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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We recently adopted a 2.5 year old mixed breed (we think husky/red heeler mix) from our local shelter. She's a SUPER fit for our family, we've gotten past the first week of perfect behavior and now she's showing her true self and she's great. Well mannered for the most part, we are doing training to make it even better, housebroken - only a few accidents while we were figuring out our schedules, she's learning to walk better on a leash.<br><br>
My only real concern, b/c all the other minor little issues are pretty clearcut in what we need to do and we are doing them now, is she has snapped at my 4.5 yr old on 4 occasions now.<br><br>
1) she was done playing and was lying down, ds was still trying to rough house. she "bit" him in the face as that's what was invading her space. I say "bit" b/c there were no marks, it was obviously only a warning, but I'm still taking it very seriously.<br><br>
-It was after this incident that I knew I was underestimating the amt of supervision that I needed for them when they are together. I supervise MUCH more now.<br><br>
2) She was lying down chewing on her bone, ds reached to pick up one of his toys that was just a few feet away from her and she jumped out and bit him again in the face<br><br>
3) she was standing and ds put one of his stuffed animals in her face and she bit his arm<br><br>
4) she was under the table while dd was eating (she doesnt beg but she will lay or stand under the table). Ds reached under to pet her, and she bit at him again.<br><br>
I don't know exactly what the triggers are. She allows DD (9) to completely waller all over her. I make a point to sorta get in her face while loving on her. She extremely submissive when it comes to getting her loving, she will completely lay down on her side almost immediately when you start to pet her. She does it for DS too.<br><br>
She isnt protective over her food with anyone and isnt normally with DS either.<br><br>
I don't think I'm handling the aftermath right though. I've been calm on all occasions. I dont want either one of them to freak out further. I've been calmly taking her to her crate. but now I worry that she is going to feel aggression towards DS b/c he bugs her, she tells him to back off and then she gets in trouble for doing the only thing she knows how at this point.<br><br>
I've done a lot of talking with DS, honestly though, I don't think he's being out of control with her at all. and her snapping isnt for consistent things so I don't what the triggers are. I don't allow the kids to have her in the bedroom when they play unless I'm in there as well.<br><br>
- She has a crate that is always open in our bedroom. I don't know if in her previous home she had one or what. I've never seen her go in to lay down until last night. I got up in the middle of the night to get ds a drink and she got up too and went and layed down in there. so I don't know if she does it a lot at night or what.<br><br>
sorry so long! We have a fantastic trainer and animal behav. in our area that I might consult, but for right now she is expanding her business and building at a new location and isnt taking on any new business.
 

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An adult dog that has snapped at your ds several times is NOT a perfect fit for your family!! While I agree with you that more supervision is required, I would still be pretty nervous about keeping that dog with a preschooler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nd_deadhead</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11638304"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">An adult dog that has snapped at your ds several times is NOT a perfect fit for your family!! While I agree with you that more supervision is required, I would still be pretty nervous about keeping that dog with a preschooler.</div>
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and I am nervous. This is why I'm seeking advice. I trying to figure out if I'm wrong in my thinking that with training and ....other stuff (see why I need advice lol) that these can become issues of the past.<br><br>
If she's not going to work with my family, and again I may be wrong, but I really think that we can figure this out, then what? Obviously if I return her to the shelter I will need to tell them why, and I'm pretty sure she'd be euthanized. What a waste and shame. At the same time I'm not open to having my kiddo harmed. I'm just trying to gauge things here.
 

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I think she's still VERY stressed. It takes 30 days minimum for a dog to feel at home.<br><br>
She doesn't feel normal about your toddler and his "attacks," combined with her high stress level, are causing her to discipline him to keep him away.<br><br>
If you don't want to return her--and that's up to you, but I've kept several rescues that snapped at first and none of them does now--you need to do several things.<br><br>
COMPLETELY separate dog and four-year-old except when you are right there. Any interaction between them should be that you get the dog to lie down submissively, put your fingers in her neck, and then call the four-year-old over. He is allowed to pet her all over and then should get up and walk away; she can get up after he's done. At no other time should he approach her.<br><br>
Give her at LEAST another two weeks. During that time you walk her like crazy, exercise the heck out of her, and continue the several-times-daily demonstration that the four-year-old is allowed to touch her with impunity.<br><br>
If I'm right, as she relaxes she will get the message and won't feel the need to keep him away.<br><br>
Some management issues: No food near kids, ever. No bones, no feeding bowl, nothing. Arctic dogs are very commonly food-protective and their food should be in their crates and that's it. Chewy bones likewise.<br><br>
Crate her during meals; don't let her be under the table.<br><br>
Under = I feel nervous. Any dog will snap if it is hiding under something and you reach in for it. So discourage her from going under things if possible, but if she's there, you call her out; you never reach in (you meaning every person in the household).<br><br>
Put the crate far away from the kid play area. Kids are never allowed in the crate; that's her safe zone. Work on modeling for her the appropriate behavior--if she's lying in the living room and you come in with toys and kids, send her to her crate to sleep. She should understand that sleeping means crate; that's her den and if she needs personal space she should go there.<br><br>
Crate during times of chaos.<br><br>
NO HORSE PLAY. Not until AT LEAST a month from now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
awesome Joanna! thanks so much for the advice! Turns out the only thing we're doing right is exercising her a lot. lol. I really don't want to give her up at all, at least not without seeking professional help if necessary, first.<br><br>
I did go ahead and email the behaviorist just see if she had any reccos for other trainers or reading materials until I could employ her. I'm secretly hoping she'll advise me and/or that her new facility will be opening soon.<br><br><a href="http://everydogcan.com/index.htm" target="_blank">http://everydogcan.com/index.htm</a> this is her site
 

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<a href="http://mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=915738" target="_blank">http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...d.php?t=915738</a><br><br>
This has a response I wrote about bite thresholds--I think what's happening here is that you've got the dog 80% of the way to the bite already (new home, new people, small kids, food around, high energy breed mix) and so adding in even a single other stressor (unwanted contact, stuff in face, reaching down to "get" the dog under the table, etc) is hitting the threshold again and again. Your job is to reduce that 80% as close to 0 as possible, by exercising and letting her get used to new place and keeping small kids away and removing food, so that when stressful things do happen she is nowhere near the threshold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I remember the BT post, and I was just telling my DH about it the other day.<br><br>
Why does she need to only sleep in her crate? I'm looking at her now asleep in the floor in a spot that she has chosen in front of the couch. Is that a forever and ever thing?<br><br>
also, she's not a big fan of the crate. She goes, but not always willingly. She doesnt put up a fight though. so far she's only been in the crate while we were away for short periods of time. oh, and the one night that I know of that she went in it in the middle of the night.<br><br>
I understand that I want her to get used to and even enjoy her crate though, so how do I go about it? When she lays down should I put her in the crate? and if so, should I close the door? There's a big fluffy dog pillow in there, should I take it out?
 

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She can sleep on the floor as long as the kids aren't around; I would not have her sleep where she can have a toy chucked on her head or feel that she has to defend her quiet time. You want her to say "oh, it's loud; I will go to my crate and sleep now."<br><br>
I would put her in her crate at random times and for random durations--basically, put her down for naps several times during the day. Just make her go in. Pretty soon she'll be asking to go in when she wants to sleep.<br><br>
By all means it should be comfy and soft.
 
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