AdministratorOctober 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm988
Sounds like you are on the right track. Ruling out anything health wise is definitely worth looking into. We put the dogs here on Life’s Abundance (good protein source for the brain and less ammonia by-products from poor protein which is not good for the brain) and we also may use a good fish oil supplement if the dog seems to have poor impulse control. We base this on an Italian study where they found aggressive German Shepherds to have a lower level of fatty acids in their system than the calmer German Shepherds. I will try to find the link if I can, but anything helps. I swear I have seen some big differences in some of our cases from using the supplementation.
I have found that correcting the dog after the fact rarely does anything to prevent it in the future unless you are slick enough to correct instantly (as you did). After that the dog will not make the association. Corrections come in many forms, but the best is quick, effective, and doesn’t trigger the dog to think she is now in a fight for her life with you. Also, no grudges. That being said, I would never correct a dog for growling at a child as this is what you would want instead of the bite. This would fairly communicate they do not want to bite and would also give you a chance to guide the dog and the child.
We do a command here called “easy” which is mainly reserved for personal protection dogs. It means DO NOT BITE. It works best when you recognize that the dog is about to be in a position where it may bite and you are prepared to correct the dog if it does. But, you have to tell the dog “easy” BEFORE the dog bites to tap into the dogs brain and remind them to restrain themselves. For instance, your child approaches and you realize the dog is in a similar position that caused her to bite in the past. You say “easy” to remind her to NOT BITE and if she doesn’t bite you would praise her. If she tries to bite she is corrected. To teach this and the proper correction is more complex than preventing it, but does give me an idea to add the exercise to the website for near future (I will put it on the agenda). We consider it advanced training.