Teaching Your Dog to Tolerate and Love Children

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puppy training, how to train your dog for kids

Kids Love Dogs!

We live in a world full of children.  It always surprises me when child aggressive dogs at shelters are placed in “child-free” homes.  Even for those of us who don’t have children…we have children in our lives.  Nieces, nephews, friend’s children, step children they are everywhere and cannot be constantly avoided.  Dogs that are seriously child aggressive should be seen by a Veterinary Animal Behaviorist so that they can be controlled safely and under the watchful eye of a veterinarian/behaviorist.

Dogs must be taught first to tolerate children, and then hopefully to love children!  Socialization should begin early and lots of time should be spent with good kids to help endear them to your dog.

Children are loud, they move fast, they make strange noises and sometimes they engage in behavior that dogs classify as rude and obnoxious.  Unfortunately, that is just how children behave and it is difficult to control all the children that your dog will meet so although I do recommend educating and arming children with good doggy social skills, it is also imperative that dogs are subjected to the world of children in a fun and positive way.

I spent 34 years of my life without children under my roof, but there was always the occasional child that made an entrance into my house.  My dogs had to be taught to enjoy the company of children despite the fact that sometimes dogs think kids are a little scary.

I have always used early socialization, with good children as a crucial tool.  Poorly behaved children and those with no dog social skills can scare a puppy and therefore affect how it feels about children for a long time, if not for life.  So I would never recommend taking your dog to Chucky Cheese for a free for all, but I do recommend visiting friends and family who have good, well mannered kids.

Early interaction and respect is essential for both children and dogs in order to have successful life relationships.

I also desensitize my dogs to the rude things that children do in order to prepare for the day they meet a poorly behaved, uneducated child.  Although, you may think you can keep these children from your dog, you are probably wrong!  There are hyper, naughty children in this world that don’t listen to anyone and I would rather give my dog the tools to deal with them, than deal with the ramifications of a bite!

I use positive reinforcement to teach my dog’s tolerance with a little rough handling and what dogs consider rude behavior.

My background is working with Service Dogs for people with disabilities and therefore taking them into public all of the time.  Service/Assistance Dogs get grabbed, stepped on, kicked, yelled at, poked and prodded almost constantly.  They must be understanding about all the negative things that happen to them to be successful in their field.

I learned early on to teach my dogs that when bad or painful things happen they would be rewarded by me for good behavior instead of reverting to their instincts to nip, growl or bite.   And, I continue to raise my dogs to be tolerant of uncomfortable touch.

Getting Startedpuppy training, how to train your dog for kids

What You Need

  • Make sure you have excellent treats!  You want your dog to enjoy this!
  • Clicker
  • A fun and positive attitude

How to Train Your Dog to Accept Uncomfortable Touch

  • First you have to begin by starting small!  I don’t want to hurt or scare my dogs that would defeat the purpose!  I want to start by being slightly irritating and reward my dog for a correct response.
  • Gently I touch their ears, feet, snout etc. and click.  Touch should equal something good.
  • As long as I see no signs of aversion I move to the next step of adding more pressure or irritancy.
  • This time I hold the ears and paws just a little too long.  I poke a little harder but I click and jack pot a good response.
  • Use lots of praise and rewards, this should actually be a game and should be fun for you and your dog.
  • Don’t do this for long periods of time; this type of training should be done in short positive bouts.
  • Next, add a little more pulling and/or pressure, click and treat.
  • Work up slowly by increasing the level of discomfort and increasing the praise and rewards.  Think of a three year old grabbing your dog’s ear or fur, you want your dog to be use to this sensation and understand that a wonderful reinforcement for good behavior is on its way!

Once while I was out training a Service Dog at a flea market in Denver, CO I experienced the exact reason I desensitize all of my dogs.  We were meandering through the flea market shopping and enjoying ourselves when my Service Dog started to act a little weird.  He never broke heel position, but the look on his face was odd, and for a moment it didn’t go away.

I turned around to see a 4 year old boy pulling and what almost looked like water skiing from his tail.  I could tell the pressure was uncomfortable if not painful.  I couldn’t even see the youngster’s parents and he ran off never to be seen from again.

puppy training, how to train your dog for kids

Kids and Dogs can Form Wonderful Bonds Together!

My dog simply looked up at me with wanting eyes as if to say “I SOOOOO deserve a treat for that!!”, and I had to agree!  He was showered with treats for such a tolerant response, and for the next several training sessions he was rewarded anytime children were around so that he would not hold any resentment.

I wish we lived in a world where all children treated all dogs with kindness and respect, but that doesn’t always happen.  Kids grab ears, fur, paws, they pull tails, step on, kick, and trip over dogs and I am a firm believer that dogs should be taught to accept these behaviors to the best of their abilities and then expect praise and a treat for a job well done.  Instead of wanting to bite, they should want to run to you to get their “cookie”!

This desensitization dog training keeps your children and your dogs safe!

 

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There are 63 Comments

  1. Pat Emmerson says:

    Chet,

    I agree 100%. I have two dogs that I have worked hard with to help them tolerate all kinds of touching. They seem to tolerate that just fine. One of my dogs (has a lot of Border Collie in him)gets over stimulated when kids run and scream in the yard. I have have small grandkids who do that. This particular dog has a good recall, so I have been able to call him off, but I would prefer it if he were not so stimulated by the site of a running screaming kid. This dog has been through CU and lots of training classes that emphasize positive reinforcement and clicker training. We are now doing your emotion training course (which echoes CU in many ways). Any other suggestions?

    Pat

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes, over stimulation is a problem for herding dogs! You need to desensitize him to it by finding a playground or area where there are constantly kids running and screaming. Take him there and train with him. If he can’t focus on you, you are too close back up and work with him until kids running and screaming is like a normal part of life and he could care less!

    Use that clicker and click when he pays attention to you, gives you eye contact or can complete a command (sit, down, stay etc.)

    [Reply]

    Jeanne Reply:

    I have a herding dog which was injured before he was weaned and we did not think he would make it. He did survive and as a puppy was very good although our vet said that he has some neurological problems. He is now almost 1 year old and although he learns most things very fast he cannot seem to adjust to people or other dogs anymore. He did go to obediance school but they said he never learned how to great another dog and since most of the time it is just him and me we do fine but when my son comes home or anyone else is around he just goes nuts. He snaps, growls and nips. He was leash trained and did well as a puppy but as he got older he gets so upset that I seldom take him out of our home anymore. I don’t know what is normal behavior and what is the disorder.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would recommend seeking the advice of a veterinary behaviorist to help you, they can tell you what is more “normal” for his condition and they can prescribe medications that could possibly help him feel better.

    Since I cannot see him I don’t feel comfortable giving you advice, especially since his behaviors sound aggressive. Good luck, I know a veterinary behaviorist can help you both feel better!

  2. PENNT SIEMENS says:

    I would like help with the dog jumping up on people as well not getting in the way and lisTENNING better to come when called and all the other basic commands.

    PENNY

    [Reply]

    Silverwolf Reply:

    Let the dog drag a leather 6′ leash and put a foot on the leash when you anticipate he may want to jump. Also tell him to sit or heel to help distract the excitement and direct a response to the command. When the dog complies be sure to reward the correct modified behavior verbally, then treat and short pat or rub (not on the top of the head) will get the message across to the dog to relax. The real key is for you to anticipate and divert the dog’s attention consistently about 100 times before deciding if this method is worthwhile or it needs tweeking.

    [Reply]

  3. MARTHA says:

    I need to know how to keep my dogs from going crazy anytime anyone is around? They were all around people outside as puppies, etc..and now if I take them out..they bark, growl, and act a fool. Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Go back to your puppy training and socializing routine! Training and socializing is a lifetime commitment and needs to be constantly worked on, otherwise they regress and these problems start to arise!

    [Reply]

  4. Gayle Kubat says:

    Chet,
    I have tried to work with training my dog to tolerate my two grandkids. Overall he is pretty good, but one behavior I need some help with–is he tries to hump them when he gets the chance. I do stop him and usually send him to his kennel so he knows he gets no reward. What ideas do you have with stopping this behavior. Would appreciate your imput.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Have your grandkids teach your dog a few tricks and work on obedience. The dog needs to see the kids as small humans not as other dogs or something to be dominated! Simply having them work with him and feed him will probably really help you with this problem!

    [Reply]

  5. Erika says:

    Two month ago I got a German Shepherd Dog from the resque and there is one problem: the dog don’t likes man, just man. May be he was mistreaded, I don’t know. He attacks and gets in the red zone in seconds.
    Otherwise he is a very nice playful and friendly dog. He was never socialised or trained and he is four years old always in a Kennel. Now I have him in the house and give him lots of exercise. We are also in a obediens classe, he does very well.
    What would be the the best way to get this agression against man out of him?

    [Reply]

    JOSEPHINE MC GEE Reply:

    I would agree with the notion that animals remember if they get badly treated. I seen this in pigs, dogs and horses. I have witnessed a race horse that was hit by a jocky he remembered and the following day the same horse went for that man the first chance he got. We rescued pigs from the Donegal pet rescue all 3 of them were terified of men because they were chased by neighbours because of there unsecure inclosure . Once we looked after them for a while they soon calmed down it took a while for them to trust my partner, I used to take turns to feed them ,did the trick.

    [Reply]

  6. Teela says:

    My dream is to train service dogs. Does anyone know of how to receive training to do this? Schools, training facilities, organizations, ect.? I live in Texas and am a high school teacher & coach. I would change occupations in a heart beat to work with dogs so deserving people have a better quality of life. I do not know of dog service training institute in Texas. Do you? Thanks for any help or direction.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I don’t know of anyone in TX but I can tell you that training Service Dogs is not usually a career choice, it is something you do “along” with your other career.

    I have been training Service Dogs for about 15 years and if you work for a good nonprofit there isn’t a lot of money in it. I ran my own organization in CO and I had to work full time just in order to pay the bills associated with the organization. But, I also placed my dogs for free with my clients and got them all from shelters.

    I also use to work for Assistance Dogs International, you can look them up on the web, but I remember Texas Hearing and Handi Dogs well, you can see if they are still around 🙂

    The one place I know of that trains people is http://www.assistancedog.org/ you can look into it, but again it is very hard to make a career out of training service dogs. Good luck to you.

    [Reply]

  7. karen says:

    I agree that all dogs and children need to learn to respect each other.unfortunatly we cannot ensure that will happen. I have a 2 1/2 year old chihuahua. I have had her 6 monts. She has been really good so far. She will growl quietly when she is cornered and kids come around but hasn’t even attempted to bite. She likes to bark and adct ferousious but runs as soon as some one lookes at her. there was one time athat a little girl was playing and I was holding my dog. the little girls kept putting thing on my lap. the dog snapped at her but didn’t really try to bite. even so I always worry that she just might one time. I will deffinatly work on strecthing her tolerance zone. Thanks

    [Reply]

  8. mo zein says:

    i have a Germain Shepard almost 7 months old and im having new children moving in soon..how will that effect my dog and might he hurt the kids?if so,how can i get my dog used to my children in the shortest time possible?

    [Reply]

  9. Noel Petter says:

    I have a desperate need to stop my dogs from trying to escape our property every time they get a chance and run into a busy boulevard one city lot away. This has happened often and it is only a matter of time till they will be killed! Two are 1 1/2 year old male, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The third is a well behaved, approximately 11 year old, female, rescued, Golden Lab. mix. Please advise as soon as possible, URGENT !

    [Reply]

  10. Kerri Lovell says:

    Hello,

    I just recently adopted a 10 month old heeler/border collie cross. I am a little concerned with children & herders after reading a lot of sites. (Your site actually isn’t horribly negative about herders. =)

    I suppose I should have always known about the dangers of a herder with children, I grew up with a collie/german sheppard mix. But I didn’t bother looking more into herders since my experience with our family dog was pretty much positive for the most part. Come to think of it, I remember that dog nipping and chasing our legs… but never did it escalate to biting. He is such a lovable dog, so that’s why this new puppy we adopted didn’t quite scare me….. until now and reading about people’s experiences.

    And to be clear, the collie/german sheppard is my parents dog and don’t live with me. We’re also not having children for another few years.

    My husband and I are truly committed to raising our puppy. It definitely has been challenging so far. But we’re working on it. We have the nipping more controlled now. She still jumps and lunges at me sometimes. But the improvements we made have been huge. (We have now had the pup for 1 month). We have also been able to control playtime and our puppy will drop the toy for us and not lunge for it when it is in our hands. Yay. =)

    How has your experiences been with having small children and herders? Did you have any major problems? I know I can’t get rid of the instinct. But is it controllable? How do I know if my dog has a Really strong urge to herd?

    Thanks for any info!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Read my article on herding dogs it might help some. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/cohabitating-herding-dog/

    Also go back through and search the blog. There is a search button on the left side of the page. Help for your Land Shark would probably be another good read.

    I have 3 herders and many children coming and going, it is about controlling the herding instinct and using it and exercise to control my dogs!

    [Reply]

    Myranda Reply:

    Not all herding dogs are like that. My new boyfriend at the time had to bring his 2yr old heeler to my house the day after having her back leg amputated, when I was coming out the bathroom my 9mth old son was standing right on it trying to get around the table. She just laid there like it wasn’t even happening. She didn’t grow up w/ small kids. We had her up to age of 14 till she passed away. She was an extraordinary dog. Never had a problem w/ her nipping, biting or anything. From the age of 2-14 she grew up w/ a bunch if rowdy boys always around. I also had another heeler growing up, she was just as good. Both very protective over kids. But a heeler mix I just got not even a wk ago, totally a nipper when she is over stimulated. You should be able to recognize her signs before hand & detour it happening. Start observing every chance you get & don’t give up. It’s not there fault. Just like humans were all different & tolerate at different levels.

    [Reply]

  11. Richard says:

    Thanks for this good post! It is best to teach dogs to tolerate and love children! Let your dogs socialize with children or let them spend time with kids so they get used to interacting with them.

    [Reply]

  12. Kamessa La Rue says:

    I need help. I rescued two dogs from a shelter when they were puppies. They were 12 weeks old and already slated to be euthinized. Long sotry short one of the puppies were always more timid than the other. I had a wonderful family that was going to take both dogs. They were 6 months old at the time. When the family came Stormy nipped at the man. Since they had children I did not fell comfterble with rehoming her with them. They did take her sister. She is now almost 2 years old, and still does not like children, sort of. (she is completly fine with my son) and some what okay with my neice and nephew. We do have to watch her because she will occasionally growl if they bother her and she is tired. I am well aware of that, so I noramlly put her in the other room if I know she is tired and wants to be left alone.

    The big problem is if any other child comes in the house she contantly barks (which she does with any staranger until they are at the house for 5 minutes and she knows it okay). or if she is not barking its like she has a dual personality. he is fine on minute, but then the next minute she will nip at them. I CANNOT have this in my house. I love her to death but I do not know how to help her any more. I want to have a dog I can take places with us, but I DO NOT TRUST her with children. I dont want to have to put her down, but not sure what my other options are.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I am a person that believes in has seen the devastation of bites to children and the liability that so often follows for both dog and owner.

    Trust is the issue and I would not trust her either, probably ever. Even if you work on her behavior, I would never trust her with children.

    That being said if you decide to keep her (and that really is a personal issue only you can decide on) you must keep her on a leash and work on her behaviors.

    You say that she acts this way with any stranger at first, so they are the first people to work on behavior modification with; Don’t start with children.

    Keep her on a leash, reward her good behaviors with praise and food. Keep her away from the stranger and teach her to lay quietly at your feet. The goal is not for people to pet her, they may never be able to pet her the goal is to control her emotions and let her know she does not have to protect you or herself.

    Give her something else to do, like a good bone to chew on when someone comes over (unless she is aggressive or possessive with it).

    Invite people only solely for the reason of training! And, keep doing it until you have a handle on the behavior and she is much better. Only then can you add children you can trust to the equation and begin to work on her relationship and how she feels about children.

    DO NOT allow children that you do not have control of to work with her. A fast movement or a squeal could ruin your work and get a child bitten. So work your way up and your trust will slowly increase with her.

    But all in all be careful, know you have a potential biter and keep it from happening at all cost.

    Good luck to you! I have been there and with a lot of work you can get where you want to go, but the road is hard and you can NEVER slack in your training and control of your dog.

    [Reply]

  13. Hayley says:

    Thanks for posting this it’s a great help as i have a little sister that anoys my dog so much he barks when ever she makes a noise so this will really help. Does this take longer to train a almost 2yr old dog?

    [Reply]

  14. Lois says:

    I have a foster beagle who 6 years old. He the sweetest dog every. Loves his rides, walks and belly rubs. He does not like small children and will growl . I think it more fear of not knowing what going to happen and he was hurt once a while ago before I got him.

    I would love to keep him but cannot if he growls especially at children as I have a 3, 5 and 8 year grandsons. Plus a little one coming in December./ Is there anything I can do to train him to relax.

    Please advise as I ust cannot have a dog that growls. He such a good boy other then that.

    LOIS

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    In an effort to keep your grandchildren safe and since I cannot see the direct behaviors, I cannot give you much advice except to get a veterinary behaviorist involved! Not just any dog trainer find someone that can possibly prescribe medication and one that has a lot of experience with positive reinforcement. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/time-seek-professional-dog-training-aggression/

    [Reply]

  15. karla says:

    Hello I have a german shepherd mixed and he is now going on his 3rd year with me. I got him when he was just 6 weeks old…was very small dog. I love him so much but recently, he has gotten kennel aggression. I took him to get groomed and nails grinded and he got in trouble and was banned from the location for biting the lady on the thumb. It didn’t break the skin it seemed like he just nipped her but no bruise or blood. I think he just scared them. Then they couldn’t even take him out of the kennel when I went to pick him up. I had to go in the back and take him out myself. I was really upset at them but also at my dog. He had never done that before. He had previously been there a couple of times so he wasn’t new to the place. Then he also barks and pulls himself while on the leash when he sees small children run. I don’t want to get rid of him because I know he will have the same problem with other people as well. I never did train him for lack of time and money. He is nice and gentle and playful with my husband and I and even my little sisters who are 10 and 14 years old. But not toddlers and certainly not other dogs. I would love to train him proffesionally but I cannot afford it. When are some things I could do myself? I would love for him to like children and get along with other dogs and people. I don’t want people to be scared of him. what should I do?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Don’t use that groomer again. Some groomers use unfriendly tactics to do their grooming, and others just have to deal with sometimes aggressive dogs. I recommend taking your dog to the vet if you can’t trim their nails, as most vet clinics and fast and quite proficient at it.

    You need to start training!!! Time is no excuse as you obviously walk him and probably do other things like watch TV and such 😉 He is a commitment and something so large with some aggressive tendencies needs training. He is also an investment and may be worth the investment to get a few private lessons to make sure he is not going to bite anyone especially children. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/time-seek-professional-dog-training-aggression/ If he bites it will be a lot more costly than a few training sessions.

    If you want to conquer some of the training and basics on your own use our blog and search button in the left hand corner, you can also utilize our video vault. http://www.dogtrainingvideovault.com for a small fee.

    And I would definitely recommend a gentle leader when you work with him or even a basket muzzle when you are out in public to ensure everyone’s safety. http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/utilize-gentle-leader-similar-head-halters-dog-training/

    [Reply]

  16. mr bigglesworth says:

    I need some advice, I have a German Shepherd/Collie Cross Male Dog who’s 15 months old, he tolerates my children and my niece and nephew, but if any of my friend’s children come around he gets very defensive to the point of me having to lock him in the Garage, the same goes for other dogs.

    We are having him neutered which we are hoping will calm him down but I’m finding his issues with other children extremely worrying as the last thing I want is for my dog hurting a child.

    I really need some advice on this matter much as I love that dog to pieces, being a responsible dog owner I will have no choice but to make hard decisions.

    [Reply]

  17. Jan Balch says:

    I would love some advice. My little Shihtzu is 2 1/2 years old. She is quite easy going with children to a degree and will tolerate a lot, but there is one thing that I would love to change. When my granddaughter (who is 4) puts her face up close in a very loving, wants to kiss her nose way, my dog will nip at her. Now, this behaviour is really uncalled for, since I can put my face up to her like that and she doesn’t react that way, neither does she react that way with my husband. My Granddaughter has been taught that the dogs bag is her safe place and if she goes in there she is to be left alone and she has always honored that. She doesn’t poke and prod her much… loves to carry her around a bit. (dog is under 7 lbs) How do I change this behaviour? She is a very good dog but is a bit nervous when I take her places…although I have taken her with me everywhere I go… she is in her bag but once permission is granted, she is allowed out of it asap. Any help to make her more accepting of situations would be wonderful as well! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    By allowing your granddaughter to continue to do this you are setting her up for a bite, and a significant bite to the face.

    Kids are not little adults to dogs, kids are more like other dogs and dog that get into the faces of other dogs are dominant and rude and after a few good nips and warnings the nip escalates to a bite. Dogs bite each other in the face and very often near the eye.

    Read this article http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/give-kiss-understanding-dog-language/

    And by teaching your 4 year old granddaughter it is okay to kiss your dog, you are also teaching her that it is okay to kiss ALL dogs, which is a scary concept but one a 4 year old cannot distinguish.

    Instead teach her dogs don’t like hugs and kisses so she never hugs or kisses the loose Rottweiler or German Shepherd Dog and gets mauled in the face or worse… killed because she is use to doing something that is socially unacceptable in the dog world.

    [Reply]

  18. Rachel says:

    I found your intructions for teaching a dog to tolerate children excellent and will definitely give it a go. I am getting anxious with our 2 year old male (neutered) Rottie who is an absolute joy and SOOOOOO affectionate but I have been seeing him stiffen whenever my youngest boy (aged 7) comes to pat him now. My boy is clumsy and often knocks him when stepping over him or stands on his feet a little, etc on accident and I can see the dog getting less and less tolerant. He stiffens, his ears go back and he seems uneasy until my boy leaves him again. Can you please advise what to do if he growls? I’m reading differing opinions on this and I think it’s not wise to punish a dog for that as it’s their warning system before the unwanted ‘main event’. Many thanks.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Growling is a warning so if you correct it he is liable to bite without the growl, since that is what he thinks you are offended by.

    Instead get them involved in a class together or have you boy teach him tricks. Be there to make sure they are both appropriate with each other and everyone is safe, but you need to make your son fun, instead of painful and intimidating.

    At 7 your son should be able to understand that if he steps on, trips over, etc. the dog he is likely to be bitten. He needs to be more respectful or your dog is likely to correct him!

    Don’t let them be alone together!! Or, you may not see the warning right before the bite, and if it is very serious see a veterinary behaviorist.

    Your son’s safety is first.

    [Reply]

  19. Kelly says:

    We recently adopted a 2 year old boxer from a friend. He was not socialized with young children and we have a 2 year old, 4 year old, and 8 year old children. He seamed tolerant of all of the children and would let the 2 year old throw the ball for him and sit for him on command. He didn’t seam to mind the children climbing on him or playing with him. However, my 4 year old recently pushed him off of her big stuffed dog that she likes to lay on and he turned around and nipped her in the face. It wasn’t bad but did leave a scratch. We all love the dog and he is perfect in all other ways but my children’s safety comes first. Is there any way of changing his behavior at this point or would you find him a home with older kids?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You have to be very careful and not leave him alone with them. This was a warning and the next time will likely be worse, because he thinks he has already issued a warning and so the next one will be more severe.

    The children should not be climbing on him or playing with him like that, that makes them more like puppies to him and when puppies are rude (pushing him off of a toy) they are reprimanded.

    You children need to respect him and understand he is capable of hurting them. If he steals something or does something they don’t like they need to address you not him.

    And, I would recommend taking an obedience class or having a veterinary behaviorist over to work with the children and the dog so that the person can see the behavior and recommend appropriate behavior modification on all parts.

    [Reply]

  20. Judith says:

    I recently adopted a 4 year old Pomeranian mix and he is a joy to have. He does tricks, and goes to everyone when we say “come”. My problem is that I have a 6 year old son and the dog will not go to him when he tells him to “come”. He lets him pet him and he does the tricks with him when he has treats but he doesn’t go to him when he calls him. He doesn’t growl or bark at my son he just doesn’t go to him. Is there anything I can do?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Have them play together and have your son teach him things.

    And keep an eye on your son and the dog. Don’t leave them alone. Sometimes kids do slightly naughty things to dogs and if this is the case then that is probably the problem.

    Some dogs just don’t respect kids, they think they are more like puppies or lower on list of hierarchy so it is just a matter of making your son do some teaching and feed the dog and play with the dog so that they can bond.

    [Reply]

  21. Courtney says:

    I find all of this information quite helpful. I have a 2 year old lab and an 18 mo old child. We did all of the poking and pinching to desensitize which worked when we poke the dog. However when the baby pinches him, the dog immediately gets up and goes to his crate. We are thankful he gives no warnings or aggression but is this a bad sign of not being tolerate?

    We are trying hard to teach our baby as he does not respect our dog and be gentle. We find the baby will hit the dog with a toy and when we correct with a “no” our dog reacts like its his fault. Is there any good methods to reinforce that the dog is not in trouble?

    The last observation is our dog is not affectionate or cuddly with our baby. He cuddles with us but immediately goes to his crate when the baby climbs up. Maybe I have the issue and should be thankful the dog retreats to his comfort place. Any advice?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    His crate is his safe place. I would reward him for choosing to go there instead of retaliate. Give him a treat and a bone to chose when he makes the right decision.

    Make sure he is not feeling neglected now. Many dogs feel some resentment when a baby comes because they don’t get the attention they use to. Make sure to schedule time to train and play with him even if it is while the baby is asleep.

    Never leave them alone. His discomfort with the baby is apparent and if the pinching, kicking or hitting gets worse when you aren’t in the room the dog could seriously hurt the baby.

    Also make sure the baby is not allowed close enough to pinch etc. if that is a problem. Every time the baby hurts the dog, the dog confirms his feelings for the baby and is less likely to grow close to him and may set them up for problems as the baby grows and gets even more mobile.

    Do things like hold the baby and throw the dog’s ball so that the baby is “there” but not on the ground or doing anything but being held by you. Start having lots of fun and doing lots of stuff when the baby is in his chair or somewhere up and away from the dog but still in the room, this positive association will help how he feels about the baby. But, just one pinch, kick, hit, or falling on will destroy your hard work.

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  22. Judy says:

    I have a pomeranian mix and he is always barking when people knock, I’ll tell him to calm down but he’ll keep barkong. When I open the door and talk to the person he starts barking even more. Once I let them in he’ll sniff them and then calm down. Also when I take him on walks he’ll bark and try to lung at other dogs. Even if the dogs aren’t barking at him he’ll go all crazy barking at them and it’s like he forgets I’m there because he will just keep barking and not listen to me. Once the dogs are farther away he’ll keep barking and then kinda wimper.

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  23. Just adopted a new rescue. Sweetest dog I ever had listens, trained etc, he loves me and sits on my lap nightly, he is a shit zu mix and very cute.I i have no history on him except his people dropped him off a rescue at night and never said why . just left him anonymously.

    Since he is so good wondering if there was a issue with children . I have 2 grandchildren 3 and 6 and they will be here over Christmas and always got along fine with my dogs in the past how can I get the dog prepared for the visit? I am afraid he may get jealous when the kids sit on my lap which they often. Any advice appreciated..The kids will be here at least once every 3 wks they live about 1.5 hrs away but come that often so need to know how to get the dog use to them.

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  24. Susana says:

    My husband and I adopted our rescue dog, he is approximately 1 year old.We believe he was on the streets and then tied up to a pole for a long time as there is a deep scar around his neck. He is a very patient dog when it comes to puppies, we rescued a puppy who climbs on him, plays and bites and he is very tolerant. However, he has growled at kids (ages 3-8) and one time he got scared by one jumped up and barked (through a glass door) but i am afraid of what could have happened if the door wasnt there. I dont even know how to start. Is this fixable?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    If you have children in your life, I suggest you find a veterinary behaviorist that can witness the behavior and help you.

    I also suggest that you contact Dana with customer service and be put on a list for our aggression coaching course. info@thedogtrainingsecret.com is her email.

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  25. Caity says:

    Hello! I recently adopted a 5 year old Min Pin. We were told he does not do well with children under the age of 13, so far I have kept him away from all children just in case. But my husband and I have a neice and nephew that visit occasionally, and I was wondering if there’s any tips you can give me to get him more comfortable with children?

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  26. Liz says:

    We recently brought home a 6 month old rottweiler puppy that we love, i have 2 small children 3 years old is my youngest and he definitately pushes my dogs buttons, ive talked to my son and explained that he cannot try to play so rough and wrestle with him like he would with his sibling but of course like you explained sometimes with kids its not so easy, and so i would like to train my dog on how to pretty much remain calm during all the craziness, nipping and jumping is an issue and he will stop if you tell him no usually but he will go right back to jumping and nipping a few moments after once my son begins to play again, but yesterday i started to notice a bit of aggression coming from him he growled a bit at my son and nipped and really it rubbed me the wrong way wasnt like before when they were running and playing in the yard and im noticing it in the house as well, is there any advice we really love him and would hate to have to rehome him but im also worried for my son, Hope theres something i can do to help them get along Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Honestly it sounds like you are admitting your son is the problem… that is where it needs to be corrected.

    If in doubt find a veterinary behaviorist

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  27. Janelle says:

    I have a 3 year old 20lb mix that I adopted 2 years ago. She is a lovely dog in all ways except tolerance to rudeness of others (dogs / people). Since I can’t control other dogs, nor people who do not know better, nor do I want to teach Baybe fleeing, I really need your help, please. Baybe loves dogs and really loves people, however, that all stops, whenever either put their face in her face. (except with me — no teeth baring, a bit of teeth with my older daughter, but no nips or bites). She gives both dogs and people a warning that she isn’t comfortable. (she shows her teeth quickly). When that doesn’t deter the dog or person to move their face away from her face, she then quickly nips / bites with a growl at there face. I can’t take Baybe to the dog park anymore because of this. If a dog sniffs her back, she is fine…if a dog wants to play, she is fine…but if that dog gets in her face, she warns, then nips / bites. One time, she did this to a rude german shepard, however, this time, the dog bite back…luckily Baybe did not get hurt. Please advise me how to work with Baybe, so that she builds a tolerance to rudeness of other dogs. I am desperate, especially since I have only been able to do two things…stay away from other dogs and or, have Baybe stand behind me (avoidance — which I know is not healthy).

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  28. Randi says:

    Hello,
    I am aware this article is a few weeks old, so I may not hear a response, but I am in need of some guidance: my 18 month old dog has been fine around children (we have had 2-3 over and he runs and jumps and licks and plays with them) but that was about a year ago. Now, in maturity, he will sit and “tolerate” children being around but when they try to pet him, he has barked or, recently, tried to mouth their hands- not bite, but just mouth. Any thoughts on how to further adjust him? I have considered going to parks, treating him, even having kids tell him to sit and treat him, etc. Some people tell me it’s because they are eye level with him, etc. But I am hoping for a more solid plan of how to move forward.

    [Reply]

  29. Meg says:

    We have had our 7-year-oldr rescue dog, possibly a Pharaoh Hound/Carolina Dog mix, for almost a year. Our hope was that she would really bond with our 10-year-old son, but she bonded with me immediately. She already was used to sleeping on a person’s bed and came straight to ours. I would really like to encourage her to be more of my son’s dog, sleep in the dog bed that is in his room, and just be more attached to him. I’m not sure how to do this. When the kids get near her, she emits a low grumbly growl – not aggressive, but a warning. I just don’t know how to even go about encouraging her to be “his dog.” Any suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You can’t force an animal to like another animal or another person. Animals choose their own person. The better thing in the beginning would have been to ignore the dog.

    I am concerned about the growling, that is not a good sign and should be evaluated by a boarded veterinary behaviorist.

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  30. Bethany Nutting says:

    I was actually hoping for some advice! I’ve been trying to work with desensitizing my rescue German Shepherd pup, Khaleesi. She’s 8 months old now. When I got her she was severely abused, emaciated and then dumped at my work (a large pet store retailer). She has been dwarfed due to early life stress and malnurishment, being now only the size of an average 4-5mo old pup. I have been working primarily on trust, I even am allowed to take her to work with me because she is well behaved and needs the exposure therapy. She’s been making great progress. However, she is terrified of children. My sister (who fancies herself a dog trainer) will not alter her children’s boisterous behavior around my dog as she feels that’s the dog’s problem to get over. But she was abused. She is afraid. The dog trainer at work even believes children were involved in her mistreatment. Today she had started barking at them and hopping forward while barking to “defend” me from the kids being loud and moving too quickly toward us. How do I desensitize her to children if she can’t be exposed to calm, positive child interaction? I am doing everything I can to keep her from becoming a dangerous dog.

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  31. Danielle says:

    I have a boxer that is one and a half. She is very good with our children, ages eight, three and one. The one year old loves her and wants to pet her, touch her, hug her, even lay on her if she is laying down. She is very tolerant of him and gives him so much love. I keep a close eye and don’t let him sit on, lay on her, or anything to hurt her or be too overly annoying. What is the best way to make sure she is comfortable around him (toddlers are loud and look like small drunk people stumbling around). He tends to follow her and I don’t want her to get annoyed with him. Thank you! (She has been to training and do s very well with commands).

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    He needs to be taught manners. Hugging laying on or sitting on a dog is painful and irritating and dogs have not other way to communicate than using their teeth if they need something to stop.

    It is best to correct the toddler so that the dog doesn’t feel like she has to!

    [Reply]

  32. Danielle says:

    Maybe you didn’t fully read my post?

    [Reply]

  33. Gillian says:

    hi there, just needing some advice. i have a 10 year old border collie x who I rescued from the pound some years ago … he had been abused and is a bit wary of strangers … but will go and sit on his bed and behave (whilst keeping an eye on them). The problem is I have a grandchildren who is now 2 years odld and is a busy noisy little person…my dog will sit on his bed but every time she walks past him hes growls at her. I always tell him off and he hasn’t tried to nip or bite but Im concerned he will take it another step further. Currently I try to keep him outside as much as possible when she is visiting but dont believe this is a long term solution. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    When you are having aggression issues with children involved it is time to seek the help of a boarded veterinary behaviorist. I can’t see the dog or the child or the behaviors, so it is irresponsible for me to give you specific advice. Take the dog to a veterinary behaviorist before there is a bite.

    [Reply]

  34. Revonda says:

    I just adopted an 11-month old Mastiff-Akita hybrid (Thor) from a shelter. He still acts like a puppy at times. He is large already (103 lbs) and will continue to put on weight for a while. He is so sweet and gentle, and quickly bonded with my 16 yo and 13 yo sons. He is at one of our sides at all times–following my husband or me everywhere we go. He has not shown any signs of aggression, nor my kids toward him. The problem is my 6 yo son, who has an intellectual disability. He appears to hate and fear Thor and tries to completely avoid him altogether–so he is not aggressive toward Thor because he wont go near him. Thor repeatedly tries to bond with my 6 yo, and looks hurt and confused when my son yells at him to get away. My son’s hatred appeared to start when Thor laid on his treasured blanket (think of Linus and his blanket). My son was furious and looked like he was going to turn into the Hulk. But there was no interaction between them. The next day, Thor waited until my son got on the schoolbus, then hopped in my son’s spot on the couch and played with his blanket like a puppy. He wouldn’t play with any substituted toy or blanket. He only wanted my 6 yo’s blanket. Thor has not given up yet on trying to be friendly and bond–My son is scared and continues to avoid him. My son has not had any negative experiences with other large dogs (my mom has a Pyrenees and a St Bernard but they are working dogs and generally not around). Thor and my son are about eye level, and Thor is considerably larger in size/weight–I can understand fear from a child. My son’s disability makes it a little harder to teach him not to be afraid, so interventions will likely need to be slower and it will take longer. Thor keeps trying and can only get close to my son when he is asleep, then Thor is able to sniff and lick him–which is disastrous for my son (we try to prevent that from happening so now he tries to just sleep next to my son). I’m not sure what Thor’s behavior means from a dog perspective (maybe a protection reaction?). Thor is not “enthusiastically” trying to be overly friendly and he is really quite mellow and slow moving, so it is not a situation of a hyper dog jumping on my son all the time. Any suggestions on how to help a child reduce his fear and avoidance with this particular extra-large dog who patiently keeps trying to be friends? Thor will continue to get bigger over the next year. I’m afraid that my uneducated intentions to intervene might lead to inadvertently teaching aggression from one or the other.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You cannot force a dog to like a person and you certainly cannot force a child to like a dog. This is a very tricky and stressful situation. I once trained a service dog for a child with developmental disabilities. He hadn’t even bonded to his parents, but for some reason we hoped he would bond to the dog… he didn’t. We couldn’t force him to. The dog was safer in another home rather than the parents worrying who would possibly hurt whom since there was no bond or real interaction between the two.

    [Reply]

  35. Lina says:

    Hello,
    My husband and I adopted 2 Rottweillers (brothers) from the Humane Society last year. We have a 3 year old girl and a 7 year old energetic son. The dogs just turned 2 so they have been a lot of fun. They are good with the children most of the time. We have a pool and have come to the realization that the dogs get over stimulated when the kids are swimming. One of the dogs likes to jump in the pool which was fine until he wouldn’t let my kids come up for air. I think he just needed to be right on top of them. Needless to say, the dogs aren’t allowed to be outside when the kids are swimming. What I’m more concerned with now is their aggression when they are kennelled. We have to kennel them during the day as they have eaten my brand new couch among other things. They do a great job in them and willingly go to their kennel on command. Lately, though, when any of my children walk by them when they are kennelled they bark with a scary aggression and try to get out. They do not show this behavior with me or my husband, only the children. Is there something I can do? Why would they only show aggression to my children while kennelled? Thank you

    [Reply]

  36. DAVID BELANGER says:

    We just got a German shepherd rescue 4 years old. The first month no problem. He then started to target grandchildren. Ears up body fixed like he would attack. Then my granddaughter went to the bathroom he went after her biting her sweater and left marks on her side. I am unsure why the change. My children see him as a danger. The kids are escorted to and from the bathroom. He is now kept seperet and I feel this is going to make worse. We have been active in training him. I hope we can get to a point where both kids and dog are ok. He has been great with my wife and I. We were told good with people children and other dogs when we got him. I hope this behavior can be changed.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would contact a boarded veterinary behaviorist, immediately!!! This is very serious behavior that can’t be helped unless the dog is properly evaluated in person

    [Reply]

  37. Jennifer Edwards says:

    I have a two year mixed dog that I rescued named Carlie. My niece and nephew were coming over so I put Carlie’s thundershirt on since she gets so nervous/scared around them and barking at them. Which the shirt helped, until my niece was in the kitchen just doing a little dance and Carlie just suddenly lunged and barked at my niece luckily there was 3 adults to stop anything from happening. But I haven’t had any of my other dogs do this not really sure how to correct her behavior. Thanks in advance.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Find a boarded veterinary behaviorist to work with since the aggression mentioned here could inflict serious damage in children.

    [Reply]

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