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Hello all.
Our 4 month old has been making some strong progress on leash training. When she walks with just me, just my wife, or both of us, aside from some normal puppy stuff...she’s fine. However, when we bring the kids, if there’s just the slightest bit of separation from the kids, she goes absolutely nuts...barking, crying, jumping, leash tug, growling, etc. She’s slightly better when she walks in front of them, but insane if they’re in front of her.

We are trying to train it out of her by redirecting, but her focus is too strong. When we try to reward a hint of calmness she doesn’t care about the treat. We've used a lot of high reward treats, and slightly worried about rewarding too close to the bad behavior. We practice separation in a large parking lot, it gets better as she gets tired, but what else can we do? I get the feeling she needs to feel dominance over them and can’t stand if they lead.
 

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This behavior has nothing to do with dominance, and everything to do with the puppy's herding instincts.

To a large degree most puppies grow out of it to some extent, but the best thing you can and should do now is let her lead when the kids are present.

Work on obedience, and as she grows she'll gain more control of her instincts and impulse control.

For now though, don't let her practice this bad behavior by controlling her environment as much as possible.
 

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You have probably let her lead YOU as well without recognizing it since it's natural when they're walking well and most people are just happy when they're not pulling you all over the place.

But the important thing is training them to follow you, change directions, focus on you first. After that's firm in their training, it doesn't matter if they're generally in front. For now though, she already feels she's in control of the walk.

My younger pup was naturally the same in wanting to walk with the older dog if my wife was walking him a few yards ahead until I had him focus on ME. Go backwards for a few weeks.
 
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