English Mastiff Growling at One Child

by Court

We have 2 English Mastiffs that are 13 months old. One male and one female. A few days ago the male, who typically is a happy-go-lucky dog with the female being more the alpha in the household, snapped at our 14 yr old daughter while she was petting him. Both dogs were lying in the floor resting while our 14 yr old and our 10 yr old were petting them with my husband sitting next to all of them on the couch. We cannot figure out why he snapped at her as she did nothing that we can determine would have startled, hurt, or been taken as threatening to him. Since that incident, she has approached him in the usual, unthreatening way twice to pet him and he has growled at her both times...which was confusing and unexpected because he was wagging his tail as if happy she was going to pet him. We just can't figure this out. Since then, we have had her give him commands and offer him treats as well as be the one to give him and put away his bones and toys. He responded normally to her in doing this, but he growled at her again tonight when she went to pet him. She is very loving to both dogs and has never been mean or aggressive to either dog. He has never displayed this type of behavior to any one, and is very affectionate and very easy-going at all times except in the situations mentioned above and only to the 14 yr old. We cannot identify what is happening in these instances as there is nothing that seems to be provoking his behavior. We chose this breed because of the temperament they are known to have. Regardless of his breed, he is the sweetest, most loving dog. He is not neutered at this time. We are wondering if this could have anything to do with this behavior. If you could offer any insight into why he is showing this behavior suddenly to just one child, it would be very much appreciated. Thank you!!

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Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

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