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  #1  
Old August 2nd, 2012, 04:04 PM
sublime sublime is offline
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14 Week old pup Growls and Nips at Children

We recently bought a 14 week old Bichon Frise pup from a near local breeder who has 3 breeding pairs of dogs. I don't think they socialized the pups as well as they should have. The dog LOVES me, a 6' 3" male. I mean it freaks when it sees me and cry's when I leave. It seems indifferent my wife but enjoys her company in my absence. When he gets around the children for a while with with me out of the picture, (inside watching through a window where he doesn't notice me), he seems to do fine with the kids. Our daughters are 5 and 8 years old. So, they are twitchy, fast moving and very high pitched.

However, the dog will begin to growl at them especially when I am around and has nipped at them for coming too close. If he is in my lap when this happens, I push him away from me and pull the children close to me. He has also done this from his kennel, I don't know what to do then. Yesterday when I was walking the 8 year old up the stairs to go to bed, he began to bark at us. Again, I don't know what to do. Right now he doesn't seem to like them AT ALL. I begin a training class on Saturday and we will be going every week for about 3 months, so I hope they can offer some advice. He has also nipped at my wife and the kids when they try to "catch" him to pick him up for his own good, (to get him inside or to go where they want him to.)

I love that he loves me, but I want him to also love and respect the children. What can I do?

(Oh yeah, he is also quite timid around any loud noises and is very defensive around any other dogs that approach him. Not aggressive, just defensive, growling, snarling and biting at them if they try to come up to him. Dogs that ignore him, he wants to play with.)

Brandon
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 04:47 PM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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I am going to guess that you are correct - you puppy wasn't socialized at all. The only cure for that is to socialize, socialize, socialize.

Remember that a 14 week old pup is very much like having a toddler in the house. You can't expect them to KNOW how to behave - you have to teach them how to behave.

Classes are going to do you a world of good.

In the meantime, you need to treat her for appropriate behavior around the children and move away and ignore her when she displays improper behavior.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
sublime sublime is offline
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Originally Posted by LavenderRott View Post
I am going to guess that you are correct - you puppy wasn't socialized at all. The only cure for that is to socialize, socialize, socialize.

Remember that a 14 week old pup is very much like having a toddler in the house. You can't expect them to KNOW how to behave - you have to teach them how to behave.

Classes are going to do you a world of good.

In the meantime, you need to treat her for appropriate behavior around the children and move away and ignore her when she displays improper behavior.
Thanks for your response.

What does it mean to socialize a puppy? I mean, I think I know what it means, but I want to be sure.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 08:49 PM
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You need to take this puppy everywhere that you can to meet all the people that you can possibly introduce. Hardware stores (I used Home Depot and Lowes) are excellent - lots of friendly people and different kinds of noises. Pet stores are ok if you follow some guidelines with a young puppy - puppy rides IN a cart with a towel or blanket on the bottom of the cart.

Sit on a park bench in a busy park and ask strangers to give your puppy a treat (which you, of course, provide them) and pet her.

I have always crated young puppies in my room for two reasons - it prevents fussing at night as puppy is close to me and it gives puppy a quiet place to nap, uninterrupted by noisy children.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 10:15 PM
sublime sublime is offline
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Originally Posted by LavenderRott View Post
You need to take this puppy everywhere that you can to meet all the people that you can possibly introduce. Hardware stores (I used Home Depot and Lowes) are excellent - lots of friendly people and different kinds of noises. Pet stores are ok if you follow some guidelines with a young puppy - puppy rides IN a cart with a towel or blanket on the bottom of the cart.

Sit on a park bench in a busy park and ask strangers to give your puppy a treat (which you, of course, provide them) and pet her.

I have always crated young puppies in my room for two reasons - it prevents fussing at night as puppy is close to me and it gives puppy a quiet place to nap, uninterrupted by noisy children.
Thank you for your response. I will do just that. My wife is upset because the dog won't come to her and doesn't follow her around like me so she has to chase him to catch him in the house. We are using the crate for potty training, leaving the home, naps and night time.

Brandon
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Thank you for your response. I will do just that. My wife is upset because the dog won't come to her and doesn't follow her around like me so she has to chase him to catch him in the house. We are using the crate for potty training, leaving the home, naps and night time.

Brandon
DON'T CHASE!!!!! Chasing is teaching puppy to run away and is quite a wonderful game for a young puppy.

The first rule when teaching "come" is don't ever, ever, ever use the word "come" if you can not reinforce the command!

The trick to getting a young puppy to come to you (or to your wife) is that you (or your wife) has to be more interesting than whatever the pup is doing. Always use a happy voice, wave a toy, get down on your knees and clap your hands - anything to be exciting. If push comes to shove - whoop and holler and run AWAY from puppy, calling puppy's name. And treat, treat, treat!!
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 11:11 PM
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You also need to be very careful about the kids interactions with the pup. Children under the age of 9 (of course there are many exceptions) typically don't have the ego force to handle a puppy properly. Grabbing the pup, chasing and screaming near the pup, leaping into your lap with the pup etc can all lead to some poor interactions. The problem is that many young kids just don't understand the warning growl and won't back away in time before it becomes a bite. The children need to learn how to behave with puppies and You need to make it clear to the pup that growling at the children won't be permitted. But always be sure to reinforce calm interactions with lots of calm praise.
Your wife needs to participate in the training so the pup learns to look to her for advice as well. The more she engages the puppy's mind the more important she will become in the pups life. It's so much more than feeding, walking and playing with the pup - it's also about teaching, setting boundaries and rules, in addition to the love.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 11:49 AM
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Put your wife in charge of the dog. For a while you need to ignore him. So no food, treats, or attention from you. Insted your wife becomes the source of all things good in life - that'll help the pup bond and look to her. Get some light line and put a clip on it, and put that on the pup when he's loose, so if she needs to get him, she can just pick up the line, or stand on it, and offer him treats to get him to come to her. Take him EVERYWHERE for socalizing - check with local places about doggy daycare as soon as he's old enough, or just go to local coffee places, get a coffee and sit outside and let him be around new people and things. People can offer him treats, but don't get them to push the petting on him, if he approaches that's one thing but having people maul him may not help much (a lot of people think they're trainers, I remember one lady who thought yelling louder was how you got dogs to learn - she'd go up to a strange dog and say sit. Sit. SIIIIITTTT! and be screaming at the dog who looked at her like she was nuts - it was a puppy that didn't know what 'sit' meant!).

The breeder you got him from sounds like a byb - most responsible breeders do not have 'breeding pairs' and do a lot more to socialize the pups and prepare the owners, and even the most basic responsible breeder would make sure you knew what socialization meant.

For the kids in the house, they can take part in some of the rewarding things with the pup, and join in on walks with the puppy, but teach them to respect the pup's space and treat the pup gently for now. My kids have learned not to bug the dogs when they have a bone etc. but at 4 and 7 are able to walk the dogs (golden and border collie, not the puppy yet but the adult dogs), feed all the dogs (I prep the food, they put the bowls in the crates) and so on.

Good luck, and also sign up for some classes asap with the pup - send your wife with the puppy and stay at home with the kids and fold laundry for her.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 01:57 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Take a good look though this website. We are so lucky to have this site, dedicated to dog and child safety, it's very well regarded here and internationally.

http://www.doggonesafe.com/
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 11:36 PM
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Thank you so much for all of the information everyone. We are going to training class tomorrow at 11am and will be going every week for 10 weeks. Between the advice here, my own research and the training, hopefully we can nip this in the bud and make a good dog out of this pup.

I am so surprised at the temperament of this dog but we just did not have the extra $1000 to go to a high end breeder. I have heard it is very rare for this breed to bark, growl or bite.

Brandon
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Old August 4th, 2012, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sublime View Post
Thank you so much for all of the information everyone. We are going to training class tomorrow at 11am and will be going every week for 10 weeks. Between the advice here, my own research and the training, hopefully we can nip this in the bud and make a good dog out of this pup.

I am so surprised at the temperament of this dog but we just did not have the extra $1000 to go to a high end breeder. I have heard it is very rare for this breed to bark, growl or bite.

Brandon
The reasons for going to a "high end" breeder are many and you are finding that out now. Bichons are prone to severe allergies, eye problems and both hemophilia and Von Willebrand's disease. These are genetic issues that a "high end" breeder is usually very careful to test for and avoid. They also are very careful about breeding for temperament.

With the advice you have been given and with training classes, you should be able to get your puppy past the issues that you are currently having.

Good Luck and keep us posted.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 07:04 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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The reasons for going to a "high end" breeder are many and you are finding that out now. Bichons are prone to severe allergies, eye problems and both hemophilia and Von Willebrand's disease. These are genetic issues that a "high end" breeder is usually very careful to test for and avoid. They also are very careful about breeding for temperament.

With the advice you have been given and with training classes, you should be able to get your puppy past the issues that you are currently having.

Good Luck and keep us posted.
Double ditto dis. Umm, this. the hallmarks of a breed that make you think it's the one for you are produced by the hallmark breeders, hallmark being a term in this case for the word reputable.

Sublime it does sound like you have a good head start on this problem. 14 weeks is incredible young for a puppy to show aggression no matter where it was bred but, just as in humans, wierd things can happen. Classes should help immensely.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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Thank you so much for all of the information everyone. We are going to training class tomorrow at 11am and will be going every week for 10 weeks. Between the advice here, my own research and the training, hopefully we can nip this in the bud and make a good dog out of this pup.

I am so surprised at the temperament of this dog but we just did not have the extra $1000 to go to a high end breeder. I have heard it is very rare for this breed to bark, growl or bite.

Brandon
The 'high end' breeders are usually not that far off the 'cheaper' breeder's prices really. Keeping in mind classes, extra insurance, stress, vet bills and lawsuits for having a dog with a poor temperament or bad health are going to run you a lot more.

It is very rare for the breed to be like that, but the responsible breeders are the ones that would not breed a dog that had those issues. The less than responsible breeders don't usually care what the dog is like so long as it can make puppies to sell.
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Old August 4th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by LavenderRott View Post
You need to take this puppy everywhere that you can to meet all the people that you can possibly introduce. Hardware stores (I used Home Depot and Lowes) are excellent - lots of friendly people and different kinds of noises. Pet stores are ok if you follow some guidelines with a young puppy - puppy rides IN a cart with a towel or blanket on the bottom of the cart.

Sit on a park bench in a busy park and ask strangers to give your puppy a treat (which you, of course, provide them) and pet her.

I have always crated young puppies in my room for two reasons - it prevents fussing at night as puppy is close to me and it gives puppy a quiet place to nap, uninterrupted by noisy children.
I would not bring my hearing dog to Home Depot as I notice there where too many spills in the floor and I had no idea if it was harmful to my dog. And people drop tacks etc on the floor I felt that it was not a safe place to bring a dog.
I would not bring a dog that nip at people to any store .
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Old August 4th, 2012, 08:05 PM
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I would not bring my hearing dog to Home Depot as I notice there where too many spills in the floor and I had no idea if it was harmful to my dog. And people drop tacks etc on the floor I felt that it was not a safe place to bring a dog.
I would not bring a dog that nip at people to any store .
I don't think Home Depot in particular will let people take dogs in anymore, since the dog that bit the employee's nose incident.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 12:38 AM
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Stark spent many mornings riding in the shopping cart at both Home Depot and Lowes. Wasn't an issue here, don't know if the policy at your local store might be different.

I certainly wouldn't suggest that people be allowed to rush up to an overwhelm this puppy but a calmer "hello" with a treat in hand will go a long way towards showing a puppy lacking in confidence that people can be good things to greet.

Keeping this pup secluded and away from people is not going to solve any problems but make them worse.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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Stark spent many mornings riding in the shopping cart at both Home Depot and Lowes. Wasn't an issue here, don't know if the policy at your local store might be different.

I certainly wouldn't suggest that people be allowed to rush up to an overwhelm this puppy but a calmer "hello" with a treat in hand will go a long way towards showing a puppy lacking in confidence that people can be good things to greet.

Keeping this pup secluded and away from people is not going to solve any problems but make them worse.
I am not saying the puppy should kept away from people ,I think it should in be a puppy training class with people that can train the puppy to learn social skills. There are too many people that see a cute puppy and want to kiss it. Some woman tried to kiss my small dog and I would not let her as my dog could start barking and bite the woman by mistake.
You could see how stupid some parents are with their kids and dogs. One mother asked if her child could pet my dog while he was barking his at head off at another dog. People would let their child put their face right in front of my hearing dog face. I would have to tell the parent to move their child
back that some dogs do not like people in their space. My dog was very welled train but the next dog may not be . . I was concerned
that some child would get bitten tried to pet the puppy . A puppy can do a lot harm to a small child face if they get bitten.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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You're not the only one with an unbalanced Bichon Working in a doggy daycare has given me quite the insight into the behaviourly disturbed lol. I was just biten by a Bichon X a couple of weeks ago, first time in all my years working with dogs that one has managed to break skin.
I agree with everyone that training classes will do you a world of good. One thing that I will suggest is that if you do have a doggy daycare near you and you decide to take your dog to it make sure you ask how the socializing with other dogs works. Some places only allow some dogs to play together, picking them based on their personalities and size. The one I am at is pretty hectic. It is size seperated but all dogs of those sizes are in the park all together. It can be quite stressful for new dogs, being introduced to a group of 50+ super excited dogs. For a pup with behavioural issues I would definitely not recommend this style of daycare.
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Old August 5th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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I am not saying the puppy should kept away from people ,I think it should in be a puppy training class with people that can train the puppy to learn social skills. There are too many people that see a cute puppy and want to kiss it. Some woman tried to kiss my small dog and I would not let her as my dog could start barking and bite the woman by mistake.
You could see how stupid some parents are with their kids and dogs. One mother asked if her child could pet my dog while he was barking his at head off at another dog. People would let their child put their face right in front of my hearing dog face. I would have to tell the parent to move their child
back that some dogs do not like people in their space. My dog was very welled train but the next dog may not be . . I was concerned
that some child would get bitten tried to pet the puppy . A puppy can do a lot harm to a small child face if they get bitten.
A training class is necessary but not a substitute for socialization. In a class, each individual is working with their own dog and even socializing in class doesn't compare to being "out in the world".

While you would think that having a Rottweiler would eliminate the amount of stupid people who think that they can get in my dog's face, etc. It is MY job to make sure that even socializing strangers act appropriately. This is true of all dog owners with all breeds of dogs, regardless of temperament.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Thanks again all for the replies.

I have an update...

The dog had become increasingly aggressive towards our children. We tried two different methods of correction. Move the dog away from me, his safe place, when he growled at the children when they came close. The second was to reward the dog with a special treat during controlled times when the children entered the room didn't say anything and then left. When they left the treats disappeared too. However, on Monday while I was at home working and the children were at the lake with the dog and their mother he attacked our youngest. Not completely, but he was about 5 feet away and then charged her and bit her hand hard and they recoiled. It did not break skin and he was on the lease. After that we became very very concerned. He exhibited the behavior again in front of me charging her with his head lowered. She has done nothing bad to the dog and we know this because he is always in our presence. So, on Wednesday we had a professional trainer come over. She is highly recommended in our city. She labeled the dog as "abnormal and aggressive". She said that we should not keep the dog. The breeder on Wednesday said we could bring him back and get a different puppy but not for 7 more weeks. Well, Thursday morning they changed their mind and said we are stuck with him. That is a entirely separate point that angers me. So, we put an ad in several online classifieds yesterday and we have had a lot of interest in the dog. However, yesterday I did not interact with the dog save a few moments and my Wife took control and worked with him and the kids. This was after I "attacked" him for going after our youngest again. I was upset and grabbed him by the neck harshly when he began growling lowering his head and chasing after our daughter. He yelped when I grabbed and I took him inside and put him in the kennel for about 10 minutes. When we took him out of the kennel, for the rest of the day I really did not interact with him. This is when my wife began working with him and the children intensively all day. She had them feed him awesome treats and petting him, staying very calm. By the end of the day he seemed different. He acts VERY different when I am around though. Like a completely different dog. He becomes aggressive almost immediately. However, after the incident when I grabbed him and put him in the kennel he was different. Immediately after that, in my presence he allowed the children to be around and didn't growl at them. By the end of the day and this morning he seems to have forgotten but it is not NEARLY as bad.

So, now we have NO idea what to do. Should we get rid of the dog per the recommendations by the trainer? Should we keep trying to work with him and give it a while and then see? If so, how long? Should we just plan to keep no matter what and work with him as much as possible?

Also, he seems like this with all kids, like he growled at one of the oldest's friends at the park.

(The children are hyper high pitched 5 and 8 year old girls.)

Thanks for any and all advice you may give! Also, we DO NOT Want to get rid of him. We all love him. But we CANNOT have a dog that we cannot trust around kids.

Brandon
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Old August 10th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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That certainly ups your ante, so to speak. A nip and a bite are two different creatures. First off - I will say your breeder shouldn't be selling goldfish, let alone puppies. An ethical breeder will take back any puppy at any time for any reason.

Your options.

Yes, you can keep him and continue to work with him. While not a correction I would usually recommend - if grabbing him up by the scruff of his neck impresses him, do it! But if you use that as a correction for snapping at the children, continue to use excellent treats to reward correct behavior around the children.

If you decide to rehome him, please, please, please go through a reputable rescue group. You MUST tell everyone that this dog does not like children. He might make an excellent pet for an older woman that wants a companion and doesn't have children visiting.

Personally, I don't mess with dogs that bite children and had that bite broken the skin, there would have been a trip to the vet.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 01:52 PM
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Wow, sorry you're having these issues. Did you sign a contract with the breeder? If so read it and see if they are obligated to take the dog back.

That said I so agree with LavenderRot that if you decide to rehome the dog you should use a very reputable rescue. I would never place a dog with aggression issues on the internet. Even if you tell the people the whole truth about the dog (which most people will not, not saying you won't though) you simply don't know what they will do with the dog. Will it be snake food? Really, who wants to buy your uncontrollable dog??? Why?? And please, do not give the dog away free online!

I'm so sorry you're in this terrible dilema. Make your decision with the best interest of your children first and the dog second. It's so sad for all involved. I have to say you are getting great advice here though.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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It is frightening how many people troll the internet looking for "free" or "cheap" pups to use as bait dogs.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Well, we listed him at $500 - So I doubt too many people would pay that for "bait" whatever that is.

We are going day by day here. The thing about us is that we cannot afford a dog that cost more than $500. (Which is what we paid.) We are not well off and we saved this money to do this. We simply cannot afford to drop $2000 up front on a dog. So, if we do sell him, that puts us in a bind and my wife said she doesn't even want a pure bred if we sell him. I don't know. This really sucks, I do know that.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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Not all purebred breeders are the same and, judging from the response you have gotten from yours, I would say they are not among the best.

If you decide to get another dog, I strongly suggest you go through a reputable rescue group. Cost should be within your budget and any dog that you adopt will be temperament tested and they will know whether or not it is good with children.

FYI - a bait dog is one that is used to train fighting dogs. If you do rehome this dog yourself, you need to disclose the fact that he is aggressive towards children and you need to make sure that you check references.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 04:37 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Well, we listed him at $500 - So I doubt too many people would pay that for "bait" whatever that is.

We are going day by day here. The thing about us is that we cannot afford a dog that cost more than $500. (Which is what we paid.) We are not well off and we saved this money to do this. We simply cannot afford to drop $2000 up front on a dog. So, if we do sell him, that puts us in a bind and my wife said she doesn't even want a pure bred if we sell him. I don't know. This really sucks, I do know that.

Thanks for the advice.
But, you are advising of his problems and why you are selling him I hope? Boy, what a crappy situation. I'm sorry this is happening to all of you, including the dog.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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I'm very glad you are not giving him away. Selling him will keep alot of the shady people away. Just want to say that not all purebreds are more expensive than the mutts. I regularly see labradoodles (lab x poodles) for sale for $900., the very large purebred we are dealing with a breeder for is $1200. Like the others say, this breeder has shown her dogs, does not breed her own dogs together, does not breed before they are 2 years old when they can get all their health certifications done, and not only will take her dogs back if you don't or can't keep it she insists on it in her contract. The price difference is inconsequential. Like yourself, yes we have to save to get the dog we want, but it's worth the extra wait. Again, good luck to you.
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Old August 10th, 2012, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longblades View Post
But, you are advising of his problems and why you are selling him I hope? Boy, what a crappy situation. I'm sorry this is happening to all of you, including the dog.
Oh gosh yes. We are going to have them sign something that says they acknowledge that he is not good with children.

Today was worlds better. He barked a few times at the kids from a distance and growled once I think. We scolded him for doing so and he seems to understand that this is not acceptable behavior. Also, we have been forcing him to be more exposed which seems to be helping his self confidence and making him more calm. Tonight the kids were bouncing around and playing very loud in the same room as him and he seemed to tolerate, not like, the action.

We still don't know what we are going to do. We do think he deserves a little more time. I think I was sheltering him too much and we took the wrong approach in the beginning. We are trying the exact reverse of our methods before.

Thanks again for the comments and support.

If anyone has any suggestions as to what we should do, I am open ears.

Brandon
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  #29  
Old August 11th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Boulder, Colorado
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Balance in all things. Yes, make all interactions with the kids as positive as possible and controlled. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't correct him for making bad choices. The level of correction has to impress him without causing him fear or pain - when you cause fear or pain you loose trust.
Often behavior like this is caused by lack of socialization, lack of training and/or fear and insecurity. He is insecure about kids so he lashes out to keep them away. Every time he succeeds he learns being aggressive works so he does it more.
Though his attack on the child is extremely concerning and a huge red flag it doesn't mean that he is a lost cause. It just means more work on your part. He needs very clear boundaries, structure and rules. Training is the key. Find another trainer. I know plenty of trainers who are supposedly highly regarded but I wouldn't ever recommend their services. You need to find the right match for you, your family and the dog.
He should be on a leash attached to an adult as much as possible - in the house as well as outside. This gives you a mean of communication, correction, direction and an emergency brake.
This dog needs to learn to look to you for the answers when he has a decision to make. So instead of independently reacting by lunging and biting, he needs to look to you for guidance and you need to be ready with an answer. This means being highly aware of his energy, his body language and the surrounding environment. He needs to be excellent in his obedience skills so that you can be effective when you tell him to: sit, stay, down, come, stop, leave it, go to his place, etc.
Please feel free to contact us for help at any time. Talking can be more effective than posting because we can get into details more easily.
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  #30  
Old August 12th, 2012, 09:00 PM
kitona kitona is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Calgary
Posts: 86
Just curious if you've had his eyesight and hearing checked out by your vet? It could be that he has distorted eyesight or hearing issues that trigger unruly behaviour. Just a thought.
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