Why I Hate People!

As a member of a number of forums that reflect my interests I seem to always encounter someone like this which absolutely drives me mad. You can bet I wrote him a scathing response about proper training methods, links to the breed and local breed rescues. Another yahoo that bought a dog because it looked cool without doing any homework on the breed.

"Hey guys, I am looking for possible advice regarding one of my dogs and the way she acts with kids, usually when the kids are about the same size as her.

She is a Vizsla and is a bit of a moody dog. She has shown signs of mild agression (mostly involving food) but is usually very obedient and mindful of what we want her to do. We have had friends with kids in the 3-6 years of age range where the kids are similar in size to the dog come over for visits, and she has made advances at them. No real barking or growling but a quick attempted nip. We have been fortunate to be right there when it has happened and the dog was even on leash so nothing has come of it.

We are at the point where we are starting to talk about kids and this behavior has us worried, not only for our kids but for any that may be in the neighborhood or would approach the dog. I was hoping to find out if this is a habit that can be broken or if the dog should be put down before we become liable for an incident (something we can't bear the thought of). Any advice from experience would be helpful."

As you found out lots of people are idiots. When it becomes inconvenient to be dog owner because of the dog's behavior, there are people who want to do the most convenient thing for themselves.

Unfortunately its the dog that suffers.

We had a rescue dog that was very protective of my children and family. You never knew when he was going to bite a stranger. He was a selective biter. He was great with the family and never attempted to bite us. This behavior did not make him a bad dog, it only made him a dog with a bad behavior.

Since we knew the dog had no health issues, we took some responsible steps with him. In an attempt to socialize him, we took him camping and walked him with a muzzle when he was around other people. Even so we still could not be certain that his behavior was modified, so we took the next responsible step and secured the dog when we had company in our home. This method was not only responsible, but protected dog and human alike. That dog ended up living a long and happy life in our care. He was a much loved member of our family until his passing over two years ago.

If the dog is nipping and not attempting to break skin, then its possible that this dog is attempting to get these children to play with him. This is typical of many dogs. Its how dogs play with one another, and it may be this dog does not understand the difference between children and other dogs.

Has that other poster in the other forum who owns the dog, attempted to have a child walk the dog, under adult supervision, on a leash? This would be a good place to start.

How much exercise does this dog get? Visla's have lots of energy and are hunting dogs. They need to run and get plenty of exercise. There are many times a dog can and will act up if they do not have an outlet for their energy. I suspect that if this owner is so inclined to easily put this dog down, then more than likely this dog is not getting the attention or exercise it needs.

New people in the house or on his territory will certainly get this dog excited and curious. I certainly cannot fault a dog for being a dog. You might suggest some obedience classes or consulting a behavior therapist. I wonder if the owner of this dog will also see that as an inconvenience.

Jason

I must say the words "Put Down" came just a little to easy. Liable you became that the day you got a dog. Sorry had to vent first do not like seeing put down.

Advice: Do you know for a fact that your kids or other kids have not teased the dog? Since you know she is a bit moody I myself would not let her around other children until you find out what's going on with her. Is her health good what about her teeth? How long have you had her and how old is she?

I have always been told you do not look a dog in the eyes you always look above them that away they know you are the owner. Kids and the dog are the same size maybe the children are looking eye to eye with dog. Not all dogs like that.

Can feed dog away from children? What about taking dog to class get around other people. I do not know much about the Vizsla breed.

I am sure someone on here knows about Vizsla or I hope so anyway can help.

Rita Jean

I am really baffled as to why you would write a scathing response to this person? He is looking for advice on what to do with a dog that may, or may not have an aggression problem. Some people think the ONLY thing to do with a dog that bites/nips is euthanasia…that is due to the complete over-reaction to dogs being dogs in our society. But that doesn't make this person an idiot, or an evil dog owner...he just needs to know that there are other options out there.

Please let this person know that contacting a behaviorist would be the best way to find out how much of a threat this dog is to children, and how to best deal with it. A scathing response certainly won't help the dog at all 😞

"Why I hate people"?? You scare me with that thread title! Anyway sometimes people have fixed ideas on how to fix a problem whether they got it from someone or their culture or concocted themselves and just need to be given new data on handling a problem a better way. If you try to shove it down their throat and say "you're an idiot and what the hell are you thinking" they'll just resist and keep the old idea to be right. Try a little patience as not everybody you run into knows what you know. Believe me even I have to remind myself of that and that even my ideas about handling something may be dumb and be open to learning something new. I have had Basenjis for 34 years but I can always learn something new or help someone else learn from my experience and that's why I joined this forum. Just my 2 cents. I see you have experience with Dalmations. I had one myself as a teen named Gus. What a wonderful and fun dog he was. Had the best temperament and loved to ride in the car.

Mr. Dan: I'm glad you had a good experience with Dalmations. I, myself, have not, but rather, have found most of them to be snippy and territorial. I had a step-daughter whose baby-sitter had 2 Dalmations. She had to put the dogs away (crate) while the children were in her care because of this habit. I was okay with this because it showed responsibility on her part.

Back to the original subject, however: If a dog is showing food aggression and lunging/nipping at small children, likely it is a dominance issue. This, without further information, appears to be a fine example of a dog who is confused as to its place in the family. When a dog in this position is confronted with other creatures near its own size or smaller (including children) who are on an eye-to-eye level, it will try to establish a superior place over these animals or children. Remedial socialization may work, or, as ComicDom1 said, lock the dog up while there are visitors over. As far as adding children to the family, that's another question entirely. The dog must be trustworthy in order to do this.

I think it is the words "Put Down !" that have the unfortunate effect of making people see red. Hopefuly this person will recieve the help they need to work with their dog, but sometimes people dont want to make the effort.
Sorry MDSPHOTO wandering a bit of topic but want to comment on Dalmations.
I had a Dalmation Amy years ago and she was a great dog, a bit ditzy but very loving and what a smile she had.

I am sure there is a rescue group that handles this breed.
IMO, the MDSPHOTO should contact them for trainers and advice to help
the dog stay in the home.
If they decide not to keep the dog, then at least have rescue eval the dog in case it can be rehomed.
That is my advice.

@AJs:

Back to the original subject, however: If a dog is showing food aggression and lunging/nipping at small children, likely it is a dominance issue.

I have to disagree about the cause of resource guarding. My mom has a resource guarder, he was the smallest puppy the breeder had at a time when she had 11 puppies from 2 different litters. During a critical development period my mom's dog learned that other pack members will take his things and occupy his space if he didn't guard it. He is not a dominant dog, but he growls and protects chewies and will nip to move people out of his space. My mom has worked very hard with him over the last 3 years using trading up for chewies or giving them only in his crate. She has worked with family that visits regularly to change his feelings about them being near him. This was a process starting with just tossing treats toward him to now sitting next to him and giving treats. Luckily, he likes his crate and when he becomes overwhelmed he is happy to be crated until everyone leaves.

I find folks who love their dogs learn to manage them..be it crating them when company comes, or finding the right trainer, and then DOING what the trainer says to help the dog become the pet it should be.

I am with you 100% Sharron " folks who love their dogs learn to manage them."

Rita Jean

My granddaughter has a one year old son who has just been walking recently - when he is in our home, both my B's back away from him - I do believe it's because of the eye level contact. When Evan is on the floor, neither dog minds sniffing him and being around him, but when he is on his feet, they become wary. At that point, everyone is watching very closely - any sign of the wrong kind of contact, and they would be put into a separate room. So far, so good - but children do sometimes have a different kind of energy that makes dogs nervous, so to be safe if your dog shows aggression, hire a behaviorist, and separate them until they learn.

@lvoss:

I have to disagree about the cause of resource guarding. My mom has a resource guarder, he was the smallest puppy the breeder had at a time when she had 11 puppies from 2 different litters. During a critical development period my mom's dog learned that other pack members will take his things and occupy his space if he didn't guard it. He is not a dominant dog, but he growls and protects chewies and will nip to move people out of his space. My mom has worked very hard with him over the last 3 years using trading up for chewies or giving them only in his crate. She has worked with family that visits regularly to change his feelings about them being near him. This was a process starting with just tossing treats toward him to now sitting next to him and giving treats. Luckily, he likes his crate and when he becomes overwhelmed he is happy to be crated until everyone leaves.

Of course, I completely agree, Lisa. Resource guarders are more likely to be LESS dominant, and less confident than other more balanced dogs.

If you think about it like this: if I am a confident/dominant (if you must) animal, a look will suffice to keep people away from my stuff….if I am nervous and scared about others taking my stuff, I will over-react every time.

@Shaye's:

My granddaughter has a one year old son who has just been walking recently - when he is in our home, both my B's back away from him - I do believe it's because of the eye level contact. When Evan is on the floor, neither dog minds sniffing him and being around him, but when he is on his feet, they become wary. At that point, everyone is watching very closely - any sign of the wrong kind of contact, and they would be put into a separate room. So far, so good - but children do sometimes have a different kind of energy that makes dogs nervous, so to be safe if your dog shows aggression, hire a behaviorist, and separate them until they learn.

The most likely reason is the way in which they move. It is kind of hurkey-jerky, and unpredictable…dogs don't like that much. And they naturally stare at things that are interesting. Little kids also don't have much sense about when it is okay to reach out towards a dog, and when it isn't. Most adults have grown to be able to read a dog even a little, and if the dog looks nervous, they don't reach out...but kids, nope..they reach out no matter what 🙂 Again, dogs can't predict what they will do, and their typical warnings don't stop a child.

I have always said, the trouble with dogs and kids doesn't happen when you bring the baby home...it is when the baby starts walking!

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