Big pup, Prey drive and Kids - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 08:18 AM Thread Starter
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When I first came to this forum in March, my boy was about 8 months, 65lb and the issue that I was having was him jumping and nipping at people. The forum propelled me to find a trainer, which I did and I followed through.

He is now 14 months, 26" and 82lb. Still a pup. He rarely jumps and nips at adults anymore, he'll remain calm if someone approaches and pets him (which was NOT easy to accomplish by the way,) that's the good news. Bad news... He still jumps and nip at kids, and only kids.

How do I put this... I'm in my 20s, I live solo, none of my friends have kids. I'm just not in any social circles that include kids. Therefore, my dog is not exposed to kids.

The only kid that he's been intimately exposed to/socialised with was with my 4 year-old beloved nephew, who visited from Amsterdam, Holland. He and my cousins (his parents) stayed in my one-bedroom apartment for a week last summer. It was quite nerve-wrecking, to be perfectly honest. But I remained calm and taught my dog from the start, that by all means my nephew is OFF limit, if he jumps on my nephew, game over, time out. Surprisingly, he behaved so well that even when my nephew runs around he will either just ignore him or he would chase but ALWAYS stopped when my nephew stopped and did not nip my nephew at all. And he was very protective of him; nephew fell down, he barked and freaked out, nephew ran by himself, he barked until he'd come back. I was astounded and proud of my boy to say the least. Just to add, my nephew was a squeaky, jumpy oh-so-cute boy like a normal toddler. But my dog let my nephew pet him, listens to my nephew when he tells my dog to sit, my nephew even sleeps on leans on my dog (I always watch my dog's body language, he was always relaxed when my nephew does this.) My dog jumped and tried to nip my nephew the 1st few times during introduction, but boy, did I get angry at my dog and I think he really understood that by no means he was allowed to do that with my nephew. I suppose my dog behaved well because he saw my niece as 'part of the pack' and respected him PLUS the repetitions of what's ok and what's not ok (correction) when my dog was around my nephew were consistent. So that's that.

But when we're out on our daily walk, walk in crowded public places, dog park, I could see that he gets excited when he sees kids. And kids get either scared or excited when they see my dog. Bad, bad combination. It's as if he sees kids other than my nephew as preys or toys. One time I was walking my dog in the neighbourhood, this kid, 'Doggo!!!' ran from her parent, approached my dog from the front, and tried to pet my dog. My dog jumped and almost nipped at her face, in a playful way, since most kids' face are almost adjacent to my dog's face. The kid cried. And I don't even know why I was the one apologising to the parent. With adults my dog is now easy to correct. But when he's around kids, his excitement just goes up so quick that I don't know how to control it yet.

Dog parks rule on kids at big dog areas: No kids under 12 years old are to roam by themselves, they have to be by the parents' side. Obviously people don't listen and dogs always get blamed.
PLEASE NO DISCUSSION ON DOG PARKS OK OR NOT, it's getting way too old and frankly it's always the same arguments and it tends to derail the whole thread and it gets really annoyingly counter productive. I'm just sharing as a means of finding a solution.

The approaches I've made on this issue:
1. Avoid kids at all cost
2. Let kids pet my dog when my dog is super duper ultra tired
3. Redirect with the 'look at me' command or with a toy

Obviously those 3 are not always do-able. The biggest problem with this issue is the fact that I'm not able to consistently train him how to behave around kids since, well, our lives are not exposed to kids daily. And with all due respect, I don't believe there's a dog training class with kid mannequins or whatever as pawns of training.

Next month, my new trainer and I are going to start using E-collar. For recall, and for one more thing: staying away from an object.

MY QUESTIONS:
1. How in the world could I train him consistently when we're not exposed to the trigger on a daily basis?
2. Anyone has experience/articles/videos on E-collar training to teach your dog to stay away from an object? I would really like to here it.

As always, I appreciate it.
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
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Pictures of my sweetest boy...
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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 09:16 AM
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I know you don't want to "discuss" dog parks overall..which is fine. However it bears mentioning here..do not bring your dog to dog parks or places where children are allowed to run around freely until (and if) you get this under control.

So while yes the parents at the dog parks should be in control of their kids "off leash", you too have an equal responsibility to be in control of your dog off leash. Just to put it in comparative terms.

If something happens (and a playful nip or jump from an 86 pound GSD can be devastating to a young child...like, it's their face..and their eyes), it is all on you. So definitely hit the pause button on the dog park or any off leash activities or busy parks at all.

When you have adults willing to work on issues with you with your dog, great. But there is really no fair or safe way to proof them around small children.

What I would do, if I were you...book a block of privates with your trainer and go out and about on lead and let him assess the situation and tell you how to correct the behavior..if it can be corrected. Let him guide you and follow his instructions/recommendations to the letter. Some dogs just are never trustworthy around small children. Not saying this is the case here, just accept that it is a possibility.

Kids are end game. It doesn't matter if a kid runs up to your dog out of control. Regardless of whose fault it really is..society will find you at fault for having a dog that jumps on/nips/scratches a wayward toddler. Doesn't matter if that is fair or not, it just matters that it "is".

So you have a responsibility to avoid kids for now and work with a trainer to get skilled tips on how to grab his focus and quickly walk away. If his jumping and face nipping reactions to that are not fixable you have an absolute obligation to not take him around places where he will encounter lots of kids, like parks, Lowes and other stores that allow pets, etc. If he does not get to the point where he would not nip at a 5 year old who runs up and pats his butt (it happens all the time) then don't bring him to those places at all. You can't control how society manages their kids in public, you can only control how you manage your dog. It is infuriating when parents lose track of their kid and they get in your dog's face..nonetheless if your dog can't handle that, avoid situations like pet friendly stores and playgrounds where that has a higher chance of happening.

Good luck. He sure is a handsome boy. And what he is doing is totally common..I'm not saying he can't be trained out of it...but you need to keep things as safe as possible until then.
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 09:45 AM
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First off, good job being fully aware of this issue and trying to do everything you can to help correct it. Most training if not all doesn't require an E-collar, however, I think this is a case where it can be a really useful tool either for redirection or correction. It would be useful if you had situations for training where you could introduce a kid safely to your pup and work on the correct behaviors in a controlled setting with your trainer vs just random scenarios with strangers kids coming up to your dog. I understand this may be hard since you said you do not have many friends with kids. A muzzle could be useful for some things in this case just for safety with the nipping. Muzzles get a bad wrap but can be a great tool. For now and until the problem really gets worked on maybe you could have a bold DO NOT PET collar or harness or an ASK BEFORE PETTING patch just to deter parents allowing their children to do so. You may need to avoid places where you could run into kids until this gets worked on or he takes commands better from you in high excitement situations. He needs to know you are more exciting than them. Good luck!
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 10:55 AM
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It does suck that lots of people don't keep track of their children in public and allow them to approach strange dogs. It's dangerous.


My two are good with kids (one practically drools when he sees children) so the worst I have to worry about is the kid tripping over themselves and getting licked on the ear or cheek. Regardless, I dislike when children I do not know approach me and my dogs. Normally my RBF expression keeps people at bay.


Sometimes, and I've just started this recently, when I see people/kids making their way towards me and my dogs, I make brief eye contact and lead my dogs in the opposite direction. It tends to get the point across for most people, although they give me this upset look like "how could you DENY me a chance to pet a puppy?" *sighs*


I like the idea of booking private lessons and going out in public with your trainer. Hopefully they can spot and tell you how to correct the excitement your dog gets when he sees kids.


I have generally found that "Do Not Pet" patches don't work for some people. As if they cannot read.

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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGloomy View Post
When I first came to this forum in March, my boy was about 8 months, 65lb and the issue that I was having was him jumping and nipping at people. The forum propelled me to find a trainer, which I did and I followed through.

He is now 14 months, 26" and 82lb. Still a pup. He rarely jumps and nips at adults anymore, he'll remain calm if someone approaches and pets him (which was NOT easy to accomplish by the way,) that's the good news. Bad news... He still jumps and nip at kids, and only kids.

How do I put this... I'm in my 20s, I live solo, none of my friends have kids. I'm just not in any social circles that include kids. Therefore, my dog is not exposed to kids.

The only kid that he's been intimately exposed to/socialised with was with my 4 year-old beloved nephew, who visited from Amsterdam, Holland. He and my cousins (his parents) stayed in my one-bedroom apartment for a week last summer. It was quite nerve-wrecking, to be perfectly honest. But I remained calm and taught my dog from the start, that by all means my nephew is OFF limit, if he jumps on my nephew, game over, time out. Surprisingly, he behaved so well that even when my nephew runs around he will either just ignore him or he would chase but ALWAYS stopped when my nephew stopped and did not nip my nephew at all. And he was very protective of him; nephew fell down, he barked and freaked out, nephew ran by himself, he barked until he'd come back. I was astounded and proud of my boy to say the least. Just to add, my nephew was a squeaky, jumpy oh-so-cute boy like a normal toddler. But my dog let my nephew pet him, listens to my nephew when he tells my dog to sit, my nephew even sleeps on leans on my dog (I always watch my dog's body language, he was always relaxed when my nephew does this.) My dog jumped and tried to nip my nephew the 1st few times during introduction, but boy, did I get angry at my dog and I think he really understood that by no means he was allowed to do that with my nephew. I suppose my dog behaved well because he saw my niece as 'part of the pack' and respected him PLUS the repetitions of what's ok and what's not ok (correction) when my dog was around my nephew were consistent. So that's that.

But when we're out on our daily walk, walk in crowded public places, dog park, I could see that he gets excited when he sees kids. And kids get either scared or excited when they see my dog. Bad, bad combination. It's as if he sees kids other than my nephew as preys or toys. One time I was walking my dog in the neighbourhood, this kid, 'Doggo!!!' ran from her parent, approached my dog from the front, and tried to pet my dog. My dog jumped and almost nipped at her face, in a playful way, since most kids' face are almost adjacent to my dog's face. The kid cried. And I don't even know why I was the one apologising to the parent. With adults my dog is now easy to correct. But when he's around kids, his excitement just goes up so quick that I don't know how to control it yet.

Dog parks rule on kids at big dog areas: No kids under 12 years old are to roam by themselves, they have to be by the parents' side. Obviously people don't listen and dogs always get blamed.
PLEASE NO DISCUSSION ON DOG PARKS OK OR NOT, it's getting way too old and frankly it's always the same arguments and it tends to derail the whole thread and it gets really annoyingly counter productive. I'm just sharing as a means of finding a solution.

The approaches I've made on this issue:
1. Avoid kids at all cost
2. Let kids pet my dog when my dog is super duper ultra tired
3. Redirect with the 'look at me' command or with a toy

Obviously those 3 are not always do-able. The biggest problem with this issue is the fact that I'm not able to consistently train him how to behave around kids since, well, our lives are not exposed to kids daily. And with all due respect, I don't believe there's a dog training class with kid mannequins or whatever as pawns of training.

Next month, my new trainer and I are going to start using E-collar. For recall, and for one more thing: staying away from an object.

MY QUESTIONS:
1. How in the world could I train him consistently when we're not exposed to the trigger on a daily basis?
2. Anyone has experience/articles/videos on E-collar training to teach your dog to stay away from an object? I would really like to here it.

As always, I appreciate it.
My 2 cents...

Life happens, kids are part of that, so the sooner you get your dog to behave around them appropriately the better, right? So, follow your own success and teach your dog that kids, all kids, are off limits! Do exactly what you did (the parts I bolded above) with your nephew!

You didn't say how you reacted when your dog jumped and almost nipped the child that ran up to let him in your neighborhood, but if it were me my dog would have seriously and instantly been introduced to a religious figure...in no uncertain terms! It doesn't fall to children to behave, nor is your dog's behavior the child's parents responsibility...But again, what a great opportunity to teach your dog appropriate manners!

I always have to laugh at folks at our local dog park when someone brings their young kids. People grumble about the "rules" and you can see several people leashing up their dogs right away, which is the responsible thing to do BTW. BUT, they then leave immediately, grumbling all the way out of the park, instead of taking advantage of the wonderful opportunity they've been presented with for teaching their dog some manners! You don't teach a dog how to behave around children without children!

Recently we had a young mother bring her 6-7 yr old kid along with his bike to the dog park. What a fiasco! Talk about the 2 biggest triggers for lots of dogs!

I can hear the backlash already LOL! But it's true, in order to teach your dog about children you need them to see children. Like you, I don't have a lot of friends with small children anymore. My kids are in high school and college now, so we just don't get a lot of toddlers visiting anymore...So I take my dog frequently to the park and we hang out periodically near a little playground with little kids running and screaming and playing, so she is used to that.

Anyway, just a long winded way of saying you already know how to teach your dog to behave appropriately around kids. You did it with your nephew...why now look for some other way? Just teach him!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 01:14 PM
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Children under 4ft tall should not be allowed in dog parks. There should be signs posted.
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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 02:11 PM
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14 months is a bit old to be acting like that. Good you already got with a trainer but I would continue to work hard on nothing in life is free and basic obedience. If your dog listens to you, he listens no matter what kind of distraction. Sounds like he might just need a few more classes, ever thought about enrolling in a CGC course ? They usually have a section that works on strangers approaching and most trainers will incorporate kids especially if your dog struggles with them. Children are everywhere, doesn't matter if it's the dog park or not. I'd practice on your own going to local parks, etc. and just let your dog watch and observe kids, no need to interact. Just let him sit there and take it all in on his own terms. Your dog may just innately not like children, so you need to be aware of that. If a little kid is running up to your dog get in the way and don't let the kid get near your dog. This is not a situation for an e collar, and I wouldn't jump to that tool right away regardless of the scenario without some hard work and training first, if you don't know what you're doing things can backfire.
Our dogs are roughly the same age and size, 85 pounds is not a "puppy" if you meant it that way, and most people will not see him as a baby.

SQUIRREL!

Last edited by GandalfTheShepherd; 09-13-2018 at 02:27 PM.
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 03:10 PM
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I have kids, friends with kids lots of exposure and it feels like it's taken me ages to teach my dog how to behave in general Lol

Somethings have just come with maturity so I keep up the reps keep trying. My dog is 19 months now and nearly solid with kids. He is still young and exuberant so he is a spaz sometimes and I love him for it. Lol

My dog LOVES kids and it sounds like yours may as well. My dog will demand attention sounds like yours may as well.
My dog was super mouthy and is an opportunistic jumper. He is almost over it.

One thing that I think helped a lot was greeting manners. This was super hard for me and honestly just finally started coming together the last 3 months. It started with me. Then moved to immediate family then extendend family then strangers. It was sit for any adult attention (adults dont like to squat to pet a dog) and down for any kid attention, kids are really good at belly rubs. It took a ton of reps and consistency.

I started out with down for any attention but as I said adults dont squat and it ended up working against me....that's a whole other story.

You do have to get the mouthiness under control.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 09-13-2018, 04:09 PM
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1 cent more...

Quote:
PLEASE NO DISCUSSION ON DOG PARKS OK OR NOT, it's getting way too old and frankly it's always the same arguments and it tends to derail the whole thread and it gets really annoyingly counter productive. I'm just sharing as a means of finding a solution.
Let's talk about dog parks...kidding, just couldn't resist! What I really wanted to comment on is below...

Quote:
The approaches I've made on this issue:
1. Avoid kids at all cost
2. Let kids pet my dog when my dog is super duper ultra tired
3. Redirect with the 'look at me' command or with a toy

Obviously those 3 are not always do-able. The biggest problem with this issue is the fact that I'm not able to consistently train him how to behave around kids since, well, our lives are not exposed to kids daily.
The "goal" is to teach your young dog how to act appropriately with children right? It's not necessary to expose him daily to accomplish this. But it is necessary to be consistent when encounters occur! Avoidance and redirection teach your dog nothing! And in MHO redirection has no place in training a dog as old as yours, it's for puppies who can't yet contain themselves!

I do think letting kids pet him when he's tired is a good thing, with you right there and able to intervene immediately if needed to prevent an injury of any kind! Praise him calmly, for being calm too, and follow that up with a good game of tug or fetch to help solidify what he's learned!

Quote:
Next month, my new trainer and I are going to start using E-collar. For recall, and for one more thing: staying away from an object.
The absolute LAST thing you would ever want to teach your dog is to avoid children using an e-collar! Training like that has soo much potential to backfire at some point, and could very likely end up with a child your dog is unable to avoid or escape from being seriously hurt! In fact, I'm curious as to what objects you're planning on teaching your dog to avoid using the e-collar? I can't, offhand, think of any object I'd want my dog trained to avoid like that...
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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