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Discussion Starter #1
We just got our female GSD 3 weeks ago (she is now 11 weeks old) and my 4 year old is terrified of her. The puppy is in her teething/nipping stage and as soon as our son sees her he runs and sits on the top of the couch so the puppy can't reach him-it's gotten to a point that Marley barks at him cause she can't figure out why he is scared and nips at him even more. We do what we can to stop her, and try to get our son to see that she isn't scary, like getting him to give her treats, put his hand out so she can give it a kiss etc. We have 5 children and he's the only one that is having problems with her. We previously had a purebred chow chow and he loved that dog to pieces, constantly mauling her, we can't figure out what has happened in the last year since she left that he's now scared of dogs:( Anyone have any advice for us? Marley is to be just a family pet for us, we aren't planning on obedience classes or other training, we are in a small village of 700 people and those services aren't available around here. Our breeder was just a family pet owner himself who bred his purebred GSD with another purebred GSD, not a recognized breeder and both parents and the puppies are not registered...
 

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Pet or Show Dog you should train and socialize your pup.
i think you should keep the puppy away from your son
as much as possible. definitely don't let the pup
nip and bark at your son. ni due time it's all going to work
out.

Marley is to be just a family pet for us, we aren't planning on obedience classes or other training, we are in a small village of 700 people and those services aren't available around here.
 

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Oh yes the teething faze. GSD are know to be "Land Sharks". I suggest you watch some videos on obedience online or order some DVD. I think all dogs need at least basic of obedience. You want to be in control of your dog not the other way around. You know? As for your sweet son give him time he will ajust or have a talk with him. Tell him that she is like a toddler she feels things buy put things in her mouth. Be there with your son when the dog is with him in the same room. I hope this helps. Good Luck :D
 

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Tell your son that running probably triggers her chasing and she more likely then not gets more excited by it. Make him either walk slowly or stand still and ignore her. You can try keeping her leashed to you if constant supervision to prevent her from nipping your son isn't working out. If you have no training classes in your village then seriously consider at least buying a book about it and train your dog yourself. All dogs, family pet or not, should know their basic obedience 100%. Teething is something she'll grow out of eventually, just hang in there. :)
 

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Thats a tough one, but there are things you can do to help both of them. Your son is 4 and naturally scared- puppies jump, nip, and knock them over which is scary to a toddler and painful. You can't be surprised your son is now afraid of him he thinks Marley is trying to hurt him even though he's not. Of course the more he runs and jumps away to avoid his puppy nips the more Marley thinks he is playing.

The first step is to ensure Marley can not under any circumstances nip and jump on your son. This means keeping them apart unless supervised until Marley is a little older and less boisterous. I know thats easier said than done, but unless Marley is tethered to you or somehow in your full control I would keep them apart extinguishing the root of your son's fear. If he doesn't get nipped or plowed down he will begin to feel more comfortable around the puppy and stop giving off signals that are making him vulnerable to this sort of behavior in the first place.

The second step is teaching Marley nipping and jumping is not going to be tolerated in your house. When he does it give a firm no, and if he does not stop put him outside to chill out. Providing extra exercise is also a huge help because a sleepy puppy has less energy and is more pliable. If your son sees and feels like he is safe because you are there to stop an ouchie before it happens he will gain confidence.

The last step is after you have successfully thwarted Marley's nipping escapades with your son a few times and he is showing signs of being less afraid begin to teach him about body language and dog handling. Their never too young to learn how to handle an animal supervised and how to modify their voice, posture, and movement to their advantage. My Zoe just pounced on my son after being tucked in and he responded with a firm No Zoe, got up and went to his door, and gave her the out command throwing her out of his room. He is confident and despite his small stature Zoe knows it and listens to him. If your son becomes comfortable knowing you are there to protect him he can begin to become confident and will naturally exude this confidence onto Marley.

Right now Marley senses his vulnerability and is confused by his running- prey drive!!
 

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I would have a calm, quiet conversation with your four year old and let him know that Marley will be this way for a few months(til valentines day for a target type date) and that he shouldn't run, jump or act wild around the pup. Explain that the pup sees him as a "brother" and wants to play, but because his baby teeth are so sharp, he will snag him and try to herd him when he runs. Once the adult teeth come in, Marley won't be so oral. I would also encourage Marley to carry a ball or tug so her mouth is pacified when around the kids.
Ask your son if he feels comfortable enough to help with feeding/watering her. Your son can also show pup that no means no by verbally correcting her. My moms puppy kept jumping on her two yr old grandson until he firmly said NO CHEWY and pup listened!
And a crate for puppy when time out is necessary, let your son know(and all the kids) this is pups sanctuary and not to bother her when she is crated.
Just like a cat, if the puppy/dog can't get to them it is more of a focus/challenge. If pup is able to be around your son, she will eventually lose interest in him if he isn't exciting to her.
 

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This is a hard one because at your son's age he can't really reason why his behavior might be making it worse, nor is it really his responsibility. I would opt for more management of the puppy which means keeping her away from him, and hopefully over time as he is not bothered by her, he will stop doing the behaviors that just arouse her prey drive. I would definitely use crates, ex-pens, baby gates, or whatever works in your situation to keep your pup off your son and earn her freedom.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone I will try these suggestions...we do have a crate for her. So far our 2.5 year old and 1 year old are fine with her, so hopefully our 4 year old will be soon too!
 
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