my german pointer growls and nips my son, help!!!!
hi i have a 17 week old german pointer(i think, looks very alike), he has growled at my son twice before and i didn't think much of it as once he was sleeping and another time i thought he stepped on his tail.
but today on the sofa my dog was laying down and my son was playing he hugged him and the dog growled and went for his face but my son put his arm up and he left a scratch with blood though and that really worried me as i have already had one aggressive dog i had to put down.
please tell me what to do as i'm seriously considering giving him away cos i'm worried when they play together.
also he eats his food so fast that he scares me that he might bite if we go near him.
You're right to be concerned here, this is dangerous behavior on your pups' part and something that you will need to deal with very firmly and quickly.
It sounds as though your pup has a dominant personality, he may also be a bit anxious. Pups often see children as other puppies, and interact with them the way they would do with littermates. A dominant pup may snap or growl at other puppies to 'keep them in line' and I would guess that is what your pup is doing. From the behavior you describe I would also say that he is probably food aggressive as well and may guard food, treats, toys etc.
The first thing to do is to teach this pup that your son is higher up the ladder in terms of authority or position in the family, and not another 'puppy' for him to play with or bully. I'm not sure how old your son is, but even if he's young you need to try this...
start involving your son in the pups care (give him as much help as he needs and be right beside him for support and encouragement). Have him pour the pups food into the bowl and put it down if possible, help 'train' your pup by being involved in teaching basic obedience (see my How to train a puppy page) and so on. A pup 'respects' whoever is in control of his basic resources such as food, shelter and so on.
If your pup snaps at your son, make sure he is corrected firmly and immediately. Don't use force, shouting or physical reprimands though, that will make the situation worse. I'd recommend that you check out my Puppy Biting page and use the spray-bottle method described there as a correction.
I'm not sure if you saw or interacted with this puppys parents, and whether or not they were sound temperamentally, or were aggressive or fearful. Sometimes this sort of behavior is hereditary and other times it is purely situational, sometimes both. I would strongly suggest that you take this pup to training classes and have a professional dog trainer work with you to assess his behavior. It may be that you will find it difficult to overcome this situation yourself if you are not experienced at dealing with canine behavior, or confident in your ability to handle it. Because your son is at risk of getting hurt, if you don't see any improvement after trying the suggestions above, or are seriously concerned, I would think that looking for a new home for this pup (with an owner who is experienced with dog training and behavior and doesn't have young children) may be the best thing for everyone. It is better to do this while the puppy is young.
Of course, only you can determine whether or not you think this is necessary, and I'm not recommending this, just pointing it out as a possibility. Don't leave your pup and your son unsupervised together until you are 100% sure this situation is past. I wish you all the best with this and hope your story has a happy ending.