Newly Rescued Dog Weary of Children

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Ron Mervis, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Ron Mervis

    Ron Mervis New Member

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    Hi... i'm new here... my first thread...
    I recently rescued a lovely Golden Retriever mix from a rural Florida county shelter (just before he was to be put down)... he's a mix of a Golden and a Maremma sheep dog... (an italian sheep dog... a smaller Great Pyrenees-type)- so he looks like a white Golden Retriever... his name is Casper....he's about 5 years old (not too much history on him)....gets along beautifully with my other adult male dog (and other dogs)...and is fine with people...but i noticed that around little kids, he's somewhat weary...and i even detected a subtle very low throaty growl when one little girl went over to pet him... so, obviously, i'm a little nervous...i certainly don't want a kid to be nipped ... nor do i want to lose him or have him put down...he's a real love and has become my white shadow...
    since i don't have a history on him (he was from a shelter), i don't know if he was teased or abused by children previously...
    Does anyone have any suggestions about how to help him adjust or be more comfortable around kids? (I don't have any...but i have friends/relatives who may stop by my house who do)....
    thanks for any help...
    Ron
     
  2. mjb

    mjb New Member

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    There are some trainers on here who probably have great ideas when they read this post.

    All I can offer is that I might try making it a very wonderful time for the dog when he meets children, like giving lots of treats when they have interaction. Have children being around equal to great things happening.

    I don't know if that would work, but I'll bet you get some good advice from a few of the trainers.
     
  3. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    " Golden and a Maremma sheep dog.."
    Okay this is a type of guard dog. Usually protective from strangers. Are the children yours or other peoples? ( I need to know so I can tell which way to go in advice..)
     
  4. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    LoL....
    "Weary" = tired, sleepy, bored.

    "Wary" = nervous, scared
    :p

    Anyway, since you said you don't have kids, it's at least a manageable problem. It's also relatively common. Just keep your dog away from kids. Don't let kids pet him or get close to him if he's uncomfortable, and if kids come over to the house keep him in his crate in a back bedroom where the kids are not allowed to go. If he's out in public and sees a kid, you can make that a really fun experience - give him lots of his favorite treats, praise and make a big deal out of it, and then walk away from the kid. Don't ever push him to the point where he feels uncomfortable. Eventually, with a lot of practice, he could be able to let a kid approach, but I'm not sure, given his age and unknown history, that he'll ever be happy to let a kid pet him.
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    My aunt's dog is also wary of kids, I brought her to the park (large park) so we could see the kids but not be surrounded. She's not outright scared but prefers if they don't touch her. So if a kid asked to pet her i said "how about you give her a treat instead' and they did, then we left. So she does not mind them so much. How fearful is she exactly? You may need to work slower, having a kid was parallel to her and tossing the treat without looking at her (of course you'll need kids you know to do this). then slowly work up to her staying calm while a kid touches her. But I do agree with lizzy, Do not ever force her to interact with a child or you are asking for a bite. If a kid wants to pet her, ask them to kneel down and offer her their hand to sniff (so long as she is not fearful of reaching hands) after that if she wants to approach she will, if not ask the kid if they want to feed a treat, most say yes.

    If you are at a park, you could also ask a kid if they want to toss her ball for her (if she fetches) but make sure you take the ball from the dog, don't let the child.
     
  6. Ron Mervis

    Ron Mervis New Member

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    thanks for your suggestions... i will certainly give it a shot... and i do like the idea of a child offering him a treat....(since he really loves treats...and any food for that matter)....
     
  7. Please be very careful in trying to socialize a large adult dog with children who has clearly indicated he does not want to be approached or touched by them.

    One wrong grab and you have not only a dead dog, but the possibility of an injured child in addition to a lawsuit.

    This sort of thing deserves a consultation with a professional in your area. If this were my dog he would have NO ACCESS to children at any time until I had felt this out with a trainer who knows what they are looking at.

    You have no way of knowing why this dog was at a shelter. There can be serious underlying problems with dogs who have been given up at his age, and that could include prior bite incidents.

    BE CAREFUL with this dog.

    JMO as always.....
     
  8. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    This is okay except for the kneeling part! That will put then at face level with her, so if she did decide to snap...guess what?

    ETA: just want to explain this in more detail. You don't want them to loom over her because that will make her nervous. However, kneeling puts them at face level, and children tend to stare/make eye contact when being friendly and interested in something. Your dog may see this as a challenge and try to respond in a negative way. Even if she doesn't act out, having one crouch down and stare at her face isn't going to help her think of children in a positive way.

    Getting a child to look away while crouching is nicer body language, but puts the child at risk as it exposes their neck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  9. Ron Mervis

    Ron Mervis New Member

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    thanks to everyone for their suggestions... obviously, this could be a dicey situation if it's not handled correctly....for right now, i am working with my dog in trying to make sure that he is comfortable with being around other people...and so far - so good...absolutely no problems...
    as for the kiddies... i'm going really slowly with that ....
    thanks again...
    ron
     
  10. Duke'sMommy

    Duke'sMommy New Member

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    I have a dog that is not to sure of kids and I have been working with my friends son (hes a year and a half). I started by going for walks with Duke and her son keeping Duke at a distance (Duke is also muzzled while we do this, he's comfortable with it on and it tends to calm him a bit) Once I would put Duke in the car to go I would bring her son over to give him a treat. Then we started having Duke off leash but still muzzled in an encloed area and let her son walk around and this way if Duke was uncomfortable he could walk away from him or he could approach him. This has been going on for almost a year now. I still have Duke muzzled when around her son I still dont think he is ready not to be yet. But the last time he was with him off leash Duke layed beside her son while he was playing and even let her son lay on him. Like I said Ive been working slowly with him for about a year now it is a slow process but we are making huge improvements. Good luck with your dog
     
  11. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    I wanna second what Red said. With proper precautions you can avoid a situation where anyone is put at risk however every dog is different and whenever your dealing with an unknown history and with a large dog it is better to not approach the problem alone. Luckily there are whole schools of thought dedicated to dealing with these problems, and with a good behaviouralist, (not like the recent reality shows that have become so popular, lets not forget what reality tv's main selling point it) some head way can be made, and every little bit counts.

    I've been living with and successfully managing a formerly highly reactive dog for almost two years now only because I sought out a proffesional early on and worked hard with desensitizing and counter conditioning him in tons of different social situations and it has only been recently, almost 20 months later of work that I know my dog is safe in public, but none the less I still put his head halter on EVERY time we walk just incase. Unfortunatly with a dog who does pose a risk, regardless as to who is it directed towards, other dogs, children or certain types of adults you are always thinking about the what if situation, preparing for it, and be able to prevent it BEFORE it ever has a chance to happen. Period.

    Because even with a dog whom you've gone through the whole system with, and know is reliable and know you can control him/her, you simply can't control everything else around you. You can't control the owner walking 50 m's away from you who has her aggressive dog on an extendable leash because it has never crossed her mind that prehaps her dog would be safer to the public on a stronger lead. You can't control the kids running towards your dog because their parents told them " LOOK KIDS A DOG!!! GO PET THAT DOG!"

    I would also strongly strongly recomened switching to a head halter when walking. Forget no pulling, it's simply a matter of being able to safely manage a large dog. Because a dog cannot physically keep running forward when it's head is attached to a stationary object ( you, when you need to be) you have much more control then a traditional collar. Even with a dog that responds well to a pinch collar when working with a fear based condition you are working against your counter conditioning process which is trying to convince the dog the previously scary thing is now a predictor of super good things like yummy treats or a chance to play.

    Lastly I would strongly urge you to pick up " Fiesty Fido: A Guide to the leash aggressive dog" It's a co-authored book but I can only think of Patricia B. McConnel right now.

    You can begin teaching control commands which will become safety commands like watch me, emergancy down-stays and so on. All things the book breaks down in an easy to teach way.

    And again I just want to say dealing with such an issue could be realtively easy to fix with proper instruction from an experinced behaviouralist OR it could be a very intensive, life long commitment, either way it's not a path to be travelled alone.

    JMO
    Kayla
     

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