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We've had a new development this morning that I want to "nip" (literally) in the bud.

 

Kids were on the couch, puppy (5months old) joined them. I didn't realize there was also a treat on the couch and the puppy got possessive and nipped my 8yo on the face. Teeth didn't break the skin but my daughter was quite startled by the reaction. She didn't realize the puppy was guarding a treat and just wanted to pet her.

 

I can take treats and toys away from the puppy without problem at all. We've been working on that a lot, but she sees the kids as being different. How do I work with her responses to the kids so she understands that they are not fellow puppies to be jumped on, chewed on, or snapped at?

 

We are working on the furniture being invitation only, but I'm wondering if that is too confusing and it just needs to be a "no dogs on the couch" policy. I haven't had it be an issue with any dog before. But the dogs I had before, we went through the puppy stages long before having children. The dogs were middle aged by the time the kids came into the picture.

 

I'm open to suggestions. *sigh*

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I don't have kids, but I believe that kids do not give off the same signals that adults do - therefore, the dog perceives them differently. Kids move differently, their voices are higher and in general, they are not as consistent as an adult when interacting with pets. This probably leads to confusion for the dog. Since you are in the stage of your life that involves young children, you will probably have to alter how you train your dog (as you have altered other areas of your life). I would think that, with regard to the couch issue, you should have a strict no-furniture policy. Once you start thinking about it, there may be other areas where you might want to change your thinking when it comes to how much leeway you let your puppy have. I would also start to involve the children in training the puppy so they can begin to understand how to appropriately interact with the family puppy.

 

Jovi

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I agree with Jovi. Furniture off limits and involve the kids in the training.

 

The other thing I taught Kayzie, and mind you this is the first time I've done this so all I have are the results from one dog, is to down when kids approach. She can stand up later, but the initial down, for her, acknowledges that she knows there is a kid nearby and she needs to behave. It also puts her in a position of submission right off the bat. The results have been fantastic, she is by far the best dog with kids that I've seen, she's even surpasses Roxie who's a natural babysitter.

 

I also recommend really working on impulse control. "Mine and Yours" is a great one, and I teach it so that the dogs know the only thing that's "theirs" is what I personally give them. If they drop it, too bad, it's mine again. The exceptions are things/toys in their crate and when I tell them to "get" something, which basically means go get it and bring it to me, so fetch.

 

Since your puppy has already done this little snapping thing, I would restrict access/interaction between the kids and the dog to supervised only until your pup learns her manners. Your pup's about to break into adolescence, so there will be more displays unless you initiate a puppy lock-down procedure and institute NILIF immediately.

 

Hope that helps. If you need directions on how to play "Mine and Yours," just ask :) Good luck!

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Hope that helps. If you need directions on how to play "Mine and Yours," just ask :) Good luck!

 

I'd love to hear more :D

 

I'm going to have some solid time (without kids) for a few days with just the pup and I, will be perfect for introducing this. And now that she's getting a bit more reliable with basic obedience I want to involve the kids so the pup learns that the kids are in charge.

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At the same time as you are training the puppy, it wouldn't hurt to train the kids a bit. Children need to be taught how to behave around dogs. You can't run & scream around a motion reactive puppy, for example, unless an adult has control of that puppy. Don't try to take things away from the puppy. Leave the puppy alone when he's eating. Don't leave doors open around the puppy. Don't "pat" puppy on top of the head. Puppies don't like hugs, so don't lean over and squeeze on him (or fall on him, as I've seen a few do...).

 

So many people are so worried about training the new puppy that they are completely oblivious to training their kids. I, personally, don't think that dogs should have to put up a wide variety of rude behaviors just because we say so. I think children should be taught how to behave properly around dogs.

 

I'm not saying the OP lets her children run wild in the manners I've described. These are simply some of the MANY horrid behaviors I see from children coming into the shelter. And 90% of the time, the parents say NOTHING.

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My girls are pretty well behaved (unless you count the pre-tween angst of the 10.5 year old) and understand being mellow with the pup. They also know about their body language, not to wave their arms around the puppy when she's excited, no wrestling, and if the puppy is sleeping to let her be.

 

This morning's situation caught us all a bit off guard as no one was aware the dog was sitting on a treat and feeling the need to protect it or herself. We had a good talk on the way to school about dog language vs people language and what we can do to make it so working with Leila is safe and enjoyable for all of us (the pup included). A few of my friends have unruly kids and they drive me nuts. I don't tolerate that stuff from mine at all.

 

With this particular issue I think lots of games with the "mine and yours" idea will be very helpful. I've already been working with the commands for "give" and then "take". But she's not at a point where she takes the kids seriously, they are just two legged litter-mates.

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Maya went through a (scary for me) resource guarding phase when she was around 6mo old. Never to me, but she did growl several times at a very close friend (who was over all the time), we nipped it in the bud pretty quickly, with some verbal corrections and some trading games. I read the book "MINE" by Jean Donaldson http://dogwise.com/ItemDetails.cfm?ID=DTB740 which is just fantastic.

 

I agree with the others, no couch privileges for you dog, and have the kids start playing some trading games (less value treat for more value) and if she really really values and guards something (toy or food item) just take it away for now.

 

Have the kids do a lot of obedience and trick training with the dog, I have two 8yr old and a just turned 4yr old and mine all do very well with my border collie, it is a different challenge having a dog that reads body language and is much more reactive (not in a bad way just responds more quickly) to movement than other breeds.

 

I think it is good for kids to realize they have to be respectful of their behavior and action around the dogs.

 

 

Good Luck!

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I love "MINE!" That's a great book.

 

I'll see about either writing up some instructions and/or making a vid today and get it up asap.

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Thank you so much!!! I found "Mine" yesterday and started reading it. It would help to see how the game works. I've been working with her with a clicker and treats and sort of fumbled through something yesterday.

 

She had a bone she likes and I'd ask her to give (take her mouth off it), click and give her a treat (a good one). We worked with one of her toys and food too. She started to realize that my body being in contact with her thing meant more good stuff was coming. I think with some consistency with this over the next several days and then introducing the kids to the game should bring some improvement.

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Sorry, didn't mean to ignore. I've been working on putting together a donation collection for the victims of the Texas wildfires, so it's been a little crazy and I didn't get to shoot a vid.

 

Mine and Yours incorporates several leave it commands. My personal favorite would be the one similar to Control Unleashed, and might be the easiest for you since you've already started clicker training. It's really simple to get started. Big difference, you're not allowed to give commands, make noise, prompt the puppy, or help the dog in any way. It has to be completely her choice.

 

Place a treat on the ground under your foot.

Wait until the puppy stops trying to get at it and looks up at you.

Click and turn your puppy away from the treat under your foot to reward.

 

Once she's doing that well, start taking your foot off the treat. You have to be quick to cover it again if she tries to go for it.

 

Once she's leaving it on the floor, start dropping the treat from a short distance, and then progress to higher distances, and then add movement.

 

Additionally, with possessive dogs, I like to add in a bit of boundary training. I found it easiest to start off using a hula hoop to clearly mark the boundary I want. Put the treat or toy in the center and then body block your puppy if she goes inside the hoop to get it. Mark and reward her for turning or walking away from it. I do the same thing with food bowls at meal times. Not one of my dogs is allowed to go to his or her dish until I say so. Some call me a "dog nazi" but hey, I have well-behaved dogs that listen and get invited back to parties where other dogs aren't allowed, so there.

 

That should get you started. I have to go make some more flyers now and set up collection boxes.

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Thanks KelliPup I really do appreciate that!

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