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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 15 month old german shepherd that I got after my sister and her family moved out of state for a little while. A little bit ago they returned nearby, and got a seperate apartment a couple blocks away from my house. They didn't move back in because I had a roommate at the time. My roommate has since moved out and my sister's lease is expiring in a few months so she plans on moving back in with me and my dog.

The problem is, she has 2 small children, an 8 year old and a 1 year old (both girls), and my boy Leonidas tends to be a little excitable. The 8 year old is very well tempered but tends to get afraid very easily, which kind of riles my dog up. He never bites but will jump up. I've been working with him a lot on jumping up and he's getting better, rarely jumping up on me ever. He took a basic obedience course with me and has his basic obedience down solid, but when he's in an excited state it's just impossible to control him sometimes.

Over the summer I can have my 8 year old niece come over basically whenever I want and she loves spending time with me. I was thinking about having her over and doing some training with her to get her and Leonidas comfortable with each other. I honestly have no idea where to begin though, and I don't want my niece to become afraid of Leo.

In the long run I think this will ultimately be better for him, having more people around to play with him when I'm not home. I'm just kind of scared that it won't last and my sister will move out because Leo won't get along with the kids and I've made it clear that Leo will never leave my care.

Any ideas on what I should be training my dog with my niece would be greatly appreciated... Thanks!
 

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A magazine I read, Clean Run had an article on introducing puppies and children. It was using positive methods and basically rewarded calm behavior from the pup and slowly introducing the child and pup by using barriers or a crate so the behavior of both can be controlled and things such as jumping on a child aren't allowed to happen. It is often easier to prevent a behavior than have to correct it later on. I believe you can purchase specific issues at cleanrun.com . The issue was Vol. 22, NO. 5 May 2016
 

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My 2 year old son LOVES Jupiter, my 17 week GSD pup. He was a landshark just a few weeks ago. Now, after daily short training,, starting with me. Everytime he would jump up i would say nothing and just gently raise my knee. He would jump up, chest my knee (correction) and I would silently praise him as soon as his feet touched the ground. half an hour later he would not jump up on me at all even with me trying to get him real excited. Brought my wife out and had her do the same... try to entice but he wouldnt take the bait. SO SMART! Start very gentle, very, and gradually build the intensity of the correction, making sure to praise him every time you get the reaction you want. (feet on the ground)

My 2 year old was different, obv he cant raise his knee to correct so I leash corrected Jupiter right before he was about to jump up. 5 times corrected gradually building intensity. Now he respects small children as well. gtg back to work right now though, i can elaborate the training for my son later!!!!!

Praise based training though. I do not treat train, never have, never will.
 

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First off, Kudos on taking in Leonidas :) Love that name!

When I rescued Kai, I had a 2yr old and 5yr old. I may even have posted on here a few years ago asking for very similar advice as you regarding the best way to integrate him into the family.

I used barriers as Bramble mentioned. And took things very slowly and as controlled as possible. Leonidas is used to the sounds of you and him in the house. It can be pretty overwhelming adding in the chaos of kids. I kept a baby gate between him and my youngest for probably at least two weeks. That way Kai could get used to her sounds and smells and could watch and investigate (and vice versa). My 5yo was a little easier as he was more calm, could offer treats and Kai seemed pretty unfazed by him. I still kept introductions short and on a short leash. Pretty sure Kai had his leash on him in the house for about a month..just to be safe. He was never allowed unsupervised w either of them. It can be a long process but well worth it in the end. My son and Kai became best buds and while mostly kept his distance from my daughter...he was always keeping a close eye on her.

I'd highly suggest reading about dog body language, also. There are subtle and not so subtle cues that you can be watching for that will let you know when Leonidas is stressed or uncomfortable or has had enough.

Just take things slow and cautiously. Reward good behavior. And as others have mentioned, there are TONS of great articles to read on the subject. :smile2:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you guys for your input so far. After reading up a bit, I think what I'm going to do is tether Leo inside the house and work on getting him less excited around my 8 year old niece. I'd like to get him to respect her as much or more than he respects me. Maybe I'll start with not jumping up and calm behavior, but eventually I would like her to be able to do our daily obedience training with him. I think he just needs to understand that even little kids are still people and they can provide him with all the same rewards that I provide him. My ultimate goal would be for her to be able to walk him (with my supervision) but I think that might be a long way off. I'm still kind of worried about the baby, as she's just getting to the toddling stage but I guess that's something that I can't really worry about until the time comes.
 
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