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Dog growling at toddler

edited March 2014 in Pets
Our four year old lab/vizsla mix has been grumbling at our toddler.  I would not call it a full on growl, he is not baring teeth, but he is clearly upset that our DD is near him.  He was great with her for a long time and then she went through a hitting/rough petting phase.  We worked quickly to teach DD that we need to be gentle with the dogs and luckily she picked it up quickly and is no longer rough with them.  I know DD's behavior scared him, who would blame him, so I understand why he was grumbling at her but how do I get him to trust her again and know that she is no longer going to hurt him while at the same time teaching him that it is not ok for him to growl at her?  Any advice?  Thanks!
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Re: Dog growling at toddler

  • Pets react well to foods, maybe you could have your daughter help with the feeding routine. If he associates her with food, he will likely warm up to her again. 

    You could also try to use treats to train him, like if he's around her and doesn't growl, then give him a treat. Or wait till he stops growling and then he gets the treat, he'll learn that not growling = treat.
  • Pets react well to foods, maybe you could have your daughter help with the feeding routine. If he associates her with food, he will likely warm up to her again. 


    You could also try to use treats to train him, like if he's around her and doesn't growl, then give him a treat. Or wait till he stops growling and then he gets the treat, he'll learn that not growling = treat.
    Those are great ideas, he does love treats! Thanks!
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  • I agree that involving her in the feeding/training (under close supervision, of course) is a great idea to rebuild their relationship.

    I also think it's important not to force anything. Does your dog have a child-free zone (crate, bed, room) where he can go to get away? If not, I would create one, and don't allow your child to follow your dog there. Sometimes dogs want to get away, and if they can't, they may feel trapped and lash out.

    Also. I would not try to teach the dog not to growl. Growling is a warning and the dog's way of saying "please leave me alone." If your dog growls, separate the two immediately and allow the dog to relax without being bothered. Watch their interactions closely so you can try to figure out if there is something in particular your dog doesn't like (being hugged, being petted while playing with a toy, your child falling on him, etc.); then try to teach your child not to do that thing. If you correct the dog for growling, he may think he has to move straight to nipping/biting when he feels overwhelmed, which nobody wants.
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    shaylagirlLuckyAngel07
  • Please check out this link. The link provides some great resources for babies/dogs.

    Please do NOT try to train out a growl from your dog for the same reasons Caz mentioned.
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  • Caz1221 said:

    I agree that involving her in the feeding/training (under close supervision, of course) is a great idea to rebuild their relationship.

    I also think it's important not to force anything. Does your dog have a child-free zone (crate, bed, room) where he can go to get away? If not, I would create one, and don't allow your child to follow your dog there. Sometimes dogs want to get away, and if they can't, they may feel trapped and lash out.

    Also. I would not try to teach the dog not to growl. Growling is a warning and the dog's way of saying "please leave me alone." If your dog growls, separate the two immediately and allow the dog to relax without being bothered. Watch their interactions closely so you can try to figure out if there is something in particular your dog doesn't like (being hugged, being petted while playing with a toy, your child falling on him, etc.); then try to teach your child not to do that thing. If you correct the dog for growling, he may think he has to move straight to nipping/biting when he feels overwhelmed, which nobody wants.

    Thank you! He does have a safe zone, plus we have a dog door so he can go outside too. I will keep a close eye on them and hopefully we can rebuild his trust. They used to be best friends, he loved her so much, so hopefully he can get back to that!
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  • closapio said:

    Please check out this link. The link provides some great resources for babies/dogs.

    Please do NOT try to train out a growl from your dog for the same reasons Caz mentioned.

    Thanks for the link!
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  • If you dog has the control to sit for a treat, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have your DD throw a few treats to the dog too. I wouldn't let the dog take a treat from her hand just yet (just in case of nip). 

    Also if you dog likes walks, but a walk or trip to the park with your DD along would be good too. Not only will it tire them both out, but another positive association for the dog. 
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