GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that their GSD's seem more gentle/careful w/kids, and not so much w/adults? Kodee is in training to become (hopefully) a certified therapy dog. He's almost 9 mos old, and I got him at 7 wks. I have 2, 4, and 6 yr old kids. I have noticed that when other kids give Kodee treats (when we are out socializing) he seems to be more gentle taking treats from little ones than adults. Not that he's aggressive w/adults, but he just seems more "careful" with the little ones.

Then, tonight, I was playing catch w/Kodee in the living room (it's raining outside), and he wasn't outing the ball for me - I was taking it out of his mouth. Then my 6 yr old DD comes out, and Kodee actually drops the ball on the floor and waits for her to pick it up and throw it!!! I thought the first time was a fluke, but he did it four times total, obviously intentionally. I couldn't believe it. I'm so impressed w/him - he just loves his kiddos.

Anyone else noticed this type of behavior???
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 10:37 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

Oh yeah, Morgan loves her booda tug. When I play with her, it's shake, twist and rip my arm out. When my kids (4 1/2 and 3) play with her, she's so gentle. She gives it to them and gently nudges them. Me, she smacks me with the tug!

Ball is a different story, the kids all play T ball and hockey so she's not giving them her ball, knows she might not get it back.

We did have a touch of not so careful today. The twins were up for a nap and I asked my oldest to put on his coat and boots so we could go outside. He goes towards the mudroom and Morgan jumped on him in her excitement to play outside. He's tough, he didn't go over, he just called her a bad dog!


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 10:41 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

I know what you mean. Reich is fantastic with kids. I have 3 boys, ages 7,6, and 4...and she just loves them to pieces. When we're out she does her 'head check and sniff' every 5 minutes.

She'll rough play with me if I initiate it, but rolls belly up and refuses to with them.

It's like they know little kids need special treatment. Any toddler can waddle right up and pet her, but she is not as comfortable or happy with adults -especially men- attempting the same.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-09-2008, 11:40 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

With my first GSD, I use to joke that if I put her in the middle of a field and I stood at one end and put a child at the other end, she would go to the child every time. She absolutely loved children and was always very gentle around them.

I have a series of pictures with my niece climbing on her when she was around a year old and in every picture the only part of Jasmine that moved was her head.

She would allow my friend's daughter to take her bone right out of her mouth. She would let me do this, but she wouldn't let any other adult.

While visiting friends and family for the holidays with Jasmine, I stopped by the house of one of my childhood friends who had just recently had a baby. She is a big animal lover so had no problems with me stopping by with Jazy. We were sitting on the floor with her son laying on a blanket when the door bell rang. Jasmine jumped up to run to the door and I was afraid that she would step on the baby, but you could tell that she was very careful as to where she put her feet. After my friend answered the door, Jasmine came back and stood over the baby. At first I could not figure out what she was doing, but then I realized that she was either protecting the baby from the new person at the door that she did not know or was standing over the baby so that no one could step on him. Mind you she had been around this child for just an hour and she was already protecting him from possible harm.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 09:28 AM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

Oh yes!!! It's like they're hard-wired to be protective of and gentle to children - more so than any other breed I've met.

My two will let any child do anything to them, Oskar even whines if we're out and about and he can't get to go visit each child he sees. And Gaia ... earlier this year I found a video my husband had taken of Gaia a couple months after she came home to us, with our then 7 month old baby ... Gaia was gnawing on one end of a foot-long rawhide bone and the baby was gnawing on the other - GAH!!! I asked him how far his head was buried in his nethers and he replied what's to worry? She even let the baby take the bone from her completely ... thank goodness we have AWESOME dogs!

My G'ma has a GSD named Lex who was aggressive; he went thru several screen doors to bark at people arriving at her house - especially men. However all of the grandchildren had nothing to fear from him; dress him up, have him perform tricks, little ones pulling on his tail to stand ... if it became too much he just walked away - but if a kid told him to stay when he started to walk he would, and he'd just take whatever was being dished out.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 12:15 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

I've had GSD's that I would not allow too close to children because I know how rough & annoying little children can be.

Max is very patient and is noticably more gentle with my toddler than he is with DF (or any other men for that matter).
For some reason he thinks it's OK to jump & be rough with guys.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 01:05 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

They are afterall shepherds. They do indeed understand the concept of a vulnerable child just as they would a young lamb for example. I've grown up with many GSDs. As many know my father bred and trained them long before I came into this world. The last of five children the pattern was well in play by the time I was crawling around. My father's old prime stud, Rex was my babysitter quite often. If I was on the sidewalk and started to wander too close to the street (even though we lived on a sleepy road) Rex would walk between me and the curb and push me back on the sidewalk. My earliest memories are of curling up with him on the floor and falling asleep on his furry side. He was also my first understanding of loss. I remember the day he died as clear as yesterday and I was only 3. Yes, they know children well. I've never met one yet that didn't unless they were a pup and so a child themselves, but even then they were much more mindful than other pups.
post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 01:54 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

Got to agree. Bravo had, to the best of our knowledge, never met a child before we adopted him but the first time he met a toddler he went into guardian mode; and this was at a dog park with twenty or more dogs playing around a 2 acre lake, but he just sat in front of the kids stroller for 15 minutes (after chasing off a terrier that tried to get into the stroller!)

When we went to look over the house we were going to rent in Jacksonville, he spent the whole time monitoring our landlords grandson and following him around the house.

Lastly, we were staying with friends at their beach house one New Years and some of their family stopped by for a couple of days. This group included a 4 year old girl who, whenever she went near the stairs (the living room, kitchen etc are on the second floor) found herself cut off by a big, black GSD! He would sit by the stairs and just watch her.

So yes, I have to agree that there is a definite genetic trait that predisposes this breed to be careful and watchful aroung young ones and the vunerable.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 10:50 PM
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Re: GSD's and kids vs. GSD's and adults?

My Butch can sometimes be a terror to walk. We have a wagon that he pulls my 2 boys (5 and 3) around in with a harness, so whenever we walk him on the leash he pulls pretty hard. I am a fairly big man and it can sometimes be strenuous for me to hold him on leash (we're working on this). We took him and my boys to the local playground today and he was doing his usual pulling on the leash. My 3 year old son wanted to walk him, and I was a little unsure but decided to let him try it. There was enough slack in that leash to play jump rope. Wherever Noah, my son, went Butch was right beside him.
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