My Dog Growls At My Child – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ

My Dog Growls At My Child – Phoenix Scottsdale AZ Dog Training – Dog Trainer – Behaviorist

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Sam Basso
PHOENIX , AZ AREA: (602) 708-4531
OR, if you are out of this area, inquire about a telephone or e-Lesson
Email: [email protected]

[PLEASE READ: Euthanasia Criteria ]


I have a 6 year old dog that is a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix. I got him when he was 4 months old and flew him from into the States to live with me and my family. He’s my 14-year-old dog’s son. When we got him as a 4-month old puppy, my daughter was 2 and she used to be very scared of dogs, soon after she hated the dog and every time the dog came nicely to say hi she kicked him, pushed him or yelled at him to stay away. When the dog was about 2 years old, and my daughter finally tried to pet him he snapped at her fingers. What happened afterwards, and every time it happens, is awful, my daughter/kid crying, my husband yelling and pinning down the dog correcting him, I am nervous trying to asses the damage, I yell at the dog too. In our minds we think if the dog knows what he did is wrong he won’t do it again, but I know it must not be the right way to handle it. Since then the dog snaps at any kid who tries to pet him, now including my youngest daughter who is 2. Of course I kennel the dog and advice kids not to get close to the kennel, just to leave the dog in the kennel and in the room alone, but my husband hates the wailing of the dog in the kennel and releases him, at times he seems to behave well until a kid pets him. In one occasion the dog was under my bed and I was working in that room, I had the doors closed, my oldest daughter and a friend kept coming in and out the room, I was telling them not to do that because of the dog, they left the door opened the friend run into my room and the dog came under the bed, run to her and bit her leg. He made two marks from the snap. With my girls, if the dog is not petted by my girls, he is not aggressive, he is just there sleeping, walking by or lying down relaxed, not fixated on the girls at all. He has bitten my husbands pants when he is tickling us and we laugh and yell like he is trying to defend us. He does get too excited when people come in the house but doesn’t bite visitors, he barks like a maniac when he sees at the window dogs passing by our sidewalk. In the leash walking in the street he rarely barks at dogs. I am telling you all this story because I don’t know if I should put the dog down because he has bitten my daughters and other kids. I want to think there is a solution still because we love him. Some problems that might have trigger this could have been the stress of the long trip back in a kennel and then my daughter disliking him. The dog is like my shadow, and that could be another problem, he prefers my company over anything, if I am not around he goes to sleep away from the family, by the window waiting for me. I get the feeling that if the dog goes to live with someone else he will die of sadness. Should I still try to find a behavior specialist where I live? I read in your euthanasia article in bold and capital letters that you would put down a dog that bites kids, specially kids at home. I tried to contact a behavior specialist about 6 months ago recommended by my vet, but never got a call back. I don’t know anybody else in the area, but I can keep insisting for a call back. Just based on this latter statement and knowing the type of attacks he does, would you put him down. Thank you so much for your attention. I value your opinion.

Dear _____

What your family has done is abuse a helpless small dog. Your corrections are continuing abuse. Yes you need to find a behaviorist. And you need to stop all of this rough stuff. No one that loves dogs would be as rough on this dog as your family has been. I would not recommend getting another dog if you do not change how you treat dogs. If you do not hire a professional then find a home for this dog were they will treat it kindly.


Dear Sam,

Thank you for your honest answer. Unbelievably after reading what you said, I am so happy, because I didn’t find any sign of you saying that we should put the dog down.

Please rest assured that we haven’t hurt the dog. When my daughter was 2 and kicked the dog away from her, she kicked her legs under the comforter, when she came over to our bed to lie down in the mornings and the dog came on the bed to say hi. Every time she did that we corrected her and she went to time out until she stopped doing that. Remember she was 2 years old, she didn’t hurt the dog but I know it affected his behavior later on. Now she is 7, since she was a 2 year-old toddler she has never hurt to the dog in any way, she doesn’t pet him because he will bite her but she feeds him and walks him on a leash.

The pinning down is what we learned form Cesar Millan’s show, to make the dog lying on the side for submission until he calms down and relaxes. But the yelling as a reaction to him biting a kid, we need to change. I will keep trying to contact the behavior lady or go to the humane society to find someone else. Now I have so much hope.

Thank you so much for your input, I really value what you have said. I can tell you are a great specialist. Thank you also for your quick response, I felt that my case was important to you.

Sam Basso is a professional dog trainer and behaviorist, in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale metropolitan area. He’s known for being fun, kind, intelligent, and humane. Sam Basso has a unique personal touch. He has appeared on his own TV show, been a guest radio expert, gives seminars, publishes a dog related blog, does rescue volunteering, and is active in promoting animal welfare and fair dog laws.

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