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What should I do about my service dog that snaps at children when they try to pet him?

Kristen,

This question is especially important because my dog is a service dog and is exposed to a lot of kids that haven’t been taught not to just grab at every dog they see.

My dog isn’t good with children due to a child mishandling him when he was young - he growls, barks, and snaps when they try to pet him. He is a Chihuahua, so he is very appealing to children. When we are out, I frequently have children just come up and grab at him even though he is wearing his vest. I'm afraid a child will get bit. Help!

Debbie T.

Hi Debbie,

As you have discovered, it is difficult, if not impossible to keep children from wanting to pet your Chihuahua, regardless of the working vest.  Little dogs are kid magnets!  I suggest that when children are around, you pick up your dog so that you are better in control of who approaches him. I would also strongly suggest you contact a reputable expert in canine behavior modification to determine if you pup can learn to trust children so that he does not pose a danger to them, and a liability to you.

Best of luck!

Kristen_Buck-60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine

April 17, 2010

Located on the white label above, usually on the back of the machine.
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