Newly purchased GSD sometimes aggressive to my child - Page 4 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #31 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-25-2012, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by robk View Post
Keep the dog and the child separated or get rid of the dog. A large dog can kill a child very quickly. In order to safely have a large dog and a small child living together, the dog needs to absolutely adore the child and (or) have a crystal clear understanding of his place in the home. Having not raised the dog from a pup along with the warning growls I would not risk letting the two of them together. There are too many dynamics at play to take the risk of an attack on a child.

Very true! Very hard to take the risk of even a single snap of a large dog with a small child, for sure!

We had GSD's all the while our child was growing up - from 3 yrs before he came to many years after he was grown and out.

ALL of them were great with him - never worried at all that any of them would ever harm the baby (except maybe stepping on him!) no matter what he did or where he walked or even yanked out of their mouth. (of course he was raised to respect the dogs as well and not hurt them!).

I would never have a dog that i could not trust implictly with any family member!
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post #32 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-25-2012, 01:00 PM
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I think that keeping the dog and the child separated until a trainer can evaluate is a good thing. This is a behavior that should be taken extremely seriously and you don't want to risk anything happening that might inadvertently reinforce the growling. I'm not even sure I'd recommend tethering the dog to you in this case (instead, use baby gates or something to keep them separated--just make sure the dog gets plenty of attention too!), because a 5-year-old is going to approach his parents (and should be able to), and tethering might encourage the dog to resource guard you.

That said, I'm not sure I agree with those who think the dog should be given up no matter what. There are too many factors here for me to feel comfortably saying that without seeing the situation. I know many people here will disagree, but I think that if every dog who ever growled a warning at a child was rehomed, we would either have a much bigger dog overpopulation problem or a lot fewer dogs due to euthanasia.

It should absolutely be taken seriously and professional help should be gotten ASAP. If allowed to escalate, this can very quickly turn into a dangerous situation--and at the very least, it really isn't fair for your son to have to be afraid of the dog he lives with!

edit: I also want to add that I would never blame someone for rehoming a dog that growled at a child, either. I think everyone just has to evaluate their own situation and comfort level. I personally never allow young children around animals unsupervised (taught literally 100s of 5-10 year old kids how to ride horses and work with dogs, and I simply don't believe that they have the judgment or coordination to be trusted around animals without an adult closely watching--it's not fair to the child or the dog IMO), so for me some resource guarding in a very specific situation that I could avoid with management/training/supervision wouldn't necessarily be a dealbreaker. But, I do not at all judge those who feel differently, or who don't want to feel like they have to manage all the time.

The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!

Last edited by RowdyDogs; 12-25-2012 at 01:03 PM.
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post #33 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-25-2012, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by angryrainbow View Post
Why would he come back to bother the boy? I'm sure it is not the dog's goal to bother the child, and as you can see from the updates.. The dog is not bullying him.

The reason why I suggested the treat was because this might be resource guarding. Once they give something up (going after the treat) then they lost their chance.. If the doorway was so valuable that the dog would go get the treat and them come back to reclaim it from the boy... Then the dog wouldn't have left the doorway in the first place.

It is trading one thing for another, Niko gets a treat for giving up the spot he was laying and the boy gets to continue on his merry way. It's not like the child will be lingering in the spot.. Hes just walking through.

In an ideal situation, you wouldn't want the dog to resource guard at all or get dependent on a trade. But that isn't the case. I think OP has made it apparent that she wants to work with Niko and make things work..

Thank you OP for updating us on your situation.
How much does Niko like his crate?
There is something I want you to do..
Make his crate the most BESTEST place ever. Feed him in there, give him treats, chewies, etc. Create a command so he goes to his crate whenever you give the word. First start next to the crate and gradually increase the distance.. Then stand outside the door and ask him to go to his crate.. advance down the hallway.. Until he runs like a lunatic to that crate!
It may take many months to be able to do it.. But if your child could say 'Go to your Crate, Niko!' and that dog drops everything hes doing and runs to his crate and waits for his reward.. It is something invaluable. When my dog slipped out the door once and made a mad dash to the pasture with horses in it.. He ignored 'Come' 'Here' and my emergency recall.. But telling him to go to his crate made him turn on a dime and zoom back inside the house just as fast as he went out.

In addition to Mind Games.. Take a look at crate games too..

Best of luck and merry christmas.

In response to your suggestions. I have gotten Niko to anytime I tell him to go to bed he goes to his crate. I can tell him from anywhere in my house. I leave the door shut but not locked and he will open the door with his nose and go lay down. He will not come out until I tell him to come on. This only took me two days working with him. Sometimes you can tell he doesnt want to, like when he is playing and getting a little wild,( I make he go lay down to calm down) but he does it anyways. Like I said he obeys me very well. He will not jump on the furniture or bed without my permission. He will lay his head on the said furniture and look at me. I will say okay come on, and up he comes. Without my invite he just sits there looking at me. I dont let him sleep with me, but I enjoy reading before I go to bed and sometimes will allow him to lay at the foot of my bed. I do not allow him at the head of the bed where I am though. Before I go to bed I tell him go to bed Niko and he gets up goes to his crate and lays down and I lock him in. As far as the couch goes, he automatically goes down when my son comes in the room. I tell him down and he will jump off and go lay on the floor.
My son is the one who feeds and waters him. He wanted a job to help take care of Niko and I felt that was one that he could handle. So, I hold Niko while he fills his food and water bowls, once he has done that I let go of him to eat. He has never shown any signs of aggression towards his food. The first time we fed him, before anything had happened while my son was feeding him and watering him he was having to push his head out of the way to get the rest of his food in the bowl. Now after that I hold on to him while he feeds him at a few feet's distance, to be safe.
Thank you for all your suggestions, comments and help. I hope to get in touch with a trainer tomorrow.
I hope you all have had a merry christmas.
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