Aggressive dog help

shakti29

Elaine
Apr 7, 2008
3,333
12
The Beach
Our 1 year old lab mix is becoming aggressive. He has growled and snapped at my 5 year old daughter on several occasions.

The first couple of times he was chewing something (a toy or bone) and she gets down on the floor, in his face, to pet and hug him and he growls and snaps at her. So I assume it's only when he's chewing on something, so I make a point to tell her "Kaz has a bone so don't bother him."

But then the other night he was sleeping on the otoman at my husband's feet and she went to pet him again. He woke up and looked at her and growled/snapped, actually leaving a red mark on her nose.

I think part of the problem is that she always gets right in his face, and I guess he doesn't like that. We are trying to make sure she just stays away from him, but it's making me a nervous wreck that he is actually going to hurt her.

He has never shown any of this behavior toward me, my husband or my 7 year old son. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Here's a picture of them together. I guess this time (which was a few months ago) he wasn't too bothered by her, but this is exactly what she does - gets right in his face to hug him:



Thanks!
Elaine
 

shakti29

Elaine
Apr 7, 2008
3,333
12
The Beach
^^Thanks. I have a call into the dog trainers we used for basic obedience classes in March. Hopefully they will have some insight too.
 

zoesma

NICE KITTY
Jan 22, 2009
4,395
0
New York
my daughter got bitten by max on the face when she was about 18 months old....she had hugged him around the neck and he nipped her....it was my fault for allowing her to do it....i would be very careful and tell your daughter to maybe leave the dog alone for a while....espcially no hugging him..i think they feel threatened by that sometimes....he is such a young dog and i hope that you can have a trainer come in and help....he obviously feels that your daughter is "below" him in the family pack and he is trying to dominate her which is not a good thing....he is a big dog and although she got a nip this time you dont want her to get mauled the next time...i hope you get it sorted out,,,
 

zoesma

NICE KITTY
Jan 22, 2009
4,395
0
New York
and one more thing that you mentioned about the ottoman .....if she just went to pet him and he snapped at her i would be nervous too....i dont think what he is displaying is normal behavior...
 

me_love_purse

swift convert
O.G.
Jun 15, 2006
4,662
3
Your dog thinks that your daughter is lower rank in the pack. A good trainer should be able to tell you how to train him to acknowledge your daughter's position in the pack.
Another thing that I might mention is this thing I learned from a training book a while ago.
We, primate show affection by hugging. In canine world, hugging (on the shoulder) is a threatening action. Something to keep in mind if your daughter tries to hug him.
 

he432

sofa king awesome
O.G.
Feb 15, 2008
1,097
0
OH CANADA!
Get a good trainer - someone who can teach your daughter how to be "in charge" of the dog in a good way and behave around the dog in an appropriate way and who can give your entire family the tools to handle your dog's issues.
 

shakti29

Elaine
Apr 7, 2008
3,333
12
The Beach
Thanks for the advice everyone. My vet recommended an animal behaviorist who I've already called and we have an appt for in-house eval/training for Monday. The dog has some other behavior issues I think we could work on also. It's just so weird, he's such a sweet dog most of the time.
 

Beach Bum

O.G.
Feb 17, 2006
34,914
43
u need to get a trainer ASAP
My Ripley is a snappy dog too but to my surprise...he has chilled out when we had a baby enter our house last year.The baby tries to pull his tail and is rough....we r training the baby more than the dog now.But Ripley DOES snap around food.I have always trained the baby to say 1-2-3 and DROP the dogs treat on the ground or Ripley will snap it out of his fingers
Basically u need to train both your child AND the dog......constant repetition is KEY.
Just follow your trainers advice(if u get one) and stick to it
 

aklein

Member
Dec 30, 2007
10,683
2
First of all, Never EVER put your face in a dog's face. Children are often bitten in the face for the simple reason that they catch a dog off-guard.
The other place that children are commonly bitten is on the back, because the dog will get them as they are running away. Often times, a dog cannot distinguish playful behavior from actual fear in these cases.
I completely agree with the other posters about consulting a behaviorist to work on this issue. But teaching children not to put their faces anywhere near a dog's mouth is a big step. The other important thing to remind children is never pet a dog until after the dog sniffs your hand and recognizes you. If for any reason, the dog is not in the mood to be social, then back off.
I guess I should mention that these rules apply to adults too, not just kids.
 

Mohnblume

Member
Feb 20, 2009
254
0
Munich, Germany
There is no "pack" in this situation. A pack is a naturally grown dog-family. This has nothing to do with a human family and their dog. "Pack position" is a human sight, nothing dogs do or have. And a dog knows that a child is only a child. He will never accept it as "higher pack position". Why should he? In a REAL pack, the puppies don't have a higher position only because their parents are in a high position. They are only puppies in the pack.

Train your daughter and not your dog. He behaves great. Do you really want a dog who doesn't show, if he has a problem? Do you know, what this means? It means, that your dog will bite because he has no other choice.
 

zoesma

NICE KITTY
Jan 22, 2009
4,395
0
New York
i am sorry but i do not agree with the above post.....dogs have a pack in their human family as they would with their "dog" family....the dog is not behaving "great" if he is snapping and biting her daughter....no dog should do that especially at a young age like that....it shows that there is something wrong in his behavior....the OPs daughter should not be hugging the dog if he doesnt like it but he even snapped at her when she just went to pet him as well....that is not acceptable....her daughter is not a puppy and should be above the dog in the chain of command or else it is setting the stage for a very dangerous situation...
my dog beauty is a full GSD who weighs 78 pounds...she could snap my child in half (and probably me) if she wanted too....HOWEVER,,,she allows my 26 pound 2 year old lead her around by the collar for a half hour if he wants too...the OP should not have to worry about the safety of her daughter....although i do agree that hugging a dog is not the best idea he should still not be snapping at her when she does it....if my dog is bothered by one of my kids she simply gets up and walks away.....never is aggressive at all...
there is a "pack" situation in a human family....most dog trainers will tell you that...
again,,,,i am not saying this to be argumentative but the above post is totally off base....IMO
 

grayxie

NOMtacular!
Mar 28, 2008
5,565
7
PA
I think the trainer will use food reward to desensitize your dog to your daughter, associating yummy treat = not being aggressive torwards your child. Is he neutered?