4 months old boxer/pitbull growl and bark at my 2 year old daughter

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by coco, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. coco

    coco New Member

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    Okay this is my first time on a dogs forum because this is the 1st dog I've ever had. I got coco(dog) when he was 2 months old and he has been a great dog ever since with all of us wife, baby, and I but yesterday I filled up coco's bowl with food and I was watching him eat then my daughter came along and sit right next to coco and coco was okay with it than my daughter put her hand inside the bowl and took it out and nothing hapened but when she did it again coco growled and barked I got really :mad: but didnt hit the dog or nothing but I want to know if this dog is going to be a tread towards my daughter thanks for reading sorry for the spelling english is my second lenguage if you need more info let me know
     
  2. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    No child should EVER be allowed near a dog when he is eating his meal. Being a first time dog owner perhaps you do not already know this but most dogs do not appreciate having their food stolen (whether or not your daughter was actually stealing food is not the issue, the dog sees it that way) and have a protection mechanism of sorts. The protection is guarding, if the ancestors of dogs had not guarded their food they would have starved to death. So some guardiness is built in to most dogs.
    IMO your dog sounds reasonably tolerant otherwise your child would have received much more than a warning (as scary as growling and barking may be they are simply the dog "speaking" to us, telling us to stop our behavior, in a non-violent way). I'm sure the dog gave warnings the first time your child reached into the bowl, but they were more subtle (freezing, staring, bracing with his feet, putting head further into bowl to block the child, tightening lips, etc.). Then after those gentler requests to stop went unnoticed he felt the need to speak louder and clearer by growling and barking which of course worked wonders.
    It is YOUR job to keep both your child and your dog safe from each other, this means making every effort to keep your child from upsetting the dog, she is far too young to understand dog body language or to follow proper dog etiquette all by herself, so you must do those things for her. Next time your child moves towards your dog while he is eating you should remove her and tell her to leave dogs alone while they eat. Then repeat.


    However you should take steps to make sure the food guarding does not escalate, there does come a point where it goes from normal guarding to paranoid, excessive, dangerous guarding which could really get someone hurt.
    During feeding time feel free to approach the bowl yourself and drop treats in (something better than his regular food like meat from your dinner). Or put down an empty bowl and approach the bowl to put in a handful of food, step back as he eats then repeat until he has consumed the normal amount.

    Just remember to NEVER leave any dog alone with any young child, it is a disaster waiting to happen, they do not understand one another and neither are entirely predictable.

    Good luck with your dog, to me his behavior sounds normal, just be sure to be more careful about the interaction between the dog and child. Stick around the forum and I'm sure we can help you in your journey with your very first dog!
     
  3. Brattina88

    Brattina88 Active Member

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    :) good post!
     
  4. Whisper

    Whisper Kaleidoscopic Eye

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    Fab post, Maxy. :)
    Just to add on. . .
    What your dog did is called resource guarding.
    Dogs are by nature scavengers. It's built into them to defend their food.
    A warning like that is a great thing- and punishing the warning will make things far worse because the dog may bite without giving indication first, because its growl was punished.

    I don't know the dog so I can never say for sure, but in answer to your question, I seriously doubt the dog is a great threat to your child, but please keep the child and dog separated while the dog is eating.
     
  5. coco

    coco New Member

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    thanks a lot maxy 24 I did a lot of searching today o this partically topic and found a lot of info that hopefully helps me I'll let you know how things are turning later on thanks again
     
  6. coco

    coco New Member

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    Thanks Whisper I'll keep this in mind
     
  7. Whisper

    Whisper Kaleidoscopic Eye

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    No problem- if you have any more questions or problems ask away- this is the best place for dog related topics I've ever been. :D
     
  8. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Yes just make sure you don't get into trying to punish the dog for growling. Really, growling is a good thing!! A growl is a warning that your dog is uncofortable. Dogs who growl often don't bite. But if you remove your dog's way to show discomfort all they have left is to bite (so you get a dog who bites out of no where)

    Oh and I have a JRT who is fantastic with kids. Sits on the rescue booth and is mauled by hundreds at big events. She would growl and snap at a child for going into her food bowl at times.
     
  9. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    Never punish the dog for growling...teach your daughter that if she hears a dog growl she needs to STOP whatever she's doing and turn to you for help. Simply do not let your child near the dog while he's eating.

    Also, if you want to get him to be more reliable about having food taken from him, do something like take his food dish away while he's eating and put something super yummy, like some steak or hot dog, in it and give it right back. Make sure you often "trade" a toy for a treat or a treat for something even better in your dog's opinion.
     
  10. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Since your little daughter is interested in Coco's food dish, make it her chore. Let her put the dish down on the floor, with Coco waiting until you say "dinner". Then, you shuffle your daughter away. This gives Coco a positive feeling with your daughter and food, and lets your daughter feel like she is a part of the process. As she gets older she can do more, but for now it should be a job that you do together.
     
  11. ShopieCha

    ShopieCha Training Pro =)

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    Growling is a good thing because you know the dog's boundaries. Your child also needs to know not to cross them.

    Perhaps just analyzing when it usually happens then separating the two at feeding time and such.
     

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