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Just got back from the huge firework display downtown (we're talking a 20 minute show so close that debris falls on you and thousands of people attend, maybe tens of thousands). We left Coke home b/c he's going through this phase where he gets spooked by random things, so we figured a professional firework display would be a baaaaad idea. Kenya came along because since I have had her, she has never batted an eye at thunder, gun shots, or loud noises of the "BANG" nature. I figured a big crowd in a public place is a rare opportunity for socialization, since I swear I live in the most dog UNfriendly city in the world. I've never taken Kenya to fireworks before, so to be safe, I had her in her Ruffwear harness and I attach a little nylon tab from the ring on the harness to a simply nylon slip collar and she was also wearing her normal flat collar with her tags.

Anyway, we go downtown early to get a good spot and some room. Kenya did totally fine and we even ended up next to a family that also have GSDs, so the mom and the daughter pet Kenya and had her do tricks for some treats. On the other side, a little boy said GSD is his favorite dog, so he came over to pet Kenya and she even licked him gently on his face. A few other people stopped to pet her and all was well. She will accept strangers but is not so social that she pulls to get at people. I brought her crate pad along and she stayed in "platz" the entire time.

So I'm sitting there with Kenya, DH, two friends, and the GSD family when this little boy, maybe 2 years old, literally toddles into our circle and almost falls on Kenya. I don't know how old this kid was, he could walk and was sort of babbling, but walking like he hadn't been doing it for very long. Kenya hasn't met very many toddlers (my fault) so generally the protocol is that I help the kid pet the dog for about 3 seconds and then that's it. Well this kid pet her and then started grabbing her paws, pinching her nose, pulling her tail...I mean he was still what I consider a baby so he doesn't know any better. Kenya gets freaked out by toddlers doing weird stuff to her so it's all I can do to remain calm and hold her jaw in case she wants to snap. I'm looking at DH like "help me out here!" and he keeps saying "OK, ok, I think that's enough...." but the kid's mom is standing aways back just giggling and not doing ANYTHING!!! All the while the kid is being more and more aggressive with the dog as far as pinching her toes, poking her face, etc. FINALLY we shoo the kid away and are just breathing a sigh of relief when he comes BACK, just runs into our circle, reaches for Kenya's face, trips a little, and seriously gouges her in the eyeball!! Luckily I was again holding her face b/c that time she snapped, not really AT anyone, but someone had just gouged her eye. The kid's mom is just standing there watching and says "see, you gonna get bit if you do that!" while he proceeds to pinch her nose. I seriously wanted to pick up the kid by his ears and throw him back at his mother, but I was too busy watching EVERY move and holding Kenya's face in my hands. Again, DH is trying to push the kid back and saying enough, enough. Finally the mother gets a clue and starts telling the kid they have to leave. Not cool because he throws a fit, ON MY DOG!! Like screaming, flailing! Now I will take the blame for not going enough socialization with little toddlers, but the kid is shrieking and pulling on Kenya's ears so of course again she tosses her head and snaps but can't do anything b/c by this time I basically have her in a headlock as DH is pushing the kid off her towards his mother and she drags him away, screeching and wailing as they go.

OMG, at that point I was so mad and dumbfounded I was totally speechless. We ALL were! Finally the lady who had been petting Kenya said "um....wow! Good thing you are so good at reading your dog's signals and have such good control!" None of us could believe this mother just let her toddler basically JUMP on a strange dog, pull her ears and tail, poke her in the eye... I am just so pissed off I was put in that position of having to protect my own dog, which I could not even do because I was trying to keep her distracted and hold her face. What kind of mother lets their baby just wander around and jump on dogs?!?!

Luckily the rest of the night was fine. Kenya met a lot of people, got a lot of treats, and did good during the fireworks. On the walk back to the car her tongue was out and her tail was whipping. She knew she was a good girl and plenty of people commented on her training and temperament.
 

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It amazes me sometimes how parents can be so clueless! I am sorry Kenya went through that, but you did a good job at remaining calm and keeping Kenya from snapping at the kid(the last thing you want to see tomorrow's news "German Shepherd Mauls toddlers").

I'm glad the rest of the night went better for you guys!
 

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That's awful. My two were taught from the moment they knew what a dog was that you NEVER approach a dog without asking permission from it's owner, and at that age, in a crowd that size, I either had them strapped into a stroller or if they really had to toddle around, in a harness, so I could make sure that DIDN't happen. They are so trained, (my kids) that my 7 yr old daughter gets really pi**#d if someone even thinks about coming up to Shadow without asking first.

Thank goodness you know your dog, and you and your DH were able to keep your tempers. Did better than I would have.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Originally Posted By: Liljah(the last thing you want to see tomorrow's news "German Shepherd Mauls toddlers").
Exactly!! I think part of the problem she doesn't like toddlers is because *I* don't like them, they make me VERY nervous around dogs, and I'm sure she picks up on that. But I guess I'd rather be nervous and safe (have her totally under my control, hold her face, which maybe does make her more uncomfortable), than sorry. I was bit in the face by a GSD when I was about 3 years old, had puncture marks surrounding my eye. I don't remember it, but I know it happened and I don't want that to be *my* dog. I know her limits as far as what movements make her nervous, how much personal space she needs, and how she will react and I like to think I do a good job of managing that, otherwise I would never bring her in public.

Still though, a little help from the parent would have been nice... *huge eye roll* I mean, I have my dog in a harness and two collars, tied to a chair I'm sitting on...and this toddler is allowed to just wander around a crowd of thousands as he pleases?!!? Even besides the jumping on my dog incident....how is that ever a good idea?

Yes, other than that the night went fine and I was very pleased that she took so well to the other little boy and licked his face. But when he approached, there was something about him that just felt...safe. He said GSDs were his favorite and he came in very slow, knelt down, and rubbed her chest (he was with a woman that told me she used to work at Covy-Tuckerhill in Cali). Toddlers....they are just so unpredictable and have no common sense. The PARENTS are supposed to make up for that!! *slap forehead*

Most of the night, she was bored




 

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Quote:Kenya gets freaked out by toddlers doing weird stuff to her so it's all I can do to remain calm and hold her jaw in case she wants to snap. ... All the while the kid is being more and more aggressive with the dog as far as pinching her toes, poking her face, etc. FINALLY we shoo the kid away and are just breathing a sigh of relief when he comes BACK, just runs into our circle, reaches for Kenya's face, trips a little, and seriously gouges her in the eyeball!!
Two bad experiences have just reinforced to your dog that toddlers are not nice to be around. While many of our GSDs will put up with more from a toddler or young child than they will from an adult they should never be expected to.

I don't want to be overly harsh with my answer, but I see a dog that does not like toddlers because of past exposures and it is made to lie there and be held while a child pinches, pokes, and pulls on the dog. Then the child leaves only to return and this time falls on the dog.

Please next time such a situation happens just pick the child up and hand it to its mother. Better that she be insulted then the child bit and the dog have to suffer and possibly have a bite record.
 

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Liesje, glad no one was hurt and it must have been a very stressful scene for you.

One of the reasons socialization is so important, and us being proactive to bring our dogs out and about, is because it can then prepare our dogs for future 'sudden and unexpected events' in their lives.

Key here is that we need to MANAGE these situations. We have to have a plan. And we need to keep our dogs in mind. The point is to prove to our dog that the world is a good place and people are wonderful (toddlers included). So if we need to limit contact initially and really take control, then so be it.

Quote:What kind of mother lets their baby just wander around and jump on dogs?!?!
BTW, kids are typically hard to control, so chances are if you are in public they may come up to our dogs. Why it's important to have a bunch of different plans in mind. To help the dog cope with what may be overwhelming.

These things work for me:

1) paying attention and seeing the kid coming. If I saw there was no parent around (or caring) I can get up with my dog and either block by standing between them, or just walking off entirely.

2) if the parent is near (and seems responsible), asking them to please come and pick up their child because my dog is getting hurt.

3) I always try to educate parents who don't know about dogs (clearly you couldn't in this instance, but maybe in the future). Some of them really do NOT know dogs. And they think if the dog is in public it must be a friendly pup who loves kids crawling on it. Just saying it's a good idea to hold onto the child and TEACH the child to ask 'may I pet you dog' gives an ower the chance to say 'no, he bites' or 'sure, pet away'.

4) It's ultimately my responsiblity to control the situation and make any socialization experience a positive for my dog. A bit of stress when something is new is ok, but to force my dog to stay in a place where they are clearly uncomfortable and the situation is even getting worse is really not keeping up my end of the 'leadership' role in these situations. It's not enough that my dog didn't do anything ultimately or bite anyone, (though that's good
). My goal is these meetings should make the next meeting with a kid EASIER for my dog and they should do BETTER. So if a situation gets out of hand, I need to step back later, look at what happened and what could I have done to calmly control everything to HELP MY DOG for future meetings.

One thing that I have really learned over the past 15 years is that I have usually got little or no control over some situations and some people. Stuff sometimes just suddenly happens. Once I accepted that fact, I began dealing with what I DO have control over. And that's my actions (having a plan) and preparing my dog with all the socialization and training thru out it's life.

BTW, sounds like the rest of the day did go well, and that is a big CUDOS to you for the work you've done with your dog.
 

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wow she's a beautiful girl..

if it were me i woulda picked the kid up and gave him back to the mother. im an a$$ like that tho (i dont preferably like kids) and gavec the mother a nice lecture about kids and strange dogs. on the other had i would say that u have done a good job with kenya. heck i think i would "snap" if some little kid poked me in the eye and was pulling at my ears..lol
 

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The problem comes, if you pick up a strangers kid, is the mother going to freak out? Yes, you are doing it to protect the child, but i doubt this parent would have realized that. She could have easily become defensive..."Don't touch my child! I gave her permission to touch the dog, let her touch the dog!" Just sounds like this mother was very clueless!

Under the circumstances, you did very well! I probably would have YELLED at the parent to pick up her "**** child" but that's only b/c I have very low tolerance with babies and toddlers. Just not my thing.

Kenya looks great...she is not bored staring at that ice pop! Looks like she is saying "Drop it, drop it, drop it!!!!"
 

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling the parent to "Get Your Child NOW".

Better to be thought of as slightly rude than to be the owner of a biting dog.
 

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There's no way I'd ever allow one of the Hooligans to be molested by someone's kid or dog. I'm normally not a loud aggressive person, but I will do what has to be done to protect my dogs from kids or dogs. If I have to yell at someone to get their kid or dog away from my dog I will so without blinking an eye.

I especially get upset at the vets when some clueless owner wants their puppy to get into my dog's face - they have no idea if I have a sick dog or not, likewise I don't know if their dog has some nasty disease.
 

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Liesje, the unfortunate reality is that there are tons clueless people out there, so it is our responsibility to "educate" them, as in: "Please, don't allow your child to interact with strange dogs, you never know how the dog will react." And then ask them politely to come and get their kid. It is hard often to tell complete strangers what to do, but in cases like this, it is a MUST.

When I take Keeta to a pet store or some other place where dogs are allowed, and other owners allow their dogs to drag them all over the place and drag them up to Keeta wanting to meet her/play with her, I flat out tell people: "Sorry, my dog is not allowed to interact with other dogs in public places" . Sure they look at me like I'm weird/mean/deranged especially since I have keeta in a sit and she is calm and wagging her tail, and looks happy and excited to meet other dogs. Sometimes I add "I'm here to work on her training" which people seem to respect more than the implication that I am just a mean, controlling person - but if I have to come across as a mean, controlling person in order to keep negative experiences for my dog at bay, then so be it, I'll be the QUEEN of mean and controlling. The thing is, we can be assertive and polite. No need to yell at people "Keet that dog/child away from my dog!!!" that is just inappropriate. A simple, respectful, polite request will achieve the same results, without bringing bad feelings into the picture.

Everyday we have posts galore about people ranting about the idiot people/kids/uncontrolled aggressive dogs that they encounter. Bottom line is, as others were saying, we have to be ready for them, and have a plan on how we will deal with it.

This child was still a baby, but you could have gently told him "don't touch the doggy", or shown him how to be "gentle" with dogs, or even told him "go see your mom". You can take gentle control of the situation, actually, you should take control of the situation because clearly, the parents weren't stepping up to the plate.

I'm not worried about children approaching Keeta, but I still stop them and teach them: "You can pet my dog, but you have to ask first", just showing them important stuff that obviously, many kids were never shown.
 

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Wow, I had a very similar experience at a fireworks show with Morgan and Luther. DDH was holding Luther but not really paying attention and I had Morgan.

I look over and there's a 2 year old climbing on Luther. Luther loved older kids like kindergarten and up, wasn't good with toddlers - he was too big, they are too little. Anyway, the kid was mauling him, fingers up the nose, using him for trampoline etc. I kept telling the child to stop, Bob's telling him to stop and pulled him off by the arm. The kid keeps coming back and terrorizing my dog.

There was no parent anywhere to be seen so I put my hand on the kids head to keep him back (lol, back you beast). About 10 minutes later, his father finds him. I was like 'How can you let your kid wander off??? AND you are *explicative deleted* lucky my dog didn't bite him for climbing all over him'.

The father didn't even appologize or say anything, he just acted peturbed that I had my hand on his kids head. Better my hand
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I know not all parents know to teach their kids about dogs, but I guess what pisses me off the most is that this mother could CLEARLY see that I was trying to keep the dog calm AND push her kid back (it's not like he wandered away from her, she was right there standing over us) and then twice made comments to the affect of "See dogs want to bite you when you do that..." as if the kid deserved to be bit and she was waiting for it to happen to teach him a lesson. Well I WAS bit by a GSD when I was a toddler and learned nothing b/c 1) I was too young to remember it and 2) I was too young to be responsible for my own actions.

Yes, I would have like to get that kid out sooner, but I literally had my hands full. And when he first came up, I did welcome him, took his hands and showed him where to pet the doggy, and when he got too aggressive we were saying "no, not there...over here..." but apparently he's the type to throw a fit and get whatever he wants, which is exactly what he tried.

Ack, no more toddlers!! Adults, teenagers, kids....just fine, but toddlers....no thanks.
 

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Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaWow, I had a very similar experience at a fireworks show with Morgan and Luther. DDH was holding Luther but not really paying attention and I had Morgan.

I look over and there's a 2 year old climbing on Luther. Luther loved older kids like kindergarten and up, wasn't good with toddlers - he was too big, they are too little. Anyway, the kid was mauling him, fingers up the nose, using him for trampoline etc. I kept telling the child to stop, Bob's telling him to stop and pulled him off by the arm. The kid keeps coming back and terrorizing my dog.

There was no parent anywhere to be seen so I put my hand on the kids head to keep him back (lol, back you beast). About 10 minutes later, his father finds him. I was like 'How can you let your kid wander off??? AND you are *explicative deleted* lucky my dog didn't bite him for climbing all over him'.

The father didn't even appologize or say anything, he just acted peturbed that I had my hand on his kids head. Better my hand

That happened at walmart. No dogs around of couses, but I we were looking for something and this little boy was wandering around. No more than maybe 3. I stopped and talked to him and asked where his parents where, he didnt say anything, but he tell me his name, so I told him "OK, lets go up front and have someone call for your parents over the big speaker in the store." He took my hand and we started to walk up front, by that time an employe walked to us and also the mother came out from one of the isle, HIGHLY upset I had her childs hand.

She asked what I was doing, by this time I was upset cause she let the kid run off, so I told her. "Im taking your kid to lost and found since you seem to be loosing him!"

She didnt say anything else and I stormed off, heh.





You were much nicer than I would have been. I love kids, I love my kids, my (most of) families kids and friends kids...anyone elses I have a low tolerance for and would have told her to come and get her child NOW.
 

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I would have removed my dog from the original posters situation and taken her for a short walk until the child was gone, especially if she snapped once at the child and the mother didn't take the hint.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I will ask DH what he does in public. He tells me when he has Kenya, he doesn't allow ANYONE to touch her. Not b/c she is mean (to my knowledge she has never bitten a person and I've never heard her growl), but because she is a one-person dog and I am her person. I think DH knows she is more comfortable with me around and looks to me for direction, so when she is with him and I'm not there, he says he doesn't allow anyone to touch her. He is not as good at reading her signals. Usually he has an easier time b/c he has Coke with him, and Coke LOVES everyone, so he has them pet Coke instead. I'm not sure how he keeps them off Kenya, maybe he lies and says she bites!!

I guess my "plan" from here on out is....no more toddlers! Until *I* feel comfortable with them around my dogs, I do not want them around. Just not worth it! If I ever had my own kids, I know better than to leave a baby with a dog unsupervised. I am pretty pessimistic about dogs, even my own, maybe because I was bit and lots of people I know have been bit by dogs we knew for years and one day did the one thing to set them off... I think ALL dogs bite, it's just a matter of knowing what the threshold is and never allowing the dog to reach it. Maybe for Kenya, the threshold is no toddlers, at least not until I have a better attitude myself and can socialize her in controlled situations (which I don't see happening soon since my only friends with kids have older kids).

Little kids are just fine, we've never had a problem with kids, but by the time they are about five or so, they listen to you. Since I got Kenya I've actually been very impressed with kids asking before petting. They listen to what you say and do it, whereas the toddler doesn't know any better and would rather pinch the dog's eyes out. She likes kids and has never shown me any nervous behaviors around them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Originally Posted By: mollysmomI would have removed my dog from the original posters situation and taken her for a short walk until the child was gone, especially if she snapped once at the child and the mother didn't take the hint.
Yes, looking back, I think this would have been better/easier than yelling at the mom.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Update - today the landlords of the neighboring property came to work on that house and took their kids along. Before they left, the dad came and asked if they could pet Kenya and I said yes. I brought her over and had her sit, then had them slowly approach and stroke her. After about a minute, I felt it was enough so I thanked them and moved Kenya along. She seemed very pleased and had her mouth and ears relaxed the entire time. I told them I was sorry I didn't have a treat ready for them to give her, but praised her and did the little happy dance she likes.
 

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Good job, Kenya! It was a good experience that not all kids are bad and most parents aren't as foolish as the woman you met last night.

Were she my dog, I'd make a point of going to a toddler friendly playground at least once a week. Morgan usually goes with my kids to the playground and there's always other kids who want to pet her.

If they come up without their parent, I make them wait for their panicked looking Mother running at us. Once the Mom calms down to realize I'm there with 3 other children, then we do our dog safety lesson - Morgan loves these!

I never give her treats for it, when we were at the park thrusday, I think I forgot to tell her she's a good girl, she knows she's good, been there done that, kissed 1001 toddlers, scared hundreds of Mothers when their child take off screaming Doggie Doggie at the 75 lb german shepherd.
 
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