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HELP! 8 Week Old Puppy Growling at DD

(49 Posts)
spugs Fri 07-Aug-09 14:02:53

Puppy is an 8 week old papillon puppy (bitch) who we've had for a week. Shes been fine, great with 3 dds aged 8,3 and 16 months. Fine with the other dog though very growly when he jumps on her if she doesn't want to play.

Yesterday and today she has growled at DD aged 16 months. It wasn't a playful growl it was a get away now growl.

Both times shes been sleepy, the first time she was sat on my knee. DD was stroking her gently and talking to her (babbling) the dog growled at her. I told her no and put her on the floor. Since then I've encouraged DD to stroke her gently and give her treats (so she associates her with nice stuff).

Today we'd been to beach and pup was sitting on DD's knee in the push chair. Facing me so I could see what was going on. DD was not squishing her or anything, pup was tired and snuggling up to her and then growled at her again! She has ridden in the push chair before with no problems.

There is no physical reason for the growling as I've had her to the vets to be checked today.
She is fine with my other 2 dds who pick her up only when necessary to put her in her crate/car etc. I don't let them carry her about), and spend time playing with her etc. Apart from these 2 occasions she has been fine with my youngest. Who also plays with her though isn't allowed to pick her up.

My children are always supervised with my dogs and are very gentle. So why is she growling? I wondered if its because shes tired and doesn't like the sound of dd babbling? My other 2 dds have stroked her etc when shes been tired and she has not growled at them!

Any ideas gratefully received! I don't want this to get any worse or continue!

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:08:07

Small children can be way too much for dogs, especially pups. You need to get a crate (if you haven't already) and allow the pup plenty of quiet time in her crate. You also need to teach the children that when pup goes in her crate she is to be left alone.

Your pup is trying to tell the dc to leave her alone so she can sleep.

At this age (the pup) they are unlikely to really bite as such but they are learning that children annoy them and you certainly don't want that association. Tiny pups are like very small babies - they eat, play a bit, then sleep for the majority of the time. My 12 week old dobe has been asleep for over 3 hours now wink, having already had a long nap this morning.


FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 07-Aug-09 14:10:09

Get a cage so that the puppy has somewhere to escape to, she is just finding your 16month old too much at the moment.

wannaBe Fri 07-Aug-09 14:19:13

as your dd is the baby it's possible that the puppy is trying to establish his place in the pack that is your family, and that he is trying to establish himself above the other baby, i.e. your dd, in the pack.

By allowing him to sit on her in the pushchair he is essentially higher than her and may see this as an opportunity to assert himself a bit.

There is of course also the annoyance factor - puppy wants to sleep, child wants to stroke puppy, puppy wants to sleep, so puppy growls "I want to sleep" at small child.

I would get a crate that the puppy can sleep in and make it clear to the dc that puppy is not to be disturbed when inside his crate.

I also wouldn't let puppy ride in the pushchair with the baby.

MaybeAfterBreakfast Fri 07-Aug-09 14:21:50

Toddlers and dogs are very hard work. I spend half my day separating 17mo ds2 and my springer. Dogs (esp. puppies and older dogs) find the random behaviour and movement of toddlers too much to bear at times, particularly if tired.

The dog is doing the right thing, and the only thing she can do, which is warning your dd that she wants to be left alone.

You need to give the puppy a safe place to escape too, whether it is a crate, another room, a different part of the house with a stairgate between her and dd.

hellymelly Fri 07-Aug-09 14:22:20

I have seen other puppies do this when they are tired.Pups get very worn out especially in a busy family,and you maybe need to see that she can go to a quiet safe place with no-one to bother her when she needs to sleep.She is simply telling your child that she has had enough and it is a good signal for a child to learn.

FiveGoMadInDorset Fri 07-Aug-09 14:28:27

Also agree that puppy wants to be top dog above your DD which you must be firm about.

Can I also just ask if your pup has had all its jabs as you really should not be taking it to piblic places until it has.

OrangeFish Fri 07-Aug-09 14:30:25

I think my dogs' trainer would have said exactly what Wannabe said but she would have added:
- I you need to put puppy in the pushchair put it on a towel in the basket (I used to carry mine in a canvas bags when they felt sleepy, the towel "opened' the bag so they could breath properly.

- And, you may feel a bit silly but it works with my dogs. If he starts growling to DD, put the dog on the floor immediatly and walk in circles around him while telling him off. With this the puppy learns that the children should ALWAYS be respected. But that doesn't mean that the needs of the dog should be therefore ignored. If your DD's behaviour is upsetting the dog you have to deal with that too.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:31:35

Can I just add that unless you are certain your pup has a dominant personality then you should not try to lower their rank in the pack. By doing so you can induce fear aggression, especially around children.

There is no evidence here that the pup is trying to be dominant - it wants to sleep.

All the research shows that dominance theory is completely wrong, and can actually be dangerous.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:33:57

University of Bristol research findings here, just to cite one:


floaty Fri 07-Aug-09 14:35:29

We have a 21 week puppy who we have had since 8 weeks.At 8 weeks I think it is just overtired and unable to cope with toddler,they are still very little at this stage and really eat sleep play is about as much as they can cope with.We have a crate and a puppy pen,I would seriously recommend the latter ;a safe place for the pup but not as confined as crate .Also we have a cardinal rule which our breeder recommended...never wake a sleeping puppy.

I would never let a puppy sit in a pushchair with a 16 month old ,two unpredictable beings together !

OrangeFish Fri 07-Aug-09 14:38:35

Well, you can't have a dominant dog and small children, either the dog finds its place at the bottom of the hierarchy or leaves. I think it is more humane to help the dog find that place than risking the children being bitten by what could become a "highly strung" dog.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 14:39:28

You don't know what you are talking about, Orangefish.

OrangeFish Fri 07-Aug-09 14:48:07

Perhaps I don't, but listening to the those suggestions given to me by the trainer, I managed to turn around a dog that I took after their previous owners got rid of as it was not safe around children.

It has been almost 9 years of success following that advice, the dog seems happy and enjoys and seeks the company of children rather than growling at them every time she heard them playing outside the house. So, as long as it keeps working, if I know nothing, I don't care grin

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 15:03:12

Orangefish - you have been very unpleasant to me on previous threads so I have no interest whatsoever in getting into an argument with you.

This is a novice dog owner with a young pup and if people start telling her the pup is being dominant and giving her incorrect advice, the pup could be ruined for life.

OrangeFish Fri 07-Aug-09 15:07:51

I'm sorry for being blunt but... I don 't remind you, have I? If I have, sorry, but to be honest I don't remember.

OrangeFish Fri 07-Aug-09 15:11:05

However, I have something to add.. I have a cousin who has had plastic surgery in her face after being attacked by a dog when she was seven years old. I'm sorry but if I have to risk ruining a dog's life or a child's... my choice is clear.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 15:58:40

I agree entirely. Aggressive dogs and children do not mix.

This puppy just wants to be left to sleep.

Bella21 Fri 07-Aug-09 16:04:34

In case that wasn't entirely clear, when I said a pup could be ruined for life, I meant you could create a fear aggressive dog which would bite.

I didn't say anything about ruining a dog or a child's life.

Over and out.

HTH Spugs wink

spugs Fri 07-Aug-09 16:22:06

Pup is not being dominant, she is soft as anything. Rolls on her back for a tummy rub and is not possessive over anything etc.

I agree that shes just tired and telling my dd in doggy terms to piss off grin

As to taking her out before shes had all her jabs, I have been told to so shes well socialised. As long as shes not in contact with any dogs or the ground then shes fine. So she gets carried around so as to meet new people and experience new things.

SHe has a crate which I use for naps and quiet time she wouldn't choose to go into it by herself though as she likes to lie wherever me or my dds are so I have started putting her in it for regular rest periods.

Thanks for the advice smile

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 07-Aug-09 16:23:43

I think it is a really bad idea to have the puppy on your child's knee when in the buggy. They can turn so quickly and she could end up with a nasty injury, or worse.

spugs Fri 07-Aug-09 16:30:07

I agree it prob wasn't the best idea in the world, my other dog regularly rode in the shopping bag or on her knee with no problems but he has a very different temperament.

I did have them facing me so they were closely supervised but I don't think I'll put her on her knee again.

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Aug-09 16:44:54

liaten to bella - she is my guru - she was there over the many weeks months of puppy peeing in house

as well as advice getting woofa in car and also bent her ear over monster puppy attempting to shag children blush

agree you def need a cage and a safe place for pup yo sleep - our now 13mth great swiss mountian dog sleeps now prob 10hrs a day, as well as 10hrs at night - as a young pup he would seem to sleep all day grin

my 3 ALL know that if woofa goes in his bed that it means LEAVE him alone!!!

spugs Fri 07-Aug-09 16:59:24

We'll most likely move on to the peeing all over in the next week or so grin.

Her crates in the bathroom (its attached to my kitchen!) so they cant disturb her once shes in there. Shes currently in there flat out grin. Other pup must be an insomniac as he rarely kips during the day hmm

Blondeshavemorefun Fri 07-Aug-09 17:21:21

the peeing drove me insane!!!

i would take him out for a wee, then literally 2mins later there would be a huge wee on floor

and twice he shat in the hall - i was OMG!!!!

though months later he is fine, can hold bladder for 8hrs+ at night or during the day if I am out all day - he gets the run of the kitechen so has food/drink/toys etc

though he is rather fond of eating oven gloves grin

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