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We just got a GSD. He’s 8wks old. I have a five year old daughter. This is her first pet. He keeps barking at her whenever she comes near him. She is convinced he hates her. How do I help them become best friends?
 

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A 5 year old can't raise a GSD. Most adults can't successfully raise a GSD.

I suggest you find an experienced trainer to help you.
 

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A 5 year old can't raise a GSD. Most adults can't successfully raise a GSD.

I suggest you find an experienced trainer to help you.
We just got a GSD. He’s 8wks old. I have a five year old daughter. This is her first pet. He keeps barking at her whenever she comes near him. She is convinced he hates her. How do I help them become best friends?
Have you ever raised a GSD puppy before? Getting them used to anything is a process.
 

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You are new to the breed or you would understand why he’s barking. He’s a baby, your house and your family are all new and strange to him. GSD’s aren’t cuddly, sweet puppies you can carry around and snuggle with. Occasionally one might be but most are active and curious, and need to be taught to behave properly. He should not be barking at family. When he does, crate him, and then walk quietly in and out of the room as many as 100 times. Don’t look at him, don’t react. When he’s quiet, give him praise and put a treat through the bars of the crate. When he is calm and quiet for a few minutes, take him out. Your daughter is still a little young for this type of dog, so you must be the one who is in charge. For now, your daughter should learn to ignore him. I agree with David’s suggestion to get a trainer.
 

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I have a friend, who used to be a member of this forum, who had a four yr old daughter and a new GSD puppy. Boisterous puppy, would follow his kid everywhere, running or walking, and never put a tooth on the girl! Takes some work, and maybe would be good for both your daughter and the puppy, for them both to learn the rules of engagement! Good Luck! It takes a little time and patience, but the end result is totally worth it!!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No. He’s out first GSD. The trainer we were recommended had classes starting the first week of December, so he will be trained.
also my 5yo isn’t his primary caregiver
 

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Well, these things are hard to explain online, but I'll try.

Just make barking or reacting to your daughter unacceptable. In other words, show the puppy that these behaviors are unacceptable by stepping in each time.

And when I say, stepping in, I mean show both force and restraint. It's body language primarily. Square up on the puppy and verbally let him know that aggressive behavior toward your daughter WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

And I used all-caps to emphasize, it's assertion, not physical punishment or handling that's needed here.

All that you're saying is, (a) the kid is off limits, and (b) I'm in charge!

Most dogs will "get" the idea, and that will be it. But not all. You have to watch the dog and his reactions to judge. Some dogs can be trusted, others not so much! The call is yours, make it carefully!!!
 
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Well, these things are hard to explain online, but I'll try.

Just make barking or reacting to your daughter unacceptable. In other words, show the puppy that these behaviors are unacceptable by stepping in each time.

And when I say, stepping in, I mean show both force and restraint. It's body language primarily. Square up on the puppy and verbally let him know that aggressive behavior toward your daughter WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!

And I used all-caps to emphasize, it's assertion, not physical punishment or handling that's needed here.

All that you're saying is, (a) the kid is off limits, and (b) I'm in charge!

Most dogs will "get" the idea, and that will be it. But not all. You have to watch the dog and his reactions to judge. Some dogs can be trusted, others not so much! The call is yours, make it carefully!!!
Nice use of body language there Tim, that is probably one of my most used tools.
 

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I can’t be convinced 8 week old gsd puppies barking at members of the household is that normal but perhaps the puppy is having a difficult time adjusting to it’s new environment, sounds like the puppy may be over stimulated. It is important the puppy has a crate and quiet time and a schedule is set. Remember the puppy is a baby taken away from family and it is a big adjustment. Good you are seeking help from a trainer. Family walks are good bonding experiences. I would think you would see improvement as your new pup settles in.
 

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The barking could be excitement, fear, trying to get the child to play, many things. The pup could be sensitive, fearless, bossy.

Applying social pressure may work great, but it may have a negative effect on the pup depending on temperament. Social pressure alone without guidance and reward for an alternate behavior can be confusing for the pup.

How you handle a confident, boisterous pup should be different than how you handle a fearful soft pup.
 

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I can’t be convinced 8 week old gsd puppies barking at members of the household is that normal but perhaps the puppy is having a difficult time adjusting to it’s new environment, sounds like the puppy may be over stimulated. It is important the puppy has a crate and quiet time and a schedule is set. Remember the puppy is a baby taken away from family and it is a big adjustment. Good you are seeking help from a trainer. Family walks are good bonding experiences. I would think you would see improvement as your new pup settles in.
My gal-dog barked at my daughter in law at a very young age. My DiL didn't want her toes nipped and backed up into a corner. My first thought was "oh, my dog"s first Bark and Hold" and then I rescued my DiL. The pup felt strong and brave getting the human to back up from her into a corner. I had to teach my human family member to not back up but hold her ground calmly. Then the pup sat and got praise for that.
An in person trainer who knows GSDs is what this family needs. Not the general big pet store kind but one that is familiar with herding dogs, etc. Someone who can help explain what the pup might be trying to do and can help the read their dog will be extremely valuable.

In the meantime they can watch videos on Leerburg, read blog posts on The Collared Scholar for a start.
 

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The barking could be excitement, fear, trying to get the child to play, many things. The pup could be sensitive, fearless, bossy.

Applying social pressure may work great, but it may have a negative effect on the pup depending on temperament. Social pressure alone without guidance and reward for an alternate behavior can be confusing for the pup.

How you handle a confident, boisterous pup should be different than how you handle a fearful soft pup.
True, a bit of spatial pressure worked wonders on my confident big-boy. My gal dog started off bold as brass but somewhere around 8 months she lost a lot of bravado and I have to work with her differently.
 

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The barking could be excitement, fear, trying to get the child to play, many things. The pup could be sensitive, fearless, bossy.

Applying social pressure may work great, but it may have a negative effect on the pup depending on temperament. Social pressure alone without guidance and reward for an alternate behavior can be confusing for the pup.

How you handle a confident, boisterous pup should be different than how you handle a fearful soft pup.
To add to this, what if the daughter was teasing / playing in a way the puppy did not like? Regardless barking at family is not good, but at five years old and first puppy or possibly first dog whose to say one party is more in the wrong than the other.

Original Poster, do you watch your kid and pup play? If not, perhaps do more supervised play until your child and pup are more used to how each other act.

this post may seem harsh in wording but I’m not trying to lay blame or be harsh. It’s rather just my opinion and perhaps opening your eye to that fact that it is not always the dog. If you diss agree feel free to say so.
 

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He is an 8 week old puppy, he could be barking for a million reasons. Depending on the dog, the quickest way to his heart wil be food and toys. Get your daughter to give he treats and teach her to play 2 ball fetch and tug with him. Rug will need to stop from 4-6 months while he’s teething, but these things will help. If he doesn’t have the strongest temperament and was never around kids, she’s probably a strange experience he doesn’t know what to do with. I would suggest reading some of the other puppy posts here for future problems you are going to encounter,
 

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Could be so many things.
Can you make and post a video so we can see and hear what’s going on?
 

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A video would be helpful to help us see the body language of the pup and child. No way to tell what's going on without actually seeing. It's all wild guessing. Fearfulness,over excitement, bossiness all require different remedies.
 

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A/ puppies bark/yip/talk back to some degree and some times and that's OK in and of itself. I would not crate and correct just because a GSD pup talks. A video would be very helpful to see body language etc but having seen how young children behave towards puppies many many times, it could easily just be excitement. This is not jut a 5 year old issue but specifically here, it is the question.

B/ If you (or your child) had visions of a puppy cuddling in their lap, this wasn't likely the breed for you. On that note, why did you choose a working line breed, what is your dog ownership background and are you aware and prepared for the vast amount of training and exercise this dog will need shortly?
Rest assured, you haven't made a mistake, there's no better family dog than a GSD on the planet but they take work and consistency.
Just for transparency, I have had 6 GSD over 40 years and raised 3 kids through multiple puppies. Many here are VERY experienced and will offer good advice although sometimes conflicting ;)

C/ Get your daughter involved in training the puppy when appropriate (no idea her level of maturity), feeding the dog, walking the dog. ALL WITH YOU. That goes for all family members even if you will be the primary provider/caregiver/trainer/authority figure. I would never let a 5 year old interact with a young dog unsupervised.

D/ To be frank though, asking about an 8 week old puppy barking suggests that the best advice that can be given is to work with a GSD specific trainer, not just puppy classes which can also offer value. Congrats for the new pup and being proactive in its training
 

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My gal-dog barked at my daughter in law at a very young age. My DiL didn't want her toes nipped and backed up into a corner. My first thought was "oh, my dog"s first Bark and Hold" and then I rescued my DiL. The pup felt strong and brave getting the human to back up from her into a corner. I had to teach my human family member to not back up but hold her ground calmly. Then the pup sat and got praise for that.
An in person trainer who knows GSDs is what this family needs. Not the general big pet store kind but one that is familiar with herding dogs, etc. Someone who can help explain what the pup might be trying to do and can help the read their dog will be extremely valuable.

In the meantime they can watch videos on Leerburg, read blog posts on The Collared Scholar for a start.
This is a child that lives in the same house. my take on this is it’s clear to see a 8 week old puppy who is confident, playful full of himself versus one who is overwhelmed unsure and feels the need to protect himself - perhaps a sign of the puppy not being very comfortable around kids and people. Wait to they start teething. They definitely need a gsd trainer to come into their home and access the situation. If any time to enjoy a pup is now and strong herding instincts have strong pack instinct as well. I hope the trainer can help these people.
 
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