My Hav growled and snapped at my son - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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My Hav growled and snapped at my son

We all love our Hav very much. He is 7 1/2 months old and really smart. Lately he has growled and snapped at our kids. These are not small children that aggravate him. These are kids that play, love and help take care of him.

1. He did it once to my 16 year-old daughter. We were in the vehicle and he found a candy wrapper. She tried to take it away from him and he snapped at her.

2. He has growled and snapped at my 12 year-old son a couple of times when he has gone to pick him up, especially if the Hav is on a nice soft surface.

3. Tonight my son gave him a bone. Then he was checking to make sure he couldn't choke on it somehow. When he touched Spyro, he growled and turned around and snapped at my son. Not a little tiny growl as a warning, he immediately snapped at him.

We have always hand fed Spyro and put our hands in his bowl. My son hand feeds him treats for bathroom and for tricks. He gave him this bone. My son worries about the dog and plays with him more than any of us.

Please, please, tell me something else other than to not bother the dog with his food. I have never in my life had a dog that I could not take something out of their mouth if I wanted to.

I am so sad and disappointed in Spyro. I am just shocked. We all baby him and love him so much. He makes us laugh all the time.

He loves his pillows and soft surfaces. He brings his water bowl and drops it for us. He comes and gets us if we forget to cover his crate. He has even showed me when he wants water in his dry dog food by scooting his water dish to the food bowl and spilling some of it there.

I did not spank him for snapping at my son but I did get very angry with him verbally and put him outside.

Please, tell me what to do. I could hardly bear to part with my smart little boy but I can't have him trying to bite my kids. The instance tonight with the bone is one thing but he should not snap at my son for picking him up off a pillow.

He is the best little car rider in the world. He lays still and is a sweet pleasure. He is not a lap dog but wants to be near us.

I keep hoping that my angry voice and the immediate reaction he got from me will be enough to keep him from doing it again but I am so afraid it won't stop him.

I am sorry for rambling but I have a very heavy heart.

He has not been neutered, yet.

Thanks,
Donna
Spyro's Sad Mom
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post #2 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 03:38 AM
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Hi Donna. I hope things get better for you soon. This behavior is certainly not ok. Im sure with a little work to check his attitude he will come around. Definetly dont let him get away with it and check him everytime. I would Give him a firm stron NO and take away what ever he is growling over then practice giving it and taking it away. Find some way of your kids getting on his good side but also they must be firm with him and check him too. That is very important. Im sure you will get all kinds of helpful advice from others here and it will all work out. Hang in there
~Brandy

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post #3 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 07:24 AM
 
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Hi Donna. I am no expert so I will let others give you advice.

At 7 1/2 months he sounds like he is being a typical teenager testing his bounderies. Houston didn't snapp but growled at my son who is 14 a couple of times for no reason. I did read some where on this forum that someone advised a firm "NO" while placing him on his back when he does it. I had my son do this and his behavior stopped.

As I said, I am no expert but see what others advise. If it keeps up you may need help from a trainer.
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post #4 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 08:13 AM
 
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I don't have any advice, but I will be following this thread and thinking of you. I hope you are able to work through this quickly with your pup. It certainly sounds unusual for the breed. You'll be in my thoughts.
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post #5 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 08:18 AM
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It sounds like Spyro thinks he is the alpha, and not the kids. I am sure you will get some great advise from people here about training him to understand that the kids are in charge!! Not him!!

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post #6 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 09:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurief View Post
It sounds like Spyro thinks he is the alpha, and not the kids. I am sure you will get some great advise from people here about training him to understand that the kids are in charge!! Not him!!
ITA. I had a trainer tell me to roll dog into alpha IMMEDIATELY at that behaviour and have kids stand near him. He needs to get completely calm in that position before you release him.
I would suggest some obedience classes for him (with your kids training him).
Hugs to you from another Donna! If you tackle this early, you should be very successful!
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post #7 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 09:24 AM
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I know many may think Cesar Millan's methods are too "strong" for these little guys. But, I've seen him "roll" and "pin down" a little chihuahua who was acting very much like you describe Spyro acting. He said it is necessary for the dog to know he is "low man on the totem pole" and everyone else is above him. I know you were the one who dealt w/his misbehavior but, it may have been better for your son to have done it, to send the message to Spyro that your son is "in charge", too.

Like Rita said above, have your son (or anyone else he acts this way with) immediately place him on his back and say "NO!" in a very stern voice. This should let Spyro know his behavior has "crossed the line" and will not be tolerated.

Good luck!

~Leslie

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post #8 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djones2 View Post
...We all baby him and love him so much....

He loves his pillows and soft surfaces. He brings his water bowl and drops it for us. He comes and gets us if we forget to cover his crate. He has even showed me when he wants water in his dry dog food by scooting his water dish to the food bowl and spilling some of it there.

Donna from the quote you mention above, it seems that Spyro is having an issue with what trainers call "dominance confusion" - with your actions above (somewhat catering to him), you may have created a little one that is totally confused about his place in the pack and uses aggression (bites), or aggressive displays (growling, teeth baring), to answer the question "Who's in charge around here anyway?". Although I'm not a big fan of Cesar Milan and his techniques -- they can severely damage any relationship based training you can have with a dog, I do believe in a "hierarchy" described in the well known program known as Nothing in Life is Free.

Here's a link with regard to resource guarding as well.

Although I am quite aware that a large majority of trainers still practice what's known as the "alpha roll" -- this may be quite dangerous not only to you but to Spyro's psyche. Milan, bases his "training" not on scientific evidence and review, but rather his anecdotal experiences. Here is one great article on the subject.

Here are additional articles on Cesar: here and here

Don't forget: "Undesirable behavior can be caused by many things, including undetected illness. No behavior modification program should begin without first taking the dog to a veterinarian for a complete physical examination."

Believe me, we dote over Hank , however, he is well aware of his role in the family.

Hope this helps,
'Lo


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"The world was conquered through the understanding of dogs; the world exists through the understanding of dogs." - Nietzche

Last edited by Lo01; 01-27-2008 at 10:14 AM.
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post #9 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 10:03 AM
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I think his testosterone is showing. At his age, he is definitely feeling his hormones and trying to establish his place as alpha. When he does this to your kids, they can't show fear. They need to be assertive with him. A very firm NO and a roll onto his back should give him the message.

There are plenty of books you can read to help you, and a training session is a good idea so you can deal with the problem.


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post #10 of 72 (permalink) Old 01-27-2008, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
I know many may think Cesar Millan's methods are too "strong" for these little guys. But, I've seen him "roll" and "pin down" a little chihuahua who was acting very much like you describe Spyro acting. He said it is necessary for the dog to know he is "low man on the totem pole" and everyone else is above him. I know you were the one who dealt w/his misbehavior but, it may have been better for your son to have done it, to send the message to Spyro that your son is "in charge", too.
I agree with above. Spyro needs to understand that you arnd the kids are the pack leaders and he is lowest on the totem poll. Has he ever snapped or growled at you or is it just at the kids? I think the roll and pin with the kids right next to you might be a good idea. Also might want to try having the kids feed him but making sure that he is in the sitting and calm position before putting the food down. Then pet him a bit when he's eating. When Bogart was a puppy and with Brando now, when I feed them I always touch them a bit. At first Brando growled at me but now I can take his food away from him (if I can get his mouth open lol ) without him growling. Definitely want to nip it (no pun intended) sooner rather than later
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