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.
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!