Puppy is growling at me!

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luke

Boxer Pal
Ok, this is a problem that we knew might happen before we decided to get a boxer, but now that it's here I don't know how to deal with it... My 7 week old puppy growls at me when I tell my kids off! I know boxers have a protective nature, and in many ways I'm pleased, as I know my family will be looked after if I'm out and it's just the missus and kids at home, but I don't want to be attacked for shouting:confused: How do I stop this without taking away his spirit?
 

Tulsa-Dan

Your Friendly Moderator
A very simple solution. Do not discipline your children in the same room with the puppy. Take the children to their own rooms for any discipline and have the puppy crated or in another area of the house or outside. Don't let the dog see you disciplining your children, at all costs.

Statistically it has been found that in about 70% of the cases of family dogs biting children, the children have been hit or disciplined repeatedly in front of the family dog. The dog learns by example and if you set the example with your children, your dog will follow and believe that the child is below him in the pecking order and it is OK to abuse that child or bite or do what is necessary for the dog to "control" the child.

This can be a very, very serious problem.

What this pup is doing is not "protecting" the children. He is exhibiting fear. It would be more likely that the pup is afraid that you will be doing the same thing to him that you are doing to your children and he is afraid of that. He is also probably afraid of your tone, if you are yelling.

As for breaking the dog's spirit, I'm not sure exactly how you think this might happen because you are "telling off your kids." Do you plan on disciplining the dog for growling at you when you yell at your children. This would be a very, very dangerous and wrong thing to do. You run the risk of not only breaking a dog's spirit, but you run the risk that the dog will turn on you or -- worse-- make an association that his getting in trouble with you is a direct result of the child and will then begin acting dominant, and perhaps attacking the child because of it. A very dangerous precedent to set.

The simple solution is to not let your dog see or hear you discipline your children. I won't attempt to tell you how to raise your children (although gaining control of one's temper is a very good place to begin when disciplining children), but I can tell you the above about raising a boxer puppy. Be very, very careful of the examples you set for the dog. They learn very quickly, whether the signals we send are correct or not.

One other thing: You say this is "a problem that we knew might happen before we decided to get a boxer. . . ." I'm curious as to what made you believe this might be a problem before getting a boxer. Was it something someone said to you about boxers? Something you read somewhere? I'm a little confused as to how this topic came up before deciding to get a boxer and how you came up with the idea that this might be a problem. Some clarification would be nice. Thanks.
 

luke

Boxer Pal
Dan, thanks for your reply. You should know, as it's relevant, I don't hit my kids, in front of the dog or not;maybe you got the wrong impression! What you say makes sense, but this is the 1st time I have heard of this concept of not disciplining kids in front of the family dog: Surely, with consideration to what he is, he has to get used to us, just like the other sounds and factors of daily life? I am not being rhetorical, I am genuinely confused. As for disciplining Bentley (the pup) when he growled at me, I just told him no, and he stopped immediately. I am not with smacking my dog, either! I mention this protection/fear thing due to the many chats I had with people involved with the breed, and Beverly Pisano's book 'Boxers'. These sources say how boxers have a strong dislike of family conflict especially in respect to adult/child relations, even to the point of placing themselves between the two parties, and warning the 'aggressive' one off... When I spoke to my breeder about this she told me to do what I had done:confused: Cheers Dan, hope you're able to reply to this.
 

Tulsa-Dan

Your Friendly Moderator
Originally posted by luke
Dan, thanks for your reply. You should know, as it's relevant, I don't hit my kids, in front of the dog or not;maybe you got the wrong impression!


That is none of my business. But whatever form of discipline you use, you should NOT do it in front of the dog. This includes yellling as boxers are extremely sensitive to thing such as yelling and screaming and anger.

What you say makes sense, but this is the 1st time I have heard of this concept of not disciplining kids in front of the family dog: Surely, with consideration to what he is, he has to get used to us, just like the other sounds and factors of daily life? I am not being rhetorical, I am genuinely confused.


I'm not sure what you mean by "with consideration to what he is. . ." He is a dog. This does not mean that he doesn't have feelings, emotions or thoughts of his own. Actions, noises, fear, etc., etc., all make lasting impressions on dogs. So to answer your question, no the dog should not be getting "used to" such sounds. Do you expose your children to your disagreements or perhaps fights with your spouse? I don't imagine that you do. You wouldn't expose a very young child to such would you? Same with a puppy. Put yourself in your dog's place for just a moment and see how you would react to such strange loud yelling, not knowing what it is about, and how would you react to such anger, even if it isn't directed at you? My position above still stands.


As for disciplining Bentley (the pup) when he growled at me, I just told him no, and he stopped immediately. I am not with smacking my dog, either! I mention this protection/fear thing due to the many chats I had with people involved with the breed, and Beverly Pisano's book 'Boxers'. These sources say how boxers have a strong dislike of family conflict especially in respect to adult/child relations, even to the point of placing themselves between the two parties, and warning the 'aggressive' one off... When I spoke to my breeder about this she told me to do what I had done:confused: Cheers Dan, hope you're able to reply to this.

Is the breeder a certified trainer and behaviorist? If so, I might value her opinon on training and behavior. Otherwise, it is just her "opinion" and is not based on education and fact.

May I suggest two books for you to read. First, "The Culture Clash" by Jean Donaldson. This is a must for every dog owner. Secondly "The Dog Listener" by Jan Fennell. This book will help you to establish a proper relationship in the family with the dog and help you to better understand how your dog thinks, behaves and learns.

There are many other excellent books listed in our book section which will help you learn more and understand how dogs/boxers think, behave and learn.

Best of luck.
 
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