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What would be the best course of action for us?

My dog is young, and is dog reactive. She has quite the prey drive as well.

I worry that she will try to bite a child for running or moving fast away from her.

Children always want to pet her! Her previous home had children, but she apparently snapped/growled at one of them for going near her food. I am afraid to let children near her...but she loves them! She acts like a puppy, very relaxed and submissive. Most kids are not afraid of her.

She wants to say HI to everyone. She shows submissive and relaxed body language. I have let a few people pet her and she acts polite. Most people are terrified of this big, dark GSD. I don't blame them, but my dog does not seem to understand this.

Should I not let her interact with others?

I have been keeping her away from kids, but I don't want her to develop a fear or aversion to them. Yet, I see her as "fired" from being trustworthy around children.

How should I handle this?
 

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My 2 cents? You didn't see her interaction with the children in her previous home. So first off, did the event even happen? Or, was this just an excuse to get rid of her? Secondly, sometimes it isn't that dogs aren't good with kids, it's that kids aren't good with dogs. Some kids pester. So if the event did actually happen - how do we know if the kid was just 'near' her food, or if the child was doing something else and if the child had a habit of messing with the dog. How old was the child in question? I'm not saying it is OK for the dog to growl and snap. Not at all, but I would want a clear picture.

For instance, I have a niece and nephew. Love them dearly, but the are horrible with animals. They poke. Took them to the farm. Met a very nice barn cat. Very friendly, but they kept poking it - literally. Fortunately for them, the cat ran away, instead of scratching the crap out of them. They are old enough to know better.

It sounds like your dog really likes kids. My dogs love kids and behave like your dog, when kids are around. If I were you, I would try to enlist the help of older dog savvy kids. (Try family/friend kids and get parental permission.) Older kids are not going to squeal and be flighty. I honestly don't expect your dog to have a problem with kids.

My Shelby is a big black dog. She didn't have much exposure to young kids. My youngest child just turned 18. I had a group of family kids spend the night Christmas time. Shelby was a little over a year old. Wasn't sure how she was going to react. Knew she wouldn't be aggressive, but maybe indifferent. She adored the kids. Wanted to be with them all the time. Would have slept with them, if I had let her.

Yes, you should be careful with your girl. Go slowly. I think she is telling you she really likes kids. And no, she does not have to meet every child in the world.
 

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Looking at some things you've posted about her, I'd worry that maybe what you're describing as submissive is really more like an unsure, worried posture so I'd be very careful about who and what amount of contact she has with people. That initial excitement turns to uh oh, what am I doing here all of a sudden with them.

With your concerns about her prey drive and kids, I'd tell kids no to petting her and concentrate on her being as indifferent as you can get with them. Think more in terms of comfortable and respect as you keep working with her.
 

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How long have you had this dog?? It sounds like you're making some "poor choices" for a dog you don't fully know as of yet?? And the resource guarding ... is that something you've observed?? Your job as I view it, is to do what's best for a dog under your care. You don't know or fully understand this dog as of yet and your "actively" putting her in a postion to "make poor choices." If she does ... a child could get hurt, you could be sued and your dog could lose it's life. :(

The people that struggle are often ones who have "decided" before hand that "this" is what we are going to do and so they "proceed" to go about there predetermined course of action and "hope" ... it all works out??? A better course of action in my view ... is to work with the dog in front of you and make "adjustments" in your "expectations" based on your observations of your dog's behaviour.

If this dog likes kids ... then the dog likes kids, exercising control over interactions with kids/people is not going to change that. But random uncontrolled encounters ... that could prove "problematic??" A much better course of action, in my view would be the second link in here. "Who Pet's my Puppy or Dog" its what I do with "every dog" under my care "rescue and personal." With rescues .."I" don't know the dog, I don't know you stay the heck back" is my take. The dog grows to understand that people are no big deal, and once "I" understand that the dogs understands that ... then I may or may not allow him to interact with others??

I did this with my "formerly" H/A OS WL GSD, he got it and today has "zero" issues with "strangers I pretty much tend to always defer to "Don't touch" myself ... but that's me ... my dog does not care one way or the other.

Who Pets ... is here:

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/5296377-post8.html

And another thing to add, would be doing the "Place Command and Sit on the Dog" people/kid watch, no interaction required. It trains "calmness into a dog." Non of these things are that big a deal but it would require "breaking away from" the random "kid on the street, hope I get lucky and nothing bad happens, random encounters??"

The Place Command:
Fearful, Anxious or Flat Crazy "The Place CommanD - Boxer Forum : Boxer Breed Dog Forums

Neither of those is beyond the ability of the average pet owner ... it just takes a change in an owners mind set ... "that" can be a tough task for some owners?? In anycase ... welcome aboard and as always ... ask questions. :)
 
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