Nervous Around Children

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Ellie, CGC

Barked: Fri Dec 21, '12 10:47am PST 
Hey guys, I need some advice. My dog Ellie is with my family here in Iowa visiting my Grandparents. We just got here a few days ago and she has been doing great, very polite, loves the snow. But I do have something to think about. There were some neighbor girls that wanted to come over to meet Ellie. I know that Ellie is nervous around younger children as they are loud and move unpredictable. But whenever we meet them, it's usually at the pet store or out in public and she does well when I tell them how to pet her gently and I'm right there with her as she sits really close to me. She had never been aggressive, just tries to sit closer to me. Again, no snapping, growling, snarling, etc. Anyways, this little 5 year old girl came over and opens the front door and bursts in the house. Ellie runs up to the door and is startled by her. She barks a few short barks then retreats to me. The little girl is wearing a huge puffy jacket and bifocals which may have contributed. But I just take Ellie to the living room and have her sit while I distract her with the toy. She plays with it but moves quickly to sit closer to me when the little girl tries to move closer. I watched her closely or any signs of aggression, none. Uncomfortable but she doesn't seem to be pushed close to get limit or anything. Then the other neighbor girl enters the house. She is older, maybe 10 and doesn't have a jacket or glasses. Ellie is fine with her and goes up to her to be petted and have some sniffs. Ellie does one small growl when the little girl starts to run all around the room doing dance moves and making moves. However, just to be clear, I was under control of her at all times.

I'm looking for advice to make Ellie feel better around kids that are loud. I have treats I will have them give her when they come over next and I think we will all go on a walk later with I hope will encourage positive interactions. Any other advice? Again, I want to be clear that at no point was there a fear or the possibility that Ellie would try or even could bite the girl. Also, I'd she gets too nervous, which I am looking out for, I will put her up in my room until they are gone.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Fri Dec 21, '12 6:08pm PST 
I don't know but if they aren't children you live with I would put her in the other room maybe. Dogs can certainly bite out of fear. Sophie is very edgy around loud children, loud anybody...My daughter is ten so she is old enough to have learned what gets Sophie upset-high pitched squealing, pretend wrestling with her brother...but it took Sophie barking and charging her a few times to get the message clear. Because of Sophie's fearfulness I'll have my daughter play at her friend's houses or the park instead of our house.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Sat Dec 22, '12 12:06am PST 
This doesn't apply to puppies, but I believe as far as adult dogs go, it isn't necessary to force them to be around things that make them uncomfortable or anxious. My own general rule with my dog, is that I try not to make him do things that aren't mentally-fulfilling for him (obviously excluding things like baths, the vet, etc).

He is uninterested in strangers, and does not like loud, rowdy children. So children that are strangers are a double whammy. He will bark at them if they are rowdy or loud near him.

Knowing this, I just keep him away from those types of kids. He does not get any emotional fulfillment out of meeting strangers/kids, and wants no attention from them at all. If these types of kids were visiting my home, or I was visiting theirs, I would make sure they kept a distance from my dog and that they avoid being rowdy or making loud, sudden movements around him.

You can certainly try to help the situation by getting the kids to give her treats, but also try to keep them calm around her and make sure she has her space that she can escape to if she wants. Many dogs will tolerate kids just fine but it doesn't mean they want to be overwhelmed by them. smile

Edited by author Sat Dec 22, '12 12:07am PST


Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sat Dec 22, '12 12:12am PST 
I agree with Farley. Personally, the tack I would take would just to put her in another room. Encourage the kids to chuck her treats by all means, but if it's really a bit much for her, just separate.