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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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