Child eater! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Child eater!

Our three year old GSD is hostile to children! As of last night, Kana demonstrated aggression towards a child for the third time. No damage yet, one nip that left a mark, but enough that we must correct the behavior. Every incident has been very sudden and without provocation that we can tell. Why this is I do not know. The only thing I can figure is that when she was between three and six months old, we had a neighbor boy that we caught taunting her and spraying her with the hose over the fence. He did this multiple times. In every other respect she is an outstanding, well behaved girl.
How would you go about correcting this behavior?

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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 09:08 AM
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I am sure you will get a lot of advice on this, but first and foremost you need to stop allowing her around children until you can get this under control. It has happened several times, after the first time she should have been on leash or put away when children are near.

I would recommend looking into a trainer who is very familiar with german shepherds ASAP. I personally wouldn't go at this alone.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Separation

We will have the grandkids quite a bit over the next few months, and we will keep her seperated from them. It is a problem because she will be seperate from the entire family. I worry this will make it worse. I will look into a pro trainer. Never needed one before, but this is a big problem, so it may be time.

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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 09:34 AM
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Aggression towards children is one of the biggest red flags on temperament. Crating or kenneling when the kids are around is absolutely essential. I don't know whether any trainer can ever guarantee they can fix this...

Good luck!

Lee

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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 01:19 PM
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The only thing I can figure is that when she was between three and six months old, we had a neighbor boy that we caught taunting her and spraying her with the hose over the fence. He did this multiple times.
Dogs keep score based on my experience. If he was taunted in that manner I have no doubt that was a contributing factor.

I recall one kid taunting our dog (American Eskimo) with rocks and kicking the fence (verified by neighbours on a few occassions). At the first opportunity (weeks later!!) he bolted out the front door and went straight for a kid that was the same size and happened to be in front of the culprit's house. He went airborn and bit his upper arm good. An innocent child was bitten and my dog was quarantined.

As was suggested, get on this ASAP.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 01:36 PM
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This isn't something you can fix, but it is something you can manage. You can teach your dog to leave the kids alone, but only so long as the dog is right next to you and preferably on leash. Even so, you will never be able to trust the dog around children. Best bet is to crate the dog whenever you have kids over, and to keep the kids away from the crated dog so the dog isn't taunted.

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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfstraum View Post
Aggression towards children is one of the biggest red flags on temperament. Crating or kenneling when the kids are around is absolutely essential. I don't know whether any trainer can ever guarantee they can fix this...

Good luck!

Lee
I agree with this. I would also not get to hung up on the cause. The dog is the way it is now.

I had a BC rescue that bit one of my son's friends and later someone else.
Managing a dog like that is time consuming and a constant worry.

We tried two behaviorists and trainers but I never trusted that dog.

I made up my mind I would never put myself or family through that again.
It's also a tremendous liability.

There are those who will work with dogs like this and manage them for life.
It's a choice though, and not to be taken lightly.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 02:18 PM
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Philip - because many people come on to this forum to learn, can you describe what happened when your dog bit the child?

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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 02:30 PM
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You have grand children. Which, I am guessing, all of your children are out of the house or at least adults?

If this dog is fine in every other way, just build her a nice kennel area in your basement or garage, or yard. Something you can lock. And put her there when the kids come over. If you are likely to go where kids are with her use a muzzle. Put a muzzle on her when you take her to the vet, if there are no kids, take it off.

If you feel confident that she can have a great life without kids, give it to her. The rest of the time, she should be fine in her kennel.

Not every dog is a social butterfly. Not every dog is good with kids. Don't teach her protection sports, don't breed her, don't let her bite children, but there is no reason, that with some basic safeguards, you cannot manage her so that she has a very nice life with you, and children are safe.

If you had children living in the home, I think my advice would probably be way different. Even if a dog can be taught to leave your kids alone, your kids will have friends, and friends might not be off-limits -- much more difficult to ensure that everyone remain intact.

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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank everyone!

We do not have any children residing at home, just grandchildren that visit. We are going to keep her away from all children from now on. She is outstanding in every other respect. I do not intend to re-home her as she can be managed. We have a big yard and we can easily keep her from the children. I will get a muzzle and use it when I take her out and about. As far as the incidents and what lead up to them; The first was a small girl that crouched down, stared at her intently and approached. The second was when a 2 year old stepped on her tail. That was the bite. The third last night was out of the blue. The boy, about 4 or 5 was just standing with his hands at his side.

I thank all of you and will continue to monitor the thread for more.

I do not want to give the wrong impression, she is very sweet. She is aloof with strangers, appropriately aggresive towards intruders without biting or attacking as long as they make no aggresive moves toward them or the family, very affectionate with the family and velcro when it comes to me.

"Dogs were put on Earth to demonstrate unconditional love, cats are here to teach us we aren't that **** important"

Philip Perkins
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