Aggressive play with my 1 year old son

Posted by Bassett-Mommy
Oct 8, 2007
I have a 12 week old Bassett with whom I have been working on alpha dog issues and biting/mouthing. He is learning his commands well and obeys most of the time. I am having a hard time getting him to play nice with my 1 year old son. Boone (Bassett) will bite at my son's feet and ankles when he is walking, will raise up on my son's back when he is sitting and bite the back of his head/neck and will nip at his face. Most of the time I am able to see the attack approaching and am able to get between Boone and my son to block his attack and reinforce my alpha dog position but I just can't be in the same room all the time and that's when Boone attacks. It's just puppy play but it is unacceptable to me. I also use noises, loud smacking with a newspaper, leash training, etc. Any advice I can get is appreciated as my husband is threatening to get rid of Boone if we are unable to get his aggressiveness with Kade under control.

Thanks in advance!
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Oct 15, 2007
Hi there,

This situation must be quite distressing for you. Personally I think that leaving your son and puppy together on their own should be avoided completely. If it were me, I would not risk the safety of my son, particularly with a puppy who can not be trusted. Perhaps once Boone gets a bit older he will hopefully get a little more reliable. In the meantime, you might like to teach your puppy that spending time with your son is a good thing. You can do this by holding onto your son while petting and praising your puppy, giving him the occasional treat.

If at any stage you see your puppy playing rough with your son, you will need to give him a firm reprimand so that it is totally clear that rough behavior is inappropriate. Issue a guttural growl and give Boone a time out.

Please continue to use the Alpha techniuqes, and begin training Boone oin obedience as soon as possible. The more control you have over your dog's actions, the better.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jun 10, 2011
Hi Tara,

Just wondering, what does your son do when Boone starts rough playing? Does he laugh and get excited? If so, you might encourage him to be quiet, so that Boone does not get the idea that rough play is being encouraged by your son, even if he can't speak

I kind of think the best course of action here is to keep your son and Boone seperate unless you are, in fact, around to watch them. 1 year old is still pretty fragile, and animals need supervision with small children usually. Until this behaviour stops, I'd avoid putting the dog in the situation to misbehave.

When you are around, be sure you immediately correct Boone, dont just stand in between him and your son. He needs to know he's being reprimanded, not just blocked and offered a different play partner (you). Give verbal corrections and try giving another command for him to calm down (sit, down, stay). If this doesnt work, try putting Boone into time out, a room by himself to calm down, as soon as the bad behaviour starts. You need to teach Boone the proper way to play with children, and thats calmly! So any time Boone is just laying with your son, or letting him pet him, give him lots of praise.

I hope this helps, its the plan I'd go with in the situation Let us know how things go!