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AnnieGirl 03-23-2014 11:11 PM

GSD and kids
 
Annie is our GSD, and she is 7 months old. First, let me start by saying she is incredibly smart and a fantastic dog at home. She loves my kids and our cat and will play with them all day. She knows all her basic commands and is obedient at home all day long. However, when we go out in public, or to the parks, it is like she looses everything she knows. She kind of goes "stupid".

Every since she was 3 months old she would growl at any of my kids' friends that came over. The kids would be running by or dancing around and Annie would growl and lunge. As long as the kids' friends were sitting and still, Annie was ok with them being in our home. At 6 months old we realized we couldn't risk the liability of Annie nipping or actually biting a child, we sent her to obiedience school, in hopes of Annie working with strangers would help her realize not all other people are bad. After 5 weeks at training, we went to pick her up where she excelled in her training. The trainer said she is super high energy and really needs a job. (we have been told this multiple times) We spent several hours learning what we needed to learn in order to continue her success at home.

We got home from picking Annie up on Thursday, and took her to the park on Saturday. As I sat at the table with her to watch my kids play, I was horrified and totally embarrassed at how Annie acted. She aggressively barked AND lunged at kids running by, no matter how many times I offered treats. I tried moving further away from the kids playing and Annie whined and then aggressively barked at all the kids. I know some of the other mothers were getting a little nervous, which is why we eventually left. As long as people are sitting still and not running or jumping, Annie is fine.

Has anyone ever had this problem? I honestly don't think Annie would actually bite? But, I would NEVER want to find out I am wrong. I really want to find a way to correct this behavior, in order to keep my Annie girl.

Any and all opinions and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks so much in advance,
Amanda

Nigel 03-23-2014 11:56 PM

What kind of training did they do with her? I'd find a trainer knowledgable with gsds who can work with you and your dog when the behavior occurs.

AnnieGirl 03-24-2014 10:04 AM

They did socialization and basic obedience. The training we sent her to works very closely with and trains for the Wounded Warrior project, and also trains narcotics and peanut allergy detection dogs. The trainer said she was a pro at places like Home Depot. I am assuming he didn't take her to busy places with kids moving.

I can't imagine having to find her a new home, but I also can't risk her proving me wrong thinking she wouldn't bite. I am just at a loss.

Shade 03-24-2014 10:14 AM

I think Nigel is right, you need a trainer that knows how to work with GSD's and will work with you IN the home where the issues are. It may be a management issue or it may be a training issue - getting a professional in that can give you help will be a big boost in taking the right steps to having a safe and happy household for both canine and human.

In the meantime I would have the dog leashed to an adult at all times while the children are around and supervised.

E.Hatch 03-24-2014 11:10 AM

I can't really offer you any advice but I can at least share our experience with you. Eugene is 9 months old and is friendly to other dogs and adult strangers. But he does not like kids. We do not have any so it was a bit of a challenge to properly socialize him to them. A trainer friend taught us about fear aggression, LAT (look at that training), and counter conditioning. She also really stressed how important it is to not allow him to be corrected for this behavior as it could potentially make it a lot worse. We also have an obedience trainer but she doesn't seem to be savvy in this area.

For the most part it's been very helpful, he's been to the park and on the sidewalks with no reaction to the kids but did have a relapse this weekend and barked and growled at a little girl. Maybe he was having a bad day, I don't know but we'll definitely be doing more training.

I'm not experienced enough to say your situation is the same as ours but I just wanted you to know I understand how terrifying and embarrassing it is to have your pup act like that around children. We wonder what will happen when the time comes for us to have our own.


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Blanketback 03-24-2014 11:12 AM

Did this training place give you enough training time yourself, to teach you how to get the same results with your pup? It sounds like you need to get more 1-on-1 time with the trainer - but I know being in a Home Depot is nothing at all like a park. I prefer a hardware store myself, lol. Good luck with your pup :)

e.rigby 03-25-2014 05:05 PM

There's really no way your dog is going to be desensitized to children by sending it away to a trainer for a few weeks (or even a couple of months). On top of that, even if the trainer knew what they were doing, they probably kept the dog under threshold and thus were able to slowly work on getting them ok with kids at a distance, maybe even slowly working on getting closer... however, your situation is much different. Your dog is being pushed way past what it can handle... as having kids IN the house jumping around and making a ton of noise (as kids typically do) is really disconcerting to your dog. The best thing you can do is find a trainer that will work with you in the home as well as teach you the different (I'd highly recommend finding a positive reinforcement trainer for this kind of work) techniques for working with your dog outside of the home. This kind of socialization/desensitization is a long term training effort. In the meantime, please be vigilant not to set your dog up for failure. If there are kids in the house, take the dog on a walk, remove them to a different room, etc etc... but do not allow them to be near one another. It's stressful for the dog, and potentially dangerous for the children!

E.Hatch 03-25-2014 10:26 PM

E.rigby I was hoping you would chime in :-)


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AnnieGirl 03-27-2014 07:15 PM

Thank you all so much. I was recommended a book to read, which I did, as well as find an in home trainer, which I haven't yet. The book, Behavior Adjustment Training by Grisha Stewart, really gave me some insight and a solid positive training technique. I believe with hard work and time, we can get our girl through this.

Mts678 03-28-2014 02:55 AM

My 1yr old female does this as well, but only at firer glance with any kids, after she sees they're not a threat, she can relax and play hours on end with any kid. But it's always that first 10-20 seconds she barks growls and hackles go up, I practice her being around my 5 yr old nephew- they play great together and my nephew has played with her since I have had her.


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