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I just adopted a six month old terrier mix last month. He isn't my first dog, by the way, I have had probably a dozen since childhood.

Anyway, I've been trying to socialize him and I've been working on his relationship with my husband and my son. I've been taking him on walks, which is hard because he lunges and snaps and barks at everything that moves. He also chases after cats.

For the first three weeks, all was great at home. My son and I shared the doggy duties (feeding, treats, playtime, walks, training) while my husband was at work. Two days ago, however, he tried to bite my son while my son was giving him treats. He just lunged at his face and bit; lucky my son moved away very quickly. He didn't show any stressful signals or body posture, no growl, etc. A few hours later, he did it again. My son is eight and a great kid. I'm a housewife and I have eyes like a hawk so I would know if he ever did anything to my dog, plus they're never left together alone.

Now my dog has taken to growling, barking, and/or adopting an aggressive pose (teeth bared, stare, etc) whenever my son walks into the room and tries to lunge at him. I've tried distracting him by having my son throw treats, throwing treats myself, pet names, etc. It works SOME of the time. Other times I have to pick my dog up and just leave the room for a bit.

I'm really lost right now and I'm not sure what to do to fix this. I don't want to do any dominance-based training because I think that will do more harm than good. What positive approach should I take to get my dog to like/trust my son more? He's going to start sessions with a trainer/animal behaviorist in a couple of weeks but until then, what precautions should I take?

Thanks so much in advance!
Comments  
Hi, I know you don't want to use the dominance based training but sometimes reward based training just isn't enough. Its great that he will be seeing a behaviorist in the near future. For your sons safety you probably want to keep them separated until you see the behaviorist. Do not pick the dog up when your son walks into the room, that is the worst thing you can do! Put a lead on the dog and walk him out. To many people pick there small dogs up when they show aggression but this will feul his aggression. Don't let him on the sofa or in the bedrooms. He obviously rules the house and you!

Reward based training works great for training, but your dog needs rehabilitating so don't rule out the pack theory all together. Also, make sure you find a good behaviorist. I've known many people that have paid lots of money to be told what they already know and haven't actually dealt with the issue. Good luck!

Having the same issue with my newly adopted 8 month old puppy. She likes everyone but my 16 yr old son. She literally hates him. Alarm barks, growls, runs away, and even pees on the floor. He is the only person in our house that yells at her and is not nice to her. I honestly think at some point he has done something violent to her that has caused this. Animals can sense when people don't have good intentions. No offense here but is it POSSIBLE that your son is mean to the dog or at some point has reacted to being growled at. Try having him sit on the floor and let the dog crawl around him and be in control. Once she/he seems calm let him pet the dog and offer a treat. That helps my puppy trust him a bit more but it goes back to square one the minute he reacts to her barking. Even yelling shut up at her makes it worse. 4 kids and she loves them all BUT him