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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-25-2020, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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Snapped at child!

I have a six year old female Doberman, Cindy. I have grandchildren that she has always been around, with my supervision. My six year old Granddaughter was sitting next to Cindy on the couch doing fine. Then ,y GD just moved a little to reposition, and Cindy lunged and snapped less then an inch from her face! She’s never done that before, she’s always been calm with them.

I took her by the collar, saying bad dog, which she knows I’m upset with her and stuck her in the gated Kitchen. Cindy doesn’t have any sensitive spots and Allison didn’t touch her anywhere nor was Cindy sleeping. My main question, should I always put her Up when my grandkids visit? Or do I keep her maybe on a Leash next to me so she is part of “ the family and dynamics “? Any advice?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-25-2020, 08:44 PM
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I'd just keep her on a leash by my side—it's important that she stay a part of the family rather than being locked away. As you continue to supervise, you may get a better idea what is going on if she continues to get upset.

Has she ever had her thyroid tested? Dobes are known for hypothyroid which can develop as they get older. A low thyroid value doesn't necessarily have many symptoms, but it can affect the dog's temperament.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-26-2020, 07:21 AM
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When my grandchildren are over Hoss is always on 6 foot lead and by my side.
Yeah it can be hectic having children around and a dog on your hip but IMO its all about prevention.
If I am in the kitchen or something its a great opportunity to reinforce training. You know, down-stays etc.
Plus dog training with all the distractions children can present can turn something chaotic into something worthwhile.
Hoss has never snapped at my grandchildren to date but if he was allowed to run around Hoss could easily knock them over or nip their fingers if playing with toys.
My grandkids are 6-5-4-and 3.
IMO I would leash and make it your personal goal to never let it happen again.
Something like this can easily become a habit if it happens a second time.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-26-2020, 08:11 AM
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First, I'm sorry this happened. It's scary and stressful.

Second, it's easy for people to miss subtle signs that dogs are giving off that they are uncomfortable. It's very possible that your dog has, in the past, given a lot of signs that she is uncomfortable with the kids. Additionally, sometimes what happens is that there are other stressors that have happened and "stack" up during the day, and the dog is under a heightened level of stress, so something very small that might not normally trigger a dog to react will trigger them that day.

I would consider crating her or putting her in a dog safe area where she isn't bothered while the kids are there. Make it a good experience. The space should be 100% off limits to the kids - no bothering the dog. She could have a good chew, or Kong, while she's in there if that's something you do.

I'd also recommend some reading. These are all EXCELLENT resources on kids and dogs, and helping to prevent dog bites.

Front Range K9 Academy: Keeping Kids and Dogs Safe Together

Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn?t Work | Robin Bennett
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-03-2020, 09:33 PM
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Our dobes have been good with the grandkids but in the house we keep the kids and dogs separated. I think this is especially important with toddlers and younger kids.
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