issues with children

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laith's picture
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Joined: 2010-12-01

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I have read a few posts about dobermans and children but just wanted to ask a few questions!

Laith is having issues with kids still. We went to the beach with 5-6 in the same house and he hated every minute. The ages range from 2-12. Then towards the kid of the trip there were two kids (niece and nephew). It took him THREE DAYS to not bark at them when he first saw them or when they made a sudden movement. But he was still iffy. He got to the point of letting them rub his head/hold his neck. And he even liked my nephew to chase him (still barked to initate play which he never does). 

But I just wanted to know techniques you guess have used if you have had trouble with dobermans and kids. The treat thing works ok- but there has to be other ways of exposure as well?! 

I am at the point where I am about to do anything to make sure he is trained to act right with children. It's really starting to worry me. 

darth206's picture
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I have an 8 yr. old son and he works/trains with me and Duncan. I have Duncan complete some"tricks" then Darren my son does them with him. When we go for a walk we both take turns leading him and putting him through commands. Yes Duncan does listen to me more but that's how dogs are. You always have an alpha. I think your best bet is to take Laith to classes for more socialization, maybe they have a class with younger owners/handlers to help with this.

I'm in the process now looking for some puppy classes for us to attend. I take Duncan to the playground with my son. This way Duncan sees all type of different action, from running, screaming, bikes and skateboards etc. I live in a small town so everybody practically knows everybody. Most of the parents bring their dogs with them and the kids, so it's a kid/ dog park kinda.

I hope I was able to help a little, Good Luck!!!

I take it that Laith was not raised with children. How old is he now and what have you done so far to teach this?

It is going to take a ton of socializing him around children. You need to take him to baseball, soccer games, parks anywhere that kids are running and playing and making lots of noise. You need to make this a postive experience everytime you are out. Bring lots of treats and give him lots of praise. NEVER force him at this point to let children touch him. He needs to associate the children with lots of cookies and good things. Once this has been established then you can have pre-arranged meetings with older kids that have been coached on exactly how you want them to greet the dog. NEVER let them reach out with both hands and pet over the head or try and grab him. This only makes the dog resist even more and gives him something to dread. It all has to be done properly so it is a positive experience. Dobermans that are raised with children take to them easily in my experience most of the time. It is those that arent that are more suspicious around them. 

I would not let any children chase your dog at this point in time even if you think the dog is enjoying it. Dogs can turn very quickly on children especially when the prey drive is involved.

We had similar issues with my male now 19mo this weekend so I will use him as an example. We sold his littermate to a couple in Colorado who have 3 children ranging from 4 to 10. they were on a mission trip and made a stop in our state this weekend so the rest of the family could meet me and the dogs seeing it was just the dad that flew in to pick up the puppy at the time of purchase. My other 2 females which are mother and grandmother to the litter were raised around children and lots of commotion. They are pretty much bomb proof besides the accidental and occasional knock down due to size. Now the male that we kept from the litter has been socialized a little around children but not to the degree he should be so he is more leary of them. He will gladly go up to them and sniff and nose them, but he will not tolerate being grabbed or hands approaching from above trying to hold the head. He finds the sudden movement quite interesting and would love nothing more than to chase them. While our company this weekend would have loved to love on him like they do his brother they were raised totally different and mine may never be THAT kind of dog. It is hard when you dont have that age group around and haven't done enough socializing with a purpose. All dogs have different amounts of play/prey drive which also throws in another aspect of training. The ones with more prey/toy drive have a harder time with children and the activities that surround them.

Now Romeo who has not had a lot of socializing with kids of the age group 3-9 does wonderful around our grand daughter who is now 8mo. We were very worried about him in the beginning seeing they were living with us when the baby was born. I truly believe in desensetizing dogs and purposfully set out to desensitize Romeo to the baby before she was born. I did this by buying a fake doll that made realistic baby noises. I wrapped this baby up carried it around like we would be carrying the real baby. I put it in the swing took it in and out of the car, all the while telling him what a nice baby it was and telling him gentle giving him treats for the proper reactions. He associated the baby as something to be calm around and is very gentle around her to this day (he even very carefully takes food from her hand in the high chair lol). Now does that mean I'm going to trust him to be unnatended while she is on the floor, HECK NO. I know what dogs are capable of and he will always be supervised. Each milesthone our grand daughter goes through will mean different training and desenstizing which we start early. I do know that with all the play/prey drive that Romeo has and the fact he wasn't raised from the start with this age group in mind that he will always be a work in progress. This does not make him a bad dog whatesoever just one that will need supervision, desensetizing and proper training.  

laith's picture
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Laith just turned one year old. We started training at 4 months. He spent his 5th month until his 7th month in training classes socializing with other dogs and children. Children would give him commands, play with him, etc. He did amazing around those kids! If we go to petsmart or if he is on a leash out (park etc) he does great with kids. 

But if he is in a house/room with children he can't stand it. He will bark at the child. When he finally got use to my nephew he would approach him and bark then run. Before that, he would get overwhelmed so my sister would take her kids out- let Laith have time and then I would take Laith back upstairs to his own room. My niece and nephew work with abused animals in shelters and are VERY VERY good with animals, especially dogs. They know distance, the proper way to greet etc. And I think that is what worries me- that he didn't take to them. Laith and the other kids around at that time didn't stand a chance. We didn't even push it. 

We started noticing his fear of children around 6 months. Around 8 months he started barking at children if they were to make sudden movements. I got a few friends to bring their children around - and he did ok. If I go anywhere I have treats to give kids to hand to Laith. But if a child ignores him --he will approach them without any question AND be nice. As far as teenagers - adults he LOVES socializing with them. 

He has not grown up with children. There are a few he sees daily but they are very calm. As of right now there is no chance of bringing a child in the house, more less a stranger. He is very protective of his areas- so I am wondering if that had something to do with it as well. Regardless, its a problem I need to fix asap! I have been trying everything I know how- and it's not working for a long-term solution. 

I can tell he is curious but there is just something missing. I don't want to get to the point where I can't trust him!