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After analyzing the situation, create a plan to help your dog overcome her issue.Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional trainer or canine behaviorist that specializes in using positive reinforcement methods.I think part of her fear came from an encounter we had with some very pushy and aggressive little girls that approached us in the park during her socialization period.Not long after that incident, she would sometimes emit a low, quiet growl when kids would approach her.If your dog is growling at you or is being possessive of food or toys, don’t make the assumption that she’s being dominant or defiant.Confronting her or reacting back with an aggressive attitude will likely escalate her reaction and diminish trust.The concept of counterconditioning is simple to understand in theory, but it’s a slow process that requires you to be able to closely analyze your dog’s behavior and body language.For that reason, it’s best to consult with a professional trainer or canine behaviorist first.

This usually works pretty well and her demeanor changes as if she’s thinking “Okay, you can take care of this one if they come busting through the door”.It’s not a good feeling to have a dog that growls at kids.I wanted Haley to feel comfortable around children and I wanted to be able to take her anywhere without worrying about how she might react to people. My first job was to protect her (and of course, the kids) while we began the counterconditioning process.For a lot of dogs, a growl is the last warning sign before they could be provoked to bite or attack, especially if they feel cornered and can’t retreat.It’s a vocal warning, a so to speak, so the last thing you want to do is correct a dog for growling and possibly silence their early warning system.We slowly decreased the distance to the children and increased the level of interaction but only within Haley’s comfort zone and while ensuring the safety of the kids.

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