Saavik is a rescue and is a little over two years old…We don't know if her previous owners had kids or if she has ever really been exposed to children. She can be snarky at times to strangers but will normally give a warning growl and warm up to them after a little while... With that being said, she loves our best friends and is always willing let them hold her etc. They have two little girls- a 4 year old and 2 year old... Saavik has met them several times and the girls know to approach her slowly and gentle stick there hand out so she can sniff etc... Saavik will sniff and allow them to pet her but doesn't seem to enjoy it very much... then later the girls will try to repeat letting her sniff and pet her again... she has started to try nipping at them... not overly aggressive...but it has made me uneasy of having her around kids. any advice or ideas to help?
First, thank you for adopting little Saavik… as Anne said, try to see if your kids can give treats. Remember that at 2 years old, Saavik would be considered still young-at-heart, so a firm noise whenever she displays this behavior is important. (Pick something and have everyone in your family agree to the command- "Stop!", or "Uh-Uh"). I think positive reinforcement is important, especially from you (as she's roo'ed with you!).... Kindly remember that there may be some memory of a naughty child that Saavik is remembering, so make sure that your girls know to be gentle and to use a quiet, KIND voice... not to get too excited, if possible?
If Saavik nips again, you or your husband should promptly pick her up, say "Stop" or whatever you use, and carry her away from the group. Tell her, "No Bite" and as long as she's calm, put her down and walk away. When she comes back to you and your girls, tell her gently to "Be Nice"... "Good girl".... nice, calm praises.
I hope that everything works well for you! You sound like a great family for little Saavik to grow into. We adopted Lola when she was 1.5 years old, and we were her fourth "home".... she's been here 2 years now and she's a totally different (well adjusted) girl. Lola was very skittish at first, but as I type this, she is on my lap asleep.
Hugs and Roos-
Thanks so much for the advice!!! We love her very much and she instantly fit in with our personalities. We will try the treats and go from there. We have been teaching her that she gets rewarded for sitting and playing nice…So we'll see how she progresses...She very well may have had bad experiences with children or even more likely adults.
Patty- I love the name Lola!!! as I type this Saavik is curled up on her pink blanket(she loves anything pink!) laying between Zack and I on the couch She has adjusted well to our routine... She has made it clear that she wishes to be the only dog in the house though
Children are often scary for dogs, they don't move the same as adults, they don't act the same as adults, so dogs don't know how to behave around them.
You may want to check out this webinar that is coming up next week through the Family Paws Parent Education, http://jennifershryock.enterthemeeting.com/m/PS15862X