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Air Snapping Towards Excited Kids

Guest greyt_golly

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Guest greyt_golly

Hello all,


First time poster, long time reader. I've tried searching for forum posts which cover this but due to search limitations I'm having a hard time finding anything. Hoping some of you experts can help.


My family has always had dogs but we are first time grey-adopters as of about a month ago. Our big boy (80 lbs) is settling in nicely. Although we know it is still very early, everything has gone pretty smoothly, and we are taking all the precautions we can to be careful and not set him up for any failures. He is a little older (5.5 years) than most new adoptees. Every day we see more of his personality, more of his playfullness/goofiness and we look forward to this continuing for many years. We have three children, age 11 down to 6, who we were very careful to prepare and discuss the right and wrong ways to behave around the new dog with.


For the most part, our grey ignores the kids, doesn't ever shy away from them, often wags his tail if they come over to pet him (unless he's gone over to be alone in which case the kids know to leave him alone.) He especially seems to enjoy belly rubs from our oldest. The new thing we've noticed is our grey gets very excited/interested when your youngest starts laughing really hard, particularly when my wife or I are holding him. This is usually when there is some tickling or playing going on (with the people only), and often isn't anywhere near where our grey is resting, but he'll come running over very interested to see what is going on. Yesterday for the first time he did a couple air snaps while this was happening. It was the first time we've seen him do this. They didn't connect with anything but they were towards our kid and clearly in response to the laughing (which isn't a high pitch squeal or anything.) I think he is just excited and interested and maybe wants to play but that is an awful lot of teeth coming toward us so I want to get others opinions.


It wasn't chattering as it wasn't fast paced. Most of what I've read on here is air snapping is good, playful behavior indicating comfortableness and, "I want to be part of the action." He doesn't seem to have too high of a prey drive but he does show interest (ears perked up, stares) at smaller dogs when on walks so we are very careful since we don't know our boy too well yet. I did read one forum that suggested air snapping can by a sign of aggression when paired with other signs like ears, drooling, whining, etc...


What I don't recall from the situation is the rest of his body language, so if we see it again I will for sure be looking for that, but it seemed like he was wanting to play. Curious to hear what others think, have seen, etc... I'm hoping there other stories of your greys getting excited at children laughing, air snapping as play, etc... If there is any chance this could be dangerous at all I want to know that too so we can address it right away. We think he is a sweet boy and we always supervise interactions but he does have 40 lbs on our youngest.


Thank you for your responses, stories, tips, etc...

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I'm going to guess that the excited atmosphere has him confused.


The first time BF was tickling and wrestling with his 11 year old son, Rainy rushed over all puffed up and on alert. I verbally corrected her, told her it was ok, then held onto her so she could watch them continue from a safe distance from the flailing arms! LOL


I would try to keep him calm so he doesn't escalate and try to join in. Dogs are not allowed to wrestle with kids. Too dangerous. All it takes is a stray tooth from an open panting mouth to break skin... Don't ask me how I know! It's never an intentional bite but rather a collision.

Now when they wrestle squeal or get loud, both dogs don't even bother opening an eyeball.




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Guest Scarter55

The only time I've seen Lady snap like that is when she is playing with Great Danes, which are the only dogs significantly bigger than her that she has played with. She was always playful and never made contact (which clearly wasn't her intention), but her body language did tell me that she wasn't quite as comfortable than when playing with a dog closer to her size. I've never seen her snap at any other type of dog.


So based of my limited experience, I would concur with JAJ2010 in that he was just a little unsure about the situation. Keep a close eye on his body language for danger signs (which you already seem clued into) in similar future situations.

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Renie was my big air-snapper, and I loved her for it. Having said that, a new dog with small children is a different matter. The problem is that dogs move faster than kids, and kids don't look before they move. Therefore it is possible for an excited dog's teeth to connect with a small child enough to cause damage where none was intended.


I think the best way to handle this is to treat it as confusion and reassure your dog, physically and with a calm voice. Someone needs to be free to do this next time you indulge in a tickling session or anything else which might wind him up. When you see him start to get a bit much and wave his teeth around, just say calmly 'It's okay *name of dog*, settle down there', and put an arm firmly round the front of his chest so he can't run forward to join in. Kind of like hugging him from behind.


If you're at some distance and you're not prepared, and he's running towards the excited child, call out 'Uh-uh!' fairly sharply, but try not to sound angry. And as soon as he responds, tell him he's a good dog. Then do the hugging 'it's okay' thing.


But yes, I'd let him watch from a distance, talking to him and holding him gently but firmly.


It should help whether it is really confusion or simply excitement. :)


The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Guest Marsroving

Mars only air snaps when super excited and wanting to play/ be played with. From what I'm reading it sounded like someone just wanted in on the good times! Obviously since there are children around you don't want any accidents and you also don't want to reprimand the dog for expressing its happiness/desire to play. You seem like you are doing everything in your power to be a greyt grey owner and are really arming yourself with information and knowledge, so I just want to give you props for that and not freaking out! As far as what to do, I don't have children and I don't want to make any inaccurate suggestions.

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