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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!
Have not posted for a while. We currently have a 20-month-old female German Shepherd. It is just my husband and I as our children are grown and are moved out. Ripley is very sweet and loving and we have no problems when the Adult kids come home and visit.
We have a beautiful 15-month-old grandchild who comes to our house about once a month. We have a gate separating the living room and the kitchen house so we could keep the dog in one area and us in another. When Ripley is around our granddaughter she is on her leash. Our granddaughter has pet Ripley and Ripley has smelled our granddaughter and has given her kisses. As our granddaughter has started to walk more being a toddler Ripley has become a little bit more fixated on her. Ripley has a high prey drive. We were all in the front room together Ripley was on her leash lying down and she was watching our granddaughter. As she was walking by Ripley, the dog jumped up and was right by granddaughters ear when I was able pull her leash and take her out of the room. ( Someone else was holding leash and there was some slack in it)
The dog did not growl nor show her teeth. After I have I thought about it it’s exactly how she reacts when she watching something outside.
Again I want to say that we have had ripley around grandchild numerous times and it’s been ok ( never off leash)
Suggestions on how to move forward with this!?!
 

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Keep them completely separated until your granddaughter is older. Even just a jump can knock her over and hurt her. You can also work on training your dog to sit or lie down and STAY there.
 

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Get the advice of an experienced trainer. This doesn't sound like something a novice should try to fix at home. I'd get your dog evaluated by someone who knows what they are doing. Your granddaughter could be harmed even if the intent is not aggression. I would be keeping your dog confined to another room when your granddaughter is visiting.



Accidents can happen in a split second.

https://liamjperkfoundation.org/about/liams-story/
 

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Hello!
Have not posted for a while. We currently have a 20-month-old female German Shepherd. It is just my husband and I as our children are grown and are moved out. Ripley is very sweet and loving and we have no problems when the Adult kids come home and visit.
We have a beautiful 15-month-old grandchild who comes to our house about once a month. We have a gate separating the living room and the kitchen house so we could keep the dog in one area and us in another. When Ripley is around our granddaughter she is on her leash. Our granddaughter has pet Ripley and Ripley has smelled our granddaughter and has given her kisses. As our granddaughter has started to walk more being a toddler Ripley has become a little bit more fixated on her. Ripley has a high prey drive. We were all in the front room together Ripley was on her leash lying down and she was watching our granddaughter. As she was walking by Ripley, the dog jumped up and was right by granddaughters ear when I was able pull her leash and take her out of the room. ( Someone else was holding leash and there was some slack in it)
The dog did not growl nor show her teeth. After I have I thought about it it’s exactly how she reacts when she watching something outside.
Again I want to say that we have had ripley around grandchild numerous times and it’s been ok ( never off leash)
Suggestions on how to move forward with this!?!
Fixating is not ok. I agree to get a good trainer ASAP and/or the dog has no further contact with the toddler. Dog in a crate behind a closed door with a babyproof knob.
 

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I have kids at home with a puppy. My kids aren’t quite as young as 15 months (mine are 5 & 7) but they can instigate prey behavior at times. I agree with the others that this is a serious matter. I would definitely keep the leash on and possibly just kennel during toddler visits.
A 15 month old toddler could be too young to have free reign with a 20 month old GSD. You would also have to consider that not having the child there full time presents an issue with the dog becoming used to toddler behavior. But I will tell you what I do to normalize erratic kid behavior.

If you can isolate the behavior causing a reaction, you can mimic a lesser version of it and take baby steps towards the full blown behavior. I’m not sure how well this applies to a toddler walking by but an example would be, my daughter squealing and jumping got a reaction from my pup so we started normalizing that behavior. First with a tiny bunny hop and rewarded calm behavior. Then a squeal, calm behavior and reward. Then the combo. This was multiple times a day for multiple weeks. We’re at a point now that my daughter can run in the room squealing and my dog shrugs it off as perfectly normal.

I think your situation may be more tricky based on the fact that the exposure time is much less. There’s a lecture by Suzanne Clothier about counter conditioning and she discusses types of exposure reactivity. I attached a short clip of that lecture, it might give you aid to hear her theory about reactive behavior.

https://suzanneclothier.com/videos/counter-conditioning-safety/
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you for your suggestions!
Yes we are absolutely looking for a trainer in our area! Of course we had and will have her in another room gated off ( or whatever it takes )until we have a plan.
I also know how fast things can spiral.

@ ceradean I also like your ideas but like you said it’s hard being our GD
(granddaughter) is only here every so often. Thank you for clip! Very interesting!
When I think about what happened - we were all on the floor and GD was at eye level. ( this isn’t an excuse) just rethinking what triggered it. We were all paying attention to GD. Shame on us for putting GD & dog in this situation. But up until then dog and GD were good! My daughter and son in law felt good about it also.
(My children ( adults) told me that I have been too nervous with dog and GD. We never had to introduce dog to little child as our other 2 shepherds were puppies each time when kids were older.
A lot of thinking today.
 

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Don’t let your children shame you into making bad choices or blame you for what happened. Being vigilant kept the dog from hurting their toddler.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@selzer I have been reading this site for many years. I fully understand why I don’t post more. I posted this for suggestions NOT A BASHING! As I said in post I have already taken care of the obvious!
I feel that when a question is asked some love to bash the person asking. All you do is push people away.
We have had 3GSD’s including the one we have now. I have grown children. I’m well aware of the obvious!
 

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(My children ( adults) told me that I have been too nervous with dog and GD
Sorry, poor choice of words on my part. It makes it seem like it was solely your fault, as if you were only calmer, the dog would behave well around your grandchild, but that may or may not have any impact.
 

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@selzer I have been reading this site for many years. I fully understand why I don’t post more. I posted this for suggestions NOT A BASHING! As I said in post I have already taken care of the obvious!
I feel that when a question is asked some love to bash the person asking. All you do is push people away.
We have had 3GSD’s including the one we have now. I have grown children. I’m well aware of the obvious!
If you have read everything here, you would know that sometimes things escalate with a dog that is completely out of our control. Selzer’s post was not a bashing, it was an observation. We are trying to help you. I had a dog that never bit anyone as far as I knew, at least not when he was ours, until the day he did. Someone else had a very sweet female dog that thy placed in a crate with a Chi for company and when they came home the little dog was dead. It’s things like that which make us very concerned FOR you, not critical. We care.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
@LuvShepherds appreciate your reply and no one was blaming anyone!! We were only blaming ourselves. A lot of thinking going on at our house. 😊

Also I have read thru this site many times over the years! If you would have read all my replies under here you would have read that we have taken all necessary precautions. This was posted about 12 hours or so ago!

“Thank you for your suggestions! Yes we are absolutely looking for a trainer in our area! Of course we had and will have her in another room gated off ( or whatever it takes )until we have a plan. I also know how fast things can spiral.
@ ceradean I also like your ideas but like you said it’s hard being our GD (granddaughter) is only here every so often. Thank you for clip! Very interesting! When I think about what happened - we were all on the floor and GD was at eye level. ( this isn’t an excuse) just rethinking what triggered it. We were all paying attention to GD. Shame on us for putting GD & dog in this situation. But up until then dog and GD were good! My daughter and son in law felt good about it also. (My children ( adults) told me that I have been too nervous with dog and GD. We never had to introduce dog to little child as our other 2 shepherds were puppies each time when kids were older. A lot of thinking today.”

I don’t need to be told the obvious!
Thank you though!
 

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@LuvShepherds appreciate your reply and no one was blaming anyone!! We were only blaming ourselves. But I have read that dogs can sense your nervousness. A lot of thinking going on at our house. 😊
Yes, they can. Please consider using a trainer who can come to your house and watch your family interact. But for now, I would keep them separated until the baby is much older.
 

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@LuvShepherds appreciate your reply and no one was blaming anyone!! We were only blaming ourselves. A lot of thinking going on at our house. 😊

Also I have read thru this site many times over the years! If you would have read all my replies under here you would have read that we have taken all necessary precautions. This was posted about 12 hours or so ago!

“Thank you for your suggestions! Yes we are absolutely looking for a trainer in our area! Of course we had and will have her in another room gated off ( or whatever it takes )until we have a plan. I also know how fast things can spiral.
@ ceradean I also like your ideas but like you said it’s hard being our GD (granddaughter) is only here every so often. Thank you for clip! Very interesting! When I think about what happened - we were all on the floor and GD was at eye level. ( this isn’t an excuse) just rethinking what triggered it. We were all paying attention to GD. Shame on us for putting GD & dog in this situation. But up until then dog and GD were good! My daughter and son in law felt good about it also. (My children ( adults) told me that I have been too nervous with dog and GD. We never had to introduce dog to little child as our other 2 shepherds were puppies each time when kids were older. A lot of thinking today.”

I don’t need to be told the obvious!
Thank you though!
I didn't read any responses on this thread as bashing. I certainly didn't intend my response to sound like bashing.

I would like to add that you mentioned using gates as separation between child and dog. By that you mean baby gates? I absolutely would not trust baby gates in this scenario. I've had a 40lb Brittany take down a baby gate in a heartbeat for fun. An athletic little mutt jumped one in a heartbeat for fun. My boys have knocked one down by accident. And I lost my balance near one and knocked it down as I fell. That's 4 instances where gates came down pretty easily. I never use baby gates for anything other than convenience---where if the dogs came thru them it would be an inconvenience, not a safety hazard.

lastly, you said I don't need to be told the obvious but you or I or anyone else can't really know what's obvious to someone else I think.

I really don't think anyone was trying to bash you
 

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I didn't read any responses on this thread as bashing. I certainly didn't intend my response to sound like bashing.



I would like to add that you mentioned using gates as separation between child and dog. By that you mean baby gates? I absolutely would not trust baby gates in this scenario. I've had a 40lb Brittany take down a baby gate in a heartbeat for fun. An athletic little mutt jumped one in a heartbeat for fun. My boys have knocked one down by accident. And I lost my balance near one and knocked it down as I fell. That's 4 instances where gates came down pretty easily. I never use baby gates for anything other than convenience---where if the dogs came thru them it would be an inconvenience, not a safety hazard.



lastly, you said I don't need to be told the obvious but you or I or anyone else can't really know what's obvious to someone else I think.



I really don't think anyone was trying to bash you


I see what you’re getting at with the baby gate idea and by no means mean to cause confusion but I use the flimsiest, cheapest baby gate ever. My dogs know that the baby gate means, “I don’t go there”. They don’t touch it, jump on it etc. they were taught what the gate means. Of course, there isn’t a child at risk in my situation.


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I see what you’re getting at with the baby gate idea and by no means mean to cause confusion but I use the flimsiest, cheapest baby gate ever. My dogs know that the baby gate means, “I don’t go there”. They don’t touch it, jump on it etc. they were taught what the gate means. Of course, there isn’t a child at risk in my situation.


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I have one dog who wouldn’t breach a baby gate if it’s just leaning on a doorway and another that will hit at it until it moves and then sneak under it. I also have a tall pressure gate that fits tightly into a doorway, and my WL cleared it once when he really wanted to get to the other side. He didn’t even get a running start, he just leaned down, sprung up and leaped over it.
 

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I see what you’re getting at with the baby gate idea and by no means mean to cause confusion but I use the flimsiest, cheapest baby gate ever. My dogs know that the baby gate means, “I don’t go there”. They don’t touch it, jump on it etc. they were taught what the gate means. Of course, there isn’t a child at risk in my situation.


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What you describe is training, psychological barrier.

All I'm trying to say is that a dog who wants to go through a baby gate, will. It isn't a legitimate physical barrier.
 

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The worst thing that has ever been done to GSDs is to breed for insane prey drive that makes the dog go after anything that moves fast--a flirt pole, a rabbit, a child. When I see the ads that scream "TOP! TOP! CRAZY PREY DRIVE!" I think of kids like your granddaughter. Biddability has largely been bred out, and so has the "kid gene" that inhibits a dog from hurting a child. Your dog should be kept in a crate with a childproof lock and in a locked room whenever children are anywhere near your home, and she should not be taken anywhere in public unless she is leashed and muzzled. The risk of her nailing or even killing a small child who darts by is just too great. It is in no way your fault that your dog is like this. She was bred to be that way. It stinks, and I am sorry you are going through this.

Many years ago, I had two BYB GSDs who loved to hunt--and eat--rabbits. But they were totally trustworthy with little kids. They knew the difference, and they were bred to be family dogs, not "sport" champions. Good luck finding a dog like that today. Genetics matters.
 
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