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Old 08-27-2012, 06:54 PM
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Sporadic nipping at faces of young children :( HELP!!

I have a 2 year Golden who will randomnly nip/lunge at my childrens friends faces. He will be totally calm while they are petting him and then BAM, he will go for their face. No bites, but welt marks have been left and sometimes it's accompanied a pre-quick growl. I have only witnessed it one time (out of it happening 5 times) and it seems to be completely random (which I know in dog world, there is nothing random). My dog does have chronic ear infections but it has happened when he doesn't appear to have an ear infection. He is a very good dog, not a chewer, not a jumper, not a puller, not a barker (even as a puppy)...very pleasant and the best dog we've ever had except for these sporadic incidents which we realize are super serious and simply cannot happen. I'm just looking for some advice on maybe why?? The kids aren't being overly agressive, like I said in most instances it's when they are sitting on the couch petting him. HELP??!!
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:02 PM
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Keep your dog away from those kids.

It sounds like just play/games, but if he catches any skin you could be sued. Make sure your kids know why their friends can't be playing with your golden.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:27 PM
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Welcome to the forum... I'm sorry you're having this problem. And you're correct, it's a major problem. Megora is correct, your dog simply cannot be allowed to interact with strange children.

If what you're telling us is accurate, a child is sitting on the couch, dog comes up to say hi, child is petting him and then this incident happens, you have a pretty serious problem. He's not cornered, not being treated badly, he could walk away if he wanted to, but he is warning these kids off. I would not let him around kids. Period.

You could consult with a certified veterinary behaviorist for an evaluation and some suggestions on this, but it's probably not something you can 'fix.' You're very fortunate that he has retrained his bite, but it's simply not worth the risk to allow strange kids around him.

I'm very sorry, I know how heart breaking this is. I've been through something pretty similar and it's devastating to realize you can't allow your beautiful, wonderful golden to interact with children. It's almost impossible to manage the situation if you have kids with friends coming to visit and play on a daily basis. I'm so sorry.

ETA: 5 of these incidents indicate you are not managing the situation properly and your dog needs to be crated when you have children visiting. You absolutely cannot trust kids to leave him alone or not pet him just because you direct them not to. You will end up with a kid who needs stitches if you don't take this seriously.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:07 AM
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Thank you for you responses, I know what I need to do but does anybody have any behavioral guesses as to why this is happening? Is he trying to show his pecking order with new kids in the house. It just doesn't make sense to me..how/why he can be the greatest dog then with no problems what-so-ever, then THIS.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:30 AM
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Without actually being there and seeing what he's doing, it could be him actually snapping in a "back off get off" way. Especially if they were harassing him. And harassing might just be them overwhelming him or following him around and petting him. <- We had something like that happen at camp with a family's shihtsu mix who liked kids but wanted nothing to do with them after they kept following him around and hugging him and picking him up nonstop.

Or it could be him playing. I'm trying to explain this the best I can, but some goldens when you make eye contact with them and have your faces close to them take that as an invitation to play. Dogs bark right at and mouth each others faces while playing. That's why you get those mouthy lunges.

Either way - you need to tell the visiting kids that the golden is just a little grumpy and keep them away. This is protecting yourself from any complaints or lawsuits if he actually lands a good bite on any of those kids.

And any interaction with your kids needs to be monitored.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:35 AM
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Any guesses could lead to you working with your dog in a way that wouldn't help the situation. Please seek professional help by a vet behaviorist or a behaviorist. Be careful as some trainers claim they are behaviorist and are not. Right now the children and your dog are at high risk. A professional will be able to evaulate your dog and give you a program to follow possibly using medicine to help. Until you get the professional help I would suggest not letting any children have access to your dog.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:51 AM
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you mentioned ear infection. Our Bridge Boy - Jack had very sensitive years - no ear infections just sensitive ears. Had to be careful not to breathe around his ear - or he would snap. Since we had that experience with Jack, I am trying to get Rose used to soft talking and soft breathing around her ear.

It could be that while the kids are petting him, since they are smaller and closer to his ears, they may be breathing on him and it could bother him.

I do not know if that would be the case with your dog but I would check it. Maybe instead of a child you could try to see if that really bothers him. It is worth a try.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:56 AM
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I really can't offer any help but wanted to let you know you're not alone with this issue, my cat is like that. My BIL was sitting on our patio, A.J. came up, jump on this lap and BIL was calmly petting him, suddenly A.J. bit him on the hand. Or, I've been walking across the yard and A.J. will run up, bite me on the ankle and run away. A.J. has always goofy like that (he's 16 y.o. now) and has had me scratching head as to why. I always tell kids to leave him alone.

Maybe your boy doesn't know he can just walk away when he's had enough. For now I would gate him away from visiting children. I hope a behavorist can help with this issue.

ETA: Claudia M may be onto something!
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:56 AM
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Thank you all for your comments. I am considering all the factors. I took Tucker to the vet yesterday and had his Thyroid tested...it came back as normal-low at 1.4 which 1.0 meaning he his hypothyroid. Does anybody have any experience with this?
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisaloo View Post
Thank you all for your comments. I am considering all the factors. I took Tucker to the vet yesterday and had his Thyroid tested...it came back as normal-low at 1.4 which 1.0 meaning he his hypothyroid. Does anybody have any experience with this?
I have no experience with this but I wanted to say that I've read countless times on this forum that a low normal is not normal for a golden retriever. You should probably talk to your vet about that. Hopefully others will give you some advice soon.
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