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Would you keep a dog that didn't like children in a family with young children?

(39 Posts)
Imsosorryalan Tue 25-Mar-14 23:14:21

A bit of a no brainer it seems on the surface but our dog has been growling and has snapped ( but not made contact) with two of my dds friends now. :-(

She is great with my children, I guess as they are part of her family but when other children come over for play dates, gets stressed and growls if they come near her crate. ( she usually goes in there, locked and covered up) the snap was at dds friend who has been to visit lots and we had been getting her to throw treats to our dog so I thought she was used to the friend. All she did was stroke her on the way past her and the dog turned round and snapped at her hand.

In fact she pretty much hates everyone new but it's the aggression with children that obviously bothers me the most. We will no doubt have years more of play dates and children over and I don't think I can cope with the stress each episode brings. Maybe she'd be better in a house with no kids.

Most friends can't believe we'd keep a dog that hates children, when we have children but she's fine with ours..

Sorry this is all garbled but I'm so upset at the mo. I love her to bits but I think she's stressed out in our house :-((

youbethemummylion Tue 25-Mar-14 23:22:54

How old are the children? Could you not just yell them to stay away from the crate? What would she behave like if you didnt put her in crate when they came around?

Imsosorryalan Tue 25-Mar-14 23:32:45

Dds are 6 and 2. Our house is very open plan so the crate is in the corner of the living room. They do know not to go near but sometimes one will run past or try to get a toy near the crate.

She would not be happy roaming round and frankly I don't trust her not to do something stupid. She usually goes in the garden but this isn't now possible since the warmer days as the kids like to play out, also doesn't work in the rain ( doesn't go in kennel) .

YankNCock Tue 25-Mar-14 23:50:22

How long have you had the dog and how old is it?

I'm a childminder, so I could never keep a dog that would snap at children. I've got gates up everywhere and our dog can be separated from the children when need be. He's been with us since he was 9 weeks old and ds1 was 15 months. We're very lucky as he's friendly and loves everyone, but even so I won't leave him alone with children as it's part of my pet policy. I still lose business because of him, so I'd think if word gets round that you've got a snappy dog who hates kids, you'll have fewer and fewer play dates.

everydayaschoolday Tue 25-Mar-14 23:52:36


randomfemale Wed 26-Mar-14 00:03:02

No I wouldn't. I didn't get a dog (rescue Labrador) until my DD's were 14yo and even though she is a supposedly 'benign' breed I would not trust her around young children.

galletti Wed 26-Mar-14 00:07:57

Sorry OP, but no, I wouldn't. And you would never forgive yourself if something happened. Do you know someone nearby without children visiting who could have her, and you could still have contact?

LondonNinja Wed 26-Mar-14 00:10:17

Definitely not.

VeryStressedMum Wed 26-Mar-14 00:25:27

What sort of dog is it?

thinkingaboutfostering Wed 26-Mar-14 00:36:24

Could u put dogs crate in your bedroom when children have friends over? She won't feel threatened so much if she's out of the way. Can see why it would be hard for you to rehome.

Interestingly a former friend had a dog who was very territorial/ nervous of new people. If they came to the house she would bark and growl but never attempted to do more. However if you were at a park or in open space she was generally ok unless someone tried to touch her.

How would your dog react in a much larger area? She might feel less threatened if she can put distance between her and any visitors.

tabulahrasa Wed 26-Mar-14 03:04:15

I'd just put her crate in your bedroom when children are visiting.

Handywoman Wed 26-Mar-14 07:16:18

How sad OP. Our JRT gets nervous around unfamiliar children and can occasionally snap but yours sounds worse, poor thing. Our kids are older (9&11). When she was younger I would put her in my bedroom or sometimes even the car (only in cools weather obv) so the kids could use the whole house on play dates. Now she is nearly 4yo she is better, more mellow and less stressed. Poor you. I think to help the dog the dog needs to be kept absolutely away from the kids in order for the dog to get better/feel more secure.

nuttymutty1 Wed 26-Mar-14 07:47:30

She does not hate children, she is terrified of them. Agree with Tabulahrasa - lower the dogs stress levels no need for dog to snap.

Put dog in another room when children come around to play.

You obviously need professional advice before you make a big decision about this so contact APDT or qualified behaviourist do not make your decision based on comments from a forum

moosemama Wed 26-Mar-14 08:56:23

I have to agree with nutty. She doesn't dislike children, she is scared of them and if she can't handle them being around she needs to be respected enough not to have to deal with them.

If your downstairs is open plan, crate her upstairs, perhaps in your own room and have a rule that no-one is allowed into that room.

Definitely get some professional advice. Try the APBC or CAPBT to find one in your area.

ThatBloodyWoman Wed 26-Mar-14 08:59:11

Our dog is too boisterous with Dd's friends and they all seem scared of dogs.

We keep them separate for their sake and his.

Our kids are fine with him.

Booboostoo Wed 26-Mar-14 09:03:00

I would keep the dog but I would manage the situation a lot better. Why does the dog's crate have to be in the same room as the children? The noise and running around will stress the dog even in her crate. Put he crate in another room, well away from the noise and make sure no child can go in there and try to pet the dog or let her out. How did the child manage to stroke the dog in the crate? Crates usually have very small hole opennings.

I would strongly encourage you to get professional advice on this as above. A professional can assess the dog, help you understand her behaviour and better judge what you want to do next. I don't mean to sound patronising but a lot of people miss the early warning signs of a stressed dog.

LadyTurmoil Wed 26-Mar-14 09:14:19

I agree that she's terrified of them and that's her way of telling them to go the hell away! Their quick, jerky movements are scary, the noise, the unexpected movements - coupled with the fact that children may have treated her badly in the past.

Have you tried a behaviourist already?

ender Wed 26-Mar-14 09:51:07

My dogs have never shown any sign of disliking young children but they always go to their beds in a separate room if any come to visit. Children are unpredictable and I wouldn't want to put my dogs through the stress of unwanted attention.
You said your dog turned round and snapped at child who stroked her in passing, so must have taken her by surprise and scared her. I think my dogs would have been annoyed at this as well.

Imsosorryalan Wed 26-Mar-14 11:26:09

we've had her two Years now and we have been 'managing' her behaviour by crating on the advice of a behaviourist when visitors come round. she has a very nervous character anyway.

she used to be fine with children and at one point played alongside them. then one day a child accidently stood on her tail and she started snapping at them.
we don't allow her upstairs but even so as the children are so young they seem to play in every room, chasing and what not so I'm not sure that would work.
I've learnt to be very careful to watch her body language for stress. her and friend were in the room with me and the dog seemed happy, tail wagging , sniffing and relaxed. she's one of the only friends that my dog seemed to like hence she wasn't crated. all the friend did was walk past and stroke as she walked out of the room. I was shocked as she had always seemed comfortable with her. it worried me that it was right in front of me and I couldn't stop it happening.

I should say she is a rescue stray, found neglected at 2 months old. ( also the rescue were very dishonest and told me a pack of lies about her character). I think I have taken on more than I can handle. sad

will look into behaviourists but my general feeling us that she needs more help than I can give her.

tabulahrasa Wed 26-Mar-14 11:41:46

My dog has to be kept away from visitors, I'm working with a behavioural specialist with him...but he might always have to be kept away from other people.

At the moment he's crated, but his crate is too big to go in any other room, so my long term solution is going to have to be a kennel (well I'm converting the shed) and a run in the garden.

He can't be loose in a room alone because he's a chewer.

I'd pick a room and fit a lock - and that's her room when you have people in tbh. It completely solves the problem until you get help.

Floralnomad Wed 26-Mar-14 14:14:57

I would keep the dog but arrange play dates elsewhere ie the park ,soft play etc until the visiting children are old enough to know to keep away from the dog . My dog is a valued family member and I would work something out in the same way as I would to accomodate any other family member .

tabulahrasa Wed 26-Mar-14 14:48:55

That is he's crated when people are in other than those that live here and would be outside then after I've kitted it out, not all the time as it reads like he's always locked up. I'm sure no-one thought I meant that, but I felt the need to add to it, lol.

nuttymutty1 Wed 26-Mar-14 16:06:04

Imsosorryalan I have been thinking about your post all day. I do understand how difficult it is to live with a dog with issues. When you get a dog you imagine that they will fit in with your family and you have a lot of love to give. When things don't turn out like that it is hard, very hard.

You can not help but feel some resentment to the dog and wish things were easier. However you may feel like your dog is not having a great life but he is having a good life with you despite restrictions that he is enfocing. He may be anxious and stressed at times but if you could work out a way to manage this - things can get easier.

I can assure you that there is no perfect home waiting for him - that will make him less stressed and there are no better owners either. The reality if you do rehome him is that he could easily be PTS because there are so many other dogs needing homes.

Is there a compromise situation that could be worked out? You are obviously stressed and worried and have a lot on your plate so this needs to be manageable for you, your family and the dog.

Sometimes an outsider is more able to see the light for the trees so a behaviourist visit may be an idea - ask for management ideas as well as behavioural modification advice.

She has got used to your DC's that is fantastic and major progress, what else is she good at?

What breed or cross breed is she?

WeeClype Wed 26-Mar-14 16:38:41

I have a nervous dog and when any visitors are due I put them (I have 2 GSD, but only one has issues) in my room with the door tied shut. She's ok with visitors she knows but not so great with strangers.

Imsosorryalan Wed 26-Mar-14 16:52:36

Thanks all, nutty I think you've hit the nail on the head, we were novices and just wanted a family dog. Ours is lovely, very sweet and loving but can't seem to get used to our busy household.

I have made an app. With out local apdt behaviourist who came to see us last time. She offered last time to help rehome her within her customer base and I know I could trust her to find her the right forever home.

Alternatively my mum could take her, however my mum is clueless and I think would genuinely love her but there would be no training, off lead excersise or steps to manage her nervousness. Also she works full time.

If she was out of the way, ie in a locked room. That would work but how would it help her in the long term, getting used to visitors and children? I would hope to integrate her eventually.

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