What do you expect when a child runs at your dog? - Page 7 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #61 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Having not read any farther than your OP: I live in a super dog-friendly area, so she can go lots of places with me. We have great luck with places like hardware stores and a few taprooms I've identified, and less-good luck with certain taprooms (drunk parents + unsupervised kids = bad) or mall walking type things. I stopped going to the places in the latter category for the most part, because without fail, she gets rushed by some kid, and it isn't worth the risk. That being said, a free range toddler once rushed her left side during an outdoor training class when we were doing heeling exercises and I had no time or room to get out of the way. I yelled at the kid just to stop her cold.



My dog's reaction is basically nothing; she trusts me to handle it. If I have time, I will body block. If I don't have time to do anything but throw my voice, I will yell at kids. I'm not shouting abuse or anything, just using the tone of my voice to startle them and buying myself time to turn or stop them. Basically, though, I raise my voice to strange children in public a lot more than I ever thought anyone should. Surprisingly no parent has ever reacted to this. It almost makes me sad because they are invariably paying so little attention to their kid that they have no idea the kid just tried to rush a dog four times its size OR that they got yelled at by a strange lady for doing so.



My dog is kept close and controlled and I keep an eye on her at all times - but I would be very surprised if she ever reacted. At this point in our relationship, she understands that I will handle whatever happens and she will wait for me to do it.


I wish that method worked with the kid who approached Ryka. The following day she did the same thing, and the stern voice and body language did nothing to stop the kid. Ryka had zero reaction that time and I never let the kid get close by choosing to simply turn around and walk away.

Moral of the story is that I never thought Ryka would act aggressively towards a child until she did. It was a bad combination of my stress and the child not respecting boundaries.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.

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post #62 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:17 PM
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I wish that method worked with the kid who approached Ryka. The following day she did the same thing, and the stern voice and body language did nothing to stop the kid. Ryka had zero reaction that time and I never let the kid get close by choosing to simply turn around and walk away.

Moral of the story is that I never thought Ryka would act aggressively towards a child until she did. It was a bad combination of my stress and the child not respecting boundaries.
How stressful. I'm so sorry. I'd say parents need to educate their kids - and really, they should - but so many of the adults I see don't know the right way to approach a dog either. The difference is that most of them have the impulse control to stop and ask me - but they can't teach their kids what they haven't learned themselves.

It's a tough line to walk. I require my dog to handle herself around kids and likely couldn't keep a dog who wouldn't, but I live in a densely populated urban area with a ton of young families. I've had to learn a good, solid facade of ridiculous confidence; if I'm squared up and exuding authoritative energy, I can stop a kid in his/her tracks. I'm always surprised by how well it works, but something about me must make them not want to mess with me. It isn't about hating kids or being mean for fun. It's not mean. It's about using what you have in the moment to protect the safety of everyone involved.
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post #63 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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Puberty- that's the line for most dogs in my experience, so it'll vary kid to kid. But around age 11-13 is generally ballpark.
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post #64 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-14-2019, 06:12 PM
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Happened to us this weekend!

Went for a hike on Mother's Day, we passed another family with a chocolate lab, mom, dad, 2 teen boys and a little girl. Little girl was the last in line and she made a run for Rumo! Mom reached out and caught her arm just in time - even as I was saying, "Please do not pet him."

I learned that sometimes little kids who have dogs of their own, are actually the boldest.
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post #65 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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How stressful. I'm so sorry. I'd say parents need to educate their kids - and really, they should - but so many of the adults I see don't know the right way to approach a dog either. The difference is that most of them have the impulse control to stop and ask me - but they can't teach their kids what they haven't learned themselves.

It's a tough line to walk. I require my dog to handle herself around kids and likely couldn't keep a dog who wouldn't, but I live in a densely populated urban area with a ton of young families. I've had to learn a good, solid facade of ridiculous confidence; if I'm squared up and exuding authoritative energy, I can stop a kid in his/her tracks. I'm always surprised by how well it works, but something about me must make them not want to mess with me. It isn't about hating kids or being mean for fun. It's not mean. It's about using what you have in the moment to protect the safety of everyone involved.
Honestly, normally I can too. I work as a teacher, so being stern with children definitely isn't anything new to me. But I don't even understand what was going through this girl's head. She had zero regard for what I said or the attitude I was protruding - just 100% her desire to try and pet my dog despite what had happened previously. Absolutely bonkers to me.

I think with more experience and time I'll get much better with it as you are. Ryka has kind of always been seen in our family as the social, happy to interact with others kind of dog after she's done her sniffing and okay-ed them in her head. Just yesterday an old man wanted to pet her, and I was a bit wary because of what happened. But Ryka saw him, did her introductory sniff, and then wiggled her butt to demand pets and kisses after I gave permission. His wife came out to say hello, and Ryka wouldn't stop licking her face and nuzzling their hands.

So all I can think of is that really, my dog reacted based on my stress and because of how forward the girl was. My body and vocal signals were screaming, "don't come any closer", as were the vocalization of my sister-in-law, and because the girl didn't stop Ryka felt like she had to act on it. I don't want her to do that, so I've been really working on encouraging her to let me handle things since then. We have, however, realized that she's the kind of dog in sport that works harder when the handler comes at her more aggressively/head on while I'm with her, and only gives mediocre work when it's just general prey work. So I think it's a personality trait I need to be aware of and manage appropriately from here on out.

That's why I appreciate this forum so much. Lots to learn from lots of perspectives, and others' experiences are great learning tools.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.

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post #66 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 03:32 AM
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and the poor dog/owner is always at fault=kids need to be punished and stupid people slapped. ALL DOGS BITE SOMETIME IN THEIR SHORT LIVES

No, not all dogs bite sometimes in their short lives. Other than puppy-teething, many dogs never bite a soul.
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post #67 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-15-2019, 08:37 AM
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I think my old girl is as safe as they come, but I still physically intercepted a lot of charging children. These days if anyone, esp children wants to pet her I make sure and explain that she doesn't hear or see that well anymore and we need to go slow and be sure she knows what's going on. I can't imagine her biting even if a kid ran up and surprised her but I also realize she is getting old and nothing is as it once was.

My white dog would definitely not take it kindly if a kid ran up on him. Interestingly most of them don't try to with him. But he is a big, powerful dog and he never gives any indication that he wants people to approach or pet him ( because he doesn't), where my girl has been known to make twinkly eyes at people and they sometimes catch her wavelength even if she hasn't even wagged her tail, she just gazes at them and they know. He does not make those twinkly, friendly eyes at people for SURE.
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post #68 of 68 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 04:25 PM
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Itís very normal. He s defending himself. He doesnít understand itís a child . For him itís a charging object coming towards him. I encounter with my white Swiss Shepard. I usually talk to my dog to distract or calm him. If itís a 2 years old I stand between them so the baby doesnít get to my dog .


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