Aggressive towards children
I've pretty discouraged and worried about my little buddy the past couple of days. I read the other thread in this section about dobes and children and it hasn't really answered my question. Deacon who is 5 months old isn't by any means a passive dog when it comes to children. This all started a few days ago when I was walking him and saw a few neighbors that I know. I stopped to speak and their two year old son came walking out and went to pet Deacon. He lunged and barked, thankfully I had the leash or he would've knocked the little guy down. The good news in that story is we've been at their house the past 2 nights with Deac and their other three kids and he's warmed up pretty well to them.
Here is what really scared me today. We were at my dad's house with alot of my family and my sisters kids which have played with Deacon since we got him were over there. Granted they don't see him every week and it's been about a month since he's seen them. Deac was aggressive towards both of them today. Once when my sister's daughter was running towards her( Deac was nowhere near them) he lunged and barked with the hair on his back standing up. The other time which really scared me was when Alex my sisters son walked up to him to pet him and I saw that expression on Deac's face as if he was about to snap. Alex stopped petting him and went to walk away, Deac went crazy showing teeth, hair standing up and lunging and barking. I was able to get to him in time before he could do anything. I picked him up by the scruff and planted him on his back and held him down. Of course he snapped out of it and immediately knew he did something wrong.
This really has me worried. When we have family get togethers we leave him off leash in my dad's fenced in back yard and those two have always played with him and never had problems. I've heard that the 6th month old mark is a tough one to get through. Could this be that?
Deac starts his intermediate training this month and at any other time is a great dog. He's very affectionate and loving towards me, my wife and all our immediate family (except kids as we learned today). He's fine with adult strangers also. I know we in part are to blame for not socializing him with more kids. Which is what we've tried to do since his episode with the two year old. But honestly Alex and Maddie have played with him his entire life. Why would he act so aggressive towards them? No they haven't pestered him, or picked on him. For their age they are really good and well behaved kids. I love my buddy to death but I'm not going to have him being child aggressive.
I spoke with a trainer a few days ago about it before this incident and he just said "Well he's still a puppy, try to socialize him more." I know this but I don't want to be the cause of some kids phobia of dogs because of us trying to socialize him. My little cousin Maddie is scared to death of him now and will probably never go around him again. I need help!