Seriously, how to socialize your dog to be around children when you have none? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Seriously, how to socialize your dog to be around children when you have none?

This is an issue for us. I have no young children and there are none in my family, other than my nephew, but he's only 18 months and lives several hours away. Result is Bailey is never around any kids.

We go to the city park often and just sit and watch everyone. He does not give a HOOT about a trillion kids running by, walking, on skateboards, on little bikes with noisy training wheels. We've worked up to getting just feet from the trail and no reaction from him on those kids.

Yet, for example, tonight my neighbors must have had their grandchildren over and they were little kids - between 2 - 4 I'd guess, and they were riding trikes and such. They're my only neighbors and they're a good 50 foot away. Yet Bailey saw them and ran right to the yard boundary, on full alert, wanting very much to go over there. He tried. I had to work kind of hard to call him back over. (no fence). He barked at them a couple of times.

So I went and got a leash and we went back over and walked the boundary. Sat down for a few minutes, just let the kids romp around. No reaction from Bailey AT ALL once on leash. Huh? Exactly like he has no reaction at the city park when on leash watching them run all over the place.

What the heck? What a disconnect? Why?

I'd love to hear from those who had to work somehow, some way to get their dogs to be accepting and non-threatening with kids when you don't have any for daily/often exposure. Those of you who do not have that exposure, but whose dogs don't care, don't count.

Last edited by chelle; 10-07-2011 at 08:13 PM.
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 08:42 PM
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Sounds like a good reason to have a kid to me... The wife and I practice all the time.

Sorry OP, can't really help. We have a 3 year old, so our pup gets more than her fill of kids and kid crazies... I would recommend taking them to where the kids are, but you're already doing that.

Maybe set up a theme park in your backyard, and give away candy... Worked for Michael Jackson.

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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 09:01 PM
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Maybe your dog reacted to the neighbor's guests (children) because you were at home, it was protection. Also with my dog, anyone can walk or ride a bike by/past my dog, but she reacts differently when she perceives they are coming directly towards her (a threat).

We are in your situation, no young kids around to socialize with the dog. We don't take risks and do not let children pet our dog. She has a high prey drive - I don't think she knows the difference between a child or a bird or a squirrel. She has many dog and adult friends so I've given up on the kids. Her youngest friend is a 13 year old boy she met at 12 weeks old. He can wrestle her to the ground and our dog won't care.

Honestly, do you think any parent of a young child would be willing to take a risk with their kid being around a dog of unknown temperament?
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 09:04 PM
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I don't. I don't like being around kids, so how can I hold my dogs to a higher standard than myself? We're all misanthropes together.


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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 10:01 PM
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No kids when Daisy was young. She does well w/ kids if they don't run or run and scream because then her prey drive kicks in.Try finding a toddler who doesnt. I have to say if you dont socialize and work on exposure it is really hard when they are older. I took Daisy to puppy play and the lady who owned it had her kids and a neice there. Her niece maybe 4 was crying cause her mom said they had to leave,Daisy licked her face and was gentle,the owner who is a trainer helped me stay calm and not freak Daisy out. Daisy had some other behavioral issues so group classes were out and I could not afford individual training sessions.Daisy is a happy girl but she has missed doing alot of things due to not handling kids well. I guess I just think now socialization,exposure to kids ,loud noises all protect the dog so they are able to handle those unexpected events .
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Honestly, do you think any parent of a young child would be willing to take a risk with their kid being around a dog of unknown temperament?
Oh no, of course not. I wouldn't expect that of anyone.

I hate to give up on the idea of no young kids... keeping him away forever, etc... I'm doing all I can in terms of exposure and I'm flabbergasted at how it is all good and well at the park on leash, or even in my own yard on leash, but other circumstances are no good.

I guess I can't figure out what the set-off is.

We can walk thru Petco, little kids all over the place, nothing. (Of course he's very distracted..)

I can't believe it is guarding the home just yet. Isn't he too young for that?? Just when do those instincts honestly set in?

Bailey is a really sweet boy. His tail wags so hard it'll knock over a wall. I just don't "get it."
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 10:33 PM
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He is still a puppy so don't give up just yet. I have children but I am going to put my two cents in anyhow. I am willing to bet that at the park, since you say Bailey appears to be comfortable around children there, that he would not bite a child at the park. Kids just love puppies, whenever I take my dog out, especially when he was a puppy kids would just stare at him-when you see the kids staring at him-ask if they'd like to pet him (I have done this with my lab and no parent has ever said no) and sometimes a parent will ask me if it's ok if their child pets my dog-my point is allow children to pet him, as long as you know that he won't bite them. The time is now, when he is older-it may not be possible for him to learn to like kids.

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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 10:40 PM
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Why don't you call a daycare, a small one maybe or a pre-school, (montessori's are private) and ask if you can bring him for "show and tell"?

I taught a class at our elementary for years with my therapy labrador. Even though I don't have kids there anymore, and we lost the lab last spring and now have Rocket the pup, the teacher in charge of it called me and asked if I'd bring Rocket. I teach them safety issues, how to behave around dogs, especially dogs not their own, and show them how to safely pet and give treats. Even my cats go, walking into the school on their own leash, lol

That would be a cool idea. I can pm you info if you want.
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Germanshepherdlova View Post
He is still a puppy so don't give up just yet. I have children but I am going to put my two cents in anyhow. I am willing to bet that at the park, since you say Bailey appears to be comfortable around children there, that he would not bite a child at the park. Kids just love puppies, whenever I take my dog out, especially when he was a puppy kids would just stare at him-when you see the kids staring at him-ask if they'd like to pet him (I have done this with my lab and no parent has ever said no) and sometimes a parent will ask me if it's ok if their child pets my dog-my point is allow children to pet him, as long as you know that he won't bite them. The time is now, when he is older-it may not be possible for him to learn to like kids.
He does appear to be comfortable, even bored?! (We're often just sitting there. We'll do a little walking work first, etc and then we just sit and watch the world go by. Actually prior to the park visit, we've done some good running, so he's a bit on the tired/mellow side.)

When older kids (age 8+ or so?) want to approach, with parent permission, I give the kid the treat and they come up with the treat and it's just fine. He takes the treats very gently and no problem at all. He would seem to have a height requirement????????? Ie, if they're 8'ish years old, they're likely at least four foot and they are not scary... especially with treats... but god forbid a toddler do the same thing. Now WHY is a TODDLER a scary thing?

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Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Why don't you call a daycare, a small one maybe or a pre-school, (montessori's are private) and ask if you can bring him for "show and tell"?
He isn't ready for such a thing, (or maybe I'm not) but it gives me ideas... maybe I should just go to a daycare and sit in the car while the wee bitty ones come out,,, a starting point, maybe.

Mr Bails has never bitten anything or anyone... but it isn't something I can find out about the hard way.

We really just have to get over this issue. I can't own a dog that I have to worry about when it comes to kids. I'm going to be a grandma sometime in the next few? years. We just can't have this.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 10-07-2011, 11:20 PM
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Well, I meant, mostly for a "petting session", LOL. You're right...maybe just parking out in front, and standing to the side, and letting the parents decide if they want their child to pet him?

Did I miss something about him not liking children? I thought he just hadn't been around many.
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