German Shepherd Dog Forums - Reply to Topic
Thread: How to acclimate a 6 month old puppy and a terrified 3 year old girl Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

  Topic Review (Newest First)
05-09-2014 07:54 PM
sparra I was agreeing with you......I was referring to the post above you.....I should have quoted.
05-09-2014 09:57 AM
Stevenzachsmom I'm not saying to send her to a therapist, because she doesn't like dogs - or that she needs to like dogs for the OP's sake. I said she might need a therapist, because she is described as being "terrified" of dogs. Begin terrified of anything is not good.

That aside, I said from the get-go that the OP might have to choose between the dog and the boyfriend. I am absolutely in the "not forcing the kid and dog together" camp.
05-09-2014 03:50 AM
sparra Well I'm no therapist but if she doesn't like dogs she doesn't like dogs.....she is 3 years old.....she doesnt need a therapist she needs time to grow up and not have a dog forced upon her......leave the dog at home for now and try again later......who says she should like dogs anyway......sending her to a therapist so the OP can have her dog around seems extreme to me.
05-08-2014 09:53 AM
Stevenzachsmom One of my kids was extremely fearful of dogs. There was no way I would have even considered bringing a dog into our home, when she was so young. When she was 6, we purchased a very well bred Samoyed puppy. We had visited the puppies several times. My daughter did great. If this child is truly that fearful, I think it is a huge mistake to push her into trying to like the dog. Another family child was bitten by a dog. She was equally terrified of dogs, including my poor old GSD, Annie. Annie adored kids, but his child was so frightened of her, that on one visit to my home, she was afraid to come out of my basement. Her mother was also here in my house. She called her mother on her cell phone, from my basement. You just can't rationalize that kind of fear, or make light of it. As Karin stated, the child may need to see a therapist.

As I stated previously, and someone else mentioned - it could be an act, seeking attention. A kid used to visit my house pretty frequently. He claimed to be afraid of Annie. I had to restrict Annie whenever he came over. I finally got tired of it. I said, "Listen, Annie lives here. She isn't going to hurt you. It isn't fair to lock her up every time you come over." Guess what? He was suddenly not afraid of Annie anymore.

This is not an easy fix. You need to be sensitive to the needs of the child and the dog. I know people are saying put the dog in a crate, have the kid feed treats, blah, blah, blah. I see the dog trapped in the crate, while the kid is screaming and crying - freaked out kid, freaked out dog. I wouldn't do it. No way!
05-08-2014 09:21 AM
DutchKarin Another option is to work with a child therapist who specializes in child therapy and could help with a program of desensitizing the child to her fears. Go slow, the child needs to gain confidence slowly especially if she had a traumatic event "years ago"... this could be pediatric PTSD. It isn't about logic... Nova is a nice dog etc... it is about this child's feeling and experience of threat in her body. I would consult a therapist.

But I am a therapist too! ;-)
05-08-2014 09:12 AM
Michele Maxcy
Originally Posted by mandiah89 View Post
Hi everyone!

Its been a while since I have posted or have even visited the site. I have a 6 month old pure bred red nose pit bull named Nova and she has been such a great help in dealing with the death of Penny.

Nova is such a wonderful dog. Honestly the best pup I have had. She is so calm and loving and extreamly smart. Except I have run into a snag.

My boyfriends daughter is terrified of dogs. She is 3 years old. Anytime Nova is around she runs around screaming and crying. Now Nova has never been excitted around her or tried to jump or anything like that (she is so docile around kids its amazing!) yet his daughter wont have it. Now I have been spending most of my time at his house which means I have been leaving Nova at home and going back and forth several times to spend some time with her and let her out ect. But its still not fair to Nova to be left alone all the time and I would love to be able to have her over there or them over here without me having to lock her up or keep her at home.

How do I get this 3 year old child to like Nova? I guess she had a bad experience with dogs about a year ago and she has been scared ever since. I just dont know how to get her to like Nova and not be afraid of her.

Any ideas?

Thanks!! btw added some photos of Nova
My grandson was afraid of dogs. He is now three. We had a black lab when he was born. It took until last summer that he finally would play outside with our lab side by side. (Of course under my supervision) He still wasn't touching her but no longer afraid. What I did to help him get over his fear was use a baby gate to separate the two. They could always see each other. They still had interaction meaning my grandson with me holding him would give the dog a treat, play ball with the dog etc. Now we have a 13 month old female german shepherd. She was re-homed to us at 9 months old. My grandson was not really afraid of her but I used the same tactic when they interacted - baby gate to separate etc. Yesterday my grandson now 3 asked if Willow (my female shepherd ) could be loose outside and play with us.) I said are you sure. He said yes. Started with him in my arms to see how it would go. After a few min. both were playing ball, Willow was following him around the yard. She would sit for him on his command etc. We played for 45 min. Lots of fun for both. (I babysit my grandson every Wednesday all day). I took it really slow kept things under my control. This worked well for me. Maybe your boyfriend could be involved with this kind of interaction. Very slowly getting his daughter use to your dog.
05-08-2014 01:11 AM
wolfy dog I am taking this from another angle. Is the kid getting too much attention for this behavior maybe? I know it is an assumption but she could easily use the fear for getting attention as she now has a competitor: you.
I have personally known a child that acted afraid of dogs only when her parents were present. When I walked her and my dog I took a no-nonsense approach and it was fine.
05-08-2014 12:19 AM
KayDub You've already got great advice there. I would go with trying what has already been said and if it doesn't work you may have to go with what stevenzachsmom has said. You can't really force either the dog or the child & a 3 year old will never be reasoned with it's where the old tag line of terrible threes comes from lol. You will just have to work with the child to show her not all dogs are bad dogs that some are very lovable get her acclimated with the dog in a crate & such to where she's not so terrified like gsdsar said letting her feed treats. Then when she's not so horribly terrified of the dog running around show her some fun games like fetching.
My friends daughter was the same age before she ever met my dog the first dog she had actually been around. My dog loves to fetch i showed her that she could throw the ball & my dog would retrieve bringing it right back. She loved it they spent hours doing it from there it moved on to her clipping hair bows on my dog hugging and kissing her so forth. Immediately after they moved out of my house her daughter had to have a dog of her own. She's now five & a huge dog lover. So it's possible to turn around some scared children.
05-08-2014 12:07 AM
Lauri & The Gang I would bring a crate over to the boyfriends house and have Nova in the crate when the daughter is around. I would buy dress-up things for both the daughter AND the dog. Take them both out for ice cream.

You CAN teach the 3 year old to not be afraid of dogs but it's like teaching a puppy - it takes time and patience. As long as the child isn't hurting Nova and as long as the running and screaming isn't scaring Nova I say just be patient.
05-07-2014 09:42 PM
Stevenzachsmom Honestly? You may have to choose between your boyfriend and your dog. The child isn't going away. She is only 3 years old. You can't really reason with her. Subjecting a puppy to a child who is running around screaming and crying is grossly unfair. The child may be deathly afraid of the dog, or it may be a big act. I have seen both with kids. Having that child around your puppy will have a negative impact on him. Please proceed cautiously with any interactions.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome