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Why not have a behaviorist or trainer experienced in dealing with aggression especially fear aggression and resource aggression come to your house, evaluate the situation, and advise you? That way you'd have expert, on site advice and could make an informed decision.

But, it does seem that your situation currently is not very stable and some dogs need a great deal of stability and structure. This dog may be one of those dogs and maybe would d better in a different home. But before re-homing him you need to get a professional evaluation to see whether or not that would be an appropriate alternative.
 

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I think that getting a behaviorist is a good idea. I think that crating is a bad idea, though, especially if the child would be in the same house as the dog. In my opinion, that's just a step down the path of barrier aggression. It's my opinion that if you are determined to keep the dog that you might want to board him when your little girl is around. However, I sincerely believe that you are taking a great risk by keeping the dog in your home and, as someone else pointed out, you might be putting your custody rights at risk. I can't tell you what to do, but if it were me, I wouldn't be putting my child or my custody of that child at risk. To me, it seems like a no brainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Not a bad idea. I called my vet and asked and the only person they could come up with is a local guy who does obedience and police/military dog training. I suppose I could give him a call, but how do you know if someone is really qualified to give you a valid opinion?
 

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The lady who runs Dogs and Storks actually accepts phone calls and letters, she has offered to help anyone who contacts her with advice and recommendations for behaviorists in their area.
 

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Not a bad idea. I called my vet and asked and the only person they could come up with is a local guy who does obedience and police/military dog training. I suppose I could give him a call, but how do you know if someone is really qualified to give you a valid opinion?
The vet doesn't always know the behaviorists or best trainers in the area. perhaps you could do some research on the internet...i don't know what area you are in...or if you are in a urban or rural area. That will definitely make a difference on how available a dog behaviorist would be.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Ok, well thanks for everyone's advice.

For the time being I've decided to give a go at seeing what I can do to improve his behavior, and to keep him separated or closely supervised when the kids are around.

Step 1, I've started the NILIF program. With both dogs actually, because while my beagle is much less problematic and is a bit of a couch potato, she has her share of listening problems as well.

Step 2, I'm going to set up a doggie bed and work on teaching them to go to it on command. That way, if it's active kid time and he's curled up sleeping, I can send him off and keep him safely out of the way. I'm also sincerely hoping that he'll find this a 'safe' sleeping place and will prefer to rest there rather than under all the commotion.

Step 3, we'll also be starting more rigorous training. I think a big problem we're facing now is that he's bored/anxious. Through the combination of training and the NILIF I'm hoping to reduce this. He's a pretty active dog and rather high energy and I think he get's bored and stressed just laying around. If it's been more than a couple of hours since a walk he tends to paw/yawn/yowl/etc. We'll try a kong with frozen peanut butter to see if that helps him pass the time between walks. There are a lot of things I'd like to do with him that I think would improve his behavior significantly like taking him jogging with me and going to the dog park, however before I can do that he absolutely has to be better behaved on a leash. He's very leash reactive and is a nightmare to walk and we'll be putting some really heavy focus on this so he can develop some manners. I think he'd really like jogging with me, but I can't go jog with a dog that lunges and barks at every dog/person in sight... But, if we could jog and go to a dog park a few times a week I think that would be a big help for his overall attitude. Looking at him, compared to when he had a big yard and a big playmate around, he just doesn't seem nearly as happy and well adjusted.

I currently walk him three times a day, for about 20 minutes each time. I'm going to try and bump my evening walk up to a longer one. Maybe longer morning walk on weeks I don't have the kids.

He's a sweet dog and I am thinking his current problems are coming from anxiety/stress/boredom more than anything, and I'm hoping through more training and exercise he'll be happier and less inclined to snap at the kids, or at least well trained enough to stay out of their way.
 

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Ok, well thanks for everyone's advice.

For the time being I've decided to give a go at seeing what I can do to improve his behavior, and to keep him separated or closely supervised when the kids are around.

Step 1, I've started the NILIF program. With both dogs actually, because while my beagle is much less problematic and is a bit of a couch potato, she has her share of listening problems as well.

Step 2, I'm going to set up a doggie bed and work on teaching them to go to it on command. That way, if it's active kid time and he's curled up sleeping, I can send him off and keep him safely out of the way. I'm also sincerely hoping that he'll find this a 'safe' sleeping place and will prefer to rest there rather than under all the commotion.

Step 3, we'll also be starting more rigorous training. I think a big problem we're facing now is that he's bored/anxious. Through the combination of training and the NILIF I'm hoping to reduce this. He's a pretty active dog and rather high energy and I think he get's bored and stressed just laying around. If it's been more than a couple of hours since a walk he tends to paw/yawn/yowl/etc. We'll try a kong with frozen peanut butter to see if that helps him pass the time between walks. There are a lot of things I'd like to do with him that I think would improve his behavior significantly like taking him jogging with me and going to the dog park, however before I can do that he absolutely has to be better behaved on a leash. He's very leash reactive and is a nightmare to walk and we'll be putting some really heavy focus on this so he can develop some manners. I think he'd really like jogging with me, but I can't go jog with a dog that lunges and barks at every dog/person in sight... But, if we could jog and go to a dog park a few times a week I think that would be a big help for his overall attitude. Looking at him, compared to when he had a big yard and a big playmate around, he just doesn't seem nearly as happy and well adjusted.

I currently walk him three times a day, for about 20 minutes each time. I'm going to try and bump my evening walk up to a longer one. Maybe longer morning walk on weeks I don't have the kids.

He's a sweet dog and I am thinking his current problems are coming from anxiety/stress/boredom more than anything, and I'm hoping through more training and exercise he'll be happier and less inclined to snap at the kids, or at least well trained enough to stay out of their way.

Good ideas. Make one of the walks a power walk. this doesn't mean walk fast or anything like that. A dog power walk is one where the dog is required to walk on a loose lead, by your side without pulling, lagging behind, sniffing, pottying, etc unless you first call a break. This uses the dog's mind and body.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Good ideas. Make one of the walks a power walk. this doesn't mean walk fast or anything like that. A dog power walk is one where the dog is required to walk on a loose lead, by your side without pulling, lagging behind, sniffing, pottying, etc unless you first call a break. This uses the dog's mind and body.
Yeah I'm still trying to figure out how to accomplish that one. The only major improvement we've had on our walks is with his leash reactivity, through the use of treats we've been able to focus on me and not the other dog. Through time I hope this will be his default reaction.

The other thing I haven't figured out is that sometimes I don't have a ton of time for a walk and he really needs the exercise, but I feel like if every walk isn't a training walk, then I'm really just confusing them and sending inconsistent signals (i.e. oh, sometimes it's ok to pull, sometimes not, figure it out). So I think since I don't have my kids next week, we'll just make sure every walk is serious training with a few sniffy time breaks.
 
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