resource growling

by T

HELP! I have a 5 month old half German half American and yesterday when Gunner was chewing on a treat he kept growling at my 3 and 4 year old.

It got so bad, that he growled, showed teeth, and bit my 3 year old's hand. No blood was drawn but now she is scared of him. I was wondering maybe how other owners have handled this if it has happened in their house.

Gunner does not growl at me so I think he might think he is superior to the kids. Any tips or advise anyone can give me?



Hi T,
This is fairly common behavior with dogs who are putting themselves 'above' human family members, especially with children as many adolescent dogs see them as siblings and are using dog language to assert their own dominant position.

Obviously though this is dangerous and totally unacceptable so you'll need to show your pup that you're not allowing him to behave this way. Verbal corrections each and every time are vital, but you'll need to get started on some other training techniques designed specifically to deal with this behavior....

Teaching the 'leave it' command (see Teaching your pup to 'Leave It' is a good first step.

You'll also need to work on his possessive behavior with edibles by hand-feeding at first, and working towards being able to put your hand in his bowl while he's eating. I'd recommend you get the children to help hand feed him as they seem to be the target of his bossiness right now.

Obviously this is something you'll need to take very slowly and carefully as he needs to be re-educated and you can't rush it safely.

Check out this page for more on dealing with food-based aggression .... Dog Food Aggression

Hope this helps. Best of luck with your pup.
~ Sue

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Aug 23, 2013
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excellent phrase NEW
by: Cheryl & Max

"leave it" two perfect words, I never realized that I was even using it and it all started when I first adopted Max and 7months old I use to walk him daily and since boy dogs love to mark everything in sight, I figured I am out for a walk with you and I am not stopping every 10 feet, so I would just say "leave it" and after a while walking was much more enjoyable,then I started with treats placing them in my right hand palm open and "leave it" he would not touch it unless I put it in my left hand, now I can place treats,food,etc on the ground and "leave it" he will walk over it,sit on it,step over it but will not touch it until I pick it up and hand it to him. My husband likes to watch TV and eat with his tray table which Max"s head towers over he just tells him leave it" and no matter how long he is gone nothing is touched, also I never got into the habit of letting others give my dogs treats other then us,like when you go to the pet store or vet they always ask it the dog can have something,I politely decline, having a chainlink fence I did not want people putting things through the fence and my dog thinking it is ok to take it,also it takes time but giving treats with the left hand most people use the right hand with the "leave it" the dog is likely not to take it.I think with your kids the hand feeding would work great, maybe when you put his food in the bowl have them scoop a handfull and give it to him. I myself have never had to deal with that issue,other issues though it all takes time and persistance results may be slow but they will happen,best wishes to you

Aug 23, 2013
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resource growling NEW
by: T

I really appreciate all the comments. Gunner is 5 months old and ever since he learned to sit he has been sitting for his food and treats etc. I have even thought him to wait. So my kids and myself can put the food down with ease. He even was taught to wait at the top of the stairs and the bottom of the stairs until the adult or child gets to the top or bottom of the stairs so he does not accidently knock someone down since when full grown he will be able to without trouble. He sits and waits for doors to be opened and waits until everyone has went through the door first before he can come out. I am going to keep working on him with the kids. Since my first comment my kids have been more involved in handling him. They now feed him and command him to sit and wait. I am working on the leave it command as well. These were all great comments and I enjoy the feedback and knowledge from everyone. Thank you!

Aug 23, 2013
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Dog growling./biting NEW
by: Cheryl

First of all....many things in life are unpredictable including small children and dogs. With this being said I always kept food/treats/bones out of my dogs reach when there was small children in the same room. Not worth the risk no matter how well trained you feel they both are.
Secondly,we always exchange a treat os some sort for the delicious bone they are giving up. We also have our pup sit and wait for treats, bones or his dog food. You enjoy the sweet looks he gives when he wants it and you let him know whos in charge.
Hope this helps
Cheryl

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