My dog is guarding me from family and friends

Charlotte is a 2-3 year old rescued labradoodle.  We have owned her since October.  She has become very protective of me and our house.  It is just my husband and me so our house is pretty quiet most of the time.  When visitors come or workers she makes sure that they don't get close to me, she steps between us and may or may not offer a small low growl.  

Today my grandkids (6, 9, 11) visited for the first time since we've had Charlotte.  I was taking a shower and Charlotte was apparently laying outside the bathroom door.  When my youngest walked by the door, Charlotte jumped at her and hit her in the face with her nose (no teeth).  I determined that the kids should never be alone with her but I want to stop this behavior.  If I am there she will halfway charge at someone to keep them away from me (not just kids) and today I noticed her trying to charge and nip the hands a visiting child.  

She is WONDERFUL at training class - gets along with most dogs - has a difficult time with dogs who are super rough at day care.  She is very gentle away from our house.

She will also allow someone to pet her and be very friendly but when they turn their backs and walk away she will try to nip their hands.  I can't tell if this is meanness or if she is saying don't go away, pet me some more.

She is WONDERFUL at training class - gets along with most dogs - has a difficult time with dogs who are super rough at day care.  She is very gentle away from our house.

I need advice - does anyone have any? 

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  • We have an appointment with a certified behaviorist a week from Monday.  The first one or two will be in a neutral place and then she will come to out house.  We are filling out a five page form with information about Charlotte and what we would like to see changed.  Thanks for your advice, Deb.

  • I think it is important for everyone to know that Charlotte is also believed to be a breeding dog from a MO puppy mill who was found abandoned by the side of the road, and in that context, 6 months of living in a home as a companion animal is not very long at all. 

    • Thank you for mentioning that, Karen.

  • Wendy, I am a trainer. If someone came to me with the problem you are having with Charlotte, I would recommend they contact a CERTIFIED BEHAVIORIST. To find a certified trainer/behaviorist in your area you can go to www.apdt.com. Charlotte should never be taught not to growl or be scolded for growling. Growling is a dog's early warning system. If anyone tells you to squirt her or reprimand her for growling, please do not address the problem this way. It can make it worse. With no growl, she may go directly to biting. A Certified Behaviorist will help you understand her behavior and how it can be managed and changed in a positive way. Wishing you all the very best in getting Charlotte back on track. ~Deborah

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