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We have recently started to foster a Lab/Doberman/Husky mix with the option to adopt. She is very even tempered for the most part. She is very well behaved and we are working on training in some areas which she is excelling quicker than I had thought. The only down fall is, she has bitten our 3 year old twice. Mind you, this was while my 3 year old was trying to push and get her to move when Maya (dog) did not want to. I do not feel we are dealing with an aggressive dog, just one trying to emphasis her boundaries.

How can I develop the relationship between my 3 year old and Maya? We are working with understanding boundaries and being genial with the dog. Should I be more concerned? I do not want to be that person who does not take is serious enough nor one who over reacts. I really want them to have a healthy relationship with respect for one one another. Is this unrealistic? Will the dog remain to see her as just another mate with no authority?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
the first time yes, they were playing with a toy and I think Maya went to grab the toy and got our daughter by accident. We have now learned that allowing a toddler to play tug of war can lead to accident and stick to fetch now. The second time I was there, my daughter was trying to get my attention while the dog was sitting next to me, she was trying to get Maya to moved and then shoved her really hard which promoted the second bite. This did not break skin. My daughter does not seem to be bothered by either bite and continues to play with Maya. We are working with our 3 year old to be gentile and respect boundaries, I just want to make sure we are doing the right thing or if there is more I can do.

**In addition, she does not growl. There was no warning so I'm not sure if that is something I should be concerned about as well.
 

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I think if you can teach your daughter not to touch the dog at all unless the dog comes to her it could work. If not, I suggest never leaving them alone together and not allowing your daughter much interaction with the dog until she is older.

The dog is probably still adjusting to her new situation and could be more defensive than normal. Or she could just not tolerate kids that much, it's hard to say.

Any bite should be taken seriously imo.
 

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The first bite does sound like an accident. I can't even count the number of times my dog has broken skin on my hands when we're playing tug or something. They hurt like heck, but the dog just missed, typically. They're more careful when you yelp and have to go bandage your hand! Simply teaching the dog to drop the toy at the child's feet can eliminate that problem.

The second bite was...I don't want to say justified, but it's understandable. The dog was shoved. Not appreciated. Kid shouldn't do that and needs to be taught boundaries. The dog could have been startled. If she's new, she might be a bit defensive, still. Some dogs just don't tolerate that kind of rough behavior from kids. Does the dog solicit attention from the child at all, or not really?

Honestly, if the dog is fine under normal circumstances and does not appear to be stressed by the child, the kid is the problem. Perhaps teach the child proper ways to ask the dog to move and include her in training sessions. I taught my dog to play the "find it" game with my niece. Both have super fun, and the only time they touch is when the dog takes a treat (gently!) from my nieces open hand.
 

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There are websites dedicated to helping families with dogs. I sent some videos to my son who has young twins and the daughter is one that loves bossing around dogs. Not good. She got it and is more respectful of the dog now. Other videos taught the twins how to act when dog got excited and bouncy and they soon learned to keep possessions away from the dog.

Here they are.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your replys. Maya (dog) is more attentive to me and our son (11). When she wants to play she does bring toys to our daughter and drops them at her feet. My daughter tells her to sit and she listens and waits for our daughter to throw the toy. We no longer let them play tug of war together. We are working with our daughter to be gentile and respect Maya when she walks away, not to chase or follow her around, to wait until she comes to her to play. Also when Maya lays in her bed that is a safe area. Our daughter is not allowed to bother her while she is in her bed, just so she has a place to go where she can feel safe to be alone.

@lillith What is the "find it" game and how did you teach your dog and niece to play it?
 

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Thank you for your replys. Maya (dog) is more attentive to me and our son (11). When she wants to play she does bring toys to our daughter and drops them at her feet. My daughter tells her to sit and she listens and waits for our daughter to throw the toy. We no longer let them play tug of war together. We are working with our daughter to be gentile and respect Maya when she walks away, not to chase or follow her around, to wait until she comes to her to play. Also when Maya lays in her bed that is a safe area. Our daughter is not allowed to bother her while she is in her bed, just so she has a place to go where she can feel safe to be alone.

@lillith What is the "find it" game and how did you teach your dog and niece to play it?
The 'find it' game is when the dog finds a hidden object or treat around the house. It's just a fun little game that the dog thinks is awesome and the kids get a kick out of. You can look up how to do it on YouTube, they give the best description.
 

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mabbot,

All the above is excellent advice from experienced owners but I'd like to add the following based on my experience:

Some dogs aren't ''growlers'' - growling is part of a sequence of warnings developed over thousands of years yet some dogs aren't as vocal about it as other dogs. It's basically the same concept as a scream in humans - some people will scream at the least provocation while others might take some more ''prodding'' to get to that point. The sequence I mentioned include a stare straight into the offender's eyes, upper lip curling upwards, the body curling up slightly to enable it to resort to a quick ''bite and retreat'' if needed. Most dogs will only resort to nipping or biting after some of these prior ''warnings'' have been deliberately ignored or missed in the dog's opinion...think of it as ''OK I warned you so now I don't have any other options''.

All of those things can lost anything from a split second to a few seconds so they're pretty tricky to spot and act on. That's why an experienced reward based trainer is a good option: he/she can spot ''warnings'' you don't see or forgot to mention.

Using the bed as a safe place for the dog is a very good option but personally I would include a certain distance of a few feet/metres around it for Maya to consider her private space. In the long run it's more work to teach your children not to bother the dog when she's in her ''territory'' but it's definitely worth it; after all defending one's territory is essential to survival.

All this is based on my experience only so some people might have varying opinions about it so find what works in your situation and stick to it.
 

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mabbot,

All the above is excellent advice from experienced owners but I'd like to add the following based on my experience:

Some dogs aren't ''growlers'' - growling is part of a sequence of warnings developed over thousands of years yet some dogs aren't as vocal about it as other dogs. It's basically the same concept as a scream in humans - some people will scream at the least provocation while others might take some more ''prodding'' to get to that point. The sequence I mentioned include a stare straight into the offender's eyes, upper lip curling upwards, the body curling up slightly to enable it to resort to a quick ''bite and retreat'' if needed. Most dogs will only resort to nipping or biting after some of these prior ''warnings'' have been deliberately ignored or missed in the dog's opinion...think of it as ''OK I warned you so now I don't have any other options''.

All of those things can lost anything from a split second to a few seconds so they're pretty tricky to spot and act on. That's why an experienced reward based trainer is a good option: he/she can spot ''warnings'' you don't see or forgot to mention.

Using the bed as a safe place for the dog is a very good option but personally I would include a certain distance of a few feet/metres around it for Maya to consider her private space. In the long run it's more work to teach your children not to bother the dog when she's in her ''territory'' but it's definitely worth it; after all defending one's territory is essential to survival.

All this is based on my experience only so some people might have varying opinions about it so find what works in your situation and stick to it.
Thank you WesselGordon for the information. I really feel this is just us all getting used to each other and Maya stating her boundaries. We are also continuing to work with our daughter on being respectful of Maya's boundaries. I have noticed when she has had enough she will come sit next to either me or my husband. I will have to start paying closer attention to make sure our daughter is respecting her when she is done playing or wants to be alone.
 
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