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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI all...Me again,

Oliver has been with us for three weeks now. We were told that he had no prior interaction with children, but was the sweetest basset they had met and so felt sure that with well behaved children he would be fine. Their vet has known Oliver for some time and would have taken him home herself if she could have. When we went to collect him from the rescue we took our two children, ages 8 and almost 3. We all bathed him there as the workers hadn't had time to, (I thnk secretly they were screening the interaction between Oliver and the children). I think Oliver was so withdrawn and bewildered by his whole environment that he showed no fear at all. He was a lost soul.

Since bringing him home we have been extremelly careful that Olivers experience of children should be very pleasant from the word go. We set a baby gate up in the kitchen to ensure supervision, and to allow Oliver to observe them playing etc, (Although amazingly he can jump it no problem)!?!?! Oliver has adored my eight year old daughter from the start! He has also attatched himself very much to me - but unfortunately he was visually terrified of my toddler from the first day at home. I should add that my toddler is a very gentle little boy indeed. He is as gentle as can be with Oliver and I regularly give him little treats to feed Oliver. But, being almost 3 he has some noisy toys, etc. I have removed any ride ons and the like as I think they would have terrified poor Oliver.

Over the last 3 weeks we have made good progress and although Oliver is still unsure and a little wary of my toddler there are times when he will stroll past him without a second thought or even rool over or pop his head on him for a smooth. This is very encouraging to see as obviously I want them to be the best of friends, but I worry that Oliver may always be wary of him. Although, Oliver will lay down close bye to him when my toddler is playing, he is not relaxed; and if he is trying to relax somewhere and my son walks in he still gives a very slight growl, (It was a longer louder growl to start).

I don't know if this has any bearing, but he has also growled at my husband several times. Maybe it's a male thing? I contacted the rescue and they advised me to tell him off when he does this growl as he may be guarding me, which I do, and he looks very sheepish and submissive then.

Sorry for the essay - any advice would be greatly appreciated! We don't expect it to happen over night and are prepared for lots of work - but I would like to think it will all work out in the end ?!?!?
 

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HI all...Me again,

if he is trying to relax somewhere and my son walks in he still gives a very slight growl, (It was a longer louder growl to start).

I don't know if this has any bearing, but he has also growled at my husband several times. Maybe it's a male thing? I contacted the rescue and they advised me to tell him off when he does this growl as he may be guarding me, which I do, and he looks very sheepish and submissive then.[/b]
There is a school of though out there if you nip the first signs of aggression in the bud then it will not esculate further. Personally I do not buy it. I got a rescue which was physical repremanded for growling. The growling sure stops but the fear and the reason for growling sure did not. Instead what you end up with is a dangerious dog that bites first without the normal warnings which is truely dangerious. Without seeing the interplay of the dog and the family it is dangerious to make an assesment however, because of the strange movement a toddler makes and the fact most dogs are not socialized with them many dog are quite fearfull of them or view them as prey. It is one reason many rescues and breeder will not sell a dog to a family with very young children, Given what else you have said and the growling at your husband I would suspect fear as an underlying cause. Iwould check out
cautious canine

In the mean time you want to keep the toddle and the dog separated by a safe distance, a distance the dog is calm and relaxed with. Over time this distance will become smaller and smaller provide you eliminate the encounters that scare the pup.

For your husband I would take a slightly different approach because I am less aprehensive of any unexpected behavior on his part. I would not reprimand the dog for growling, however I would not reward the behavior eithe by having him move away. Have you husband carrier some kibble or treats on him when he is in the house. If the dog growls when he passes i would have the husband sit next to the dog about the distance away he was when the dog growled. Do not move or make any jesturs toward the dog like to pet which could be thought as a threat. When the dog relaxes and is not growing have him reward the dog and move away. This will work at showing the dog growling doesn't work but being quit does. secondly also have your husband reward the dog for being able to pass close by the dog and not having him growl. This is the problem most owners have, not rewarding the behavior you want.


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Here in this group e discuss how to modify the behavior of dogs that sometimes exhibit aggressive behaviors toward dogs and/or toward people. Oftentimes aggressive behaviors arise from dogs' fears or anxieties. Harsh training and physical punishments may make the problems worse. The good news is that dogs' behaviors can be changed. We teach people how to reduce tensions so as not to exacerbate the problems.

Trainers and dog-behavior consultants give suggestions for safe home management and on using positive-reinforcement for teaching new skills. Only "dog-friendly" recommendations are permitted. No physical punishment-based methods are advocated here. In addition, detailed information is provided about desensitization and counter conditioning[/b]
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Working Sub-Threshhold

Dealing with Dog-Dog Aggression
Just substitute husband or toddler for the other dog everything else remains the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the great reply Mikey T!

Well Oliver certainly seems to have come out of his shell today! He has been much happier around my toddler! He has beeen very relaxed and confident around him - as opposed to actively avoiding him!

We had unexpected visitors earlier, one of which was a 2 year old toddler. Oliver was safely in the kitchen behind the baby gate.I kept a very careful eye on him. He was concerned to begin with as the noise and movement levels in the house had increased considerably, but within five minutes he was coming to greet the toddler at the gate with a waggy tail and an affectionate 'please smooth me' look. Several hours later, after the children had calmed down and Oliver had been consistantly goog I allowed him into the childrens playroom where they were sat on the couch. Oliver happily came straight over and rested his head on their lap. He was gentle and sweet as can be - all with a waggy tail. He then lay at their feet, sprawled out and napped. Bless him...things are looking good!!
 

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. Oliver happily came straight over and rested his head on their lap. He was gentle and sweet as can be - all with a waggy tail. He then lay at their feet, sprawled out and napped. Bless him...things are looking good!![/b]
the more positive experience the dogs has and are reward for like in this case the quicker he will over come his fear. This is the same with you husband by the way.

As they say in human psycology surpressing emotions is general not a good thing. THis is what yelling at Oliver for growling is trying to acomplish. Far better to change the emotional state with regard to those stimuli. Just like pavlovs dog you can have Oliver looking forward and atticipating an encounter with your son abd husban with glee rather than fear and trepidation.
 
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