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My new adopted dog is very mouthy with my kids!!!

1918 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  tippykayak
We just adopted a 7 month old golden retriever/Chow /Australian Terrier mix about 3 weeks ago. He is an absolute sweetheart and was great with my 5 and 3 year old up until about a week ago. He is very mouthy and barks and bites (but not hard) and growls at them for no reason. I don’t know if he is trying to establish dominance with them or what. His name is Shadow because he is a constant shadow that follows you everywhere. He sometimes walks behind me and my kids and nips at the back of our legs. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s like he just wants our attention. Has anyone dealt with this or have any words of advice on how to correct this behavior?
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I haven't had any direct experience with this, but I have rescued/adopted four adult GoldenXs and one BassettX puppy in the last 8 years.

An obedience class would be a wonderful idea to start with. It will give you and Shadow a great bonding experience and should help with any unwanted behaviors.

I don't know where you live, but PetSmart has classes for about $100 for 8 weeks. Not pocket change I know, but you get to repeat the class for free until you pass. :) My third Golden came from a shelter and had quite a few issues - really really afraid of the world for one.

We flunked the class three times.:doh: by the time we gave up, he was much better socialized and comfortable around unfamiliar things. We would have continued, but the class was an hour from my house and I had accomplished my real goal - a happy dog. :wavey:
I believe Chows (and I like and have had chow mixes) can contribute quite a bit of stubborness to the mix so you really need to find out how to get this under control before it escalates.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your new boy.
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I would also suggest going to an obedience class...not because your problem is bad, but because the dog is new. It will greatly help in establishing a bond, while under supervision of an expert.

Petsmart class are hit and miss so I would definitely ask around for recommendations for a trainer.
I agree with the obedience class advice. They are lots of fun and a great way to bond with your new dog. Good luck to you and be sure to post some pictures of your boy.
I'd see if you can find a family basics class. They will let and teach the entire family work with the dog. The back of the leg nipping sounds a bit like herding. We had a Sammy for a short period of time who did this to my husband. Had I known then (25 years ago) what I know now, he would have lived out his life with us instead of rehoming him. Probably should have rehomed DH instead...LOL He was so afraid of Roscoe.
Maybe your dog is hearding your children. It is part Australian terrier?
Welcome to the forum,

I agree with the obedience classes. It will help with the mouthing and how to redirect the mouthing and growling. Sometimes goldens though do make sounds that sound like growls and it is a happy sound. But always good to head off all problems ahead of time instead of waiting. Make sure the trainer uses positve training and redirecting. Good luck!!
Thank you everyone for your replies. I am looking into group training classes for Shadow. He is getting better with the kids, but he barks A LOT and is still pretty mouthy with me. Last night, I thought he was not feeling well becuase he would not lay down and kept jumping up in bed at about 11pm. He was grabbing at my pants and trying to get me to rub him. I took him out but all he wanted to do is play. He is such a sweetheart, I'm just hoping the training helps. :)


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He's cute! Yes the training and time will help.

Get a spray bottle and give him a squirt to stop the barking, although some of them like it! It sounds to me like he just wants to play! To stop the mouthing, hold his snout and say no, then reward for good behavior. Is he getting long walks? Wearing them out always helps, too!

Good luck!
My goodness he is CUTE! Look at those ears! Good luck with the training!
The back of the leg nipping sounds a bit like herding.
I think Kimm is spot-on. I don't think you're seeing "dominance" behavior, but rather a natural herding/prey drive coming out in inappropriate ways.

I'd take a two-pronged approach. Number one, head to obedience class and work on an alternate, positive command for when he does this, like "sit" or "go get your duck toy." Showing him a behavior is "bad" is far harder to train than showing him something else he can do which gets him praise and attention.

The other thing I'd do (and obedience class could help here too) is get him a "job." Dogs with working genes need to express that desire, and herding is absolutely "work" on a dog's mind. Fetch is probably the simplest game that will allow him to express a prey drive, bleed off his excess energy, and build a bond with his family. There are plenty of other games and "jobs," though.

In short, address the problem behavior directly and address the prey/herding drive more generally.
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