Sometimes being a trainer is no fun at all. A very nice young woman approached me recently and asked for some help with her young Lab mix (if I had to guess LabxHusky). Just said she wanted him to be trained to be more obedient.
So today was his first day of daycare and train. He’s a big dog and he came in with over the top frenetic energy. I put him outside to hang around in the pen hoping a little outdoor time might calm him a bit.
When he came back in (LOTS of treats!) he went right into his crate (more treats!). I reached into the crate to remove his lead (all new dogs go out trailing a lead until I am confident they will be ok).
As I put my hands on his collar he drew back and growled and I pulled my hand back and closed the door. I had no doubt he would have bitten me if I persisted.
So here’s a puzzle-no mention of any aggressive issues but it was definitely a growl.
As the day went on I had him out many times and eventually he trusted me enough to go outside and to kennel up when I asked him to.
When his mom came for him I reported his behavior and she seemed unsurprised about the growl. In fact she said that he had growled a the vet and at her children.
I was going to be the definitive evaluator as to his safety in her home. Although I was not happy about her not reporting the previous growls I did understand it was her way of not prejudicing my call.
So, not all dogs consider using their teeth. My breed, Golden Retrievers, understand their teeth are meant for eating and chewing on fun things, preferably yucky fun things. It woud be very hard to get a Golden to bite.
This dog was not against biting if he had to. Thankfully he had a growl as a warning sign so I could back off. Small children in the home, not so much. So I had to tell the mom this was not the dog for her. He could be a very nice dog for a home with no children. Especially a home with owners who would train him and exercise him. Nothing I could do was going to make him safe in her home and in fact if he did bite one of her kids his chance for placement would be gone.
She was disappointed but not surprised. I asked her to let me know what happened to him and she said she would. I am sorry I could not have helped more but secure that my feedback had perhaps saved his life.