We have been busy socializing Gracie, who is 17 weeks, since she was 12 weeks. We have been to lots of places and she has gotten to meet all kinds of people. I'm proud of her progress, but we have an issue.
She will bark at small children. For example, we were sitting on a bench in front of the library two days ago. We were near the door, but still far away from it to give Gracie plenty of space. A little boy and his mother walked by to go into the library. Gracie began to bark so loudly. The child didn't do anything that I could see to provoke this.
When she barks, I do my best to redirect her attention.
This does not happen all of the time though. Yesterday, three children went running by screaming through Petco. While Gracie perked up and watched them intently as they ran by, she did not bark.
A huge thing that I have noticed when we are out socializing Gracie is that children will not come near her at all. Any children that have tried to approach her are instantly redirected by their parents. I am at a loss about what to do because I cannot force children to interact with Gracie.
Her barking is a very on/off behaivor. I would love to be able to work with her so that she stops it. Any thoughts on what I could do? Is this normal puppy behaivor?