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Okay I am way to shocked here. Vanilla is 19 months and has never ever layed a tooth on my 2 girls 5 and a 8 year old.
They were in the family room and I was in the basement doing laundry. They picked her up and put her on the couch. They had the camera on video mode and I saw the whole thing on camera. (They were trying to video tape her) Every time they touched her cheek she would snap but NOT bite. Then my younger daughter did the same thing caress her cheek and then snap. Then when my older daughter caressed the side of her face again she bit her finger and I saw tooth marks on her finger with NO blood. Was she just protecting herself? Were the kids just bothering her? Or am I in trouble with this behaviour?
 

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This is why we try to stress over and over again that young children should never be left unsupervised with Maltese and other toy breed dogs.

From Vanilla's point of view, first she was picked up and put on the couch which made it impossible for her to run away, then repeatedly had her cheek touched. It sounds like the first snaps were a warning, but when the teasing continued, she bit your daughter.

This is very serious behavior. I would suggest consulting with an animal behaviorist asap. The whole family needs to be involved as this behavior cannot be allowed to happen ever again. Next time it could be your daughter's face.
 

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YES THE KIDS WERE BOTHERING HER !!! She warned them many times by snaping and not biting. That's why kids should never be left with dogs unsupervised. This is why some breeders and rescue groups don't want to give dogs to families with small children. My grand kids know that if their dog or my dog starts growling or showing teeth it's time to leave them alone.
 

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I'm glad your daughters are both okay and that no one was seriously injured.

I agree with Marj in that Vanilla probably perceived the entire thing as teasing and was trying to tell them to quit. She probably didn't like them putting their hands near her face repeatedly.

Even though Vanilla didn't draw blood, I would take it very seriously as it could be the start of a larger issue. Consulting with an animal behaviorist would probably be best, but you may also be able to pick up a few books on agression/reactive behaviors/etc.

JMM can probably give you excellent guidance here, and you may even want to share the video with her or on SM for more help so people can see exactly what happened.
 

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Unfortunately this is why many dogs (maltese) end up in animal controls or worse. AMA will not adopt to a family with children younger then 8. I agree with the ladies stating that a small dog like a Maltese should not be handled by children without supervision of an adult.
I have grandchildren and they have learned from a young age not to touch or play with my Maltese. When I am in the room and they are sitting down, I permit the dogs on their laps for petting only.
Please make sure your children understand that their teasing brought this on and that further contact other then in your presence is not allowed.
JMO
 

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Thanks for the quick responses. After viewing the video once again she snapped at them twice . the third time she bit her finger. I think that having her on the couch where she does not know how to jump off to get away made her feel more uncomfortable. She has never done this but again if she were on the ground she would of just ran off and her being on the couch is a different story.
 

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Thanks for the quick responses. After viewing the video once again she snapped at them twice . the third time she bit her finger. I think that having her on the couch where she does not know how to jump off to get away made her feel more uncomfortable. She has never done this but again if she were on the ground she would of just ran off and her being on the couch is a different story.

:( If she can't jump off the couch she must have certainly felt trapped. I bet your daughter will have learned her lesson not to bother the puppy.

I'm sorry it happened but I'm glad there was no serious harm done this time and maybe this incident will help you prevent any more harm from coming to Vanilla or your daughters. Good luck!
 

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Given that this dog has lived with these two girls for a relatively long time without incident I think we should not jump to conclusions just yet. If in the past your daughters have been able to touch her face without getting snapped at my first thought would be that she may have some pain ... maybe an infection in her mouth or a bad tooth? A trip to the vet may be in order.
 

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I'm glad your daughters are both okay and that no one was seriously injured.

I agree with Marj in that Vanilla probably perceived the entire thing as teasing and was trying to tell them to quit. She probably didn't like them putting their hands near her face repeatedly.

Even though Vanilla didn't draw blood, I would take it very seriously as it could be the start of a larger issue. Consulting with an animal behaviorist would probably be best, but you may also be able to pick up a few books on agression/reactive behaviors/etc.

JMM can probably give you excellent guidance here, and you may even want to share the video with her or on SM for more help so people can see exactly what happened.
Why is it that the animal always gets the blame ? This is the only way he can defend himself especially if he is trapped on a couch. It seems to me that more often the humans need a behaviorists training than the dog.
 

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When she snapped she was warning them. She can not say, I'm nervous or scared. This is her only way to communicate that. Clearly, she tried several times to communicate this as clearly as she could. In the end she had to escalate that because they did not understand her communication. I also find it encouraging that the bite while likely painful was not full force. It was also a warning. She did not break skin which if she "meant" it, she certainly could have. She was sending all the signals she knew how to send. And yes, she likely felt trapped and unable to respond by running away.

Perhaps something in her mouth is bothering her, but whatever the reason, she was very uncomfortable and tried to respond in the only communication mechanism she has.

I hope she will not be blamed for an incident where she had few if any alternatives. I also hope that you and the girls will take steps to prevent such an event from happening again. It would be truly tragic if she were to feel she had to escalate this behavior because it worked.
 

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I'm sorry you're going through this.:w00t:

We too have had serious problems with Libby growling and biting. She's bit my husband and son. I freaked out because she's wonderful with me.

We've got several new rules around here. My son is not allowed to pick her up ever, unless there's a fire. He is also not allowed to go near her when she's eating or enjoying a toy. This has really helped.

Last night, we all went out for ice-cream and this teen wanted to pet Libby, while I was holding her. I said ok but was nervous about it. She growled at him twice. From now on, I'll put her down on the ground before someone tries to pet her. She really guards me for some reason.
 

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I have no experience with this. Just wanted to wish you luck in figuring it out so that both your dog and kids can be safe.
 

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Why is it that the animal always gets the blame ? This is the only way he can defend himself especially if he is trapped on a couch. It seems to me that more often the humans need a behaviorists training than the dog.
I didn't place blame solely on the dog, I stated in the beginning of the post that the dog probably felt like it was being teased by the children. I still think it's a good idea to seek out help either through a behaviorist or through literature, because either method should help give tips on teaching the children how to properly interact with the dog, as well as give tips on training the dog on any issues it may or may not have. It's never really 100% the dog.
 

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Why is it that the animal always gets the blame ? This is the only way he can defend himself especially if he is trapped on a couch. It seems to me that more often the humans need a behaviorists training than the dog.
Janine, I suggested a behaviorist with the whole family involved for just that reason. The family needs to be trained on how to properly deal with a small dog in the household so it never ever happens again.

I certainly don't blame Vanilla. She was probably afraid because she couldn't get off the couch to get away and tried warning the kids, but they kept bothering her.

The problem is that legally the dog is always to blame. If this had been a playmate who got bitten, the bite would have to be reported. Depending on the seriousness of the bite, a lawsuit could have resulted.
 

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I'm sorry you're going through this.:w00t:

We too have had serious problems with Libby growling and biting. She's bit my husband and son. I freaked out because she's wonderful with me.

We've got several new rules around here. My son is not allowed to pick her up ever, unless there's a fire. He is also not allowed to go near her when she's eating or enjoying a toy. This has really helped.

Last night, we all went out for ice-cream and this teen wanted to pet Libby, while I was holding her. I said ok but was nervous about it. She growled at him twice. From now on, I'll put her down on the ground before someone tries to pet her. She really guards me for some reason.
Alex is 13 years old and I have to be careful if someone wants to pet him when in my arms. He guards me too. I seldom let someone touch him. He does not warn. He will start screaming and biting. He is fine when on the ground. We had our new neighboors over on Sunday. She could pick him up from the ground and put her on her lap. But in my arms he is a monster.
 

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As a trainer, this is something I see all of the time and my heart absolutely breaks for the dog.
1. I would be concerned about something painful around your dog's mouth. Please check her thoroughly.
2. Your dog actually has very good language skills! She gave 2 CLEAR warnings. This is very appropriate behavior. Also, the bite was not damaging. This means she inhibited herself. This is also a very good thing.
3. The best prevention is supervision. If you are not literally standing there watching, your dog and children need to be separated. Please do not ever leave them alone unattended again. You are lucky this is all that happened. I've seen dogs accidentally injured by well-meaning kids. I've seen many, many kids who think their behavior is fine (because it would be with a person) bitten, some severely. It is just not worth the risk to your dog's safety or your children's safety.
4. I highly recommend teaching your kids about dog language - how dogs talk mostly with their body. Sometimes it can help to have a professional come in and give a lesson.
5. Always make sure your dog has an "out". Be sure they can escape and flea a situation. This will help ensure that, should another unfortunately incident occur, your dog is not put in the position to bite. A no dog on the couch/bed rule may be a good idea.
You have a good dog...shame about the situation.
 

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Janine, I suggested a behaviorist with the whole family involved for just that reason. The family needs to be trained on how to properly deal with a small dog in the household so it never ever happens again.

I certainly don't blame Vanilla. She was probably afraid because she couldn't get off the couch to get away and tried warning the kids, but they kept bothering her.

The problem is that legally the dog is always to blame. If this had been a playmate who got bitten, the bite would have to be reported. Depending on the seriousness of the bite, a lawsuit could have resulted.
You are right on this one. And it is a shame. Most of the time it's not the dog's fault.
 

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Why is it that the animal always gets the blame ? This is the only way he can defend himself especially if he is trapped on a couch. It seems to me that more often the humans need a behaviorists training than the dog.
I was just sitting here thinking the same thing and was thinking maybe I was nutso for thinking it! Glad I'm not the only one. I was thinking why does the dog need a behaviorist .. it's the children and family who need training on how to interact with their Malt and of course they must be supervised at all times.
 
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