I was living in portland when I bought Sammie from a breeder as a pup 3 and 1/2 years ago. My son, his wife and his two little children live here in Colorado. For the first 2 years of Sam's life, I flew out to see the grandbabies 4 times a year and he was boarded. I had a group of friends in Portland that I spent a great deal of time with. We all had dogs and we walked every evening and went on camping trips and did weekend dinners and parties with our dogs. These friends either didn't have kids or their kids were grown. Sam saw kids at the dog park and on walks and he loved them.
I moved back here to Colorado a year and 1/2 ago. Sammie has gotten to know my grandkids and we have spent a lot of time together. Erika is 4 and Caleb just turned 6. Sam loves to play soccer ball with them and run around the yard and he follows them around the house. They wear each other out. My daughter-in-law has 4 sisters and there are 9 more young grandkids. Sometimes when I visit all 11 grandkids are there playing. Its a chaos that's as new to me as Sam.
I'm not a wrestly jump-on-a-dog person. So for sam's first few years, we play a lot, and he loves to sleep on my feet and he cuddles next to me at night but I've never gotten in his face, or laid on him or tried to climb on his back. he is used to playing hard and then settling down by feet or someone in my family's feet and going peacefully asleep...and not being disturbed.
When I'm visiting, playing cards, sam sleeping, the little kids come and go and come over and try to sit on him...check out his feet and tail, play on him with toys, etc. The other day, when sam wanted to settle at my feet while we watched the bronco's game at my son's house, my little granddaughter erika started following sammie around trying to climb on him "saying, grandma, I want to ride sammie like a horse." Sammie did a little growl as he moved away from her climbing on him. Just a growl. But boy, did it bother me! I told him to sit,...and made him sit by me. It ruined the game for me and the day. He went outside to play with the kids and gave them kisses as we left but I felt just terrible.
Sam has seasonal allergies and he is really itchy right now and he hurt his foot a little Saturday playing soccer ball with the kids. My son said, maybe Sammie just doesn't feel that well today. That was last sunday. I took sammie to the vet yesterday and had him thoroughly checked and got some doggy benedryl to use for the next two weeks.
I'm going to avoid some of the get-to-gethers will all 11 grandkids with sammie because they overwhelm me....but with smaller groups, especially with my two little grandkids I'm going to try to sent some boundaries about playing all over him while he is trying to sleep. If he ever does another growl, what is the best way to handle it...should I really aggressively correct him? I really don't think he would ever bite anyone...but I'm just worried.
Thanks for your input.
Okay I just went thru this with my nephew. Katie gave him a little leave me alone growl quite a few times. I basically told Dylan-----LEAVE HER ALONE! After the 5th time of saying this Katie finally had enough and snapped at him. Didn't connect, but none the less, SHE HAD ENOUGH. Dylan at that point was really yelled at and taken and put in the corner for time out.
I am sure it is just an off day. Aren't you grouchy when you don't feel too good?
Remember dogs growl as a form of communication and it's not always followed by a snap/bite. Also dogs have no hands to push.
I have two children - Mackenzie will be 6 next week and Morgan who just turned 2 years old. We have 10 year old Cuffy who is a growler/talker. When the girls climb on him or sit on his back when he is lying down and hug him around the neck he growls. When he was young and would get on the bed, sofa he would growl at even the sight of me coming in the room - I would give him the evil eye and he would growl and slink off the bed, etc. Bad boy! No amount of corrections will extinguish his growling and since we have had him for so long and know he is a big talker and has never snapped and does enjoy the kids (running around, etc) then we just say "CUFFY!" in a deep voice and let him be.
I don't know your dog but some dogs growl and never snap. If you are comfortable supervising everyone and simply telling the kids to leave him be when he growls then I would not worry about him doing anything else.
Hi Katie's Mom. All those little kids make me uncomfortable, let alone Sammie. :0) I guess I think of the great lab temperament as being unphased by kids playing all over them. Sam is the sweet, gentle boy and I was hoping he would take all the little kids in stride...but he seems to want his own space when he is resting and not playing.
Thanks for the response, Wigwag..I've always thought your Cuffy was a wonderful example of a lab. You've made me feel better. I'll keep a close eye on things and set some boundaries.
Hey when I resting don't freakin bother me or I WILL BITE YOUR HEAD OFF. Katie loves all kids and dogs, never has a problem, but Dylan gets on ALL our nerves. I want to punt that kid into my lake with cement shoes on him.
Sorry for the hi-jack, but HI SHARON (WigWag).
I worry about this too. Billie is slowly getting used to being around kids, and she's a hyper hyper hyper dog still at 3 years old.
I am on Rylee all the time not to hug her on the neck, grab her head, lay on her, sit on her, etc. I consider it the child's responsibility to learn that the dog is not a toy. I am also teaching Billie that the kid is not a toy.
I haven't had Billie in a group of kids. I don't trust her not to get riled up, run them over and steal their toys. She's play growled once and I shook her can of pennies at her (her punishment for major felonies) and when Rylee does something like yank on Billie's ears or tail or sits on her, she gets a timeout.
I explained it to Rylee this way - pulling Billie's tail is like pulling Rylee's hair. Pulling her ears is like pulling Rylee's hair really really hard. And so on. Things that bother the kids a lot. I explained it once and let her know that if she did it again she'd get timeouts. In Sammie's case I'd have a group explanation with the kiddos and then start letting them have it. I'm overwhelmed by roving packs of kids too and I have no qualms about shutting them down when they mess with my dog...or my horse, back in the day.
I think he just didn't appreciated being crawled on when he was trying to sleep. It sounds like he associates chilling out at your feet as a type of quiet/relaxing time, and I don't blame him for saying "Hey, back off!!".
I would definitely set boundaries with the kids - when I was little I was taught to always ask before petting a dog, never to go near a dog when it had a treat/bone/food, or to bug it when it was sleeping. I think it wouldn't hurt to teach this to the grandkids too, and of course, explain to them why.
Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.
Bear is also very vocal, but does not and has not followed with any type of snap. I know there are mixed opinions on this, but I personally would rather have a dog that gave some vocalization like leave me alone or stop it, than the next step of snapping. I think its a bad idea to extinguish a growl.