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Thread: Safe Activities for GSD and Neighborhood Kids Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-26-2014 02:39 PM
Tratkins Yes teach the kids hide and seek! Our dog loves it! Give the kids a treat to hold on to and have them hide one at a time. We say "come find me!" And Samson is on the hunt! As soon as he finds one of us, his eyes light right up and then he gets a treat. While he is gobbling up his treat, one of the other kids go hide. So fun for kids and dog and wears our pup out!
04-26-2014 01:53 PM
SunCzarina You've got a good grip on the situation. Before I had my own children, the neighbor kids would come over to play with Luther. The only trouble I ever had was him knocking over the smaller kids. I would supervise and give one warning that they were getting the dog too ramped up. 'Don't do that or you'll have to go home' Home was "boring" and it only took a couple times actually sending them home. Even human boys respond to corrections LOL.

Now, I only let my own children play with the dogs. If they have a friend over, I keep the dogs with me. Venus is too exuberant and Otto is too protective. My daughter's friends are too shrieky and Otto knows how little boys can be mean to little girls. He doesn't like it when any boys other than mine play with his Jackie. So I just don't allow it.
04-26-2014 11:27 AM
LookingforLuke There are some great suggestions here, please keep them coming.

We've met the parents and they've met Luke. They know that the kids are at our house playing with Luke. They don't seem to have any objection with the boys getting out and getting some exercise and we don't mind entertaining them.

The kids are all boys, the oldest will give Luke basic commands and Luke listens to him well - sit, lay down, drop it, stay, spin and high-five. The middle aged boy can get a little hyper at times. Him and the oldest can feed off of each other's energy and get Luke excited with them too which we'd like to avoid. The youngest prefers to keep his distance from Luke and is kind of along for the ride. He actually prefers playing with our cat, although he will throw the ball (the best he can) for Luke on occasion. We're always mindful to stick close to Luke and the boys, especially with the youngest since Luke is larger than him.

Luke is very gentle-mannered with a low prey drive. The few times he's started to go after rabbits in our yard we've told him sternly to "leave it" and he listens immediately. Our concern is the built up energy from the two oldest boys and a loss of focus on Luke's part that could end up with a nipped finger or Luke knocking the little one over.

With summer coming soon we have a pretty good idea that we'll be seeing more of them and would like to be as prepared as possible for their interactions with Luke. So please, keep the suggestions coming!
04-25-2014 11:39 PM
SuperG My experience is ..with younger GSDs still learning the ropes...they can get a bit overzealous when stimulated in certain ways and control is a bit more difficult because command hasn't outweighed the "playful" exuberance of the dog/pup.

15 months should be getting close in my opinion where a dog should know how to play "nice"....especially if it is so directed by owner/handler.

However, a few spirited lads playing into the paws of a young energetic dog is almost guaranteed to have some "snappy" moments to it..most always unintended but yet still bold on the dog's behalf. I'd use it as you probably have... a good environment for training.....and all involved are aware of what's taking are durable,

04-25-2014 11:03 PM
DonnaKay Here's a suggestion after all the running around playing. To calm everyone down, put the dog in a down stay, the kids sit next to him and each take turns (maybe not the 4yo) reading to the dog. Sounds kind of corny, but you'll be amazed at what happens. The dog gets attention from the kids and the kids gain confidence in their reading skills. It's really a great activity for all.
04-25-2014 10:37 PM
Thorny I'll share my experiences I hope that you don't have to experience them. Gunnar was raised with my 3 kids ages 5,10,11. They all got bit whe he was a little pup and have learned to be relaxed around him. I've taken him to kids events since he came home with me, so he's been around a lot of kids.

My best friends daughter is a small 6 year old girl. She loves animals. She's been raised near dogs, but none in her house. She was playing with Gunnar, throwing ball, and sticks and such. Gunnar nipped her finger playing tug with a stick. The girl screamed and Gunnar shifted from play to prey drive. Girl got scared and screamed more, he jumped up on her and at that point I got there to intervene. That took place over the course of 5 seconds while I was watching from 15 feet away. Be aware of your dogs particular issues and warn the kids.

I had Gunnar at a young kids soccer game. Afterwards half the team of 6 years olds came over and were petting him, hugging him, loving on him. Gunnar was eating it up, started kissing the kids, but as he got more hyped up the kisses got a little wild and one kid got their nose grazed by teeth during the kisses. Gunnar was not being malicious, but there are big teeth in that mouth. It could have gone badly.

I now keep him on a short lead when there are lots of kids around. To protect him from them, and their parents. He's a sweet dog with a big heart and lots of energy. But he's still got a puppy mind.
04-25-2014 09:58 PM
llombardo I have 6 dogs and they are all awesome with kids of all ages(both the GSD's will spend all day with the kids and love every minute of it)I consider myself lucky. The kids play catch with the dogs, they do play keep away with no issues( my dogs don't try to take the toy away but will give chase, but my dogs prefer the kids chase them) The dogs can spend all day having the kids chase them and the kids never catch the dogs. The kids do training sessions with the dogs. They play hide and seek or find it. I also have them just relax with the dogs. The dogs lay down and the kids sit next to the dogs and just pet them. We have also done bonfires with all of them and the dogs lay near by and the kids watch the fire.
04-25-2014 09:23 PM
Zeeva What a great thread...It seems like you're past this stage because the kids are already playing with your pup.

I can't trust my pups around kids. But I've learned that if a kid wants to pet the dog, I have the kid approach the dog from the dog's side. And I stand on the other so that if my dog was to try and jump on the kid, I can control the situation...

A safe (IMO) game that might prevent accidental nipping or over-excitement is having the kids hide a doggie toy and then asking the pup to 'find it'.
04-25-2014 09:12 PM
Chip18 Just a general observation...the kids your dog sees all the time he would consider as part of his pack. If he knows how to behave around "kids" that is good but it doesn't automatically translate to "friends" of kids!
My Boxer, I could trust to be safe with GSD?? Yeah not so much!
04-25-2014 08:34 PM
Gretchen The thought of my dog and kids scares me, but I know there are some good dogs out there.

Here's what I observed in general: a dog gets eager to chase or grab the toy, the kid gets panicky then the child holds the toy above it's head, forgetting the dog can jump and the child gets knocked over. So advised the kids to be careful of that. Also heard from a friend that grew up with a GSD and a couple stories here is when the kids start running, the dog may try to herd them, sometimes there are nips. Even if I had a good dog, the four year old seems too risky, maybe too immature and can't remember rules, may act unpredictably and even if just standing there, your dog probably weighs more than the child so it could get knocked down and hurt by accident. Remember open hand/palm for treats, and have a time limit so your dog and kids do not get over excited. Maybe for now just some throwing/fetch games and see they the kids would like to practice dog training if your dog knows sit, stay, come, etc.

I loved neighbors like you when I was a child! My neighbor had a beautiful Collie just like Lassie that I was so happy just to sit next to. Our dog was a bit mean and I did not enjoy playing with it.
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