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I hear this is unfortunately a common thing, and I thought I would talk about our situation here. When asking what to do in forums not specifically for GSDs, many people have told me to "put my nasty dog down". Before you freak out, let me explain.

We got Lily at 7 months old, from her previous owner who bought her as an 8 week old puppy. Once she was 65lbs and they had not trained her, they decided to get rid of her. I have tried to ask about her previous socialization, but it was apparent when I got her that she was not used to meeting strangers. She was also only given one or two long walks a week, now she gets at least an hour walk plus lots of play time everyday. She will usually walk up and sniff a stranger if I am standing and talking to them, and if they don't touch or talk to her.

But twice we have been walking, little kids have come up to her, and she has lunged and barked, leaping back with ears down. Her previous owner told me she has never liked children, and always been like this. We don't have children yet, but I plan to within 3 or 4 years! How can I set up a positive interaction with kids that is safe for both of them, and gets Lily to the point where she is no longer afraid?
 

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It will be hard to find the kids to subject your dog to! I have one that is the same way and I just keep her away from kids. Maybe try taking her to a playground and let her watch them from afar while you treat and praise her. Do a bit of obedience and keep everything positive. Keep going and get closer as time goes on.
The body language of kids is "threatening" to some dogs, their size, the way they run up and don't give any calming signals, they usually will stare at a dog or look them in the eye. And the fact that small kids are so unpredictable, the dog can't read them!
If you do have close friends with children that you can use to desensitize Lily, that would be the best, I wish you luck!!
 

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We have a playground in our condo complex, that's a good idea to take her to watch! Once all this snow melts and the kids come back outside of course. We don't have any friends with little kids, but we are fairly new to Connecticut so maybe we will make some soon!

I was so furious when the only previous responses I got were to put her down, she hasn't bit and doesn't go after kids who don't come up to her, so I know she can still learn.

Do you think she will be able to adjust to a baby someday? I would assume a pack member living here, that she got to watch grow, would be easier to understand and accept.
 

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Yep kids, especially young ones can be threatning to a dog. As Onyx said, they are unpredictable, have sudden movements, make loud noises, stare and some will freeze and stare which is just as threatening.

I have 3 adults with no kid issues but my puppy (5mo) does. We often walk by the school, playgrounds, strip malls. She has improved with walking through but kids running up to us is still a crap shoot so be cognizant of approaching kids and ask them to stay back.
 

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My Rocky can't stand kids. He doesn't lunge and bark; he shows strong avoidance behaviors like trying to run away and trying to drag me down the street in the opposite direction. I know for a fact he'd bite if a kid ever cornered him, but I don't give them that opportunity.

There's a strong possibility that he's picking up on my dislike of kids too.

There are a couple of kids he likes, though. These are quieter kids who act calm around him and don't actively pursue him. I've coached them on what to do, so ke's had some time to observe them, they don't force affection on him, and he finally comes to them to sniff them. Even then they ignore him. It's a slow process but if a child can contain themselves enough to sit quietly and ignore him for a while, he eventually decides they're ok and even likes him.

So. . . do you know a kid with nerves of steel who's willing to come sit on your couch for an hour while you hold her and let her get used to them?
 

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It will be hard to find the kids to subject your dog to! I have one that is the same way and I just keep her away from kids. Maybe try taking her to a playground and let her watch them from afar while you treat and praise her. Do a bit of obedience and keep everything positive. Keep going and get closer as time goes on.

If you do have close friends with children that you can use to desensitize Lily, that would be the best, I wish you luck!!
Exactly this. Our rescue is the same with kids, though I'm not sure if it's fear or prey drive or a little of both! Obviously she hasn't had the opportunity to test that out since we first saw it, but we have done counterconditioning and desensitizing using the crate and friends with smaller kids as well as playgrounds. She still needs work, but we have a couple of years to keep going with it. She is fine with kids who are calm (above the age of 5), but toddlers and hyperactive kids freak her out, she lunges and barks and will try to nip.
 

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I will start looking for one! Most of my friends are pretty young, and they are all cat people... But I really want to start introducing Lily to children before summer, when all of them will be out playing in the neighborhood.
 

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She is fine with kids who are calm (above the age of 5), but toddlers and hyperactive kids freak her out, she lunges and barks and will try to nip.
Sounds like my dog except she wasn't too good with kids younger than about 12-13. Last summer the nextdoor neighbor got a shepherd/blue heeler mix male pup the my dog likes playing with. They have their kids outside when the two dogs play and now Ruby seems much better with kids, especially theirs. Still no way I'd trust her totally with children, maybe ever. So the exposure to calm children could help and what you need to avoid is any behavior from the children that frightens the dog i.e. staring, children running, approaching the dog etc. Your dog will have to learn over time that kids are not a threat. Depending on your dogs nerves, this could go quickly, take some time or may never happen.
 

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Usually, around here, elementary schools are surrounded by chain link fence and have a large playground. You could walk her around the block at lunch time when they are out having recess. Your dog could see them through the fence as you walk and that might help desensitize her to them a bit.
 

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Skylar is only afraid of kids approaching HER, not walking/running passed her, but if they look at her or run AT her, she'll shy away and maybe bark. I just yell to kids not to come to her, if it looks like they'll come visit, or say "oh cute doggie!" or something. Her manners are decieving, she's very well behaved and tolerates people, but doesn't like them, so i have to make sure kids especially don't get the wrong message :)
 

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At playgrounds there is screaming, running and chaotic behaviors....I think it will just re affirm why the dog is not into kids, or will make them want to chase them! But there is not much else you can do to get them use to them.
 

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We don't have any friends with little kids, but we are fairly new to Connecticut so maybe we will make some soon!
:rofl: "Hi, I just moved to Connecticut and have a big ole' mean dog who wants to eat children. I noticed you have a few..would you like to come over for BBQ?" :laugh:

Sorry, it just cracked me up.
 
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