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We are fostering a 2yr old female Great Dane. She has only been in our home two days now so I know she is overwhelmed and still adjusting. We have a four year old son, we were told that her previous home had littles so we were thinking she should be ok with children (but obviously we are closely monitoring). Last night our son wanted to sit by her and ended up a bit behind her and she turned and nipped toward him. She didn't touch him, and then just turned back around, so we just thought ok maybe he scared her, no problem. Today I was interacting with her on the floor and he picked up her toy and she barked several times at him. It was a grumpy bark not a "let's play" bark.
My questions are-how do I let her know that is not acceptable behavior while also letting her know he is part of this family and someone she will be safe with and needs to be respectful of. Also-is this a precursor to her just generally not liking small children and is she going to get more aggressive after she settles in in a few weeks? Should I look for a foster home without children? We are definitely not leaving them alone together at all and my son is just basically ignoring her for now. He is not a "grabby" kid, he doesn't approach her, pull her tail or ears, or get in her face.
Any advice from someone more experienced than me would be greatly appreciated. This is my first foster I've had this issue with.
 

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We are fostering a 2yr old female Great Dane. She has only been in our home two days now so I know she is overwhelmed and still adjusting. We have a four year old son, we were told that her previous home had littles so we were thinking she should be ok with children (but obviously we are closely monitoring). Last night our son wanted to sit by her and ended up a bit behind her and she turned and nipped toward him. She didn't touch him, and then just turned back around, so we just thought ok maybe he scared her, no problem. Today I was interacting with her on the floor and he picked up her toy and she barked several times at him. It was a grumpy bark not a "let's play" bark.
My questions are-how do I let her know that is not acceptable behavior while also letting her know he is part of this family and someone she will be safe with and needs to be respectful of. Also-is this a precursor to her just generally not liking small children and is she going to get more aggressive after she settles in in a few weeks? Should I look for a foster home without children? We are definitely not leaving them alone together at all and my son is just basically ignoring her for now. He is not a "grabby" kid, he doesn't approach her, pull her tail or ears, or get in her face.
Any advice from someone more experienced than me would be greatly appreciated. This is my first foster I've had this issue with.
My advice would be to have your son keep ignoring her but to have him carry around a handful of treats in his pocket. Without acknowledging her at all just have him drop one every time he walks by her.

I would just be guessing but it sounds like she has had some bad experience with children in her past somewhere. She just needs to have that negative association replaced with a positive one.

Once she starts seeking him out(when he comes in the room/near her, she perks up, gives positive signals like she is expecting a treat) I have my own little addition to the normal positive association building plan.

I like to keep a small jar of pnut butter handy, take a scoop with one finger, and spread it around my first 3 digits. Same as with dropping a treat, I will just stay and let the dog lick the pnut butter of my fingers. I believe this creats a "next level" of positive association in the dog's mind, now not only is my presence a positive thing, but a physical interaction is as well.

In your son's case I would be uber conservative with transitioning into that step though, if thats what you decide to do. As an adult I have enough experience with dogs to recognize the signals of him/her being uncomfortable and remove myself from the situation before it escalates if I tried the transition too early. It would be more difficult to remove yourself and your son without causing too much stress for the dog in the event that she wasn't comfortable with the close proximity.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!! The treat idea is wonderful!! We will start with that today!!


TE=sullyrules;2970386]
We are fostering a 2yr old female Great Dane. She has only been in our home two days now so I know she is overwhelmed and still adjusting. We have a four year old son, we were told that her previous home had littles so we were thinking she should be ok with children (but obviously we are closely monitoring). Last night our son wanted to sit by her and ended up a bit behind her and she turned and nipped toward him. She didn't touch him, and then just turned back around, so we just thought ok maybe he scared her, no problem. Today I was interacting with her on the floor and he picked up her toy and she barked several times at him. It was a grumpy bark not a "let's play" bark.
My questions are-how do I let her know that is not acceptable behavior while also letting her know he is part of this family and someone she will be safe with and needs to be respectful of. Also-is this a precursor to her just generally not liking small children and is she going to get more aggressive after she settles in in a few weeks? Should I look for a foster home without children? We are definitely not leaving them alone together at all and my son is just basically ignoring her for now. He is not a "grabby" kid, he doesn't approach her, pull her tail or ears, or get in her face.
Any advice from someone more experienced than me would be greatly appreciated. This is my first foster I've had this issue with.
My advice would be to have your son keep ignoring her but to have him carry around a handful of treats in his pocket. Without acknowledging her at all just have him drop one every time he walks by her.

I would just be guessing but it sounds like she has had some bad experience with children in her past somewhere. She just needs to have that negative association replaced with a positive one.

Once she starts seeking him out(when he comes in the room/near her, she perks up, gives positive signals like she is expecting a treat) I have my own little addition to the normal positive association building plan.

I like to keep a small jar of pnut butter handy, take a scoop with one finger, and spread it around my first 3 digits. Same as with dropping a treat, I will just stay and let the dog lick the pnut butter of my fingers. I believe this creats a "next level" of positive association in the dog's mind, now not only is my presence a positive thing, but a physical interaction is as well.

In your son's case I would be uber conservative with transitioning into that step though, if thats what you decide to do. As an adult I have enough experience with dogs to recognize the signals of him/her being uncomfortable and remove myself from the situation before it escalates if I tried the transition too early. It would be more difficult to remove yourself and your son without causing too much stress for the dog in the event that she wasn't comfortable with the close proximity.[/QUOTE]
 
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