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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Very disturbed and upset! Molly usually sits on my knee and I've had no problem with this before, but tonight my daughter walked over to hug me and Molly tried to bite her face!! I was mortified. Sent Molly straight to her bed as I had no idea what else to do.... A little later, while taking my daughter to bed, Molly ran passed us on the stairs then tried to bite my daughter again from the landing!!! I am very ashamed to admit I smacked Molly on the nose but it was a defensive move and I was protecting my daughter.

I am honestly heart broken and in turmoil as to what I should do?! Please help :(
 

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Keep Molly and your daughter completely separated for now.

Since this is a new behavior take Molly to the vet for a complete check up, make sure they include a full thyroid panel, and explain to them what is going on. Often aggression can be a sign of a medical problem and it's important to rule that out before trying anything else.

Since a child is involved, and I have no way of observing the behavior I really don't feel comfortable recommending any sort of training. What I do strongly advise is calling in a behaviorist that uses positive reinforcement techniques and does not use any negative techniques, such as alpha rolls or hand bites. You can try searching for one here International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
 

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I'd recommend a vet visit to rule out a medical condition and then, especially because a child is involved, consult with a qualified, positive reinforcement-based behaviorist. These are some good starting points:
IAABC
ACVB
CAAB

Is this the same dog who was resource guarding with your daughter? It sounds as though there is something amiss between your daughter and Molly. A behaviorist can help sort things out. In the mean time, keep them completely separated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We've only had Molly 3 weeks and everything was going so well. I feel I've done something wrong as she was fine until a few minutes ago.... I'm heart broken as we really haven't got the money for a behaviorist and my daughter is my main priority here. Molly has always been really calm around my daughter before. There was no reasons for such an attack on her. Molly didn't even growl first either..... Really think she's going to have to be 're-homed. Crying my heart out
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, she has shown guarding against my daughter but they played really great together and Molly lets my daughter stroke and hug her..... I can't have this worry as I want a dog for my daughter, not one she has to stay away from....
 

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Again, echoing PPs. Vet and Behaviorist.

If I recall your daughter is 3yrs?

It is also possible that Molly has expanded to guarding you and not just food. Just a thought. It looks like both instances were when all three of you were together and close together (could also be a space issue). Since we can't see, try to get someone experienced to observe.
 
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Ditto the others.:)

Molly may now be guarding you (dogs can resource guard people from other people) and a vet visit certainly can't hurt.

Definitely though really think seriously about bringing in a pro. I understand money being tight, especially this time of year. Behaviorists are certainly costly and often difficult to find nearby, so you may have better luck looking for a certified behavior consultant or certified trainer. The links the others already gave you may be helpful in your search. Here is one more (good for behavior consultants and qualified trainers).
Search for Professionals

Do also take a look at our Resource Guarding sticky and if you decide you do want to work through this (returning her to the rescue is also an understandable option), buy yourself a copy of Mine by Jean Donaldson. Again, I def recommend working with a pro, but you'll also want to have some handy resources to refer to at times!:)

Last, I just want to say that there is a difference between a dog tolerating a child hugging and petting and actually liking that interaction. The vast majority of dogs do not actually like being hugged!You may find it very helpful to brush up on some canine body language so you can start to better read when Molly is uncomfortable. And also teach your daughter! This is a really great site for families with kids.:)
Learn about dog body language
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My daughter is very nearly 3 and she has been fantastic with Molly. Until this moment, I thought they had a good relationship. I am frightened that my inexperience is going to make this situation worse.... The Vets is shut til Monday and I have to now keep my daughter away from the dog and I am just breaking my heart. We got the dog as a family member, friend, companion for my daughter.... I don't think this is something we can do effectively... My partner is very old school with training and I am only just learning another way but my first reaction was to hit out. I don't think we can do this.... So so sad. I have taken myself away from Molly as I don't feel I can show her affection now....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I understand what your saying about the hugging. I have told Dion about that before. It wasn't something encouraged as I didn't want their faces so close. I just thought if there was any signs, it would have been sooner.... I have been watching a few kikupup(??) videos (but it doesn't make me an expert... ) and I thought Molly was showing signs of being relaxed around Dion???
 

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Oh, MollyDog, your daughter is so young. As a mother, I can say that she's really too young to be able to modify her own behavior around your new pet, and I'm afraid that she'll start to develop a fear of dogs if she has any more frightening incidents with Molly. Your first priority has to be your daughter's well-being.

Where did you acquire Molly? Is that organization willing to either help you with this adjustment phase or take her back and rehome her for you?
 

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I disagree. My son will be 3 in January and if you ask him what Coomassie does he will tell you that Coomassie bites. We've drilled that into him. Coomassie did snap at him a few times when he was learning to walk. He hasn't since. A behaviorist told me that kids learning to walk look like aliens and freak dogs out. Probably what happened. Either way we make sure our son knows how to treat the animals. When our St Bernard started developing hip dysplasia we informed our son that Celsus's hips hurt and he couldn't lean or hug on him. He had to be corrected a few times but he understood. Kids can most certainly be taught proper behavior. He only tried to poke eyes once. He doesn't hit them. He knows.
Oh, MollyDog, your daughter is so young. As a mother, I can say that she's really too young to be able to modify her own behavior around your new pet, and I'm afraid that she'll start to develop a fear of dogs if she has any more frightening incidents with Molly. Your first priority has to be your daughter's well-being.

Where did you acquire Molly? Is that organization willing to either help you with this adjustment phase or take her back and rehome her for you?
As far as Molly I do think there is some resource guarding involved. I'd be setting boundaries for the dog. No more being on your lap or the furniture. If she starts to guard you I'd shove her away with your foot. Whenever I get pregnant my dogs go into guard over drive and I simply correct them by reminding them I'm not theirs.
 

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Honestly no hugging at all is a good rule for kids when it comes to dogs.;)

Are you familiar with calming Signals? Molly may very well be giving some pretty clear signals that she is not comfortable but they are going unnoticed...
Many Calming signals are subtle and/or misinterpreted by people. Things like a tongue flick, eye blinks, averted gave, head turn, approaching in a arch, sniffing the ground, yawning, shaking off, etc.

The link I gave you in my last post really does have a ton of great information about canine body language. Worth a look for pretty much any dog owner.:)
 

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You should reach your child you never ever ever put your face in a dogs face . It's for their safety. Dogs are never 100 percent reliable just like we aren't. You never know they could be achy or in pain and lash out one day.

It sounds like you've given up. How old, what breed is Molly?

Your daughter is too young for a puppy that's just hers. Our dog is for me bc I do the work.

Really work on teaching your daughter how to act around ALL dogs. At 3 she can't judge friendly dog vs unfriendly, so you have to teach her to approach all dogs from the standpoint of safety
 

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FurBabyMum,

You might be right. I guess it would really depend on the child on whether the child is able to deal with a dog that might need some special handling. In any respect, I think that the child's welfare, both physical and emotional, has to be the top priority. And, since none of can really observe what the dynamic is between Dion and Molly, I can only suggest that MollyDog invest in having some work directly with her and the entire family to make this situation work.
 

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Do not rehome a biting dog. Especially one that bites children. It is never a responsible choice to pass along a biting dog. How would you feel if later on she injured another child?

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but to be frank, if you decide Molly will not work in your home you need to make a tough decision. Handing an aggressive dog off to someone else is not a solution.
 

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I'm very sorry this happened. I can imagine how upset you are. If I recall Molly is a JRT. I love the breed but I don't think they are the breed for everyone. Many rescues will not place them with families with small children. I have never recommended the breed to anyone with small kids. They are very sweet and loving dogs but they are also very tenacious and have a strong tendency to resource guard, in my experience with them.

You have to do what's right for your family and for Molly. If you feel the best decision is to find another home for her, don't feel guilty. I don't know if you got her from a rescue, shelter or by some other means. If it was a rescue or shelter, let them know what's happening. Don't sugarcoat anything. Molly should not be placed in another home with kids unless there is someone experienced with dealing with JRTs.

Again, I'm so sorry this happened and hope when you calm down you can make a decision that's best for everyone. Not everyone is able to deal with this type of behavior. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty or inadequate if you feel you need to rehome her.
 

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Do not rehome a biting dog. Especially one that bites children. It is never a responsible choice to pass along a biting dog. How would you feel if later on she injured another child?

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but to be frank, if you decide Molly will not work in your home you need to make a tough decision. Handing an aggressive dog off to someone else is not a solution.
You're right, of course. I'm pretty new to this world of dog ownership. Learning as I go along.

I was thinking that agency or individual from whom MollyDog had acquired her dog might be able to help. When Maru was doing a lot of jumping and nipping in the first week, I got a lot of support from his adoption counselor at the local shelter. In Maru's case, the nipping behavior was his attempt to play with me rather than as a sign of aggression. And, knowing that helped a lot in figuring out my own response to him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Guys, you all make such sense. I may be a total novice with dogs but I am not stupid when it comes to my daughters safety and I tell Dion how to be safe around Molly. Dion didn't even react to these threatened bites, as Molly showed no aggression - barks, growls etc, just the empty snapping near her. I truly believe that Molly could have bitten her but chose not to.... I will now set more ground rules with Molly. I did ask early when I joined this forum, if all the affection I was showing Molly would have a negative effect on our household and I now know it has. I have stopped shaking so much now and I can think straighter. I will almost definitely be doing my best for Dion, by teaching her Molly isn't a toy and I will teach Molly I am not hers....challenge
 
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