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Old 01-06-2012, 09:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Puppy biting, chasing, herding

My 9 week old GSD, Maxie, won't stop going after my 7 yo autistic son. We got the dog to start the training as a search and rescue/service dog for my son. Unfortunately, since he is autistic, it is very difficult to get him to understand that this is normal play behavior. Whenever Maxie starts to nip, my son tries to run away. Maxie, I believe wanting to play with my son, grabs his pants leg and won't let go.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want my son, let alone my 4 yo daughter, to fear this dog. I want them to love it and respect it, and understand that Maxie will help and protect them when he gets older, and trained.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My 9 week old GSD, Maxie, won't stop going after my 7 yo autistic son. We got the dog to start the training as a search and rescue/service dog for my son. Unfortunately, since he is autistic, it is very difficult to get him to understand that this is normal play behavior. Whenever Maxie starts to nip, my son tries to run away. Maxie, I believe wanting to play with my son, grabs his pants leg and won't let go.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want my son, let alone my 4 yo daughter, to fear this dog. I want them to love it and respect it, and understand that Maxie will help and protect them when he gets older, and trained.
You may want to start a new thread so that you will get more advice. My personal advice (opinion) .... I would keep the new pup tethered to you or attached to a small lead in the house so that you have control over her or can easily gain it at anytime. I would not have the pup who is doing what comes natural to them at this age unsupervised around your children. Even not dealing with the autistic issue.....I would not allow my puppy to nip at/ jump at my children. They don't react well and it is a bad habit now and will be a horrible trait in a larger dog.
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Old 01-06-2012, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by marbeen View Post
My 9 week old GSD, Maxie, won't stop going after my 7 yo autistic son. We got the dog to start the training as a search and rescue/service dog for my son. Unfortunately, since he is autistic, it is very difficult to get him to understand that this is normal play behavior. Whenever Maxie starts to nip, my son tries to run away. Maxie, I believe wanting to play with my son, grabs his pants leg and won't let go.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want my son, let alone my 4 yo daughter, to fear this dog. I want them to love it and respect it, and understand that Maxie will help and protect them when he gets older, and trained.
marbeen, any kids can't really be expected to train or be more than a plaything for most of our GSD pups. Our pups will look at them as playmates and since they bite/wrestle and chase their littermates, they will NATURALLY do the same with your kids.

Truthfully, with such young kids, adding a puppy is almost exactly as if you just gave birth to another 2 yr old baby (can you do that? ) So the TIME sucking that involves, management of the other kids plus a new child (puppy) has to be considered. With the addition of this 'new' child not being able to be worked with the same as the old!

Time time time time time is what this is about. So glad to know you had so much free time with the 2 kids that it was going to be an easy addition to add the puppy plus the search and rescue/service dog training!

Because now how you manage all that previous 'free' time is key. You'll need to remove the puppy from the house and go on long walks. Socialization times in new places. Car rides. Puppy classes will be a huge help. Working with your local search and rescue groups (our trains all day Sunday so it really helps wear the pups out) and whoever is helping with the service dog training will also be a huge help. Visit all your friends and family with the new puppy to get it out and about.

Is the breeder still close? You can take the puppy back for playdates with mom and help with training there too.

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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MaggieRoseLee,

Thanks for the advice. I talked with the breeder (who will also do the training starting on the 28th of January) and he said the same thing. This is normal behavior. Maxie wants my son to be on equal terms and we have to break him of that by a firm "NO" and remove him from my son's pant leg. Also, we will be working with my son, as will his therapists, on how to play with the dog (under our direct supervision of course) so Maxie learns that my son is the boss and not the dog.

Also, yes, time is key. I have to still remember he is a baby with the movement of a toddler so he really doesn't know that he is doing wrong.

My wife, who has never owned a pet in her life, is stressing, so part of this will be to teach her on how to work with Maxie and give her the confidence to be the alpha over the dog and not be intimidated by Maxie. that will also take time.

I feel very good that this will all work out and that we are just in the early stages. As Maxie grows up, this too shall pass and he will be a great dog for our family, and a great companion for our son.

Thanks for the help.
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