We just got Penny a week ago. She is about a year old. Sweet as can be, lets the kids pull on her, walk her around, take things from her, stick their hands in her mouth, etc. She takes whatever they dish out, basically. She is smart, is training quite easily. However, the past few days she has started growling at my husband and kids if they come and hug her while she is laying down or sleeping. She isn't showing teeth or snapping. Just letting out a low growl, like a warning that she does not want to be bothered. It does, however, make me nervous. We haven't known her long, nor do we know her past. I don't "think" she'd bite, but I really have no idea. I don't like taking the gamble with my children's well-being, you know? They are only 4 and almost 2. I can teach the 4 year old to leave her alone when she sleeps, but not the younger one. Would you attempt to "train" it out of her somehow? WOuld you trust that that would work? Penny is foster to adopt, so we do have the option to help her find a more suitable home if necessary.
She might have had a bad experience at one point while asleep with people touching her. One time when I was in 4H I was at an instructors house and her dog bit me because I didn't know NOT to touch the dog when it was asleep even if it was on my lap.
I DO think you can train an almost 2y/o to NOT touch the puppy while its asleep. Kaden, my son JUST turned 2 the end of may and we got Dakota mid March. Id do a combo if teaching BOTH kids not to touch the dog while shes asleep and maybe if shes ready to sleep take her, or the kids to another room so that shes not being messed with. You could also give her a crate that is HER home. Train her to go in there to take a nap and sleep, and teach the kids that is HER home!
Good luck and I hope some other people on here can give you some more help.
To many dogs, hugging is not a sign of affection - indeed, it can be construed as a serious threat. Add the fact that she is still not settled in and bonded with your family, and you have compounded stress as well.
Children (and husbands) need to learn to respect the dog's space. Get her a crate to sleep in, or a dog bed in a corner, and make sure that the kids know that it is absolutely off limits.
And put in a call to a trainer/behaviourist who can show you desensitizing protocol so that Penny realizes the kids are not threats.
Thanks for the help so far. We do have a crate on its way, and I was thinking the same thing, helping her learn that is her special "off-limits" space. It's not like she can go hide under a bed when she doesn't want to be bothered LOL, not at 65lbs. I am working on the kids and not bugging her while she sleeps. It just makes me nervous. Like maybe she is getting more comfortable with us now and showing more of her "true" self???? Or like you said, perhaps she had a bad experience being touched and she just needs to be retrained. If you saw what she lets the kids do to her without her even trying to "escape" you'd be shocked that she does this. (not that I let them abuse her or anything; they are still learning what is and isn't ok to do our dog) If we didn't have young children I wouldn't be so concerned, I certainly don't go bugging her when she sleeps LOL (and it's funny that I can't replicate the situation and make her growl at ME...but DH can. I'm her pack leader??? Do the others need to be made more into "pack leaders" too? I'm the caretaker of the family so maybe I'm off-limits?) I'm going to contact a trainer tomorrow night, but I'd love to hear more of everyone's suggestions, experiences, and opinions!
you have ONLY had her a week and so Id give her a little more time. When you are able to touch her, along with the rest of the gang, give her special treats and let her know how good she is.
I think you really need to find a GOOD trainer. Not just someone out of the phone book. See if they have have had to deal with something like this before. she HOW they plan on dealing with it and such, you wouldnt want to make it worse than what it already is!
If you can give her a special blanket or towl to sleep on till your crate gets there. then when the crate gets there put it IN the crate. thats her special blanket and will make it her special crate. You MIGHT have trouble with your youngest one trying to get IN the crate. Both kids need to know that is HER special place.
Kaden wont stay out of out 2 crates. this is him at 1.5
I really don't know and I'm certainly not an expert on dog behavior, but here's my two cents anyway: :P
I don't think she is probably fully comfortable there after only a week. So, I don't know if this is "true colors" or "I'm nervous because I still don't know what's going on here." It was at least a month after we adopted Simon before we got a good reading on his true personality.
I wonder how they are touching her, where they are touching her? Could it be that they are touching her in a place that is sore or tender? Are they touching her in the same way as you, or differently?
I have known of some dogs that don't like to be disturbed while sleeping. I have known of some people like that too. My mom, for one. If you woke her when she wasn't expecting it, she would go all wild-eyed, and if she was a dog, she'd have bitten me! So, maybe it's just a personality quirk.
But, I am not sure how you could tell for certain if this growling was going to escalate to biting. ??? You certainly don't want to put your children in any kind of danger. Especially the youngest, who I would think might have a hard time grasping this situation.
Absolutely give her a safe place to sleep, and make sure the kids don't try to turn it into a clubhouse. This space should be hers and hers alone.
I don't know...if it's only while she's sleeping and she's otherwise very patient...maybe it's something that will pass.
I'm curious...when she growls at the kids or your hubby, what is their next move?
Connie and "The Boys":
Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD
Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever
Key words. You don't have any idea....and nor does Penny know what your kids intentions are. Being a foster mom for many Labs with no background provided - it is ALWAYS a rule in my house that there is no hugging, hanging, kissing or even getting in the dogs face until we are quite sure of the temprement (and even then, there's no guarantee). When I began fostering, my kids were 3, 4 & 7, and if I ever had a dog over 6 mos., I didn't even like them to be on the floor with them. Obviously, that's a little harder with a 2 year old, but sounds like things for Penny are still very new. Do you know if Penny was ever with children prior to your own? Perhaps a foster family prior to joining your home?Originally Posted by True Blue
As others have mentioned, I would start some training with her. Please keep us posted, as I'm curious how this will all evolve for you and your family!
Brenda from Connecticut
I am going to go against the grain here and say that since you have the opportunity to rehome this dog in a more suitable environment, do so. You said you don't know this dog's past and while you can work with the dog and the 2 year old, can you really feel confident that the baby will always leave the dog alone when sleeping?
I won't go into details but my daughter was bitten and seriously injured, permanently scarred by a dog who was in a second home and who's past was unknown. Not our dog. You don't want to go through that. Trust me. I think the welfare of the 2 year old comes first and it sounds like the dog will be happier in a home without toddlers anyway.
Thanks everyone. Here are a few answers to some of your questions/comments.
DH purposefully provoked her to growl after she did it to our son. We waited til she was settled and comfy, and he sat in front of her and started petting her and rubbing her neck and hugging her and she growled at him. He does not normally just go over and bother her LOL.
Penny was in a foster home for a week before she got to us and never growled at a person. Before that, we have no history. She came from Louisianna, that's about all we know. I would say it's likely she has had something bad happen to her whether from humans or dogs. She has some scars that are finally growing back some hair on her tail and hindquarters. She is getting over ear infections, but no longer gets upset when we touch her ears. If it was related to that, then she should have been growling when we first got her.
When she growls at the kids, if I'm right there, I "pssshhhh" her and say now. DH, since he is doing it purposefully, does the same thing, and also gives a little collar tug.
Like I said, she lets the kids do ANYTHING to her otherwise. They get her to climb through toy tunnels, she lets the little one even lead her around the house by the collar. I didn't think she'd hurt a flea til Saturday.
Id have to say it has something to do with sleep then. get her a place that is her SPECIAL place and let the kids know its OFF LIMITS! Good luck!