Hi all - we have a 7 month old black lab named Tala (no pic handy to post). As far as we're concerned, her training is coming along really well. The problem is my nephews, aged 3 and 5, are petrified of her. The little one wouldn't even come up the driveway for Halloween even though the dog was momentarily placed in the backyard. At Thanksgiving (that's Canadian thanksgiving) they came for dinner and wouldn't stop whining about the dog (she was lying on the floor). Our nephews used to come over all the time but we've seen them very infrequently in the 5 months since we've had our pup.
I should add that Tala hasn't done anything wrong to these kids - sure, she gets excited when people come over, but that's in her nature. Obviously part of this solution lies with my brother-in-law, but does anyone have any tips for things we can do on our end?
I guess it's just a matter of they need to spend more time with you and the puppy to see for themselves she won't hurt them. Maybe Tala could send them a card inviting them over. The only way they are going to get over their fear is to spend time with the dog. Baby steps at first.
Thanks for your reponses. These are great ideas - I will certainly put them to good use. Now to convince the self-proclaimed "perfect" parents that it is important to get their kids to conquer their fears!
Possibly they have had a bad experience with another dog, and just associate all dogs being a problem. Or it could also be because they are both little (being only 5 and 3) and your dog being a big dog. Maybe they are just intimidated(SP?) by her size? I like the suggestions about getting them involved in caring for her when they are over.
We had this same problem with our 3 year old nephew. It baffled us because he used to be fine with Elias and then just one time FREAKED OUT over the sight of him. He also has 2 dogs of his own at home.
The last time the family was over was just a few weeks ago and we were a bit anxious over Jack's reaction to Elias. We refuse to put Elias in his crate or outside, after all he is family and we were in his home, it's Jack that had the problem. Well for about the first 15 minutes Jack was SCREAMING in terror if Elias would even come in the same room as him, meanwhile his 18 month old brother was basically riding Elias all over the place!
We tried everything, coaxing Jack to give Elias treats, petting him, telling him over and over "he's a nice dog". Finally as the night progressed Elias was able to be near him or brush up against him without him freaking out. I got a handful of his kibble and started running Elias through all his tricks, Jack thought it was pretty cool and walked right up and hand fed Elias! We got to our last trick, where I hold a treat in my mouth and Elias will take it out. Well Jack just thought that was the coolest thing and asked for another treat to give him. Low and behold he took the treat, put it in his mouth and let Elias take it out. It was amazing, we were all in shock.
I think it just takes time and coaxing. I know it's very frustrating especially where there is no "good" reason for the child to be scared.
Now, I wonder how Jack will be next time. Will he be terrified or will he be ok? I guess we'll see.