I have a small rescue dog and recently adopted a young black & tan Coonhound girl ,named Shandy, to a family with 2 young elementary school age children. Shandy is a sweet dog, but sometimes she will lunge at the kids' faces without warning. There is no growling involved and it is usually centering around food.

With the little boy, he was sitting down at the dinner table when Shandy lunged at him ,catching his chin. This resulted in a small cut and bruise on the child's chin. Also, the little girl was eating something, and Shandy lunged at her face but luckily missed it when the child jumped away. Shandy has never tried this with either mom or dad.

The family is thinking that Shandy might not be a good fit for them, but would still like some helpful suggestions. I suggested that we get a trainer in the home to assess the situation. The second option would be to just return Shandy to our rescue.

Can you shed any light on this situation? Is there a certain type of family Shandy should go to in light of what is happening - maybe one with no kids?

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Any situation involving dogs that may be behaving aggressively towards young children is fraught with risk, and I don't feel comfortable advising on this over the internet.

I think only a qualified person, probably a behaviourist rather than a dog trainer, who is able to see the setup and behaviour of dog and children would be able to do so.

However, if I had any concerns that the family may not be able to prevent further incidents between the dog and children, I personally would err on the side of caution, remove the dog, and not place her again with such a young family.

If she does it again and hurts a child, the likelihood is that she will be put to sleep, and if the family have asked for the dog to be removed and you don't do it, then I'd also be worried there might be implications for your rescue's liability insurance.

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