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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, thanks in advance for your ideas and suggestions.

Yesterday around 10pm my son and niece were dancing in the living room a bit wildly in costumes (my son was wearing his cousin's tutu). My sister's 10 month old Great Pyrenees suddenly lunged at my son, knocked him to the floor and then was standing over him or going after him. It happened really fast so none of us is sure what happened exactly. My brother in law was right next to them and quickly pulled the dog away from my son without further incident. The dog never barked and seemed to be wagging his tail and playing. However, I no longer feel safe allowing my son near the dog. Luckily, this time my son landed on a cushion, but it could have caused injury otherwise.

I'm trying to understand if this was a the dog lashing out to claim the space to sleep, to show dominance, or if he felt that my son was a threat due to the tutu and dancing. Could he have just been playing and not realized he's too big? My niece is the same age but much bigger than my son. Could this just be related to the dog being overtired and worn out from his recent nueter? How can I ever trust the dog again to be near my son?

A few other details:

My husband and I are not comfortable with dogs and so by extension have never been able to help our son learn how to spend time with dogs. Also, my son hasn't been with this dog since he was a tiny puppy, for 6+ months, but spent the whole day with him yesterday without any problems except that when we first arrived at my sister's the dog ran towards my son and scratched his arm--likey with his cone (he was neutered six days ago), but possibly with his teeth. They were surface scratches only--no blood was drawn.

Otherwise the dog was fine throughout the day until the incident at 10pm. Right before this happened the dog had his walk, his dinner, and his post surgery meds. The kids had pulled a mattress in to dance on and the dog was laying on it while the kids danced around him.
 

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Right before this happened the dog had his walk, his dinner, and his post surgery meds. The kids had pulled a mattress in to dance on and the dog was laying on it while the kids danced around him.

Imagine if you had recently had surgery and two strange large dogs started jumping on your bed..
Would you be pleased?

Personally I would never have allowed my children to be in a postition where they were putting themselves and the dog in such a silly situation.
The dog wasnt being dominant (thats very de-bunked) he was just being irked at having two kids jumping all over him.

What Im reading is a total lack of respect for this dog. Im sorry but there it is, you wouldnt allow your kids to jump on grandma if she had just had surgery so why on earth did you allow them to do this with a dog, he feels pain and discomfort ,, stitches itch and pull and are sore.

Teach your children to be calm and respect the dog. encourage the dog to be calm around the kids , he is just a big baby and most likely doesnt understand how powerful he is. But remember you are the adult you need to be aware of how your children are interacting with the dog and what is appropriate. Dont allow rough games , chasing screaming or pulling (tug of war) games ..
 

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I agree with MadMurphy as well, it was owner error. It was irresponsible to allow children around a pet that just had surgery. Especially, ones who aren't familiar with animals and who don't live with him. I'm not stating this to be rude but as murphy said if you just had surgery you'd be uncomfortable with your kids jumping and playing around you. Pets are no different. Personally, If I was your sister I wouldn't have allowed unfamiliar children in home until after pup was fully healed.
 

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Causes of fear-based aggression include sudden movements, the touching of private space, excessive eye contact, noise or the removal of dog belongings such as food, toy. Fear is one of the triggers for aggression and other behavioral problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for your replies. They gave me the confidence to be around the dog for another day.

I think that the loud music and wild dancing really over stimulated the dog and could have been frightening. My sister thinks that the play fighting the kids were doing may have triggered a protective response in the dog.

That said, I do want to mention that the dog had his own bed nearby but he chose to join the dance party on the mattress rather than head to his own space when he returned from dinner. (He really likes laying on that mattress).

My son and I spent another day with the dog yesterday without incident. I reminded my son to not act wild and we left early for the evening to allow the dog some space.
 
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