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So last night we walked down to my kids baseball game. As I was sitting there with Rosko a 3 yr old girl who has petted and played with Rosko on numerous occasions asked if she could pet Rosko. I as I always have said sure. I had rosko sit and the little girl walked up to Rosko's right side and started to pet his right shoulder. After about 2 seconds Rosko turned and growled / barks at the little girl. I had his leash pretty short so I was able to instantly pull him away from the girl and correct him. He lay down and in a few minutes seemed fine so I let him up. He was fine the rest of the game the girl approached about 20 minutes later with a stick for Rosko which he took just as gentle as I would expect him to. She pet him numerous times after the incident and he was fine. The only thing different about him was his barking. Not at anyone in particular just out in the field behind the diamond at birds. He usually doesn't do that. There was no warning to the incident just a, quick turn and growl, bark. He didn't actually snap at her. If he had wanted to bite her he certainly could have he just wanted to let her know that something wasn't OK. His tail was on that side I suppose she could have stepped on his tail. (NO EXCUSE). Other than that I have no idea why the nut would have acted that way. He is 13 months old. Think it could be hormonal changes, the new puppy adding stress, combo of both?. And trainers was I right to let the girl pet him half hour after he freaked. I felt that he learned from my correction that was unacceptable. I thought if I said no it would be worse for the situation.
 

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Well you made the right call for the circumstances! A question I would ask ...does this dog live with kids???
 

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The youngest kid in my house is 12 yr old boy. He has been around my nieces and nephews many times. Plus the kids at the ball diamond usually line up to pet him. Including the girl he told off.
 

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I would have said not right now to the little girl and put a little space in between. Hormones, new puppy, that and a bunch of other things going on, especially at a game with a crowd. The one thing I would think about cd is you may have missed something with him. Maybe he wasn't as comfortable with attention as you thought. Holding still for petting doesn't always mean they like it, but are just accepting it till all of a sudden, they don't. I'd consider keeping away from the baseball games.
 

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I would have said not right now to the little girl and put a little space in between. Hormones, new puppy, that and a bunch of other things going on, especially at a game with a crowd. The one thing I would think about cd is you may have missed something with him. Maybe he wasn't as comfortable with attention as you thought. Holding still for petting doesn't always mean they like it, but are just accepting it till all of a sudden, they don't. I'd consider keeping away from the baseball games.
Idk Steve. Anything is possible. He inadvertently scratched this same little girl a couple weeks ago while playing. He usually tries to lick her face and is happy to see her. He was fine afterwards. I did keep the two apart for a half hour or so. The second time when she came back with a stick to give him he seemed to be almost happy she was there. I remember someone posting on one of my posts a while ago that a dog will change as he matures. The happy go lucky puppy may turn into a dog who would rather be left alone. He is at that age where he will probably lose his puppyness. If that is a word
 

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There is a risk when we let young adolescent dogs lick little children in the face. He is not a puppy anymore. But he is not fully mature either. At some point you have to ask yourself what you would do to your dog if he bites a little girl like that? Sometimes it isn't up to us. Sometimes a court will order the dog to be euthanized -- out of your hands. Sometimes, the inability to have insurance because of an incident with a dog makes it next to impossible for us to keep the dog, and finding a new home for a dog that bites kids, is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

Barking and growling at a 3 year old is probably something I would take as an indication that something isn't working right in my leadership with the dog. I would up everything, management, leadership, training, exercise, and wait only on socialization, until the new regime is bearing positive fruit. Then I would go slow on socialization. Socialization when you are tentative, before you and the dog have a strong trusting relationship, can do more harm than good. If you have a tight lead on the dog because you don't know what the dog will do, and then let someone pet the dog in this situation -- really mixed signals. It is setting a dog up to fail. Instead forget about strangers totally, until you and the dog are breathing in time together, you know what he will do before he makes a move. Let your dog mature, focus on your bond with the dog, focus on your training with the dog, focus on the environment around your dog. And one day, you will be rock solid sure that the dog will be totally comfortable with whomever you say is ok, and you can try again with kids.
 

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I know that I would love to have my girl with me at my kids' games but I didn't bring her to them this spring. She went to plenty of soccer games in the fall when she was just a little puppy. I work at keeping her well socialized and she is used to being in a crowd. She would prefer for no one to touch her when we are out. She's happy to be among the crowds just not handled by them. Because of this, I don't take her to the games. I do think she would behave and she would alleviate my boredom of always watching a game with two kids on two different teams but.. there are always other kids there and people wanting to pet her. If I brought her, it would be pushing past her threshold and I don't want to do that. Plus, I am there for my kids and it is the kids thing not a dog event. It doesn't seem right to me to bring her to a kid's event and then to tell the kids to please not pet her. It might be that my pup won't ever be my ideal ballgame companion. I'll keep working towards it but might not be who she is. Plus, all the balls. The balls at play in the game and all the other kids playing with balls.. How can we just sit here, mom? That is a whole nother can of worms and thresholds!
My first GSD was fine with kids until he wasn't. He nipped a little boy giving him a treat for no reason. It didn't hurt the boy, thankfully but I felt awful. I was sure that he was never in that position again. That happened when he was about 1 1/2. He was a lovely companion but he never cared for the company of children. He never once went after a child or bit a child again but was in part because of management.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

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There is a risk when we let young adolescent dogs lick little children in the face. He is not a puppy anymore. But he is not fully mature either. At some point you have to ask yourself what you would do to your dog if he bites a little girl like that? Sometimes it isn't up to us. Sometimes a court will order the dog to be euthanized -- out of your hands. Sometimes, the inability to have insurance because of an incident with a dog makes it next to impossible for us to keep the dog, and finding a new home for a dog that bites kids, is, in my opinion, irresponsible.

Barking and growling at a 3 year old is probably something I would take as an indication that something isn't working right in my leadership with the dog. I would up everything, management, leadership, training, exercise, and wait only on socialization, until the new regime is bearing positive fruit. Then I would go slow on socialization. Socialization when you are tentative, before you and the dog have a strong trusting relationship, can do more harm than good. If you have a tight lead on the dog because you don't know what the dog will do, and then let someone pet the dog in this situation -- really mixed signals. It is setting a dog up to fail. Instead forget about strangers totally, until you and the dog are breathing in time together, you know what he will do before he makes a move. Let your dog mature, focus on your bond with the dog, focus on your training with the dog, focus on the environment around your dog. And one day, you will be rock solid sure that the dog will be totally comfortable with whomever you say is ok, and you can try again with kids.
I have already upped all of his training since we got the pup. We actually had one of our best training sessions we have had in a while before the game. Then on the walk to the game he was the worst he has been on heel in a while. I finally took the end of the leash and swatted him on the behind and he seemed to straighten up and walk OK for the next couple blocks. As far as having the leash short he wasn't on a tight leash their just wasn't a lot of slack. I only give him access to about 1/2 of the leash at the park just in case he tries to jump on someone. It seems that some days he is perfect in his training. Others he acts like he thinks he is gonna try and do what he wants. All since we got the pup. Prior to the pup I thought he was the perfect dog training wise. I did expect some backslide from him. I think between the pup and his body chemicals changing just keeping the training consistent is probably best. Will still take him to ball games I'll just stand down the 3rd or 1st base line where no one else is. That'll give us a chance to work on his obedience more during the down times in the game
 

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So last night we walked down to my kids baseball game. As I was sitting there with Rosko a 3 yr old girl who has petted and played with Rosko on numerous occasions asked if she could pet Rosko. I as I always have said sure. I had rosko sit and the little girl walked up to Rosko's right side and started to pet his right shoulder. After about 2 seconds Rosko turned and growled / barks at the little girl. I had his leash pretty short so I was able to instantly pull him away from the girl and correct him. He lay down and in a few minutes seemed fine so I let him up. He was fine the rest of the game the girl approached about 20 minutes later with a stick for Rosko which he took just as gentle as I would expect him to. She pet him numerous times after the incident and he was fine. The only thing different about him was his barking. Not at anyone in particular just out in the field behind the diamond at birds. He usually doesn't do that. There was no warning to the incident just a, quick turn and growl, bark. He didn't actually snap at her. If he had wanted to bite her he certainly could have he just wanted to let her know that something wasn't OK. His tail was on that side I suppose she could have stepped on his tail. (NO EXCUSE). Other than that I have no idea why the nut would have acted that way. He is 13 months old. Think it could be hormonal changes, the new puppy adding stress, combo of both?. And trainers was I right to let the girl pet him half hour after he freaked. I felt that he learned from my correction that was unacceptable. I thought if I said no it would be worse for the situation.
Hi. I'm not a trainer but I'd say that it wasn't okay that you let the little girl pet him after he freaked.

I think by doing that, you put too much trust in your dog.

I don't think anyone could know with 100% certainty that a dog would not repeat an unfriendly behavior.

And I'm thinking, why would a parent allow a 3yr old to approach or re-approach a dog that had a non-friendly reaction.

IMO it's best to always put Safety First!
 

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I have already upped all of his training since we got the pup. We actually had one of our best training sessions we have had in a while before the game. Then on the walk to the game he was the worst he has been on heel in a while. I finally took the end of the leash and swatted him on the behind and he seemed to straighten up and walk OK for the next couple blocks. As far as having the leash short he wasn't on a tight leash their just wasn't a lot of slack. I only give him access to about 1/2 of the leash at the park just in case he tries to jump on someone. It seems that some days he is perfect in his training. Others he acts like he thinks he is gonna try and do what he wants. All since we got the pup. Prior to the pup I thought he was the perfect dog training wise. I did expect some backslide from him. I think between the pup and his body chemicals changing just keeping the training consistent is probably best. Will still take him to ball games I'll just stand down the 3rd or 1st base line where no one else is. That'll give us a chance to work on his obedience more during the down times in the game
LEADERSHIP and TRAINING and MANAGEMENT and EXERCISE are all different things.

You need to change your leadership style. It isn't working. If your pup needs a smack with the leash before taking him to a kids' ball game, then you are not doing something right. You are putting people at risk with your dog. Allowing him to lick the face of three year olds, when you need to swat him to get him to behave is setting everyone up for failure.

He doesn't belong at kids' ball games.

I know that isn't what you want to hear.

It might be time to employ a trainer/behaviorist who can help you build a leadership style that works for both you and the dog. Hopefully, he can help you become more consistent in the dog's eyes. You need to work on patience and that doesn't happen over-night.

The good news is that your dog is young and forgiving. He is adaptable. You keep the kids safe -- that is your main job: protecting your dog by keeping people around him safe. And one day you will wake up and be knocked off your feet by how wonderful your dog is.
 

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You probably need to be careful taking your pup to games for a while.

Although I am neither a trainer nor an expert, is it possible that your puppy didn't like the way the girl approached him? If she came from the side maybe she startled him. Or he could have interpreted her approach as somehow being dominant. If you've ever watched dogs greet each other, they usually approach head on. If one dog approaches another from the side, particularly if they then place their head over the other dog's shoulder, it's considered very dominant body language. Maybe your dog interpreted the girls approach/body language as being dominant, which is what produced his reaction. Just a thought.
 

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^ this is actually incorrect - a side approach is what's considered polite and less threatening (dog to dog) and many times you will see dogs turn or curl their bodies to accomplish this, eventually heading to the other dogs rear.

in my opinion, yes, 30 minutes is much too soon to reintroduce the child. yes it worked out this time but as a general practice it is unwise. you don't know what made him uncomfortable.... you did the right thing by creating some distance and allowing him to settle... this lets him know "you're fine, the situation is under control". by allowing the child to reapproach, especially w/o knowing the trigger could have resulted in a violation of trust.
 

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No, the side approach is best. He was either scared or didn't want her near him for some reason. If she stepped on his tail, that could do it. I don't expect my dogs to greet and play with little children. I did when I had small children but then I knew my dogs were used to them. I've heard another story of a friendly GSD biting an adult at a Little League game. Maybe that isn't the best setting to socialize a dog. There are a lot of people, plus activity and noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Could he be in some kind of pain or discomfort? Maybe from an injury or illness?
The only thing physically wrong with rosko right now is he has yeast infection on his back paws. I have felt around on both paws and got no reaction.
 

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no reaction from you is entirely different than not wanting someone not in the family around him.

also, it sounds like he was already ramped up and acting like, well, a bratty youngster. And there were lots of things more interesting to focus on. Running kids and balls. Flocks of birds. And then someone comes up and bothers him while he is focused elsewhere and he growled.
Basically, there were many things going on here that went wrong.

If you do take him to a game. 1) tire him out beforehand. physcial and mental. 2) don't expect him to sit quietly and watch the game. Use the time to work your dog around distraction. Get away from the action and work on focus. On heeling. Just take a walk around the parking lot and outskirts of the field.

Set him up for success, not failure. And never let anyone pet him when you don't have his full focus and attention. Especially little kids.
 

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To me, if you have to put any thought at all into how people approach your dog, he doesn't belong there at the game unless you keep him at enough of a distance that you can limit every contact. With my dogs, what I look at is if they startle by things, either because they're a dog that gets very focused on anything or real excited about things, not always something you'd think of as a bad thing, or just nervous. What I want with my dog in those types of settings is a dog that is completely aware, but still not bothered. They don't flinch when people do whatever they're doing at a public event. When a kid comes up behind them or steps on their tail, they still turn calmly and gently towards them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I do appreciate everyone's advice. I'll be taking rosko back to the trainers next week. We'll address whatever needs addressed there. Easier to properly diagnose any issues a dog is having by visually watching dog. Or any issues I am bringing. I was hoping to be able to figure out what exactly the reason was by talking through it . But I still am not sure.
As far as me being aware how people approach my dogs. I will probably never have a dog that I won't be aware of how people approach or interact with it. I have seen a lot of trained dogs that have bitten people. The k9 dog that bit the reporter comes to mind. But then again I have been known to be a control freak. Funny I have a hard time controlling being a control freak.
 

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The K9 that bit the reporter was set up to fail. He was only with his handler for a few days. And then the reporter did something terribly dumb to a k9 (a dog that WILL bite). Take a dog selected for its independence, hardness of temperament, strong bite, aggression, suspicion, willingness to defend itself and its handler, and then turn its world upside down and have some complete stranger make to hug the thing?

Most of us here own dogs that would have the guy do that, hug them, and the dog would be looking at us with an expression that says, "Mom!!!!! Get me outta here!!!" And we could be terribly surprised if one of our dogs did bite in this situation -- where the guy was talking to us, and we were talking back, and no scary vibes were coming off of either of us. Most of us have dogs that are perfectly safe at a kids' ball game.

A lot of times adolescent dogs are still trying to figure out everything, and they may try grumping about something to see if it makes it go away. So we keep in mind that this is an adolescent dog. Could make some choices that are not so good, needs to be protected from his possible bad choices.

Lastly, what in the world are you at a kids' ball game for? Do you have kids in the game? Well then, leave the dog at home, and go and watch your kids play. Taking your dog to the ball game and spending all the time watching your dog like a hawk or training your dog on the sidelines, well, what does that do for your kids? Why not just send them down the street to play ball and stay home with the dog?

If you don't have kids in the game, then maybe you should find somewhere else to go with your dog. Endangering other people's children really makes for bad press for our breed.

When owners of our breed make poor decisions (not the original growl, but letting the kid interact with the dog afterwards, taking a dog that growled at a tiny kid back to a kid-filled park) well, then the people making the rules tend to make rules against all of us and all of our dogs. One dog growls at a tiny kid, the tiny kid's owner tells whoever is in charge of the ball park, and a new rule against dogs gets tacked up. And then the people who have dogs and kids, and dogs that are safe with kids, and dog who enjoy going with their families to such places, well then they are banned. And this happens far too often.
 

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Lastly, what in the world are you at a kids' ball game for? Do you have kids in the game? Well then, leave the dog at home, and go and watch your kids play. Taking your dog to the ball game and spending all the time watching your dog like a hawk or training your dog on the sidelines, well, what does that do for your kids? Why not just send them down the street to play ball and stay home with the dog?

If you don't have kids in the game, then maybe you should find somewhere else to go with your dog. Endangering other people's children really makes for bad press for our breed.

When owners of our breed make poor decisions (not the original growl, but letting the kid interact with the dog afterwards, taking a dog that growled at a tiny kid back to a kid-filled park) well, then the people making the rules tend to make rules against all of us and all of our dogs. One dog growls at a tiny kid, the tiny kid's owner tells whoever is in charge of the ball park, and a new rule against dogs gets tacked up. And then the people who have dogs and kids, and dogs that are safe with kids, and dog who enjoy going with their families to such places, well then they are banned. And this happens far too often.
Trust me if I didn't have a kid playing baseball I wouldn't be hanging out at a youth league baseball park.
Yes, I have a kid in the game. Me taking my dog to a little league game has no impact on me being able to watch my kid play baseball. There are maybe 15 people on each side of the diamond. So it isn't like there are hundreds of people running around and I can't take my eyes off of my dog. 75% of the time Rosko is laying at my feet watching the ball being thrown back and forth. As far as training my dog on the sideline, Have you ever been to a little league game there is a lot of down time. Plenty of time to interact with a dog.
as far as letting the little girl interact with Rosko after the initial incident that was a decision I made once we left the bleacher area for a while. upon returning whatever seemed to be bothering Rosko from the walk down there to the growl seemed to be past. I ask what trainers thought about the re-introduction just to see how others would have handled it. I 100% feel that me being physically there I was able to make the correct call. Taking rosko and rushing home wasn't what was needed. He was corrected, removed from the area but not the park, myself and he done a few minutes of light training, played for a few minutes then went and sat back on the bleacher. The little girl and Rosko have had numerous interactions at past games so when she brought rosko a stick and asked if he could have it I said yes. He took the stick as gentle as he always has. A while later when she asked if she could pet him I felt that it was 100% OK. She pet him and he was totally happy with it. If I thought he was gonna bite anyone, I would not have allowed any further interaction. Lastly, It was very presumptuous to imply that I was somehow neglecting my child by taking a dog to a game.
"what does that do for your kids? Why not just send them down the street to play ball and stay home with the dog?" I am perfectly capable of watching a game and watching a dog. doing 2 things at once is possible. And my kid enjoys when rosko tags along.
Thanks for your input.
 
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