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Leerburg » Leerburg Q&A » Answered


Do you have a dog training or equipment question?
Leerburg's Q&A database has 3318 entries from multiple categories.

 

Categories: Dog Aggression , Socializing Dogs

Q. I have a problem with my dog barking at children.
I have a three year old German Shepard, Rudy, with whom I have spent hundreds of hours training. I would classify him as obedient (hand signals, basic commands, etc.). I have never given him any form of defense training. In fact, I gave him training to not bite when playing or otherwise.

There is one problem I have never been able to successfully address. While he is friendly and outgoing with adults, he barks at children and little people. I am afraid he would bite someone. I, therefore, keep him on a tight lease whenever in public. My sister-in-law is pregnant so the problem is now too close to home.

Comments and suggestions on books or videos is appreciated.

Thanks,
David

A. This does not sound like a dominant dog issue. If he is fine with you and not with kids it's more of a temperament problem. You have done what you should in the obedience area. This dog should be under control at all times. According to your email he is.

What I would do is make this dog think his life is over every time he barks at a child. You should come down on him with a level 10 correction, (where corrections range from 1 to 10).

I would set up situations where the dog is crated and kids become hot dog machines. Let them feed him through the crate. If he is snappy at taking food, have them put the hot dogs on a tooth pick and stick it through the crate.

This behavior is usually related to a problem with the dog’s nerves. My guess would be that it’s a genetic thing and not an environmental thing.

I would also consider getting a Jafco muzzle (we sell them and they are cheap). Get the dog used to wearing it, to the point where it’s second nature to have it on. Then he can be loose when kids are around and you can test his reaction. The worst that could happen is that the child would get scratched by nails if the dog jumps on him. This will allow you to determine if the dog is salvageable.

The bottom line is that a dog that is not safe with kids should either be put to sleep or be put in an environment where it never sees a child.

You can review my article on dealing with the overly aggressive dog - you can find it on my web site in the list of articles.
  
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