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I pulled a blunder about a month ago, and adopted a dog I knew nothing about. The small rescue I adopted her from had literally pulled her from the pound that morning and brought her to their event. (We were actually on our way to a much larger rescue)As I had my daughters, 5 & 8, with me, we spent some time with her, both the kids loving on her, and she seemed to adore the attention.

We have been through a UTI and ear infection since then, and realized she is a bit of a fearful dog, especially with neighborhood fireworks. The biggest problem I have though, and the one I really don't know how to handle, is that sometimes (not every time), the dog is chewing on her rawhide and my youngest, who is five, comes close or touches her rawhide, she growls and has even snapped.

This dog is usually very gentle and submissive, and as I said, it only happens every once in a while, so it is always a surprise. I really don't think the dog is trying to bite, but I do know she is a bit uncertain of the 5 year old. When it does happen, I do correct both of them, and separate them, and usually take away the rawhide. Interestingly, it is only the rawhide that seems to cause this problem.

I do supervise interactions between the two of them, and I have been having both girls take part in play, training, and feeding of the dog. I especially have been trying to make sure that lots of good things come from the 5 year old. We have really been working on the drop it command. And I've been working with the 5 year old on how to interact appropriately with a dog.

Beyond this, I really don't know how to address this problem. Any suggestions, or am I doing the right thing?
 

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The rawhide is a very high value treat.
The best advice I could give would be to either not allow the dog to have the rawhides or always heavily, heavily supervise your children when she does have them. Do not let the child reach for the dog or the bone.
I'm sure others will step in behind me to offer better advice, but there's mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for your input, HallowHeaven! You gave me an idea that I probably should not have her rawhides just laying around, but should only give them when I can sit right next to the dog. I did keep her on a leash with me the first week or so, and now she pretty much stays in the room with me, but that is not 100% supervision.

I would still appreciate further advice on how to work on this...
 

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i wouldnt panic yet.

it takes a good 6-8 weeks for a dog to settle in. especially since the rescue doesnt really have any history on her- she could've come from a situation where food was scarce, and shes still trying to figure everything out.

I've only ever had two dogs (the two we have presently) that I would feel comfortable taking a high value treat from- and both were raised as service dogs, so they happen to have extremely good temperments.

when she has a rawhide, crate her and tell the kids they aren't allowed to approach the crate. you're doing the right thing, but keep in mind that dogs can't talk- her growl IS her way of saying "hey, back off, don't take this!"

this early in the game its much better to prevent than to treat. later on when you've all settled in you can work on this if its still an issue.
 

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I don't know the personality of your dog, but address this growling in a manner that your dog will understand: say NO firmly or whatever it takes to get her to understand that this is unwanted.
Please be careul doing this. Dogs dont generalize like we do- often the above correction results in a dog that provides no warning signs before it snaps or bites, because the dog has been "punished" for giving the warning sign, so they skip right to the next action.
 

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One thing you must never tolerate from a dog you're living with is growling. It may not bite now, just snapping and mock biting the air, but it will eventually lead to a full blown bite if it is not addressed. ALWAYS disagree with this behavior, don't shrug it off. The dog must know that this is an unwanted behavior from the start so that he/she knows that it's something that it shouldn't do to ensure not only you and your child's safety, but it's own as well. You do not want your dog going to the pound because it was misunderstood and or just didn't know any better.

I don't know the personality of your dog, but address this growling in a manner that your dog will understand: say NO firmly or whatever it takes to get her to understand that this is unwanted.

Another thing to do is don't ever give her high value treats she can possess such as rawhides. Ever.
But, If you do want to give her treats like this, then you must work on it everyday. Don't just give her the bone and then try to take it away, get her to earn it from you. With the bone in hand, show her that you are prepared to give her a treat and if she tries to take it away from you without giving her authorization, tell her no and wait until she gives you a polite response: ignoring the bone (not in a scared way) looking at you in the eyes (but make sure it's an eager look, like a 'okay! Tell me what to do now! I'm ready to learn!' look) Don't let her fixate on the rawhide.

I'm guessing that the your icon is her? She doesn't appear to be a very large dog, medium sized? If you have the knowledge and experience to actually try and get the bone back from her, always use your feet, never your hands (not until she's backed off and left the bone) but, leave that up to professionals if you don't have the know how.

Avoiding situation that provoke the aggression/fear/etc is one way to go about it, but it's better if your dog knows what to do when he/she is in those situations and the only way to do that is consistent training everyday.
Another method that might work would be giving her something else in return for the bone. Throw a treat a ways away from her bone so that she gets up and goes after it and you can retrieve the rawhide successfully. It would also help to give a command for this, as soon as she releasing the rawhide from her mouth give a command such as "drop it" so that she associates dropping the rawhide from her mouth with that command. Keep reinforcing that so that she'll eventually knows what it means.

Once she returns, show her that you have the bone and then again, make her earn it once more. Keep repeating this in segments throughout the day and she'll soon learn.

And make sure you are able to teach your child proper dog etiquette as well. It'll just make everything easier if everyone is on the same page. Good luck!
I completely disagree. Growling is a dogs way of warning to back off. If you punish growling, guess what? It will skip the growl (warning) and go straight for the bite. DO NOT punish growling. That is a dogs warning. Don't punish or ignore the warning, address it. Especially with kids, growling may be the only clear signal for them to back off. Much better for them to hear the growl, get scared, and then go tell mom that the dog was growling, then to have the dog bite the kids SEEMINGLY out of nowhere because growling (their warning to the kids) was not allowed. Dogs owners everywhere should be grateful that dogs DO growl. It is them letting another species know that something bad will happen if they don't back off/stop. Wouldn't you rather have a warning?
 

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The dog must know that this is an unwanted behavior from the start so that he/she knows that it's something that it shouldn't do to ensure not only you and your child's safety, but it's own as well.
no, no NO!! the growling is a WARNING, and helps prevent further snapping or biting!

(aka- this is NOT an unwanted behavior. Undesirable? maybe. but this is much preferable to a bite with no warning.)
 

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No no no no no.

Dogs resource guard. It's normal, and very treatable behavior.

My dog is awesome. A wonderful little sweetie who is so gentle, I thank my lucky stars for him every day. The first time I gave him a bone, he growled at me as I walked by. I've never done anything to him and he's very confident in my home. It's just resource guarding. I grabbed some lunch meat and threw pieces at him as I walked back and forth. I threw a piece across the room to get the bone back. By day 3, he stopped growling and starting looking up with anticipation to see what wonderful treat I'd give him next.

That being said, I wouldn't give Kabota a bone with my 3 year old niece around. I'm just not risking it. If I were you, I'd give the bone in a crate or while your child is napping or not there (at school, etc) kids have no sense. I can tell an adult, if the dog growls at you, back off and get me, but a child might well decide to grab the bone anyway.
 

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One thing you must never tolerate from a dog you're living with is growling. It may not bite now, just snapping and mock biting the air, but it will eventually lead to a full blown bite if it is not addressed. ALWAYS disagree with this behavior, don't shrug it off. The dog must know that this is an unwanted behavior from the start so that he/she knows that it's something that it shouldn't do to ensure not only you and your child's safety, but it's own as well. You do not want your dog going to the pound because it was misunderstood and or just didn't know any better.

I don't know the personality of your dog, but address this growling in a manner that your dog will understand: say NO firmly or whatever it takes to get her to understand that this is unwanted.

Another thing to do is don't ever give her high value treats she can possess such as rawhides. Ever.
But, If you do want to give her treats like this, then you must work on it everyday. Don't just give her the bone and then try to take it away, get her to earn it from you. With the bone in hand, show her that you are prepared to give her a treat and if she tries to take it away from you without giving her authorization, tell her no and wait until she gives you a polite response: ignoring the bone (not in a scared way) looking at you in the eyes (but make sure it's an eager look, like a 'okay! Tell me what to do now! I'm ready to learn!' look) Don't let her fixate on the rawhide.

I'm guessing that the your icon is her? She doesn't appear to be a very large dog, medium sized? If you have the knowledge and experience to actually try and get the bone back from her, always use your feet, never your hands (not until she's backed off and left the bone) but, leave that up to professionals if you don't have the know how.

!
I HIGHLY disagree with this advice. You never want to punish a growl. It is the only way a dog has of communicating. If you make them stop growling, they will go straight to biting. And putting your feet on a dog's bone/whatever they are guarding, is a sure way to get your feet bitten.

Look up resource guarding. Practice "trade up" games. Teach the dog to drop what hey have and trade up for a higher value item.
Only give high value items when crated, and keep kids away from crate, as mentioned by another poster. Do not leave high value items (anything he guards) laying around. Teach kids that if they want to pat the dog, they call dog to them, rather than approach him. That way they don't accidentally startle him awake.
 

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Did you even read my post properly? I mentioned trading games in my post. Seems like you just skipped right over it and pin pointed what you didn't like about that post.

I did. I was posting that I disagreed with the portion of the advice you gacve that I quoted because it can create a dangerous dog. The trading up part I agreed with.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you, everybody, for your responses. I appreciate the time and thought you took to reply.

Yes, Indie is medium-sized, under 50 pounds, and a very sweet, gentle dog. She does take the submissive posture frequently, and will even submissive urinate (or possibly fear). The urination was especially frequent when we still had occasional fireworks in the neighborhood (ugh it went on for weeks) and it would be time to go outside for the last potty break, she would urinate when I would try to get her to go out (she knows how to go completely limp, too, and pull backwards to get the collar off). However, most of the time she acts like a confident, happy house dog.

I want to clarify that Indie does not growl at me, my husband, or my eight-year old, and will give the rawhide up when I ask her. Most of the time I give it right back to her. The rawhide is also the only thing that seems to cause this response. We have been working on teaching the 5 year old how to be polite to a dog - teaching her not to follow the dog when the dog goes under the desk or in her crate, or take things away from her. We have also been working heavily on the "drop it" command, with everyone in the house giving the command, and working on some adolescent mouthing behavior. As I said - this has only happened maybe 3 or 4 times, with only one snapping - and we had been leaving the rawhide out.

I have not found a treat that she will even accept when she is distracted, which includes when we are in the backyard or on our walks, or upset. I have tried ham, plain baked chicken, cheese, "pupperoni", beggin' strips, and a couple of other commercial treats. She is not highly motivated by food or toys, though we are teaching her to play, she loses attention quickly on the game. She does seem to enjoy a petting as a reward in the house, but doesn't seem to notice outdoors.
 

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Keep in mind, she's still settling in. Many dogs won't accept treats when they feel stressed. Over time you might come to see that what you think of right now as "not food motivated" was really just Indie feeling stressed and insecure.
 

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My newest rescue Eddee has taken three months to actually settle in and show his true colors! Lol! He too ... had an issue with his "prizes" as I call them ... being disturbed. I played the trade-up game with him and used tiny pieces of a cut up hot dog as a trade. It did not take long ... as he seems quick to learn.

BUT ... Eddee had previously been an owner surrender and came with some not-so-nice issues. I am guessing he was taught that growling was not acceptable. I have been bitten at least four times while training him .... he never warns me ... and he goes straight for the bite! The only warning I get is his steadfast body freeze!

I allow growling as it is a way of communicating. I just wish Eddee knew he was allowed. :(
 

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One thing you must never tolerate from a dog you're living with is growling.
I, too, have to encourage the OP not to believe this. Growling is not the same as biting. It is communication, often a warning, and if the growling is removed, then you have a dog who is most likely going to go straight to the bite without giving you a chance to back off.
 
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