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Hi.. I have a 19 month old cockapoo. He's been neutered. He's always been a bit growly even as a tiny puppy. I tried to deal with it by never changing my behaviour when he growled (not letting him get his own way and not backing off) He's good most of the time now but he seems to go into meltdown sometimes and especially can't cope with children. (I have a toddler who he's fine with but if she grabs him too hard he would growl - she just knows not to do it now)
I'm rambling ...I took him to my daughter's school at pick up time and he was awful (in the past he's been a bit wary but not shown himself up) this time he went crazy with worry and the way it manifested itself was by barking and then if children tried to pet him he growled and when one boy didn't back off he actually made as if to bite... i have no idea if he would have followed through with that and hope never to find out (needless to say I can't risk taking him to pick up time again)
I love him...but I've never had a dog with issues before and finding it such a stress. If anyone has any advise i would be so grateful
 

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It sounds like he is giving you clear signals that he is not comfortable around children. I would not put him in situations where he is surrounded by children trying to invade his personal space until you have worked with him on that. Probably 1-on-1 training would help!
 

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I too would get him to a great one to one trainer asap. If you have a baby daughter she will soon be bringing home play mates, some of who will not be be dog savy at all. A dog who growls around kids would not be safe in that scenario at all.
 

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I agree with the the others you need a good positive reward based one to one trainer and you need to start listening to your dog and not putting him in positions where he is unhappy.

There is a whole loads of signs that dogs show before they reach growling and you say he has previously been wary so has presumably shown these signs but have continued to put him in the position, his barking at the children was a clear attempt by him to escalate his warning which was ignored, he then further escalated to growling which again one boy ignored and he escalated again to an air snap - all because he was put in a position he could not cope with and nobody listened to him saying he could not cope.

You need a trainer who will teach you to listen to him and respect his decisions but he may never be totally happy around children so you may need to keep him separate when you have visiting kids I am afraid.
 

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I so agree with what has already been posted.
Any dog will communicate how he is feeling in a range of ways - starting from literally glancing away and lip licking when he is in a situation he is not happy with - dogs are very good at body language and read each others and ours very well - we on the other hand, are pretty rubbish at it and need to learn.
My children have all grown up around dogs and with each child there has been at least one pup while they were around 2. For me this has worked well - but there were always clear rules and if a a dog growled at a child my first reaction would be to tell the child to back off and give the dog space, rather than telling the dog off. The dogs have always been good with the children and the most serious incident we have ever had was when my son and I were having a play 'bundle' and Inzi the collie (who was about 3 at the time and he was about 15 and much too big to be 'beating up' his mummy) got over excited and nipped his leg :p at least she was on my side!!
Young children can be very scary they are loud, move quickly and jerkily and tend to want to loom over dogs patting them on the top of their head - or want to hug them :eek:
My dogs have always been up to school for pick up starting from when they were tiny pups. I would always have a pocket full of treats and would have the dogs in a sit and treat them frequently as children pass. If a child wants to pat one of my dogs I always would step in front of the dogs and explain that they must ask me first. Then i would say that they may, but they can help me do some training first. Parents of children were also usually present, certainly the smaller children. I'd ask them to ask the dog to sit - (reinforcing if necessary until the dog was sitting. I'd then let the child hold a treat in closed fist under the dog's nose and open their hand so that the dog could take it gently from the palm of their hand rather than from finger tips. Then I would encourage the child to give them a little tickle on their chest - as they like being patted there.
Inzi went into play group with me (as did Sheba GSD, Puff JRT, and Hooch, rottie mutt before her) they also went into reception classes by invitation during 'pet week'. Kiki went as a tiny puppy.
Education is the way forward - children need to learn to behave around dogs just as much as dogs need to behave around kids.
If your dog is not happy at the school gate. Don't take him there - but also do not give up - get your children to interact with him carefully. If they have friends around put your dog away to begin with and always monitor any interaction, but I believe you can get over this if you help him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks guys, I hope it's something we can overcome as children are going to feature in his life whether he likes it or not!

I'd been cautious about taking him to the school because he obviously gets worried but thought exposure to the situation (and seeing that he'd come to no harm) might help him...clearly I need to help him too....thanks for the great suggestions Marzi
Finding a really good one to one trainer feels like an impossible task...there are so many useless ones out there...the one my vet recommended hated cockapoos and made no secret of it so I soon stopped going to her and tried to deal with the problem myself (badly as it's turned out!) :(
Thanks for all the replies...
 

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If you are in the UK and let me know where you are I can try to find someone to help as I have lots of training contacts.

I think it sometimes helps to think in terms of dog worries the same as our worries about spiders ( if you are worried about them). If I really did not like spiders and was put in a whole crowd of them coming close to me and even trying to touch me I might freak out slightly and hit out at them. Instead if I was allowed to be at a distance I could watch them and was fed chocolate buttons whilst I could see them - but put under no pressure to get closer I might start to feel I could get closer and in time (with lots of chocolate) I might start to feel generally better having them around me.
 

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thank you so much... i did some quick research this morning and messaged someone in Suffolk...I'll see how he sounds when he gets in touch! I kinda know a lot of the basics but putting them in to practice and being consistent and getting it right all the time is so hard!

feeling like a bit of a failure right now :pout:
 

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Don't feel a failure - you have a problem and are looking to put it right with some help that is all :)

There is a general belief that dogs growling is a bad thing - many more experienced dog people will tell you it is actually good as the dog is being clear about being unhappy with something and you can take steps to put things right:)

Hope things are soon looking better - feel free to share a photo so we can admire your boy ;)
 

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thank you so much... i did some quick research this morning and messaged someone in Suffolk...I'll see how he sounds when he gets in touch! I kinda know a lot of the basics but putting them in to practice and being consistent and getting it right all the time is so hard!

feeling like a bit of a failure right now :pout:
None of us get it right all of the time -and the best owners realize when they have got it wrong and then change things to make it better... I still think 'next time I get a puppy I will do things differently!' :rolleyes:;):p
 

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What a lovely looking boy you have and what a good poo mummy you are to be here actively looking for solutions to help him be more comfortable. :)
 
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