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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Barking at my son?

Does anyone know what to do with a 12 week puppy that constantly barks at my 10 year old son? At first we thought he was trying to play but every time my son comes in the room or tries to hang out with his puppy, Bohdi barks and bites at his feet and clothes. My son has never hurt him, either accidentally or on purpose. He barks at me at times when he is wound up and I won't let him eat shoes or when I bring him in from outside breaks before he is ready. Otherwise, Bohdi is a sweet, smart, mostly chill puppy, especially with me and my husband. This hurts my heart a little because we got Bohdi specifically for my little boy (an only child) to have a buddy at home and his feelings are hurt because it seems Bohdi isn't taking to him very well.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 12:52 PM
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I suggest having your son feed Bohdi every meal if possible. That's a sure way to bond.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 01:58 PM
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Maybe if your son sits quietly and gives him treats. I don't know how old you son is. I know Willow acts differently around children but I think it's their energy level. You know, always moving and moving quickly it seems. Maybe your son should be the one that feeds Bohdi. I know others will chime in and I'm probably not the best one to give behavioral advice.

Jackie & Willow
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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He has been giving Bohdi treats at times but feeding him his meals is a great idea....thank you! My son is 10 and not really high energy but he is a little afraid of dogs (me too!) so, even though he is trying really hard to NOT be afraid, maybe he is giving off a nervous vibe that Bohdi is picking up.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 02:29 PM
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The good news is Bohdi is young so this is something that can be improved. Here are some tips to get your son and Bohdi more comfortable around each other.

1. Until you’re sure that Bohdi and your son know how to behave around each other, you should always be present. Stay in the background, but be ready to step in if a situation looks like it’s starting to go sideways.
2. Allow Bohdi to approach your son, not the other way around. Kids can get excited when they see a dog and want to rush up and start petting it, which may cause a reaction from the dog. One game is for you to both be on the floor, separated a bit, then take turns calling Bohdi and rewarding him with a treat when he comes to you.
3. Teach your son that dogs have zones of space that should be respected.
4. Learn how to read canine body language, then teach these signs to your son and stop play if you observe Bohdi is stressed or fearful.
5. Encourage patience and slow interactions with Bohdi.
6. Model the way that you want your son to approach Bohdi. Once he learns this at home he’ll be able to safely approach other dogs too.
7. Include your son on your walks.
8. Have your son help you take care of Bohdi —walk him, feed him, and clean up after him.
9. Have your son take part in Bohdi’s training, with lots of treats.
10. Have your son teach Bohdi to fetch and teach him tricks.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much! Some of these things he does already but we will work on all of the rest. It is very frustrating because Bohdi almost lunges at his face when he's sitting next to him, every time, and we can't figure out why. Then he starts barking at me, almost challenging?
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by treyn View Post
Thank you so much! Some of these things he does already but we will work on all of the rest. It is very frustrating because Bohdi almost lunges at his face when he's sitting next to him, every time, and we can't figure out why. Then he starts barking at me, almost challenging?
You've gotten some great responses already. It sounds like both you and your son are new to puppies in general? Bohdi is still very much a baby, and babies do baby things. It's important to explain this to your son, and for you to understand this too. You have to adopt a "this too shall pass" attitude with puppies, and NOT take "naughty puppy behavior" personally.

It sounds to me that Bohdi is a bit of a demanding puppy, and he may be barking and jumping at you to play in a way that is a bit scary to you and your son, but is really just "rude". He needs to learn to greet politely, but that will happen with gentle but consistent handling of his rude behavior. As others have said, you should ALWAYS be present when Bohdi and your son are interacting at this point. Explain to your son that this isn't because you don't trust him, but that you need to help him teach Bohdi good manners.

Every time Bohdi, barks at either of you, lunges or nips, simply pick him up gently and put him in his crate or ex-pen (ex-pen is easier) and turn away from him. I am not a Cesar Milan fan, but he's dead on about "no touch, no talk, no eye contact" in these situations. TOTALLY ignore him. Put him on ignore for a minute or two, then take him out and allow CALM interaction again. Believe me, he's going to test you. You will have to do this over and over to start with. (think two year old human ) But he WILL get the message that his rude behavior doesn't get him what he wants, which is probably to play with you.

Finally, besides having your son do all the feeding for a while (which is an excellent suggestion) I would also enroll Bohdi in a puppy kindergarten class as soon as possible. Make it clear to the training center that it is very important that your son also be involved in Bohdi's training so that both of you are consistent in how you handle the puppy. Most training centers will allow a child your son's age to be involved in the class as long as there is an adult there too.

Chin up! This will get easier for all of you. puppies are puppies for only a short while in the scheme of things... and MANY of us, even when we've had some puppy experience, have some "WHAT have I gotten myself INTO?!?!" feelings from time to time in the first couple of months!

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Last edited by krandall; 11-23-2016 at 05:50 PM.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! This puppy has been particularly precocious today so it is very reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one who has wondered 'what was I thinking getting a puppy??!!' And you're right - we have had dogs in the past but never a puppy. I feel like I am constantly scratching my head, wondering what to do all the time; and just when I think I've got something figured out..... This is definitely a lot of work but we all love this little one so much.....even on his grumpy days! I really do appreciate such kind, thorough, thoughtful responses today!!
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-23-2016, 10:13 PM
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I agree with puppy kindergarten asap with your son involved.
It will help with your son's confidence around a puppy a lot!
My 11 year daughter has been involved with the training of our new pup from day one.
She attends all the training classes we go to. The first one we both worked with our pup.
The new one with an AKC judge, she watches intently and practices what we learned at home, but the next one we signed up for she is going to be the "handler".

In regards to Bohdi barking when you won't let him chew on your shoe ... our first puppy manors class showed us to trade for a more valued item.
It was a great way to teach "drop it" as the pup would drop what you don't want them to have by being enticed by a more appropriate
item to chew on. You might want to give it a try and see what your puppy values more than the shoe.

I also have my daughter watch training videos and read articles that have been linked on the forum, by those much more experienced than myself ,that I was bookmarking for months before we brought our pup home.

I have read a lot of barking puppies on here lately- and I don't know if we just got really lucky with a naturally quiet pup , or if the work we did for separation anxiety avoidance training the first three days is the reason our pup never barks now. It really taught her to settle nicely, that I know for sure.

I highly recommend that article . The same concept applies just as Karen stated, the no attention when they are barking/crying or misbehaving... sets the puppy up for later success.
Taking Measures to Prevent Separation Anxiety Related Behaviors | Whole Dog Journal
Good luck- glad to read today was a better day!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-24-2016, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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Wow - he's a moody little thing! Bohdi barked and snapped at me today after bringing him back inside after playtime and not letting him play with shoes at the door. I offered one of his toys (which has worked some before, not always) but he wouldn't drop the shoe. I then put him in his ex-pen for a few minutes. I opened the door and talked to him sweetly to come on out but he got up, turned around, and laid back down with his back to me. Now, HE is ignoring ME completely. Is this a personality thing? Is he mad at me? I'm not really sure. He's not tired as he's already had a long nap this morning.
I really missed out on the puppy kindergarten. When we got Bohdi at 8 weeks, all classes around here were full until after the holidays. I'll have him signed up after that but I really hate we missed it at such a crucial age, for him AND us!
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