Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Albuquerque, NM
I think that keeping the dog and the child separated until a trainer can evaluate is a good thing. This is a behavior that should be taken extremely seriously and you don't want to risk anything happening that might inadvertently reinforce the growling. I'm not even sure I'd recommend tethering the dog to you in this case (instead, use baby gates or something to keep them separated--just make sure the dog gets plenty of attention too!), because a 5-year-old is going to approach his parents (and should be able to), and tethering might encourage the dog to resource guard you.
That said, I'm not sure I agree with those who think the dog should be given up no matter what. There are too many factors here for me to feel comfortably saying that without seeing the situation. I know many people here will disagree, but I think that if every dog who ever growled a warning at a child was rehomed, we would either have a much bigger dog overpopulation problem or a lot fewer dogs due to euthanasia.
It should absolutely be taken seriously and professional help should be gotten ASAP. If allowed to escalate, this can very quickly turn into a dangerous situation--and at the very least, it really isn't fair for your son to have to be afraid of the dog he lives with!
edit: I also want to add that I would never blame someone for rehoming a dog that growled at a child, either. I think everyone just has to evaluate their own situation and comfort level. I personally never allow young children around animals unsupervised (taught literally 100s of 5-10 year old kids how to ride horses and work with dogs, and I simply don't believe that they have the judgment or coordination to be trusted around animals without an adult closely watching--it's not fair to the child or the dog IMO), so for me some resource guarding in a very specific situation that I could avoid with management/training/supervision wouldn't necessarily be a dealbreaker. But, I do not at all judge those who feel differently, or who don't want to feel like they have to manage all the time.
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
Last edited by RowdyDogs; 12-25-2012 at 01:03 PM.