid toss them in there?

    Point being the dog is getting something good when the kid is around and may start to associate good things with this kid being there.

    Have you son do it too.

    And if your son is overwhelming the dog, be sure everyone gets a time out. Dog will appreciated it. Son might not.

  18. #16
    Senior Member MegaMuttMom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,599

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    My son also has one friend who has set Cherokee off. The occasional stranger sets him off also. There never seems to be any reason that we can see, but I know my dog is very sensitive to people's moods and body language. Maybe he reads something into this kid that we don't? I also know this kid has lots of learning issues so, the times I have tried to help him learn how to approach Cherokee have been difficult. Maybe Cherokee senses the difference? The boy had trouble comprehending why, just because Cherokee has stopped barking, it doesn't mean he can then love on Cherokee, including walking straight up to him and patting his head. We have gotten to the point where Cherokee will take treats from the boy and lay nicely at his side. This boy is 15 years old and it still isn't relaxng with Cherokee so, when he comes over, I keep Cherokee with me, just to be on the safe side. If the boys were younger, I would definitely crate the dog.

    On the flip side, when my daughter has her friends over, they can't get Cherokee to leave them alone. He really loves his girls
    Sometimes dogs look silly when they sleep

  19. #17
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,615

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Young boys are the number one bite risk for dogs. Young girls and strange men come in second and third. Children do inadvertent things all the time that can trigger fear and/or chase and prey drive in dogs of all kinds. Most of them not on purpose, but enough to freak the dog out.

    Conditioning the dog to anticipate good things when the boy is around will make a difference but it is very important to keep the dog under threshold. The crate should be somewhere this particular boy cannot just walk by, you may want to consider covering the crate so the dog can smell him but not see him while the conditioning is in the early stages. Many dogs are cool as cucumbers ninety percent of the time (that is a good dog!) but still may be sensitive to CERTAIN movements or sounds or touches. Just because he doesn't mind the vacuum doesn't mean he wouldn't find you dropping a fork on the floor spooky.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


  20. #18
    Senior Member TxRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,420

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I could be a smell, it could be turbo senses this kid is uneasy about him, could be a lot of things.

    One thing I have used for this is teaching the kids how to interact with the dog, including having them run the dog through all it's commands with yummy treats for rewards and teaching them how to handle the dog, how to give it treats, teach the dog how to take teats from a kid and to mind their commands, and show the kids what not to do with the dog.

    It seems to help put both the dog and the kids at ease and get some sort of knowledge and expectations set between them.

    It is done under very close supervision by me, and I still don't let kids under about 10-12 interact with the dog without total supervision, but it does seem to help with an otherwise stable dog that isn't quite comfortable with the kids and the kids themselves to get more comfortable around each other.

    Only you can tell if the dog is too reactive, or just uncomfortable not understanding kids and whether or not to do this though.

    I'm a old life long bachelor with no kids in a large close family and none of my dogs are raised around kids, so I have to do this so family can come over and the kids all have loving memories of my dogs, even though the dogs started out growling and not being so kid friendly, they all ended up loving the little kids in the end.

    I'll have a whole new round of tiny tikes to introduce to my dogs soon as my 10 nieces and nephews are getting married and starting families now.
    Last edited by TxRider; 03-16-2010 at 03:25 PM.

  21. #19
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    7,942

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    I had a shepherd/husky mix (neuter) who did not do well with anyone with a learning disability or who was on dilantin for seizures. He obeyed me but growled.. so I just removed him from the area.

    This was years ago.. my gosh... 30 years... (YIKES!)

  22. #20
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    9

    Re: Very serious behavior issue, please help

    Thank you everyone. All of these suggestions and advice have helped. I appreciate it!

Quick Reply Quick Reply



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2 ©2010, Crawlability, Inc.