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Old 06-30-2008, 09:34 AM
Ron Mervis Ron Mervis is offline
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Post Newly Rescued Dog Weary of Children

Hi... i'm new here... my first thread...
I recently rescued a lovely Golden Retriever mix from a rural Florida county shelter (just before he was to be put down)... he's a mix of a Golden and a Maremma sheep dog... (an italian sheep dog... a smaller Great Pyrenees-type)- so he looks like a white Golden Retriever... his name is Casper....he's about 5 years old (not too much history on him)....gets along beautifully with my other adult male dog (and other dogs)...and is fine with people...but i noticed that around little kids, he's somewhat weary...and i even detected a subtle very low throaty growl when one little girl went over to pet him... so, obviously, i'm a little nervous...i certainly don't want a kid to be nipped ... nor do i want to lose him or have him put down...he's a real love and has become my white shadow...
since i don't have a history on him (he was from a shelter), i don't know if he was teased or abused by children previously...
Does anyone have any suggestions about how to help him adjust or be more comfortable around kids? (I don't have any...but i have friends/relatives who may stop by my house who do)....
thanks for any help...
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:12 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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There are some trainers on here who probably have great ideas when they read this post.

All I can offer is that I might try making it a very wonderful time for the dog when he meets children, like giving lots of treats when they have interaction. Have children being around equal to great things happening.

I don't know if that would work, but I'll bet you get some good advice from a few of the trainers.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:19 PM
borzoimom borzoimom is offline
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" Golden and a Maremma sheep dog.."
Okay this is a type of guard dog. Usually protective from strangers. Are the children yours or other peoples? ( I need to know so I can tell which way to go in advice..)
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:53 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Newly Rescued Dog Weary of Children
"Weary" = tired, sleepy, bored.

"Wary" = nervous, scared

Anyway, since you said you don't have kids, it's at least a manageable problem. It's also relatively common. Just keep your dog away from kids. Don't let kids pet him or get close to him if he's uncomfortable, and if kids come over to the house keep him in his crate in a back bedroom where the kids are not allowed to go. If he's out in public and sees a kid, you can make that a really fun experience - give him lots of his favorite treats, praise and make a big deal out of it, and then walk away from the kid. Don't ever push him to the point where he feels uncomfortable. Eventually, with a lot of practice, he could be able to let a kid approach, but I'm not sure, given his age and unknown history, that he'll ever be happy to let a kid pet him.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:37 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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My aunt's dog is also wary of kids, I brought her to the park (large park) so we could see the kids but not be surrounded. She's not outright scared but prefers if they don't touch her. So if a kid asked to pet her i said "how about you give her a treat instead' and they did, then we left. So she does not mind them so much. How fearful is she exactly? You may need to work slower, having a kid was parallel to her and tossing the treat without looking at her (of course you'll need kids you know to do this). then slowly work up to her staying calm while a kid touches her. But I do agree with lizzy, Do not ever force her to interact with a child or you are asking for a bite. If a kid wants to pet her, ask them to kneel down and offer her their hand to sniff (so long as she is not fearful of reaching hands) after that if she wants to approach she will, if not ask the kid if they want to feed a treat, most say yes.

If you are at a park, you could also ask a kid if they want to toss her ball for her (if she fetches) but make sure you take the ball from the dog, don't let the child.

Thank you ~Dixie's Mom~ for my awesome siggy!
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Old 07-01-2008, 08:57 AM
Ron Mervis Ron Mervis is offline
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thanks for your suggestions... i will certainly give it a shot... and i do like the idea of a child offering him a treat....(since he really loves treats...and any food for that matter)....
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Old 07-01-2008, 11:38 AM
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Please be very careful in trying to socialize a large adult dog with children who has clearly indicated he does not want to be approached or touched by them.

One wrong grab and you have not only a dead dog, but the possibility of an injured child in addition to a lawsuit.

This sort of thing deserves a consultation with a professional in your area. If this were my dog he would have NO ACCESS to children at any time until I had felt this out with a trainer who knows what they are looking at.

You have no way of knowing why this dog was at a shelter. There can be serious underlying problems with dogs who have been given up at his age, and that could include prior bite incidents.

BE CAREFUL with this dog.

JMO as always.....
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:23 AM
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Romy Romy is offline
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Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
If a kid wants to pet her, ask them to kneel down and offer her their hand to sniff (so long as she is not fearful of reaching hands) after that if she wants to approach she will, if not ask the kid if they want to feed a treat, most say yes.
This is okay except for the kneeling part! That will put then at face level with her, so if she did decide to snap...guess what?

ETA: just want to explain this in more detail. You don't want them to loom over her because that will make her nervous. However, kneeling puts them at face level, and children tend to stare/make eye contact when being friendly and interested in something. Your dog may see this as a challenge and try to respond in a negative way. Even if she doesn't act out, having one crouch down and stare at her face isn't going to help her think of children in a positive way.

Getting a child to look away while crouching is nicer body language, but puts the child at risk as it exposes their neck.

Last edited by Romy; 07-02-2008 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:15 PM
Ron Mervis Ron Mervis is offline
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thanks to everyone for their suggestions... obviously, this could be a dicey situation if it's not handled correctly....for right now, i am working with my dog in trying to make sure that he is comfortable with being around other people...and so far - so good...absolutely no problems...
as for the kiddies... i'm going really slowly with that ....
thanks again...
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:41 PM
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Duke'sMommy Duke'sMommy is offline
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I have a dog that is not to sure of kids and I have been working with my friends son (hes a year and a half). I started by going for walks with Duke and her son keeping Duke at a distance (Duke is also muzzled while we do this, he's comfortable with it on and it tends to calm him a bit) Once I would put Duke in the car to go I would bring her son over to give him a treat. Then we started having Duke off leash but still muzzled in an encloed area and let her son walk around and this way if Duke was uncomfortable he could walk away from him or he could approach him. This has been going on for almost a year now. I still have Duke muzzled when around her son I still dont think he is ready not to be yet. But the last time he was with him off leash Duke layed beside her son while he was playing and even let her son lay on him. Like I said Ive been working slowly with him for about a year now it is a slow process but we are making huge improvements. Good luck with your dog
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