New puppy and young child questions.

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Postby Favorite Kitty » June 1st, 2006, 9:20 am

I have a 14 week old puppy that is a mix of everything :) I also have Haven (pit mix) who is about 15 months old.

My son and I were just sitting on the floor with Haven and Lily, the puppy. Lily was chewing on a squeeky toy that I grabbed from her and threw for her to fetch. No problem. Then, my 5 year old son grabbed it from her and she growled at him. It happened so fast that my son was able to grab it and throw it for her. She didnt go fetch it. I dont know if this was becuse of what she was feeling towards him or just because she was sick of fetching it. She isnt much of a fetcher! I didnt know how to handle this the proper way. My son and I picked up all the toys and put them away after she did this. I put Lily in her crate and came here to post.

I am assuming she growled because she thinks she is higher up than him and wasnt going to allow him to take her toy :| I have my son bring Lily out on her leash to go potty, to go for walks, and he does even try to train her with her sits and leave its. I am right beside him while he does this so is this even helping her learn to respect him? I am going to bring her to a trainer for obedience classes but not for another month when we move into our new home.

How should I handle this if it were to happen again? What is your best advice on training a dog the order of its family? This toy that Lily had was not a favorite or even one she plays with so what would happen if we took a toy from her that she did really like? I just dont want this to turn into any kind of aggression.
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 9:32 am

have your son feed her too.. she might be feeling that he is below her on the pecking order. you should reprimand her when it happens as well, so that she understands it is not acceptable. some dogs resource guard their bones and toys, and some are just snots about it..

are you planning on getting her into obedience trainign with a trainer? i would.. and have your son help too..

start out by removing all bones/toys from the floor.. start NILIF with her NOW.. no furniture, nothing for now.. she has to learn your son is above her.. have your son mix her food, make her sit before she eats, andhave your son place her bowl down.. have him do what you do with her.. but keep the toys and bones away for now.
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Postby Favorite Kitty » June 1st, 2006, 9:47 am

Reprimand her how? That was what I wasnt sure of. Should I do the reprimanding or should my son if this happens again? I do have both the kids feed the dogs every once in a while. All three of us take turns. We take their food bowls away from them, we make them leave it and cannot eat until they are given a command. Anything else we could be doing?

Yes, she is DEFINITELY getting into training classes, but as I said we are moving in a few weeks to a place about 40 minutes from here. So, to start her now would be pretty difficult. There is a trainer that I want to use but it is about 10 minutes away from the new house. I would say she will be in classes in about a month from now. I would start her here with the trainer I used for Haven but she isnt starting a new class for a couple of weeks. Already checked. Thanks for the help :)
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Postby Romanwild » June 1st, 2006, 10:02 am

Sounds like resource guarding to me. That would indicate that NILFSS would be in order. You need to involve all human members ofs syour fssamily on this, especially children.

Taking all the toys away and putting her in her crate is probably enough for most dogs to get it. But you always have to be aware and diligent, that can never stop.

I always make it clear that I own all the resources. When I give them bones I won't tolerate any growling or anything like that. As soon as that happens I pick the bones or toys up and put them away. It took a few times but now they know to behave when getting a treat or the fun is over.
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 10:15 am

have the children feed her too. do NILIF with everything for her.since you dont know her background, you dont know what her environment was before she came to you, she could have had resource guarding prior to your house.
reprimanding her would be a stern NO GROWL, a neck scruff, it all depends on what you are comfortable with.

before you introduce toys again, make sure she sits to eat , sits to greet, etc.. if she doesnt sit for food she doesnt eat. it might take her 2 times, but she will learn really fast. also start teaching her the wait command, so that you practice putting her bowl down slowly, and say wait, and wait, and get to the point she will sit and wait while your son puts her bowl down, and she cant eat until he says ok..

for the toy issue, it all depends on how comfortable you feel with this part. you can have your son hold chicken pieces in his hand. give her a toy. then, give her a piece of chicken, and take the toy. repeat.. have you do it. give chicken, take toy, repeat. if she growls ,, reprimand, take toy away and put it away out of sight and reachfor her.. some dogs learn quickly that if they give up a valuable item, they get a MORE valuable item instead..

go to http://www.k9deb.com she has some awesome stuff for NILIF and resource guarding issues

since you are moving , wait on the group obedience training, and make sure you bring her to group classes, this way she is more socialized around other dogs and people too.

work with her at home, teaching sit, stay, come, walk nice on a leash, down, stuff like that.. keep her mind busy too..
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 10:16 am

ps- the kids should feed her ALL THE TIME.. make lily sit for her food from all of them. she doesnt sit , she dont eat.. trust me ,she will pick up quick.. have the kids allso toss chicken pieces in her bowltoo so that lily gets used to the kids hands in her bowl as well. make sure you watch all of this,so that if she gets snotty you can correct her right there..
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Postby mnp13 » June 1st, 2006, 10:16 am

uh.... this is a puppy.

what training has she had so far?
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 10:19 am

yep, lily is a puppy, but if this is not nipped in the bud now it could lead to problems later. i dont think lily had any training before she came to favoritekitty.
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Postby Favorite Kitty » June 1st, 2006, 10:30 am

I just counted again and she is actually 15 weeks old. She was born on Valentines day :)

She has had no other previous training, I would imagine, before she came here a couple of weeks ago. She was a foster puppy since she was born. She is being fed by the children and I at every meal. I make both my dogs wait until I give them the command to eat in their crates. I have always done this with Haven so I did it with Lily since she came here. I am training the leave it, sit, off when she jumps, down, come, drop it, no biting, and crate commands on my own at home. I have both the kids also teach these. She is also supposed to go potty when I give the command, too, but that doesnt go over too well :) I figure I have her started pretty well until she is in classes.

Even though she is only a puppy I am *still* nervous. I want to treat this situation the right way so that it doesnt turn into a learned habit or become worse as she ages. I do not want her to dislike my son. I have also wondered before if one dog has an issue, such as growling to get their way, if it will rub off onto your other dog. What do you think?
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Postby mnp13 » June 1st, 2006, 10:35 am

I think...

the dog needs to be evaluated in person by a trainer especially since your description and views are probably very different than what I would have seen had I been there.

I know you will be starting training in a month with your new trainer; and you are right, you probably shouldn't wait that long to deal with this.

At the same time, I feel that NILIF is a little harsh for a puppy with little training. Dogs have to learn to play, and they do that when they are young. Ruby has never been playful, and though that is partly her temperament I would also attribute it to little social interaction until she was 10 months old and I brought her home.
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 10:41 am

playing is one thing, but growling when a child goes to take away a toy is something else. that is not play in my book.. at her age,there is nothing wrong with learning obedience , nor nilif.. since she had no training prior to coming to favoritekitty she must learn the rules in her house now.. not when she gets older. there is time for play, yes, lots of it.. but growling at a child who goes to take a toy could be resource guarding. arturos brother at 4 months old resource guarded toys with the children in his house too. its better to correct a bad behavior that the puppy is testing out now then later.
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Postby a-bull » June 1st, 2006, 10:59 am

I, personally, would not reprimand a puppy for growling---whether it is with scruff grabs, alpha rolls, etc., as these can backfire if the pup has a propensity to be dominant. The best, safest approach is to make it clear to the pup that it is low man on the totem pole in the household, through a NILIF training program and having your son help with feedings, always supervised closely by you. Pups and dogs will often pull rank on children. Do take your child with you to training, as that is ALWAYS a good thing all around, plus it will often bring a bossy pup around.

I wouldn't say this is a case of resource guarding, if the pup doesn't take issue with you toucing the toy and/or doesn't have issues with guarding other things such as food, etc.

If this were a case of resource guarding, taking an item away if the pup/dog growls will often make the problem worse rather than better, because the pup/dog will feel they were justified in their guarding and may even kick it up a notch.

I'll take a growl over a bite any day, although none would be the preference. :D A growl is a warning, and there is time to correct the behavior, whereas some dogs will snap without warning.

You could have her evaluated, but being a pup and given that it was a growl and not a bite, you can probably correct the behavior through general training, professional training and diligence.

Good luck!! Let us know you make out. :)

(oh, and I never kept my dogs off of the furniture during NILIF-type training, just because we wanted them on it with us---however, I did teach them appropriate furniture etiquette, lol, such as "off" and "move").
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Postby Maryellen » June 1st, 2006, 12:30 pm

good post abull., i didnt think of it that way.. yes, you are right!
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Postby msvette2u » June 1st, 2006, 12:31 pm

Maryellen wrote:have the children feed her too. do NILIF with everything for her.since you dont know her background, you dont know what her environment was before she came to you, she could have had resource guarding prior to your house.
reprimanding her would be a stern NO GROWL, a neck scruff, it all depends on what you are comfortable with.

before you introduce toys again, make sure she sits to eat , sits to greet, etc.. if she doesnt sit for food she doesnt eat. it might take her 2 times, but she will learn really fast. also start teaching her the wait command, so that you practice putting her bowl down slowly, and say wait, and wait, and get to the point she will sit and wait while your son puts her bowl down, and she cant eat until he says ok..

for the toy issue, it all depends on how comfortable you feel with this part. you can have your son hold chicken pieces in his hand. give her a toy. then, give her a piece of chicken, and take the toy. repeat.. have you do it. give chicken, take toy, repeat. if she growls ,, reprimand, take toy away and put it away out of sight and reachfor her.. some dogs learn quickly that if they give up a valuable item, they get a MORE valuable item instead..

go to http://www.k9deb.com she has some awesome stuff for NILIF and resource guarding issues

since you are moving , wait on the group obedience training, and make sure you bring her to group classes, this way she is more socialized around other dogs and people too.

work with her at home, teaching sit, stay, come, walk nice on a leash, down, stuff like that.. keep her mind busy too..


When we first got Lambie, she was what, 12 - 14 weeks? She resource guarded even with us. I tolerate it some when she does it with the other dogs but NOT with us. The first time I fed her and then went to get her food and she bit me (snap, really) it was more of a reaction on my part but I grabbed the scruff of her neck and shook her which startled the living daylights out of her, and dropped her back down. She then didn't get fed that evening.
The next day we started having our kids give her her meals, piece by piece. She had to sit patiently each time. She's never made a move to guard her food since. If a dog acts possessive over anything in the house (towards humans) they lose it. That simple, and it goes for chew toys, or space, anything.
Dogs tend to see us adults as "leaders" while they tend to view kids, especially younger ones, as competitors or "siblings" and not leaders as well. Have your son feed the dog, by hand, piece by piece if necessary.
eta: I think you are right to be somewhat alarmed and to make sure that the dog sees your child as being "above" it in the order of things. The dog is always the lowest on the totem pole, even if you had a newborn baby. This is a primary cause of dog aggression towards kids in the household, in my opinion (unless the kids torture the dog). Dogs are "hardwired" to see smaller, more defenseless beings as being underneath them in pack status. There was an article on this subject I read somewhere along the way, I'll try to find it.
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Postby a-bull » June 1st, 2006, 1:20 pm

Maryellen wrote:good post abull., i didnt think of it that way.. yes, you are right!


awww, thanks!! :oops:

I love kids & dogs, and I think kids should have dogs---lots of valuable lessons in owning a pet---so I like to see it work out. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 1st, 2006, 5:24 pm

We got Inara when she was 8 weeks old, and began NILIF when she was probably 11-12 weeks old. She's 7 months now, extremely playful (often too much so!), but she knows her limits for the most part. I think you just have to reprimand and then drop it, don't hold grudges as the pup won't understand that.
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Postby SisMorphine » June 1st, 2006, 6:00 pm

mnp13 wrote:At the same time, I feel that NILIF is a little harsh for a puppy with little training. Dogs have to learn to play, and they do that when they are young.

In my opinion it is never too young to start hardcore NILIF!! I mean think about it, if you let them on the couch, and let them play with all the toys that they want and all that stuff at what point are you supposed to stop? And wouldn't it be more difficult to turn around behaviors as opposed to teaching them correctly from the beginning?

Obviously it's hard for a puppy to focus, so I'm wondering if there are resources out there specifically for young puppy NILIF.

In my opinion, with the toys and the playing, yes, puppies are supposed to play. But I think limiting toy access to one toy out at a time, bringing the toy out AFTER the puppy is taken out and putting it away BEFORE the puppy is put away, when the dog is being good, is the way to go, and playing with the dog, as long as it doesn't turn into nipping, shouldn't be an issue.

Yeah, I'd do a search to see if there are puppy specific NILIF plans anywhere.
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Postby msvette2u » June 1st, 2006, 6:13 pm

Obviously it's hard for a puppy to focus, so I'm wondering if there are resources out there specifically for young puppy NILIF.

I don't even think of it as NILIF. I think of it as "manners". Sitting before going outside, sitting before eating, etc. It's not boot camp, but just like with our human kids, we don't let them have the run of the household until age 5 or 6 then suddenly "lay down the law".
To me, this type training is a natural progression. Teaching a good "sit" and making a puppy sit prior to eating OR being petted only makes sense to me, and makes for a nicer pet to be around, and it lays the foundation for other training techniques further down the road.
eta: I meant to say I agree w/Sis Morphine!
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Postby mnp13 » June 1st, 2006, 6:22 pm

I guess I don't think it is 'right' for puppies because if the pup doesn't know sit, then how does it understand the behavior well enough to know that it should sit before eating, playing, etc.

They need foundation beforehand so the understand that the rewards are not for the behaviors specifically but for the waiting for permission. I'm not sure how to express what I mean, so does that make sense?
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Postby a-bull » June 1st, 2006, 7:17 pm

mnp13 wrote:I guess I don't think it is 'right' for puppies because if the pup doesn't know sit, then how does it understand the behavior well enough to know that it should sit before eating, playing, etc.

They need foundation beforehand so the understand that the rewards are not for the behaviors specifically but for the waiting for permission. I'm not sure how to express what I mean, so does that make sense?


I get what your saying, and that's a good point---I modified it when my male was a pup and being naughty. That was sort of my point regarding the furniture. For example, making a dog "wait" before diving into food if they don't know how to "sit" (which is what I did), can be done with a gentle hand on a pups chest just long enough to put a bowl down rather than allowing them to rip into it, lol, which will have the same effect as the NILIF program you'd use on an older, better trained dog. I guess that's why I referred to it as a "NILIF-type" program---meaning something similar, but appropriate for a pup. I should have been clearer about that.

Like the furniture---I just couldn't keep my pups off the furniture because I wanted to cuddle them on the furniture, so I taught them "move" and "off" as pups by gently moving them aside or off while giving them the command, because as pups they didn't know the command.

Did I just confuse every one??
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