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On several occassions, my 4 month old puppy has growled/tried to nip small children. We aren't 100% sure what breed she is but think she may be a rat terrier mix. She doesn't do this all of the time....most of the time she is excited to see children but if they try to pet her, she occasionally does this. Any ideas on why she may be doing this? And how should I reprimand her when she does this? I don't want to worry about her being around children in the future....
 

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Great question, my adult chihuahua does this. She does not like people trespassing in her space (our home). What we do is on spot correction whether it be a stern "NO" or something like water from a spray bottle. This seems to curb the occurence but can't say it does away with it completely. Good luck and do post if you find a fail proof way to correct the behavior.
 

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Puppies can go through fear stages. You need to expose her to children in a safe way, where she can feel comfortable and have it be a good experience. Maybe start with older kids that will allow her to sniff them, and they can give her a treat. Avoid young kids that move quickly, and pat roughly. Let her get comfortable with older kids first. And with younger kids maybe have them just toss her a treat. Do not punish her for growling. She's telling you in the only way she can that she is scared or uncomfortable. Remove her from the situation. Gradually expose her to kids while keeping the interaction safe and comfortable for her. That may mean that little kids do not pat her right now. That's ok. Much better than having her be fearful, and a little kid pat too hard, and she growls or snaps and you punish which affirms that little kids=pain/bad things.
 

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our puppy at four months nipped the kids constantly! and she was with them all the time. We just taught them and the dog how to act, and a few months later she is much better. Just foldig their arms, standing still, saying "ah,ah!" not a punishment, just a deterrent. It is just that kids make movements and noises that are so enticing to puppies. I would try making an effort over the next few months to have her socialize with kids and hopefully it will get better. Maybe some kids that are confident with dogs and don't mind being guinea pigs and maybe getting a few scratches. I would think, IMHO, that over-reacting and keeping your dog away from all children would end up causing you to never be able to have her around kids, which is a bummer for everyone. Terriers may need more work than others with kids, but I hope you can figure something out. Again, only from my own experience, but you asked "why" would she nip: because little puppies nip little kids almost always, so give her time and training, this seems like normal behavior
 

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Your dog is telling you she is uncomfortable being petted by children. Don't reprimand her for this. If she thinks you don't want her to growl, next time she may skip the growl and go straight to a bite.

Let her have her comfort zone. Don't allow children to pet her. If she seems curious and relatively calm, let her approach them, but only one at a time. Which brings up another question: does your dog growl if it's just one child? If it's always when multiple children are around, she might be overwhelmed.
 

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Great question, my adult chihuahua does this. She does not like people trespassing in her space (our home). What we do is on spot correction whether it be a stern "NO" or something like water from a spray bottle. This seems to curb the occurence but can't say it does away with it completely. Good luck and do post if you find a fail proof way to correct the behavior.
Hate to hijack the thread, but I have to say something about this.
Yelling (which is what CAPS is related to on the internet) or spraying your dog with water is most likely going to make your dog dislike strangers even more.
Welcome to the wonderful world of chihuahuas, where strangers are a nono, and kids are even worse. Many chihuahuas are easily upset, and something like a spray bottle is probably going to make her associate discomfort with the people, not with the growing/nipping.
 

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I don't think this is hijacking- it's related and quite important. Corporal punishment usually doesn't have long-lasting results.



Hate to hijack the thread, but I have to say something about this.
Yelling (which is what CAPS is related to on the internet) or spraying your dog with water is most likely going to make your dog dislike strangers even more.
Welcome to the wonderful world of chihuahuas, where strangers are a nono, and kids are even worse. Many chihuahuas are easily upset, and something like a spray bottle is probably going to make her associate discomfort with the people, not with the growing/nipping.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
She's been around groups of small children and never growl or tried to bite. The weird thing is that the three times she has done it, it's only been when one child has tried to pet her. One time she was relaxing on the couch and the other time we were at a small soccer game.
 
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