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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
About 3 weeks ago, my wife told me Maggie had nipped at my 3 year old son - not and out an out bite, but a finger nip like "leave me alone". No blood - maybe didn't even connect. Seth was gently pettying her, not aggravating at all. He is so sweet with her. I didn't see it actually happen, so I played it down with my wife saying it was probably play.
Yesterday, I witnessed this myself, but this time with my 4 year old girl. Maggie was on her beanbag, and Mia was petting her and I saw Maggie show a tooth and then the teeth popped. I immediatley came off the couch and severely disciplined her as I will not tolerate that behavior. My wife is now saying what's next? A bite in the face? I am sooooooo torn on what to do as she has been so good and loving with my kids up until this point.
I will say this: she is in heat and moody as heck. The first incident was about 3 weeks before the heat, but I know hormones are already in motion at this point. My wife says one more and she's gone. For now, she is not allowed to be around the kids unsupervised.
I have consulted with the breeder I bought her from for her wonderful knowledgable advice, but I would like to know what you guys think as well.
 

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Nipping

About 3 weeks ago, my wife told me Maggie had nipped at my 3 year old son - not and out an out bite, but a finger nip like "leave me alone". No blood - maybe didn't even connect. Seth was gently pettying her, not aggravating at all. He is so sweet with her. I didn't see it actually happen, so I played it down with my wife saying it was probably play.
Yesterday, I witnessed this myself, but this time with my 4 year old girl. Maggie was on her beanbag, and Mia was petting her and I saw Maggie show a tooth and then the teeth popped. I immediatley came off the couch and severely disciplined her as I will not tolerate that behavior. My wife is now saying what's next? A bite in the face? I am sooooooo torn on what to do as she has been so good and loving with my kids up until this point.
I will say this: she is in heat and moody as heck. The first incident was about 3 weeks before the heat, but I know hormones are already in motion at this point. My wife says one more and she's gone. For now, she is not allowed to be around the kids unsupervised.
I have consulted with the breeder I bought her from for her wonderful knowledgable advice, but I would like to know what you guys think as well.
HMMMMM, that is a tough thing to deal with. Having only be with the kids when supervised is a good start. I think your dog is testing the rest of her family a little. She obviously puts herself above the kids in the pecking order. If the dog lets out the tiniest growl, I would show the dog you do not approve. It may also help to teach your kids to stand up and sternly tell the dog no when she does these things. I don't want to see your kids get hurt, but you may need to witness a few more of these little altercations inorder for the dog to be told who the bosses of the family are...
 

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I'm very sorry something like this had to happen, hopefully it is just due to her moodiness and it will pass :( consulting your breeder was a good idea, maybe one can reccomend a good dog behaviorist. It wouldn't be a bad idea for your vet to check her out for any physiological abnormalities. Hopefully this will all pass soon enough
 

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If the dog lets out the tiniest growl, I would show the dog you do not approve.
I'm not saying I approve of a dog growling, but growling is a warning that the dog is not comfortable with something. If you discipline them out of growling, you get biting with no warning. We're talking about kids here - a growl is preferable to a bite, and a warning is preferable to biting with no warning. Not that it's acceptable, don't get me wrong.
 

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Definitely don't leave them unsupervised. I would say at a year she will be at the normal "testing" stage trying to work her way up in the pecking order.

With young kids I always try to incorporate the kids in on our training sessions, especially when he knows a command. They make sure to give him commands through the day and I think it gives them all confidence, the dog and the kids.

I would be very careful with correcting the dog when doing this. I think a behavior trainer would be a good choice here. A lot give free consultations and it would be worth a consult at least.
 

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Are you getting her fixed soon? Maybe that will help. Also do the kids ever play rough or tease her? She might just be heading them off from starting with her.

Carol
 

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Hi Les Strat

You don't mention how old your bitch is!!Bitches can get a bit strange around season time certainly if it's there first season,try to get your children not to touch her when she's resting as sometimes they like us when we wake up it's a bit of a shock to the system and for a second or two she may not have realised what was going on hence the nip.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you getting her fixed soon? Maybe that will help. Also do the kids ever play rough or tease her? She might just be heading them off from starting with her.

Carol
Well, not to open a debate, but I have a recent scientific study on the cons of spaying and neutering that is dowright scary! So, I have been on the fence. That, with all the recent findings on over-vaccinating (I titer), has got me questioning some common veterinarian practices.

That aside, the kids do not tease her no more than typical play that I would expect any well-rounded/socialized dog to handle. She always seemed to love their company and attention. The breeder is a long-term officer of a dobe club and knows her stuff and has given me the advice that this is not tolerable and she should be corrected on the spot. I agree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Les Strat

You don't mention how old your bitch is!!Bitches can get a bit strange around season time certainly if it's there first season,try to get your children not to touch her when she's resting as sometimes they like us when we wake up it's a bit of a shock to the system and for a second or two she may not have realised what was going on hence the nip.
She's almost a year and a half.

She was lying on the beanbag but fully awake. She showed a tooth, then nipped.

I think a good bit of it is kind of like PMS - 6 months worth. But it cannot happen again regardless.

You know, you don't want to make them an outcast from the family, but at this point, supervision while being with the kids is a must. My mom and dad are babysitting tomorrow at our house, and Maggie will have to be crated most of the day minus potty time (Can't stay out in the fenced yard more than a few minutes as it is 105F here in Alabama!!!!).

If it was up to my wife, Maggie would be gone today.

It's killing me.:(
 

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I have also been doing my reading on the fixing issue as well, it is scary to do it for sure, same as it should be for a human, I know so many women whose lives were basically ruined for years, by having their ovaries removed at a young age, and not do hormone replacement. But I will tell you in my own case, with my boy who is fast approaching 100#, If his hormones are starting to get the better of him, I'd rather fix him and be able to keep him vs. find a different home for him because he is just too out of control.

Good luck....I really feel for you, I'd have a hard time choosing the kids over the dog...at least that's what my sons would tell you!!! :D Maybe you could bring a trainer into the house to see what can be done.

Carol
 

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Hi Again yes your right it shouldn't be tolerated and the saftey of your children should always come before that of your dog I really don't no what else to say never having come up against this maybe she's had a couple of off day's maybe as you say a bit of pmt maybe she's getting protective of her bean bag it could be a 100 different thing's but I would take advise from the breeder and hopefully it will sort itself out for yours and the dog's sake.

Maureen
 
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I dont have kids but in all honesty I would never let children this young be left alone with dogs regardless of the kids or dogs disposition. I'd say the heat definately has something to do with it. Sounds to me like what you are doing is right with keeping the contact at a minimum. I am sorry for this situation you are in and hope things work out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I dont have kids but in all honesty I would never let children this young be left alone with dogs regardless of the kids or dogs disposition. I'd say the heat definately has something to do with it. Sounds to me like what you are doing is right with keeping the contact at a minimum. I am sorry for this situation you are in and hope things work out!
They are never "alone" per se with her, but we are not standing over watching them 24/7. There's always alot going on in a home with two kids and a dobe, so 100% supervision is not going to be reality all the time, so this means tons of time in a crate or outside, which is not what I want for her. But for now, it is where we have to start.

We are going to get through this.
 

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I know that Nancy gave you good advise and will be there for you no matter what happens.

I do think that Maggie is testing the waters to see what she can get away with. Young kids are tough because you cannot watch them 24/7 and dogs will see how far they can "get over" with kids in the pecking order. I did go through this with Velma and my youngest child who was 4 at the time. Velma was about 5-6 months when she started growling at my 4 year old and I could tell it was a dominance thing. I did a lot of scruff shaking with her and also working with my daughter to make it clear who was on top........... and it was not the dog!! I made it very clear to her that "I" choose the pecking order not her. It took about a month and we got past it. Velma is now a therapy dog and is pretty much bomb proof with all kids.

I think that with some work and training, Maggie will get past it too. I can see postponing the spay for awhile to let a dog mature, but at this point she is over a year old and I think it would be a good idea unless there is some reason not to such as a show career. Be sure to spay her midway between two heats and that will get her hormones at the low ebb. I did this with Velma and she is the most even tempered bitch now - and no incontinence either .... knock on wood.

I would look into the "nothing in life is free - NILF" for Maggie. Let the kids be the ones to give her the food sometimes. I agree that growling as a warning is prefered, but I think that most of all, she needs to learn where her place in the pack is.............. and it is the bottom.

Most of all, work with your breeder - she is a good one.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I know that Nancy gave you good advise and will be there for you no matter what happens.

I do think that Maggie is testing the waters to see what she can get away with. Young kids are tough because you cannot watch them 24/7 and dogs will see how far they can "get over" with kids in the pecking order. I did go through this with Velma and my youngest child who was 4 at the time. Velma was about 5-6 months when she started growling at my 4 year old and I could tell it was a dominance thing. I did a lot of scruff shaking with her and also working with my daughter to make it clear who was on top........... and it was not the dog!! I made it very clear to her that "I" choose the pecking order not her. It took about a month and we got past it. Velma is now a therapy dog and is pretty much bomb proof with all kids.

I think that with some work and training, Maggie will get past it too. I can see postponing the spay for awhile to let a dog mature, but at this point she is over a year old and I think it would be a good idea unless there is some reason not to such as a show career. Be sure to spay her midway between two heats and that will get her hormones at the low ebb. I did this with Velma and she is the most even tempered bitch now - and no incontinence either .... knock on wood.

I would look into the "nothing in life is free - NILF" for Maggie. Let the kids be the ones to give her the food sometimes. I agree that growling as a warning is prefered, but I think that most of all, she needs to learn where her place in the pack is.............. and it is the bottom.

Most of all, work with your breeder - she is a good one.
Thanks Velma. Nancy is great. She has been there 100% for me since day one.

I need to let you read this study.

Anyone is welcome to email me they want the PDF. (kevindawnj at comcast dot net)
 

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Some Bitches can get pretty funky when they are in heat. Some crave attention and almost have a forlorn poor me look. I have seen some go the other way and become extremely moody and some bitches get worse after a spay with there moods. Your right there is a lot of different reading material yeah and neighing.
It is your dog and I feel for your wife is totally warranted to her feelings in regards to the children. Biting or nipping all and more is disarming.
I find the one thing that you have expressed is there has never been any of this behaviour prior only at the oncoming heat and the time frame while she is in heat . I think this is an important point not to disregard or negate this in fairness to Maggie. I have a high energy bitch, Due to her behaviour of nipping clothes and if there was high squealing, children playing she would go into jumping up nipping and like they were puppies and she joined in with mouthing etc. grazing the skin with the nips not good.
I would put her in sit and was monitored she had to watch the activity if she broke she was kennelled and or put through exercises.

We had issues and took precautions we worked with her daily and she matured and learned control. Right wrong consequences and rewards.
I feel a lot of people love there pets so much they regard and have said and say oh there one of the family. Bottom line they are animals and we/me sometimes forget that. They can't talk and there are only a few ways to communicate.
Now with saying that if you do look at menstruation in women, ovulation time pre- period, time of period. The mood swings of crying, screaming, sensitivity, mild bleeding, profuse bleeding, lots of pain and swelling no pain. The graph on that is all over the place so be it for all mammals that have menses.
Putting aside emotion in this and looking at logic is a hard thing to do. Good luck to you and your wife Le Strat I too know the stress on a personal relationship when decisions are trying to be made.
 

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They are never "alone" per se with her, but we are not standing over watching them 24/7. There's always alot going on in a home with two kids and a dobe, so 100% supervision is not going to be reality all the time, so this means tons of time in a crate or outside, which is not what I want for her. But for now, it is where we have to start.

We are going to get through this.
I see. Yes you wil get through it, I am hoping for the best.
 

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I do not have children but would have to say that probably a few things are probably playing a factor. First I would have to say that her being in heat probably is not helping her attitude but I would also have to agree with your breeder that her behaviour is not acceptable no matter the situation. It does sound like to me that she is not trying to be vicious and would agree with the others that she is testing the pecking order. I have had several of my dobies test their position with me and a quick correction handled it. I understand that it must be very hard to watch the kids and the dobie 24 hours however maybe the closer that you can watch her with the kids the quicker you might be able to correct her when does try and snap at the kids. I think that the fact that you are willing to work with her shows your dedication to her and I'm sure that your hard work along with the advice from your breeder will pay off. :)
 

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I agree with the others about seeing a behaviourist/trainer. also keep in mind that at 18 months, she has entered those 'wonderful teen age months' for a dobe. even without being in heat, they can be a PITA. I think you have gotten some very sound advice on the dog front, I would suggest that when you take her to the behaviourist that the whole family goes: you, your wife, and the kids, that way you will all be doing the same thing in terms of working her thru this. consistency, as we all know, is key in any kind of training, but especially so in difficult situations like this.

good luck
cc
 
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