View Full Version : Unprovoked attack

4th November 2006, 07:43 PM
Charlie has gone for my daughter :( for absolutely no reason at all
He was sat really calmly on my knee with my neighbour sat next to me (who he loves) my daughter came over and tried to kiss him and he just growled, showed his teeth and bit her right in her face. He has never ever shown any signs of aggresion before and this has really shocked and upset me. I immediately smacked his nose and very firmly shouted "NO" "BAD BOY" and put him to his bed and have been ignoring him ever since.
I just can't understand why he's done this??

4th November 2006, 07:52 PM
This is a child management issue. NOT a dog punishment issue. Please read the child and dog section here:


Please especially read the diamondsintheruff links.

By growling he was warning that he did not want a child's face right in his. It was dangerous for the child to even be at face level with him like this as well. If the growling was ignored he felt he must now discipline this unruly 'pup' because no one else was. And so he bit. Most dogs HATE to be hugged or kissed -- this is a threatening posture to them and extremely dangerous to allow kids to do this to dogs. Small dogs in particular can feel threatened. In addition if the dog was on your lap and the child came that close the child was threatneing his territory and from his perspective, his position in defending the space around you.

There are so many misunderstandings about dogs and kids -- basically any child under 7 needs to be constantly supervised around ANY dog and when they are younger all interactions need to be mediated by an adult. The site below has some great suggestions for kids and adults on how kids and dogs can best mix together. :) And I'd bring Charlie out of the doghouse.

From diamondsintheruff:

In general, most dogs don't like hugs.

They can learn to tolerate them and even welcome them from people they know and trust - and many dogs learn to enjoy it so much they may elicit hugs from their owners. But this doesn't mean they will welcome the same from all family members and certainly not from total strangers - any more than you would want a stranger in an elevator to crowd you into a corner and get in your face.

Wrapping your arms around a dog's neck is dangerous, not only because it is usually viewed as an unwelcome and threatening behavior when it comes from a stranger, but because it puts your face right near the dog's pointy teeth! Another common and dangerous behavior of children: laying on a dog, gives the dog no avenue for escape - she's trapped by the scary thing.

"My daughter was just trying to hug the dog and it BIT her! It was totally unprovoked!" Perhaps from the child's point of view, but certainly not the dog's!

It's actually a tribute to dogs that they humor us and our erratic children - and that more of them don't use their teeth to ward away our rude human advances.

Parents should instill a "no hugging any dog" rule for their children. If you make sure the children respect all dogs' personal space, including their own family pet's, they will be less likely to be bitten as the dogs they interact with won't have to correct them.

A dog may be quite comfortable with the intimate advances of its own person, like this smooching cocker on the right. But the same dog might very well bite a stranger in the face for the same overly friendly behavior - to which some owners might exclaim, "He's never done that before! I kiss him all the time!"

For some reason we humans have a hard time remembering that even we have rules of intimacy, whom we allow to invade our personal space and when and how. We might slap someone for being too friendly. Why is it so difficult to imagine that our dogs would feel the same?

Most bites to children occur on the face, not because dogs fly off the ground and attack kid faces, but because kid faces are attached to hug monsters.

4th November 2006, 07:57 PM
He growled and then immediately bit, he didn't even give her chance to get away!
She has always cuddled and kissed him from day 1 and he has never objected to it, he has always seemed to like all the attention and fuss.
This just seems soooo out of character

4th November 2006, 08:03 PM
Is he poorly Estelle? They usually give a warning before they bite. Did he move at all as she approached?

It sounds to me like he was trying to defend you in some way. Obviously your daughter wasn't going to hurt you so please don't think I am implying that. Is it possible that he had drifted off to sleep and your daughter made him jump awake and startled him?

PLEASE bring Charlie off his bed. Beds should never be used as a punishment place anyway - far better to put the dog in another room for time out if necessary.

Is your daughter OK? I would watch them intently when together and never leave them alone together. If it is really out of character & he gave no warning before biting it makes me wonder if he is ill in some way.

:hug:'s to you all. This is so upsetting for all concerned. :hug:

4th November 2006, 08:11 PM
I just don't understand it :? he never gave any warning just all of a sudden growled and bit straight away. As to him being ill, he hasn't really been well since we got him!
He wasn't sleeping when my daughter came over either.
My daughters fine although a little shocked, we've told her to leave him be for a while and not to try to kiss him :(

4th November 2006, 08:22 PM
How old is your little girl? I hope it hasn't scared her too much. I didn't realise that Charlie was still poorly. Maybe you should take him back to the Vet's? It really does sound to me like the behaviour of a poorly dog to growl and then bite without giving the 'predator' chance to move away.

I really feel for you and am not really sure what the answer is. I mean, if your daughter had woken him or he had given her a chance in between growling & biting I could understand it. He's still only really a puppy too so it's not as if he's an older dog who is used to guarding things.

Does your daughter tease him with things at all? Could she have hurt him in the past when she hugged him? I wouldn't stop contact between them but it would be worth observing the way they react/interact with each other. It could be that he was scared your daughter was going to hurt him or move him & cause him discomfort. It just doesn't sound like very normal behaviour for a Cavalier that's all :(

I must agree with Karlin about most dogs hating to be hugged or kissed. Especially by small kids. as their movements are usually too quick for them :( I would also supervise their time together and never leave them alone together.

matties mum
4th November 2006, 08:43 PM
I remeber one day when I was a bit younger my mum had a dog she had gone to bed and was laying down when I went to sit down and he bit me I put it down to protection of my mum as he was on the bed ----Aileen

4th November 2006, 08:52 PM
how old is your daughter?

4th November 2006, 08:56 PM
The issue though is that as the trainer notes on the website, children should not hug and kiss dogs, ever. And as she notes, just because it has tolerated it for a long while doen;t mean it will continue to tolerate it or tolerate it from all people. They also do not tend to see children as adults to be obeyed but as annoying puppies, as the same trainer makes clear. Therefore kids need to understand appropriate behaviour and how to make sure they have the right relationship with the dog, and vice versa.

Small dogs in particular tend not to like being squeezed, hugged and kissed. hence it would be a good idea to change the way in which your dauughter and the dog interact so that she sits on the floor and he is not at face level to her (eg not on a lap or on a couch), no hugs or kisses, etc. This is not a criticism of either dog or child or parent, it is a common sense approach to allowing a small child near an animal that, as one trainer/author puts it, 'has a mouth full of the equivalent of carpet knives'. If she was not actually cut -- eg he didn't pierce her skin -- then he was still warning her, not actually biting. That is a warning snap and is the sign of a very annoyed dog making clear he doesn't really like this behaviour any longer. It would be a good idea therefore to assume he means it and to alter the interactions so that it can't be repeated as if a few warnings don't work, the situation can escalate. It is not bad behaviour from the dog. What is good is that npo one has been phsyically hurt, and everyone has realised things have changed, so now is a good time to learn more about dog/children interactions and modify them.

This is a really good site too:


I'd suggest ordering the book, but in the meantime, have a read thru the advice columns. You'll see very similar experiences to yours, and advice. The bite stories also give some guidance.

And check thru these resurces, such as how to read dog stress signals:


For example:


When is a child old enough to interact with or walk a dog without supervision? That’s a question many parents ask. Unfortunately there is no “one size fits all” rule. You are going to have to evaluate both your child and your dog to decide when the time is right.
DoggoneSafe.com suggests
• When the child can read the dog’s body language
• When the child and dog have a mutually respectful relationship
• When the dog will happily and willingly follow directions from the child
• If the dog has never shown any sign of aggression toward people or other dogs and does not chase cats or other animals
• When the child knows how to interpret situations and take appropriate action.
Most kids under 12 will not meet these criteria.

Everyone on this board should have a look at these:



4th November 2006, 09:02 PM
Hope your daughter is doing OK. I agree tho that dogs, especially smaller dogs, usually do not like to be hugged on or kissed on by children, and sometimes dogs just take it more as a threat and get defensive when someone comes at them that way, even if they have tolerated it for a while previously. Please go give Charlie a smooch and tell him he is an OK boy, he was just being a dog and doesn't know any better. I hate to say it....but small kids and dogs are not usually a good mix...please don't take offense, it is just my thoughts on it, and kids really don't mean no harm and they don't realize it either.

4th November 2006, 09:09 PM
From the advice columns at Livingwithkids:

Dear Colleen,

My daughter and her friend (both 10) were playing with our dog, Zorro, the other day. The girls were both petting and hugging him when, without warning, he bit my daughter on the nose! Nothing like this has ever happened before. How can I trust Zorro around kids again?

Debbie in Chicago

It sounds to me like your dog was a little overwhelmed. A common problem in kid-and-dog interactions is that the dog is telling the kids he’s uncomfortable, but since the kids don’t “speak dog,” they miss the warning signs. Very few dogs like to be hugged, and being hugged by two affectionate girls may have been too much for your dog.

Carefully supervise when Zorro is around kids, even when it’s just your own kids. Look for signs of stress, such as yawning, turning away, licking his lips, or panting. When you see any of those signs, separate the kids and dog for a while. Later watch to see if Zorro seeks them out again. The best family dogs really enjoy kids, but all dogs will have moments when they are uncomfortable. With a little space and downtime, many dogs will be eager to rejoin the activity.

Never punish a dog for giving warning signals, such as snarls, growls, or even snaps. Warnings are valuable information! Parents must immediately intervene and take steps to prevent similar scenarios from occurring (such as allowing a dog to feel smothered by well-intentioned hugs).

If you see many stress signals or early-warning signs, I strongly suggest you have a dog trainer provide some personalized advice. Check out the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (www.ccpdt.org) to find a trainer in your area.

4th November 2006, 09:23 PM
That's an excellent site Karlin. Thanks for the link I am going to send it to some of my friends who have kids and dogs.

4th November 2006, 09:46 PM
Thanks everyone, :flwr: I'll have to keep an eye on things from now on, ;)
Does this mean that i'll have to stop cuddling/kissing him as much too?
BTW my daughters almost 7

4th November 2006, 10:38 PM
Sorry but I disagree with Karlin over this I own four cavaliers now and have a 7 year old girl and a3 year old boy and have never stopped them loving and kissing our cavaliers in one sense tell me how you stop a child hugging a dog that they class as there baby i do agree with the method you used not every thing in books works and is also not 100% reliable. I do belive the dog should be told off and put in its bed for something like this and I think you acted appropiatly in this case. Also i hve had cavaliers for a lot of years and never had this problem with any of mine.

4th November 2006, 10:48 PM
With cavs I think it is a dog by dog basis on how they handle children. Spencer loves everyone man woman or child.

Izzy, however likes adults ok after she warms up to them. She LOVES babies. I have an 8 mo. old cousin and Izzy will stand guard over her and just protect her. She doesn't want to lick on her or anything, she just wants to make sure that she is ok. Kids, on the other hand, Izzy HATES! :( She growls and barks at every child that she sees. I caught my other little cousin who is 7 being mean to Izzy when she was still a little pup. Morgan was hitting Izzy in the face with her ponytail and aggrivating her to the point where Iz was growling at her. I have never heard a 3 month old puppy growl at anyone! :yikes So I completely blame my cousin for Izzy detesting kids.

Isn't it funny how dogs are so smart that they can tell the difference between a baby and a child? So funny...

As for Izzy being around kids, I have none of my own yet (thank God!) and she just doesn't get to go out as much with us as Spencer does because I can't trust her :(

4th November 2006, 11:03 PM
Heather, then you are risking serious bites and please be aware that you are in disagreement with the vast majority of professional trainers and behaviouralists and ignoring the statistics that most dog bites happen to children -- 60% of all bites are to kids under 12 -- by a dog known to the family, and the worst bites are to the face -- suggesting the face is close enough to the dog for the dog to have reacted very quickly, suggesting hugs are probably the key cause of children suffering serious bites from family dogs. Dogs generally do NOT like hugging though they will tolerate it -- just look at a dog when it is being hugged; it will almost inevitably be licking its lips, leaning away, looking away.

in one sense tell me how you stop a child hugging a dog that they class as there baby

This perspective does worry me -- you, as a parent have control over children of this age. Thay are not free agents roaming unsupervised through the house, are they? Children this young should never have free access to a dog, especially a 3 year old, for the sake of both dog and children. Crates, Xpens and babygates should be your basic tools in child and dog management and are generally inexpensive as well. Please read what the professionals say and I hope you will reconsider letting kids ahve this kind of access to your cavaliers and vice versa. A child is definitely risking serious harm if an adult allows the child to treat a dog as 'its baby' and do what it wants to a dog. Surely you wouldn't allow the three year old to turn on ovens because cooking looks like fun, or go for unsupervised walks outside because big cars look like giant toys, or play with knives? Neither should children ever have free access to a dog -- and a dog is NOT a toy for young children. It is a living thing that a child can seriously harm.

It is of course the individual's choice and we all have our risk levels but to me, a child scarred for life could never be worth making assumptions that any dog will always or ever be happy with a child in its face. I do not know a single breeder experienced with cavaliers who would EVER suggest allowing small children to hug and squeeze a cavalier (or any dog) and indeed many will not even home a cavalier to families with kids younger than 7. Such an attitude also puts the dog at risk because if you have to take a child to hospital with a serious bite the hospital is required to report the incident to animal control which means the dog is likely to be put down as a result. Why risk both kids and dogs?!

Dog bite statistics in case people are unpersuaded as to the level of potential risk for children. These are US statistics:


Dog bites are very serious and most can be avoided with proper supervision and management. Being around a dog is nowhere near the most dangerous aspect of your children’s lives.
• Every year, 4.7 million people are bitten by a dog.
• 60% of these bites are to children 12 and under
• Boys receive twice as many bites as girls.
• Boys between 5 and 9 are in the highest risk group
• 61% of dog bites happen in familiar settings—at home or a friend or relative’s house
• 800,000 people (both children and adults) seek medical attention each year for dog-bite injuries.
• Each year approximately 10-20 people die from dog bites; the majority are children.
Scary stuff, huh? Here’s how dog bites compare to other dangers our children face:
• Approximately 3.5 million children 14 and under get hurt each year playing sports
• Sports-related injuries result in more than 775,000 children being treated in hospital emergency rooms each year
• Sports and other recreational activities account for 21% of traumatic brain injuries in U.S. kids
• Children between 5 and 14 account for 40% of all sports-related injuries.
• Every year, 900,000 to 1 million U.S. children experience nonfatal child maltreatment.
• Homicide is the fourth leading cause of death for U.S. children between 1 and 9 years of age and the fifth leading cause of death for kids between 10 and 14
• In 2003, motor vehicle crashes resulted in an average of 4 deaths and 602 injuries each day (NHTSA 2004a).
• In 2002, 130 children between 1-14 died from bike accidents, 419 died from firearms, 904 died from drowning, and 1,214 died from suffocation
We need to be concerned about safety in all environments and take steps to keep our children safe from the many dangers they face. (Statistics from Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and 1998 National SAFE KIDS Campaign.)

4th November 2006, 11:23 PM
If this is a one off, then I wouldn't get too stressed- isn't your pup still pretty young? Do as Karlin says, monitor the situation carefully, work on improving the pup's health (how much training have you been able to do?), and make sure your daughter understands that getting too close (especially to a pup) too quickly is not a good idea.

When Holly was about four months old, she bit my brother on the nose. It was provoked- he was teasing her, and encouraging her to lick him on the nose. Being a pup, the lick evolved into a bite... My mother nearly had a fit, but honestly, my brother's an adult. He was an idiot for holding a small, teething puppy in that position in the first place! Holly never even snaps now, and is the gentlest dog imaginable. Being ill, the pup probably felt threatened and crowded... Don't punish him after the fact, especially if he is sick.

5th November 2006, 01:15 AM
....Dogs generally do NOT like hugging though they will tolerate it -- just look at a dog when it is being hugged; it will almost inevitably be licking its lips, leaning away, looking away.

In Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash, she has photos showing dogs appearing tense or stiff or unhappy while being hugged by humans. I'd always known that some dogs don't like to be held, picked up or hugged, but until i got that book, i didn't realize it was true of dogs in general. After all, i had grown up watching Lassie and Rin Tin Tin on TV every week, and both those dogs got hugs around their necks in every episode and appeared happy as could be.

I didn't realize it was generally true of dogs. Both Zack and Belle enjoy being hugged, just in the sense that they will crawl up into your lap, nuzzle close to your body and try to get into your arms, and if you hug them, they nuzzle close and lick your face and have doggie smiling faces on. In McConnell's photos, the dogs look as if they are tolerating the human behavior (the hugging), just putting up with it, but not enjoying it. It seems like Belle and Zack are exceptions to the generalization. My Frank was affectionate too in this particular way, she looked happy when held in my arms and would seek this kind of touching.

After i read that part of McConnell's book, i was particularly observant about it because i hadn't been paying attention and didn't want to do it if Zack didn't like it, so i was observing with an expectation of seeing him seem like he was just tolerating being hugged, but i found that he leans toward me and nuzzles his head against me and makes his happy face and tries to lick.

it's not that he always feels like being hugged, but he often does. Sometimes like if he's more interested jumping toward the cat, or if he thinks there's a squirrel outside, he will let me know he doesn't want to be hugged, and i would never force him, before reading McConnell. But now, i pay more attention to signs of whether he wants to do it or not.

throughout my life, i've experienced many dogs who didn't like being held and many dogs who snap at kids. It always seems to happen without warning, so it would be wise to be anticipating the possibility at all times.

When i was 9 i got my first dog and my parents sent me and the dog to the dog obedience classes at the park. I would think this would help a dog to see a kid not as a puppy but as an adult meriting respect.

little kids need to be taught to move slowly when thinking of petting a dog. Unpredictable biting by pet dogs is all too common.

When i read this post, the first thing i thought of was the dog being ill because just the other day, i was reading about some serious dog illness on the web and it said one of the first signs of the illness is aggression/hostility in a dog who never showed that behavior before. I don't remember what the illness was though, :sl*p:

5th November 2006, 08:20 AM
i also forgot to mention that Belle not only likes to be hugged but will also give hugs herself. i've heard that other cavaliers do this too. Zack doesn't do it, not like what belle does, she puts her little front legs around your neck and puts her head on your shoulder and snuggles close to you, it feels the way it feels when a baby does that with their little arms, it's so sweet. That was how i met Belle and was introduced to cavaliers--Lisa brought her to my place and as she walked across the threshold, she was carrying belle and she put her in my arms, and belle hugged me like that. I never knew a dog that did that before.

5th November 2006, 09:08 AM

I think a dog in pain will turn on most things if it is a worry to that dog....

I have a friend with a cavalier, a post SM op Cavalier. When outside the home walking she is fine with other dogs, she is very sociable when on a lead etc...however...everytime I have visited with my dogs to her home this dog has attacted my dogs! and I mean not just the once but more than once on each visit...even when she visited my own home this dog went for my dogs....and not just on ground level, she jumps up and attacks if you have a dog on your lap..I have run out of ideas to what can be the matter and would welcome input from trainers on the list

....I thought she could be socialised more with other dogs but that idea fell on deaf ears...she put her into a private training classes where as a mixed class would have been best, she doesn't feel large dogs would be of any benifit.
Obedience would be good for her as she hardly ever comes to a recall, she just legs it away when not on a lead! .... :shock:

this behaviour was also there pre-surgery....could it be a behaviour problem?

Anyway...the attack is fast, always pinning them down at the neck followed by times of growling and holding, a previous trainer told my friend to totally ignore the behaviour!!!! I mean come on folks, what do you do when your dog is in that situation...I would have thought that the last thing would be to ignore it..isn't that like saying it's OK to behave like that?

I have wondered if this dog is in some pain, hiding under the table and avoiding things...perhaps my QUIET visiting dogs upset her peace, they surely don't bound around her, I only ever visit with just the one at a time...this dog has also recently started to growl at a visiting baby which is now starting to walk nearby...a great worry if that baby was mine...because of this happeneing the dog now gets removed from the area where the child is and put out of sight? again advice from the same trainer.

I really would value any input, until this can be sorted I really wouldn't want my dogs to visit again, which is a shame because I know my dogs to be the only ones that do or have ever visited.

Can I have some good advice/help please...it would be very much valued by us both...

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

5th November 2006, 01:44 PM
Sounds to me like she is defending her territory. Also dogs that are not regularly around kids can have big problems with kids -- or just in particular situations. A baby in particular is a strange thing to many dogs, makes strange noises and is very unpredictable and small.

I think this situation really requires a professional trainer for evaluation and advice. I know Tara and Lisa are really busy at the moment but they might have time to respond to this thread later in the week.

I would sure not find it acceptable to allow another dog to growl and pin other visiting dogs. But I would agree that the dog should be kept away (crated, penned, placed in a room) when a baby visits if these are one-off visits. It sounds very stressful to the dog to have a baby around.

Re pain: Pain is a possible reason for a dog to snap but it is not the most frequent reason. The most frequent reason is simply that the dog is uncomfortable with something happening around or to it, and people do not notice or know how to read the dog's stress signals. Given that children are bitten far more than adults, but adults certainly spend far more time with dogs, it is pretty safe to say that kids' very behaviour is more likely to induce bites because kids do things dogs don't like.

5th November 2006, 02:55 PM

My two like a cuddle as well. Maxx sulks all day if I don't sit at the top of the stairs with him in the morning and give him a cuddle :lol: He cuddles right into me, moans and groans with pleasure as I am rubbing the inside of his cheeks and kisses me all over my nose :lol:

Charlie also gets up on our laps and puts his paws round our necks and then smothers us in kisses. He's taken a particular fancy to my friend's 8 yr old son and every time Oliver visits Charlie follows him around until he sits down then jumps on his lap and goes to sleep!

Maxx on the other hand isn't keen on kids at all. He has never growled or shown any signs of aggression but would rather stay away from them. I always tell kids to leave him alone once they have greeted each other and if they won't leave him on his bed I put him upstairs in my bedroom.

Alison, I do wonder whether that person actually follows up any training with the dog. I was there that day the dog went a bit potty & had a lunge and went for one of yours in the garden if you remember and she just stood there and did nothing. It was definitely unprovoked and came from nowhere. The dog showed no signs it was going to attack, it just did.

Your dogs are so passive too, they have always welcomed other dogs into the home and are wonderful visitors as well. I've never had a problem with any of them - except that you won't let me keep Whitney ;)

Look how good they all were with Baby Billy the other day. The only chastisement of him came from Maxx when Billy pulled his ears & then it was just a little warning followed by a nuzzle and lots of licks from him!

5th November 2006, 03:10 PM
I did think myself that she had a much bigger problem which should be seen by someone with more knowledge...that didn't go down very well at all when I tried to gently mention it, after all her cousin IS the dog trainer, who runs the classes and has her own club... EEks!... icon_whistling
I will not visit again because of this, the last time I went with gentle, soppy Whitney the dog went for her as well :( :( :(

The baby now just 1yr WILL be visiting more often, and sometimes left to be minded/babysitting etc...(a new family member)

It's such a shame,

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

5th November 2006, 03:22 PM
:yikes :yikes :yikes I'm sorry but I wouldn't let any child anywhere near that dog.

Poor little Whitney, I'll bet she was terrified :( she's such a little love bug. I can't imagine her having a cross word with anyone - dog or human. It makes me laugh the way her and Maxx greet each other. All waggy tails and kisses - I swear if they hadn't both been fixed we'd be grannies by now :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

5th November 2006, 07:00 PM
:yikes :yikes :yikes I'm sorry but I wouldn't let any child anywhere near that dog.

Poor little Whitney, I'll bet she was terrified :( she's such a little love bug. I can't imagine her having a cross word with anyone - dog or human. It makes me laugh the way her and Maxx greet each other. All waggy tails and kisses - I swear if they hadn't both been fixed we'd be grannies by now :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I bet you woud too judging from the pics you have from Whits on her holidays! Watch out Alison - Donna may gets maxx's snip reversed! :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin: :badgrin:

6th November 2006, 04:28 PM
One thing about cavaliers that hug -- :) -- Jaspar is one of these. Some seem to have an actual genetic element that makes them like doing this. A breeder once said some have the hugging gene, some the licking gene. Jaspar hugs and likes just a few licks. Leo and Lily don't hug but will lick your face off. :lol:

The key thing though is that in these cases, the DOG initiates the interaction. That indicates the dog is comfortable with this. I'd also feel comfortable with a dog that comes over and licks the face of a child it *knows well*. I would not feel comfortable at any time with a child giving hugs to a dog, especially a dog it doesn't know. Or approaching a small dog on a lap, as this is the classic position from which a dog potentially will get defensive -- even with people it knows.


6th November 2006, 05:32 PM
One thing about cavaliers that hug -- :) -- Jaspar is one of these. Some seem to have an actual genetic element that makes them like doing this. A breeder once said some have the hugging gene, some the licking gene. Jaspar hugs and likes just a few licks. Leo and Lily don't hug but will lick your face off. :lol:

I think my two must have both genes, they are both serious huggers and lickers! ( lovely except when you know what they have been licking 5 mins beforehand :grnyuk: )

6th November 2006, 08:35 PM
Chloe's a licker once she gets down to it- ie, when she's still enough to bother with it! Holly is a chronic licker, and a shoulder snuggler when she thinks something nasty is gonna happen- like going to bed :badgrin: :badgrin:

6th November 2006, 10:29 PM
I love their licky kisses except for when Charlie has been eating his Butchers Tripe :yuk:

7th November 2006, 12:05 AM
How about after he's been eating a bully stick donna? That one post ruined me.. .. :grnyuk:

7th November 2006, 07:09 AM

I think a few of us had a re-think after that one! :yuk: :lol:

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

7th November 2006, 06:07 PM
I agree with Karlin about how interaction between kids and dogs needs to be carefully supervised. Children AND adults need to learn how to understand the messages dogs communicate.

Willow, our mill rescue, does NOT like anything over her head. When she first came to us, she allowed us to carry her, though she didnt much like it. She told me so by stiffening her whole body when she was picked up. She went stiff as a board; her muscles would get tense under my hands. If you went to cuddle her if she was sitting in your lap, she would get up and move so that she was no longer beneath you. She did not want anything over her head.

While Willow's behavior has relaxed as she becomes more comfortable, and her reactions can be attributed to her previous life, it does remind me that all dogs have to LEARN behaviors such as hugging (human style). As pups, they are hugged and find that people like hugs. Hugs are often accompanied with pleasurable things, like petting and treats. So from early on, the dog learns that the human-hugs lead to things dogs like.

This training only works if the hugs DO lead to positive things. Hugs from kids aren't always positive. Sometimes they can be painful, and they can be offensive if the dog has not learned the child outranks it within the family. The hug goes against the general nature of the dog, so combine that resistance to the above issues, and kids and dogs have problems.

The dog might not like the adult hugging it either, but puts up with it because the adult outranks the dog. The dog might even LIKE human-hugs with adults because the positive rewards come from the adults (the petting, the treats, etc.) Often, kids dash in, squeeze-hug the dog, and jet off, as is the nature of a child's attention and interest. These experiences are not the warm, comforting experiences a dog gets from sitting on an adults lap for a long time, being petted a coddled.

If a dog snaps quickly after growling, it has already probably learned that other messages are not heard. If the child has access to the dog unsupervised, how can you know how many times the dog has growled at the child and the child ignored it? If a growl is constantly ignored, the dog will try another message. Just like a parent says no calmly, but then raises his/her voice when the child continues misbehaving. For a dog, a snap is another warning sign (raised voice). Snaps get a lot of reaction. They are heard by people.

What an owner may consider a punishment for the dog--separating the dog from everyone-- could really be a blessing for the dog-- i.e. "Thank goodness mom got the girl away from me! She finally heard me!" Such a reaction will actually lead to more snapping, as the dog learns that snapping or biting is the message that gets the desired response. The dogs perspective can be quite different from ours.

Hopefully, once an owner realizes that the dog isnt being heard, the owner can step in and keep the dog from feeling threatened. Teaching adults and children to recognize the different messages, like growling, are serious messages will keep the dog from having to raise the level of its message.

9th November 2006, 03:31 PM
Estelle - I thought Charlie was all better now, what is still ailing him, what did the vet say......