I already posted this on the general dog forum, but I'm reposting here because I was unsure where it belonged.
I'm a new dog owner and need a little advice. It all started on Thanksgiving when I rescued a dog that was walking on the freeway. He had no tags or microchip so after not getting any response from flyers we posted, a craigslist ad, or petharbor listing we decided the dog was ours to keep. He seemed like the *perfect* dog at first, he just had a little issue with not being housebroken. The house training is going well, but he has started growling at/nipping the air near children.
At first this happened with my daughter's friend whose behavior can be a little overwhelming so I thought it was just her being too crazy around him and my dog feeling nervous (he is just a little guy--probably a rat terrier and possibly chihuahua mix). I gave her some treats to give him and told her to give them to him after having him sit so that he could learn she was a nice person. This seemed to help.
Next he started growling at a couple of my kids when they would try to pick him up, usually when he was sleeping on the couch. I do tell my kids not to bother him when he's sleeping, eating, and going potty, but they're kids and they don't always do what they're supposed to. Then he started growling at them when they would approach him for kisses/pets. My kids can also get into this kind of chaotic energy so I thought maybe he was reacting to that.
Then today when we were on a walk a single girl asked if she could pet him. I said she could, but he growled quietly at her and even nipped the air when she tried to pet him. This girl was calm and quiet and did everything right. What do I need to do to help this little guy? I'm all for respecting his needs, but I also feel he needs to learn that kids are a step above him in this pack.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, he's not always like this with my kids. He'll also play with them and lick them like crazy, he misses them when they're gone and gets excited when they come back.
Thanks for any advice!
Vanessa and Tigger