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Five days ago my husband and I adopted a 4 year old female miniature Schnauzer. She came from a house with an elderly couple who couldn't take care of her any longer and had to give her up. Roxy is very affectionate and sweet. But a couple of days ago she started growling and snapping (no contact) at my kids. It happened when I sat on the couch with the dog cuddled up next to me; as soon as one of our 3 kids approached me, Roxy growled and snapped at them. I read your training and behavior sticky, and it seems to me that Roxy is resource guarding. But the funny thing is, if I sit on the floor and pet her, the kids can come up to her and pet her and it doesn't trigger any behaviors. Or if she sits on the couch all by herself the kids can approach her and pet her as well... So I thought that not letting her sit next to me on the couch would solve the problem. But today I was lying down on my bed with a headache and Roxy was by my bedside. As soon as my 3 year old daughter tried to climb onto the bed with me, Roxy growled and snapped. Am I reading her behavior correctly? Is she resource guarding or is it something else? And how do I train her not to growl and snap at my kids? Please, help!
 

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It is possible that she is resource guarding you. I think another possibility is that your kids are "disturbing" the dog when she is asleep or almost asleep. Some dogs don't react well to this. This seems more likely to me because the negative behavior is not consistent (for instance you mentioned sitting on the floor with the dog and the kids approached her with no negative reaction).

My suggestions:

The dog is not used to kids. To address this issue there are some things that you can do with your kids and some things you can do with your dog.

KIDS: Make sure your kids are handling and petting the dog properly (never causing the dog pain). Don't let them disturb the dog when she is eating, resting, or chewing a bone. Teach the kids to respect the dog and give her space. Try to let the dog come to the kids instead of the kids always approaching the dog. If the dog takes treats nicely, let the kids feed the dog a treat so the dog associates the kids with positive things.

DOG: Teach dog to respect kids. If dog is letting kids pet her, give praise and reward with treats. If dog is not being nice, say NO and end the interaction (remember, growling is not a bad thing. The dog is communicating that she doesn't feel comfortable with something. This is akin to a kid using their words instead of their fists. If you discourage growling, you take away the dog's ability to communicate and next time she is uncomfortable she may bite with no warning.) To help dog learn to respect kids, try to involve kids in training the dog. Have the kids ask the dog to sit. Reward dog for listening to the child.
 

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Well, things have been going A LOT better! The dog doesn't growl at the kids any more, even when they approach her without treats. She has also started playing with the kids (tug of war, fetch, etc.) which, I think, is a good sign. Thanks again, SchnauzerGirl8810!
However, we are facing a different problem now. Roxy growls/lunges at other dogs. I didn't use to notice that at first, because the only dogs she had seen were the two neighbor's dogs who are always in their back yard and bark at EVERYTHING. So they barked at Roxy, and she barked back at them, and I took her away. But the other day I took her on a walk around the neighborhood, and a puppy ran out to play with her. At first Roxy was fine, she was just sniffing, but then she growled at the poor puppy and lunged. She wasn't being restrained at the time (I had her on the leash, but loosely), so it's probably not frustration induced reaction. Should I keep her away from other dogs? Consult a trainer? What would you recommend?
 

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If you have access to a trainer who uses positive reinforcement that would be a great idea. I'll post an article below on how to choose a trainer and what to look out for.

"Teach dog to respect kids. If dog is letting kids pet her, give praise and reward with treats. If dog is not being nice, say NO and end the interaction (remember, growling is not a bad thing. The dog is communicating that she doesn't feel comfortable with something. This is akin to a kid using their words instead of their fists. If you discourage growling, you take away the dog's ability to communicate and next time she is uncomfortable she may bite with no warning.) To help dog learn to respect kids, try to involve kids in training the dog. Have the kids ask the dog to sit. Reward dog for listening to the child."

I disagree with some of the above advice. Saying NO if the dog is not being nice is discouraging the dog communicating that she's uncomfortable. That contradicts the advice that growling is good. Growling is good because it's a warning and you don't want to suppress any warnings by telling the dog NO or punishing in any way. The dog may associate the punishment with the child which is not what is wanted.

I don't subscribe to the letting the child train the dog theory unless the kids are older. A simple thing to do and remember is to give the dog a treat every single time a child approaches the dog. You give the treat, not the child. It's Pavlov and it works. Child=food=dog likes children

I also don't believe that dogs really understand the concept of respect. That is very anthropomorphic thinking and it can create a lot of conflict in dog-human relationships.

I'd recommend you get the book Mine by Jean Donaldson. It covers resource guarding. While you're ordering that get the book Culture Clash by the same author.

The reactivity is best dealt with using desensitization and counter conditioning. A good outline of the process can be found here. Care for Reactive Dogs

Finding a trainer. https://pawsforpraise.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/finding-the-right-dog-trainer-harder-than-you-think/

Good source of info on dog child interactions and relationships. Family Paws-Dog and Baby Support & Education
 

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For now I would not allow the kids to be with Roxy without your presence. Small kids like your three year old are not mature to understand the concept of approaching a dog with respect. Three years olds forget things easily. Plus they are at bite level. Great advice from Grabby with terrific links.
 
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