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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20172
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi I just returned from my dog breeders house as a family

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I just returned from my dog breeders house as a family was returning their 1 yr old doodle to her. They indicated that the dog got a hold of a bag of buns and when the child grabbed in from her she bit. Not a bad bite at all but a bite. On observation, the kids were treating the dog like a toy and showed little respect for the breeders property, nonetheless the dog. The dog is actually quite beautiful. Very loving, very affectionate, doesn't jump up and when given a treat it can be taken away without incident. She played very well with another dog and overall was great. With help from a trainer can this dog stay in this family if the kids are given much stronger rules and boundaries?
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Are you just an interested party and not the breeder or person?
You are talking about the dog remaining with the original family?
What obedience training does the dog have?
About what ages were the children?
Was she spayed or intact?
Do you know if she was in heat?
Have they tried any behavior modification (training)?
Are you thinking of getting this dog?
Do you have children (if you are thinking of obtaining her?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I'm just a friend helping out with the situation. The dog has been spayed and there has been no obedience or behaviour intervention with the dog, but it has been strongly suggested that they try this. Yes the original family would like to keep her and try training etc, and the children are 6 and 8 approx. She is spayed. The original family was thinking of giving her back, but when I asked the questions you did, and as I observed the children were treating the dog as a "toy" I suggested the whole family go to obedience training with the dog as they were already talking about getting a new puppy when one became available. In other words they totally saw it as the dog's problem and not a "family" problem. After leaving the dog, the family called an hour later and wanted her back. As there has been no intervention to date, can this dog stay in this family safely if they start to go to obedience/modification now. They are calling it treat aggression, but I quite easily took a treat out of her mouth several times without her even flinching.

I would take this dog in a second if I didn't already have three. She cuddled into me and stood by my side (or the breeders) as we were sitting outside with her. SHe didn't try to jump on us (as doodles will) when we were sitting, nor demand attention, but loved it when she got it. She was not nervous or scared, even when a young male poodle came over, she just played with him. I also did not see one sign of her trying to be dominant over anybody. I think should could get worked up to be hyper in the moment, but then again she is only 1 yr old. I have to say, she actually behaved better than my two doodles would have in hte same circumstance. But all that being said, I don't know if a bite is a bite and the dog should be removed or can this situation be recitfied. Thanks!!

Hi Jacustomer,
I think it is very likely the dog can be trained BUT the children need to be trained as well. She is becoming an adult and as an adult, her place in the pack changes. She is no longer a child and thus as an adult, she may feel that she is now able to reprimand the human kids in the family when they do things that are unacceptable.
So I would start obedience training. The following site is helpful for teaching an owner how to train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if they train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making the dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
The kids are old enough to be involved with training as well. I start children out at around 3 years old working with dogs. This helps teach the dog that the kids are also higher in the pack than the dog is even if they are kids.
Now the kids need to respect the dog as well. Dogs do not like to be hugged or kissed or pulled on, laid on, or ridden. Many owners think it is cute when the baby pulls themselves up on the dog, but that likely hurts the dog. Dogs see hugs as a dominant gesture and as pups, they might accept it but when they become adults, they don't want anyone dominanting them especially a lower ranking pack member which is how they would see the children. Let me give you a site that goes over how children should interact with dogs.
So it is a case of training both the dog and the children. Goldens are very forgiving dogs, but poodles are strong willed and dominant by nature so a mix can take after either breed. I do think that obedience training and teaching the leave command will do a lot toward solving the situation.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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