HELP – Dog Snapped at 2YO

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/j6i3yo/help_dog_snapped_at_2yo/

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We have a 5 year old Lab x Rotti, and he's a gentle soft soul. Reasonably well trained (we aren't dog trainers or anything, but he's toilet trained, can sit, stay, roll over etc)

He does get very protective of our yard, he's damn near terrifying when his hackles go up and he barks if someone arrives out the front or a stray cat gets in our yard but this is the only time he's ever "aggressive" and we actually like that he is protective of us/our home. He's also not a persistent barker, he's just generally a great dog.

Yesterday just before I got home my 2 yo son was sitting next to him, just out of the line of sight of hubby, and something happened causing our dog to snap at him. He didn't break the skin but you could see red tooth marks just above one eyebrow, on his nose, cheek and jaw line.

Now our 2yo has a recent fascination with our dog's tail and we are always pretty much onto it straight away, I'm absolutely sure this snap was not "unprovoked" but this is a 40kg+ dog, he could've seriously hurt our son in his attempt to warn him to back off.

Now I know the obvious answer is to never ever have them alone together without strict supervision, but as a parent that's just no feasible unless we pretty much confine the dog to being outside 85% of the day, and he is, and always has been an indoor/part of the family dog. Obviously we do supervise our kid at all times, but now I feel like we would need to actively be looking at him/the dog every time they're near each other, and we still have lives to live and housework to do etc.

Does anyone have any suggestions, recommendations or advice?

We love our dog, had him since a pup, drove 4,000kms across the country when we moved to avoid putting him on a plane and spent $4,000 on a knee replacement 2 years ago. I can't bear the idea of rehoming him, however I keep having the nagging thought in my head of what if one day something really awful happens. Every time you see "child severely mauled by family dog" on the news the family always talks about how gentle the dog was and had never shown any signs previously.

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