Barking at Small Children - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Barking at Small Children

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?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 01:12 PM
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I'm looking forward to the responses you get. I'm in a similar situation. My friends' children are grown, so Bailey is not around kids unless we purposefully go try to find them.

We've gone to just sit at the park and other places and it has been good for us. Bailey has come to ignore even kids on skateboards and noisy bikes with training wheels! Yay! But if a small kid gets close, he may bark. With the bigger kids that come close, I can ask them to take some of the kibble I bring and offer it to him and they're friends. You can't ask a little child to do that.... so I'm at a loss there myself.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 01:13 PM
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Oh meant to say, the "LAT" game was suggested to me and it does work... but that doesn't truly address the problem - ie, wanting the dog to actually like smaller kids, not just ignore them.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 09-03-2011, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gracie's My Girl View Post
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.
Under the circumstances, I think it's a good idea to NOT force children to interact with Gracie. She's clearly uncomfortable around them, for whatever reason - hence the barking. Socialization doesn't mean that your puppy has to actually interact with everything or everybody that they encounter, just that they be exposed to a lot of new people/places/things so that they're confident and comfortable in new situations. Socialization is supposed to be a positive experience, and forcing interaction on her if she's fearful or unsure may actually backfire and turn it into a negative experience.

It's wonderful if your dog loves kids, but neutrality towards them is perfectly okay too. Same thing with other dogs, and if fact some people prefer that their dog ignores people or other dogs when they're out in public. With a puppy though, I would continue taking her places, but with absolutely NO pressure to meet anyone up close and personal. YOU do the treating, don't have other people come up to give her treats unless she clearly is interested in meeting them. Better yet, let her approach them, don't let anyone just walk up to her. Stay at a distance where she's calm and happy, and pay attention to your own demeanor too. If you're tense, she'll read that, so keep a smile on your face and use a lot of happy talk, make it FUN.

-Debbie-
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Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
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