so my 7 month old pup is very frightened by very young kids. When they approach him he is very iffy. He is figidy and obviously uncomfy. I really need help with this. I read on some web site to take him to a park and just sit on the outside and let him just watch the kids, when he is calm give him a treat. Also once when a kid was within his "personal space" maybe ten feet away his hair went up on his back and he kinda growled. Please Help. Thanks guys
Could you be more specific? When kids approach him what specifically does he do? What else was going on when kids approached him and he seemed uncomfortable? Where were you? What did the children do? What specific things is he doing that tells you he's frightened? Try to describe his actions and body language (tail up, tail down, head up, head down, what was he looking at, etc.) - that will help a lot more
How old are your kids? How long have you had the puppy? When was his last vet visit?
Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy
Not my kids, others. 1st time we took him to a park and well i was actually nervous about these two huge mastiffs coming towards him but he paid them no attention. His eyes were locked on these two young kids. His tail was down, hair up, and trying to get behind me. Tonight at a softball game a little girl came up to him and he let her pet him and then someone dropped a bottle of water behind me and it frightened him and he jumped behind me. maybe he just isnt sure about them. my 10 year old cousin is no threat or whatever to him, even when he first met him. when i am on runs he will dart behind me with his hair up even when older kids, say 6-8 maybe, come by or when we run by them he gets far away from them. This is my first dog i am raising so i know for a fact its not him, its me. I feel terrible for this. He is great with noises and other dogs and people, just not small children. Well large truck sounds scare him too, no idea why. I got him at 8 weeks from the humane society. THanks for your help, you are changing our lives for the better!!!
I'd highly recommend Patricia McConnell's "Cautious Canine" and Nicole Wilde's "Help for your fearful dog" , as well as looking for a local trainer that uses positive reinforcement methods and has experience in rehabbing fearful dogs.
He may be genetically shy - probably is, since you've had him since 8 weeks and it doesn't sound like he's had any trauma around kids.
You're on the right track, getting him out around kids at a distance and rewarding him - make sure that the children don't rush up and push beyond his comfort level
You might also try using a Gentle Leader Head Halter Collar on him - the pressure on the snout is calming to a fearful dog. I used one to great effect with my fearful Dutch Shepherd rescue when I was rehabbing her as an adolescent puppy.
While Sharon's experience with the GL head collar was good, IMO that's the rare exception. I'm glad and have no doubts it worked well for her.
But many dogs HATE the over the snout strap and fight it.
My Puff kind of tolerated it but it left a ring around her snout of uncolored fur where the strap went -- and I had it so loose I could hook a finger under it and lift it off (or put it back on); our "contract" was that if she behaved nicely it would stay off and only go back on her muzzle when it was needed to control her behavior.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]