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Old 12-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default problems around kids

I spent Christmas at my parents house, on Christmas Eve we had tons of family around including kids of all ages, from 7 months to 10 years old. My little cousin was always petting Bentley and wanting to hold him, which if fine because he loves to be carried, however, Bentley snapped at the little boy and bit him, started growling and showing teeth. It really freaked me out as i have never seen Bentley react this way.

In my home its just Bentley and me, I visit my parents often maybe twice a month and never had problems.... he even gets along with my nephew, a 7month old baby.

At first I thought maybe my little cousin was just bugging him, because he was always following the dog.... but on Christmas day, family was over, and he snapped at another child who is 6years old, she wasnt doing anything to him, we were all sitting on the couch, and he just went off on her, and i couldn't get him to calm down, I had to hold him from attacking her.. I know a 5 pound dog could not do much damage, but this was something I have not seen before which scared me.

any suggestions? not going to my parents is not an option, I feel bad keeping him in a kennel while I am there. My nephew is only 7months, the baby cant do much now, but when we his older all **** will break lose if Bentley snaps at the child between my sister and I.....
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nope, when we attend family events, if there are children, I make sure I always know where the boys are. I DO NOT leave them with children unattended. If I can not keep an eye on them, they go in their crates, which we bring to large family events.

Children are not allowed to play or hold them without my supervision. Sorry, I've heard too many horror stories. Kids don't always mean to be cruel but they grab, snatch, hit, kick, throw... you name it. They fling their arms and legs around and squeal and are unpredictable, all reasons enough for me to snap, so I don't blame dogs that get upset with them.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think kids sometimes frighten little dogs, not meaning to, just by being louder and rougher! Little dogs may feel threatened and may snap or growl as a warning .
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Even though they are only 5 lbs, they are still dogs with the same innate instincts of 80 lb dogs.

First off, is he neutered? If not, I would recommend getting him neutered ASAP. That can help tone down some natural aggressive tendancies.

Dogs are pack animals and everyone in their pack - in this case pack of humans - is in a pecking order. Bentley sees you as Alpha, you are above him in the pack so he doesn't challenge you. However, he is obviously seeing children as below him in the pecking order and he is establishing his higher rank the natural way dogs do, by biting and growling. Bentley needs to learn that ALL humans are above him in the pecking order, including children. If you had children in your household, I would recommend letting them be the only one to feed Bentley and to have them work with him on sit, stay, wait, things like that; but that is not a training opportunity you have in this case to help him learn that little humans are still above him in rank. Sometimes obedience classes with other dogs and people helps dogs who are wanting to be Alpha dogs at the top of the pack learn that all humans are always above them.

Since it is not safe to use friends and relatives' children as dog trainers in such limited contact situations, you will just have to ALWAYS control him when around other people. Now that you know he can not be trusted, you know you must keep him from ever being in the position of being able to bite children or anyone else. It is your responsibility to protect him as well as other people by never putting him in the situation where he could bite someone. Depending upon the laws in your area, if the "victim" reports the bite (or if the bite is serious enough to send someone to the MD), the police could take him from you and euthanize him. Some communities allow dogs "one free bite"; after that they are considered vicious and destroyed. Thus, it is important to protect Bentley by keeping him controlled so that he never has the opportunity to hurt anyone.

We have a Tibetan Terrier who I do not trust. She snapped at my husband's brother twice a few years ago. Since then we ALWAYS make sure she is controlled and not put into a position where she would have the opportunity to bite someone. We had friends over Christmas eve. During their arrival and through dinner we kept her locked in the bedroom. After dinner, we put her on a leash and brought her into the party, but kept her either on one of our laps or sitting right close next to us while we held her leash short. After awhile listening to conversation she was relaxed and happy and she was delighted to have others pet and fuss over her, but we still kept close control of her. When it was time for the confusion of people leaving the party, we locked her back up in the bedroom again. She got socialization with people that will hopefully help her in the future, but we never put anyone at risk of being bitten.

I hope some of these suggestions are useful to you and Bentley. He's sure a cutie!
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Honestly, for the safety of the kids in the family and for Bently, I would keep him in a crate or zipped up in a stroller while you are visiting with family. It is never good when a dog bites a child and it's usually not the dog's fault - often he/she gave 'warnings' which were ignored or not recognized. He obviously felt threatened and stressed out by the people and chaos (christmas time can be LOUD!!) and reacted accordingly. After the first bite on christmas eve, he should never have been in a position where he had kids near him again on Christmas day. Were they the same kids or different?

Even if the kids are supervised, I personally would never put my dog in a position like he was just in again, esp if he went after and bit a child who was just sitting near him. He may only be 5 lbs but those teeth can still do a lot of damage and a bite report sent by an ER to animal control is not something you want to happen ever. I've seen some of the nastiest dog bites from working in the ER from small dogs, esp in the face.

This is an issue that you should seek professional help from a behaviorist on since this is not something you want repeated! And even if he 'gets' along with the seven month old baby, I would not trust Bently to not react aggressively if he gets a handful of fur suddenly grabbed, like babies often do. As much as I hate to say this to you (and I'm not trying to be rude, just honest), if he bites that baby, that would not be Bentley's fault. That would be your fault.

Good luck!
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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thank you for the suggestions, I have another family event this weekend, its not easy because my parents live far from me, so when i visit I usually stay the night.

This has never happened before and of course I do not want it to happen again. We were all watching TV on the couch, he was next to me, and on a leash... He is fixed, and we have been through obedience training.

Im just a little sad that he cannot be trusted around the kids, perhaps he was stressed and threatened, regardless of I will have to crate or board him when I go out of town....

thanks!
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You have gotten so much good advise. I let my dogs (give their permission) before I let people touch or hold them. You can tell if they want to or not. Some family members they know well and will run to them happily, others not so much. As far as kids, I bring mine in a stroller zipped shut and use a gate to a protective area (in my view) if kids are around. Most kids I've met don't know how to pet or hold a tiny dogs properly. I tell everyone (adults too) to put their hand (under the dogs head) NOT on top of head or the face. I'm sure they seem like a stuffed animal to a child.

I keep a baby gate, and small stroller in my trunk. I imagine everything looks pretty scary - big to a 4 lb dog.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Since getting my Lucy Lu for Christmas I had a house full and I worried that too much noise chaos and loud would pose a problem for my little maltese girl so I have a baby gate and kept her in my laundry room which is fair in size and off from my kitchen and this helped allot however she does like to greet people but seems to have bonded to me so fast since I am the main care taker and home with her 99% of the time she runs straight to me as if to say "Mommy Hold Me" lolo my grand daughter is 2 and my maltese actually tries to stay clear of her until she is ready to play and then its off for the chase Lucy chases my grand daughter, lolo however I do limit Lucys time with my grand daughter because Lucy is small and a child and a puppy can be rough rowdy and un predictable at times I feel best allowing a small amount of playtime between the two and it gives Lucy time to settle down an rest shes a baby to you know! LOLOL
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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One thing to consider is how easy it can be for people that are not used to small dogs being underfoot like we are to step on them. Esp if food is involved and the dog is lingering around for a crumb. This tragically happened to a friend of mine's Maltese yrs ago.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:08 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It sounds like you already got a lot of great advise here. One thing I was wondering is if the boys had gotten scolded or told to settle down while she was there. We used to have a Pomeranian and whenever any kids would run in the house, he would follow and bark at them, then come sit by me. I realized he'd heard me fussing at them not to run in the house and Copper was just trying to help me discipline them, lol. He never bit any of them though. Just barked and ran after them, maybe grabbing onto their pants legs. Even though I tried not to raise my voice when I got on to the kids once I realized Copper was doing this, he still never allowed running in the house his whole 15 years. I also believe that little dogs just know that a child is very active and could accidentally hurt them. My little 3 lb yorkie I used to have was always very loving, but he was always very leery of my son and would hide from him unless my son was asleep, and then he might snuggle up to my son. These are just a couple of examples of what I've personally noticed of little dogs around kids that lead me to think what I do. I know you wouldn't want anyone bitten by your fluff and I'm sure you'd love to be able to enjoy your baby and family at the same time. What I would do is still take her, but keep her in a crate or on the other side of a door with a baby gate and let her get used to the people and sounds first when there's a gathering. Just explain to the kids you are protecting them from being bitten by keeping them separated. As your fluff gets to know them from a place she feels secure and the kids have learned to be more calm, maybe one day they can all be in the same room at the same time.




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