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Discussion Starter #1
My 1.5 year old shep has been extremely shy and timid since day one...the exact opposite of my overly aggresive 8 year old shep. Both are males. The pup has been around my neighbors kids since I brought him home at 12 weeks. At least 10 children interact with him daily but last night one of them ran up from behind and startled Troy so he lashed out and bit the boy. Nothing serious, but he did break the skin. Needless to say I didn't sleep at all last night, poor kid had just given Troy a bone and even got kisses afterward. I cannot allow this to happen again, so my options are to not walk him while kids are outside (live on a dead end) or unfortunately put him down. Dog warden or police were not involved and the boy is fine, checked on him this morning.

Not sure what to do because I have a 9 & 6 year old nephew & niece who come over every so often. What if he lashes out at them? Any suggestions would be welcome because I do not want their to be a next time.

Thank you,
Eric
 

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Other will have better advice but I hope you punished him for lashing out at the child! I would keep socializing him - on a leash of course. And the kids need to be taught not to sneak up behind a dog with a tasty bone!!!
 

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I posed a similar question under intermittant aggression, and the responses might be worth reading.

I do believe your situation is more difficult, because of the number of children the dog plays with. Prhaps letting dogs play with kids is a mistake.

My dog, a two year male, took after someone when the dog was suprised at night. Yours, when the dog was suprised from behind. I did hire a behavior specialist and her conclusion is I should never put the dog in a situation like that again. Timber is also overly protective of my propoerty and that is something we are working on.
 

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Fearful dogs need not spend uncontrolled time around children. There are just too many things that can happen. You walking him will not be an issue as long as you control him, but no more unleashed interaction with children.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I did punish him immediately. Troy, as he always is, was leashed during the entire walk and night for that matter. The lashing out happened at least ten minutes after he received the bone. He was just as surprised as I when the boy ran past us from behind. I cannot socialize him with the neighborhood kids anymore, not fair to them or their parents. Really unfortunate because I could never hang out with the neighbors with my older shep and was enjoying socializing the pup. The older shep is a former abused rescue that I adopted 8 years ago and is very aggressive.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Punish him? That is not what I would do. That could create further problems with children.

Did he have a bone at the time?

How much obedience training has he had? Do you have him on Nothing in Life is Free?

I would buy a wire basket muzzle and condition him to it so he is comfortable wearing it. That way you can continue to socialize him without fear of anything happening.

I have had two fearful dogs, one from abuse and neglect and the other genetic. In both cases I read everything I could on working with fearful/shy dogs and did lots and lots of obedience to build their confidence. Clicker training and shaping exercises work especially well with fearful dogs. Both of my dogs progressed really well using these methods. My Basu, who I adopted at 4.5, was terrified of people when I got him and a few years later no one believed he was the same dog!

This is a very helpful book: http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB878

There is also a shy dogs group on yahoogroups that is very active and supportive.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Bone had already been eaten. Punishment just happened, normal reaction on anyone's part after a person so little is bitten for no reason. Poor guy was so upset. Unfortunately this is a perfect example of how GSD's get a bad rap. Was it my fault, in the end yes. Troy was actually laying on the ground when he sprung up. I had him in this position because the boy was running around behind me. One can never be too careful.

Troy is not fearful of other people or dogs, just not aggressive, which is good. Now his socializing will be greatly dimminished.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

In your original post you say that Troy has been extremely shy and timid since day one so that's where my advice on working with a fearful dog came from. He had a reason to bite--he was startled and obviously saw the little boy as some sort of threat. Confident dogs do not bite when startled. Building his confidence through reward based training will help prevent something like this happening again.

Getting a muzzle will allow you to continue positive socialization with him.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Kids are just so unpredictable. It scares me.

The other day a kid said hello to Quincy. When Quincy turned to sniff her Aunt, the 8 year old hit the dog on the head with an apple.

Everyone, including the dog, was totally surprised! The Mom punished the kid but it unnerved me because you can never protect a situation 100%. Luckily no bites.

Good luck with your situation. Sounds like a bit of a fluke situation. (hopefully)
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

I agree with BowWowMeow. Get a muzzle, and desensitize him as much as possible. Obviously is still fearful and nervous, or he would not react to being startled with an instant bite. Being overwhelmed with a lot of kids can make dogs nervous. I would have only controlled introductions with children with lots of praise and treats for calm behavior. No punishment as this will create even more nervousness and confusion for him.
"Troy is not fearful of other people or dogs, just not aggressive, which is good. Now his socializing will be greatly dimminished."
This makes me wonder how aware of your dog's body language you are, especially with his recent bite. His socializing should not be dimminished just better controlled and with a muzzle you will prevent any bites, and help you to relax as not to cue him to become nervous/defensive. It is important that you are able to take charge and react appropriately as possible to keep the situation positive.
It sounds like you have been trying to socialize him, keep going! Try building his confidence with games and/or sports.
Good luck!
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Thank you for the replies, but unfortunately my neighbors really are against me walking either of my dogs when their kids are out. Can't say I blame them. Last night I mentioned using a muzzle, but that idea didn't go over very well. My dead end has at least 10 kids on it so someone is always outside.

Previously I had zero anxiety when Troy was approached by a stranger, but now I will. He will pick up on that immediately, so how do I go about correcting my fear??

I have a muzzle which I used on my older shep when I introduced him to the new puppy (Troy). In the end the muzzle wasn't necessary.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Using the muzzle and starting slowly (ie staying far enough from people) to get you use to having him out again, as well as knowing he cannot hurt anyone with a muzzle on should help, but you will have to do what works for you.
I would use the muzzle until you can control/stop your anxiety and he improves around people/children/noises etc.
Why didn't the idea of you using a muzzle go over well? I would say that you should walk your dogs seperately if their kids are out or not, and that the kids should not be able to approach the dogs without your permission/encouragement. That way you can still expose them (if they aren't over stressed) at a distance, safely with a muzzle, and be able to focus on one dog to make sure you can control the situation.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Wow that had to be scary. Many dogs can do very well with kids. I have a 9 yr old GSD I got when my middle child was 2 months old and the pup was 8 weeks old.My oldest child was also 4 yrs old at the time. My dog sleeps with my 9 yr old every night. he plays well with all my kids ages 13, 9 and 5. He is good with thier friends as well even the little 5 yr olds who want to dress him up . he has grown up with children and I have taught him the rules ( and the kids as well) from early on. When my children play in the yard he is there watching. He patrols the yard, watches the kids and will bark at anyone who comes up the drive. We also have a 11 month old boxer who does the same thing. The boxer usually sleeps with my 13 yr old but we do basically follow the NILf concept excpet the sleeping in bed BUT the dogs will get out of bed if told to. I have talken both dogs to obedience classes as well. The more work you put into your dog the better dog you will have. Take him to some more classes and better socialize him . The kid startled him but he should never have bite. Jumped up, a dirty look or even a growl or bark but never a bite or snap. Find a good trainer it will be worth the effort.

Good luck
Michele
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

The kid "ran up from behind" -- When I read this I assumed he grabbed the dog or ran into the dog. Now I am not clear as to just what happened.

I would not have my dogs around kids who are running around wildly. That's the only advise I can give since I wasn't there to witness what was going down.
 

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I think when most of us are suggesting to continue to socialize him, we aren't necessarily suggesting you continue to use the neighborhood kids for this.

My 'world' is alot bigger than my house/yard/street. So I have also made this larger 'world' the one my dog lives in. And that is the one I socialize my dog in. And it's vital I do this in a positive and non-threatening and overwhelming way if I think my dog has an issue with something.

For instance, a siren on a police car was set off as the vehicle passed my puppy and I when we were down town and she was only about 6 months old. Well, poor Elsa FREAKED in a major, fast and completely unpredictable way. Almost jerking me over and off my feet, as well as almost getting the leash out of my hands as she wanted to get away.

I did NOT correct and add to her fear and panic. Because that was what the reaction was, fear. Frankly, she was in such an overload it wouldn't have shocked me if she had bit me in the instanteous first 'I HAVE TO ESCAPE' moment. She did not. I have learned that adding corrections and punishment to a fear situation will only make it worse.

To get her over this, did I go to the police station, have the police cars drive around us with their sirens activated? NO! Too much, too loud, too close, too fast, to overwhelming. NOT the proper way to socialize and get her over her fear.

Instead I worked out a plan with my trainer, and with treats, clickers and the positive methods we went over to get my calm and happy Elsa back, we worked through the problem so now she does fine.

Positive training gets rid of fear in our dogs. Happy correlations with situations (like food treats/rewards with kids around) do far more to keep a dog relaxed and more forgiving than a correction or verbals in the same situation. Use of distance. Timing for the rewards. NOT COMPLETELY avoiding situations but having a good plan in place to work a problem thru.

DOG TRAINING AND CLASSES to make yourself more a leader to your dog so they relax and know you will take care of anything that comes up (like a kid coming past?). And the classes and training that give you confidence to take your dog everywhere with the knowledge you have the skills needed to do so.

Frankly, my dogs are almost never out with a bunch of loose and running kids. It's my job to manage the situation and world so it's one my dog is happy and confident in. Just like I wouldn't let them run in a field of loose horses (don't trust them, the horses), I also wouldn't let a bunch of kids run around uncontrolled (don't trust them either). And my dogs do fine with kids. Calm kids that listen and don't run around like maniacs. And if I can't control the kids, then we can leave.

As I mentioned before, it's a big world I live in. So I can find safe areas and places for my dogs and I. While I work with great trainers/classes/seminars to work thru any issues my dogs and I may have so my world can expand and be even bigger.

I learned a long time ago with this dog thing, that if the methods I was using with my dogs weren't improving the situation, and maybe it was getting worse. I need to STOP doing it, and find a new way. And I now get real help from the trainers/classes/instructors who have worked with dogs for years so have actual experience and guidance I can try.

Quote: I cannot allow this to happen again, so my options are to not walk him while kids are outside (live on a dead end) or unfortunately put him down.
I could list about a dozen different options for you and your dog, and none of them would be to put your young dog down at this time. And if you are over your head with training this dog, so what? Every dog is different. Getting help isn't something you should be ashamed of getting, or avoid getting, but WELCOME.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Troy was laying on the ground when the boy came from behind & ran in front of Troy from the left hand side. I also failed to mention that Troy is deaf in his left ear, so not only did he not see the child he also couldn't hear him coming. My neighbors suggested that I put him down so that their isn't a next time. That's not going to happen so I have to work on his confidence.

Training is a great idea but $ is short right now. Thanks again everyone. Neighbor's boy is doing fine, just two small puncture's.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

So I'm guessing you will NOT having him outdoors with the kids. But you WILL be taking daily car rides for out and about socialization while you work this out with treats, toys, good praise and timing for everything.

If you want to do this cheap but well. Best thing is to buy a $5 clicker and for you to just read up and start up clicker training. All about making your dog think they are brilliant. And all about us finally learning to get out timing right so our dogs learns. Zero corrections and no talking. So the additional unintentional stress we add to all situations with that is out of the picture.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

If the dog is deaf in the left ear, there is only a certain amount of confidence building that is going to help. You need to be proactive and not allow Troy to get in a situation where a child or person can startle him.
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

When there are kids around our dogs, especially when outside, ALL BONES are put out of reach and hidden until the children have either gone home or the dogs are inside away from them. it sounds like a bit of fear due to being deaf in one ear and already a bit nervous. Maybe until the two of you have worked on the issues that make him nervous other than the deafness.

i still dont understand your neighbors not wanting to see the muzzle on him. oh well. you cant figure everyone out i guess
 

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Re: My 1.5 year old shep bit my neighbors 5 year o

Originally Posted By: 97lt4ssTroy was laying on the ground when the boy came from behind & ran in front of Troy from the left hand side. I also failed to mention that Troy is deaf in his left ear, so not only did he not see the child he also couldn't hear him coming. My neighbors suggested that I put him down so that their isn't a next time. That's not going to happen so I have to work on his confidence.

Training is a great idea but $ is short right now. Thanks again everyone. Neighbor's boy is doing fine, just two small puncture's.
Troy is deaf in his left ear!!!! That makes total sense now!

I definitely don't think he needs to be put to sleep at all. He was startled on his left side and is already nervous because he can't hear in one ear. I think you just need to take this into account a little more when taking him out. Tell people that he is deaf and not to startle him, and around kids I would keep a muzzle on just in case.
Like others have said get w/a trainer. I am sure you could find some kind of training group etc that you could get help from. Also, do some research on body language and deaf dogs. There is a lot of cool info on training deaf dogs.
Good luck and hang in there! Don't let your neighbors make you feel like you need to put him to sleep (although I am sure the parents are justified in feeling this way) but let them know that he is deaf in his left ear and you will be handling him correctly from now on. As well as letting their kids know that it is not okay to run up to him.
 
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