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Eight year old Basset growling at year old child

This is a discussion on Eight year old Basset growling at year old child within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by BullyGirl80 So you tell me what the dog is communicating by growling, and what action usually comes after a growl? I don't ...

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Old 05-01-2014, 12:22 PM
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So you tell me what the dog is communicating by growling, and what action usually comes after a growl? I don't believe that I labeled the basset aggressive, or else i wouldnt suggest rehoming her period, maybe her behavior towards the baby. You say that a 1 year old can be taught to not bother a dog, but why have a dog in your home that your child isn't allowed to interact with? Also you say that dogs and kids shouldn't be thrown together and left on their own, which of course I KNOW and have stated that this is the parents fault. But their lack of involvement is not justification for keeping the child or dog in a situation that has become unsafe.

I'd put growling this way, using human terms.

If someone came up to me and started pestering me I'd likely try to leave, same as a dog. If that person kept coming after me I'd likely politely ask them to leave me alone (growl). If it kept happening then I'd yell at them and push them away (snarl snap). If they kept it up I'm likely to hit them (bite). Now it that person day after day kept pestering me I might decide to stop trying to leave and go straight to politely asking them to leave me alone.

Personally I never allow a baby or young child to interact with my dogs without my actively supervising, and I do not allow a 1 year old baby to be in the same room with my dog, even when I had my kid friendly one, unless I was holding that baby. That's because I do not trust a 1 year old to not suddenly decide to yank fur, poke eyes, pull ears and tail, or jump on the dog. No do should be forced to put up with that, and no baby should be at risk of a bite because "the dog is kid friendly". It's safer to be over cautious.

OP, tell your cousin to purchase some baby gates and keep Olga and Wally separated from the dogs until he is old enough to FULLY comprehend how to be around the dogs. Yes he can start to be taught how to act now, and he should be, but keeping him safe should come first.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:30 PM
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A bite does NOT usually follow a growl or there would be a whole heck of a lot more bitten people out there.

A bite only follows a growl when the growl is blatantly ignored, or worse, the dog is punished for giving a nonviolent warning.

Is the situation hazardous? Yes. But not because of the dog, who has shown as much restraint as a good dog will show a boisterous pup. Even that cute fuzzy pup (just like the cute little baby) will get a reprimand if they don't start being more polite.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:47 PM
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I'll just add that many dogs will "air snap" before going for a contact bite.

What baffles me is why they would jump to euthanasia or rehoming when it seems they haven't even considered separation? If they think baby is "too young to learn" then why not just take some preventative measures until baby is "old enough to learn?" Babies grow fast, babies learn fast, babies will not be babies forever. Baby gates, ex-pens, etc are all very valid options until they can teach the kiddo safe interactions with dogs--which do not include "getting in their face."
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:06 PM
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A bite does NOT usually follow a growl or there would be a whole heck of a lot more bitten people out there.

A bite only follows a growl when the growl is blatantly ignored, or worse, the dog is punished for giving a nonviolent warning.

Is the situation hazardous? Yes. But not because of the dog, who has shown as much restraint as a good dog will show a boisterous pup. Even that cute fuzzy pup (just like the cute little baby) will get a reprimand if they don't start being more polite.
I agree that it's not the dogs fault, she has done what she is supposed to do and given a warning growl, however a baby WOULD "ignore"/ dismiss that warning because a 1 year old has no idea what a growl means, which could cause him to be bitten. From my understanding the parents are not very involved with the interactions between the children and the dog, so all of these factors put together are a recipe for disaster.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:13 PM
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I'll just add that many dogs will "air snap" before going for a contact bite.

What baffles me is why they would jump to euthanasia or rehoming when it seems they haven't even considered separation? If they think baby is "too young to learn" then why not just take some preventative measures until baby is "old enough to learn?" Babies grow fast, babies learn fast, babies will not be babies forever. Baby gates, ex-pens, etc are all very valid options until they can teach the kiddo safe interactions with dogs--which do not include "getting in their face."
^ These are all great ideas, however not everyone is as educated on dog behavior as most people here and simply not willing to go the extra mile to keep a dog whom they THINK is aggressive. But because this dog does not seem like a "naturally" aggressive dog, I don't understand why rehoming shouldn't be considered?
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:21 PM
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I'd put growling this way, using human terms.

If someone came up to me and started pestering me I'd likely try to leave, same as a dog. If that person kept coming after me I'd likely politely ask them to leave me alone (growl). If it kept happening then I'd yell at them and push them away (snarl snap). If they kept it up I'm likely to hit them (bite). Now it that person day after day kept pestering me I might decide to stop trying to leave and go straight to politely asking them to leave me alone.

Personally I never allow a baby or young child to interact with my dogs without my actively supervising, and I do not allow a 1 year old baby to be in the same room with my dog, even when I had my kid friendly one, unless I was holding that baby. That's because I do not trust a 1 year old to not suddenly decide to yank fur, poke eyes, pull ears and tail, or jump on the dog. No do should be forced to put up with that, and no baby should be at risk of a bite because "the dog is kid friendly". It's safer to be over cautious.

OP, tell your cousin to purchase some baby gates and keep Olga and Wally separated from the dogs until he is old enough to FULLY comprehend how to be around the dogs. Yes he can start to be taught how to act now, and he should be, but keeping him safe should come first.
^This is YOUR human description/interpretation of growling and how you as a human would "likely" react to such a situation. I know from experience that not all dogs are as tolerant as you've suggested here. Your idea of a baby gate would be a quick fix and still not guarantee that the dog will be more accepting of the child in the future, however if the parents are willing to wait and give it a try it might be worth it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:29 PM
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I think it is great that BorderCollie is trying to give them resources. If they have the internet, send them the link to that sticky. I'd sooner try to educate them on child safety and bite prevention than to assume they can't/won't learn and jump to rehoming or euth. In the meantime, separation, simple.

Seriously, very few people know about this stuff (unfortunately). I don't think it is an excuse to rehome at all because the info is *easily* accessible and easy to learn/implement. If every uneducated person rehomed because they have a dog and baby, well... shelters would be screwed even more than they are. I believe in owner retention and to do that requires education.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:31 PM
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BullyGirl,

I think nearly everyone here agrees that rehoming is certainly a viable solution if the parents are unwilling and/ or unable to make substantial changed in how they are managing this situation so that the children are never at risk. I think there is also widespread agreement that the dog should not be killed. There's much more agreement than disagreement here.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:40 PM
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BorderCollie it's really great that you're trying to find the right solution to this problem for your cousin, hopefully they will be open to listening, learning and educating themselves, but if necessary I hope that they find a great/better suited home for the dog.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:40 PM
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@Bordercollie, here's a good article you could share with your cousin. Thanks for trying to help them learn how to make this situation work.

Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work | Robin Bennett
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