HELP | My dog has 2 incidents of growling & snapping

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HELP | My dog has 2 incidents of growling & snapping

This is a discussion on HELP | My dog has 2 incidents of growling & snapping within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi - I have a 1 year old border collie + Lab mix rescue dog. we adopted him when he was 3 months old. (Neutered) ...

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Old 07-16-2018, 09:54 AM
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HELP | My dog has 2 incidents of growling & snapping

Hi -

I have a 1 year old border collie + Lab mix rescue dog. we adopted him when he was 3 months old. (Neutered) He is an adorable family dog. Loves to play with my 2 daughters 12 & 10 years old, loves to be pet, go on long walks etc..weights about 50-55 lbs now.

He has exhibited indications of being jealous of my younger daughter - she is a tiny 10 yr old. whenever she hugs me or sits on my lap - he will jump in as well and try to get a pet.

1. Growling #1: He was in his crate resting and my daughter tried to pet him and he growled. Clearly she invaded his space and is now under strict instruction not to disturb him when resting in his place.

2. Growling & baring teeth #2: He has done this a couple of time at her - with absolutely no provocation. He was resting on my leg and she walked by when he growled. Thought maybe he is resource guarding me ?

3. Growling & Pawing #3 (2 months ago): He has a long day playing with my friends dog - was very exhausted and sleeping on my leg. My friends kids came to pet him and he growled and pawed - scratching the face. Did to 2 kids within a few minutes. He was over tired and the end of his tail was bleeding a bit due to wagging and hitting the wall.

4. Growling & Biting #4 (Yesterday): He had a long day playing with the same friends dog - running around in the backyard all day. we were returning home. He was in the backseat with my 10 yr old daughter. she was petting him, he was licking her hand and was all friendly. suddenly he opened his mouth and went to her face and bit her. It was a surface scratch - no blood or teeth marks but scared the wits out of her. He was been pooped out since last night - slept for 14 hrs straight. So obviously it was a very exhausting day for him but no excuse for biting.

I am very concerned at this behavior and would appreciate your help on what the source of the problem might be & how can we address this.
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:02 PM
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Considering that a child is involved, and he's now growled and snapped, I'd contact a behaviorist. If I were to say try this, and your daughter or any child were bitten, I'd never forgive myself. You can try looking here for one in your area Animal Behavior Society
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:17 PM
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I will say that each incident seems to have escalated from the last. Which means either his appropriate boundaries/fears were not appropriately respected or he was not corrected/redirected appropriately to learn to never strike out at any family members.
Definitely time for a trainer and/or behaviorist who specializes in aggression issues.
You're ignoring his warning cues so he's escalating, not good since the kids are the targets.
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Old 07-16-2018, 11:15 PM
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Agree with all the others that a professional should be contacted. Don't want your real kids getting hurt by the fur kids! Good luck to you.
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Old 07-17-2018, 03:44 AM
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Does she experienced a traumatic situation before? I think she's lack of training and genetic predisposition or poor breeding.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:37 AM
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In addition to what has already been said about immediately seeking out a behaviorist with a solid reputation for handling aggression, please make your first stop the vet to be sure there are no underlying pain issues that could be making him irritable in the first place.


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Old 07-17-2018, 10:29 AM
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Thanks everyone - those were the 2 calls Ive made. we have a session scheduled with behavior specialist tomorrow and also taking him to the vet to rule out any health conditions.

He has been trained in basic stuff - sit/stay/come + crate training. could this be cause of needing more advanced training?
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Old 08-07-2018, 04:20 PM
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Most dogs give warning signals, calming signals, etc before they escalate to a growl, snap, or full on bite.

I would really suggest ASAP that you study up on how to read your dog's body language so that you can see when your dog is feeling stressed and may be more prone to snapping.

Watch for liplicking and excessive yawning, for example, when kids are interacting with your dog. Is your dog turning his face or entire body away when kids approach? These can be signs of stress.

Your kids are old enough to learn the signals, too, if you teach them. And then make sure they respect your dog's signals. And your kiddos' friends must respect your dog, and if not then simply have your dog go to a nice cozy safe space with a toy or chewie if kids are visiting. At least for now til you work on what is going on.

You can easily and for free read up on dog body language/calming signs online.

A dog that is giving off calming or stress signals to a person and gets constantly ignored will start escalating his actions by ramping it up until the stressful person or trigger backs off.

A dog that is punished for growling can learn to go straight to the bite if his warning system has been taken away.

Prevention is key. If you know your dog gets cranky when tired give him space alone to relax. No kids (or adults) annoying him. My puppy gets cranky and plays "bitey" when she is overtired. We gently ask her to go to her crate and give her a chewie to reinforce that her crate is not punishment ever, but rather a safe nice place to go relax. Shortly after she is crashed out snoring. Problem alleviated, no chance for pup to mess up.

And since your dog is exposed to children, for everyone's safety I recommend, like others here have said, to contact a qualified behaviorist. Please ask the behaviorist (not trainer) lots of questions, be fully honest with them about the aggression events, and make sure they are using positive reinforcement and not fear, intimidation, force, or shock collars in their training.

Wishing you all the best and please keep us updated
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Old 08-10-2018, 12:41 PM
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interesting thread, I have the same problem
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