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Dogs and children

April 28th, 2005, 06:01 PM
I didn't notice this in my dog until a couple of months ago, but he barks/lunges at children when they run. This is his only flaw and i'm trying so hard to fix it, but can't.

He's a VERY friendly dog and if children walk up to him and play with him or pet him, he's perfectly fine, but when they run/scream he finds the need to chase and growl (not aggressive-growl, but play-growl) at them. If he's on leash, he'll jump, lunge and bark at them. Of course the children that don't own dogs are scared of him.

I know dogs have a prey drive where they want to chase anything that runs, but it always seems to be kids and it makes him look aggressive, which he's not.

I've tried making him heal or sit to distract him and show him an alternative to barking, but he doesn't seem to want to do it...the children are too distracting.

Any suggestions?

April 28th, 2005, 07:15 PM
I would love to know this. My dog does it with anything that moves!! He will chase leaves, bags blowing in the wind, barking dogs (if a dog isn't barking, he ignores it), people walking, kids playing (sometimes). Once he actually knocked me over when he bolted in the opposite direction to chase a leaf....I was caught off guard and landed on my ass.

April 28th, 2005, 10:38 PM
My dog is doing this with leaves - frankly anything that moves - plastic bags etc. - all of the litter on the street. Good thing I always have him on a leash - no road sense at all.

April 29th, 2005, 08:53 AM
Your dogs need obedience training...under distraction control is the problem. You right in thinking it is prey drive...children OFTEN elicit this drive in dogs and make themselves seem like prey... Think about it,... high, shrieky voices, fast movements, dodging around...etc..etc... You can NOT blame the dog OR the kids here... it is your responsiblity to train your dog to "mind you at all times" if you are going to have it in the vicinity of children at all. :D

If you could provide more info on what type of training has already been done, the ages and breeds of dogs involved, and yourself (only interested in health/strength/demeanor) I could make some suggestions on what might help you with this issue.

April 29th, 2005, 08:59 AM
My dog finishes Obedience 1 next week. He's a bulldog 1.5 years old from a rescue so we don't know his background. Had him 3 months. I know it's the distraction thing, and it has gotten better, but not much. He does really well with nothing around him, but with distractions he goes insane. All out trainer said is to use the same things she taught us all the time (turn around, avoid the distraction, get his attention) and eventually he will learn. He heals well most of the time when there is no distraction, and he is about 50/50 now with distraction, which is progress.

We are going to do level 2 obedience, but not until july as Odin needs eye surgery.

April 29th, 2005, 09:58 AM
Levi is a rescue that I got last summer. He's been through obedience classes last September/October and did very well. He was taught sit, down, stay, come (etc.) and long distance with sit, stay, down and come. Also, learned those with distractions (people walking around and talking to me, etc.). When I take him to the field to run around, he will not stray off and will follow wherever I go, as well as "come" on command. He listens to me very well, except when it comes to meeting/sniffing other dogs (he ALWAYS wants to play) and of course, children, when they're running or screaming.

Levi is going to be two in June and he's a Beagle/GS or Husky mix, with possibly Whippet and APBT.

I think you might be right about the distractions thing, but I'm not sure how to solve that. :)

Lucky Rescue
April 29th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Definitely prey drive. This is pretty easy to fix usually.

My Chloe was like this when I got her - she would lunge, growling loudly, at anything that moved fast and made noise - bicycles, skateboarders, rollerbladers etc. Needless to say, this looked very bad!

I taught her to "look at me" and brought treats and/or squeaky toys on our walks. When I would see a bike or whatever coming towards us, I would have her sit and look at me til it passed. If she was good, she got a treat.

Now bikes can whizz two feet past her head and she doesn't even look up.:)

Take your dog somewhere like a school playground or a place where skateboarders like to go. Stay far enough away so that she is not reacting and have her sit and just watch. Give her a treat if she is good. You can then get closer and closer until she is totally desensitized.

April 29th, 2005, 11:56 AM
Thanks so much, i'll try that. :)

April 29th, 2005, 01:46 PM
Energy feeds into dogs - pure and simple. When fast energy whizzes by a dog will be tempted to go for it. A low energy household will typically have a low energy dog while a high energy house (full of kids) will have a high energy, reactive dog.
It sounds like you have done a good job so far and this is just the next level of training for you both. Chloe has made it through high school but is still working on college level - little kids are college for her.
In addition to LR's ideas, it would be good to teach 'leave it', which means pull your energy away from what it is you want. This takes care of the lunging behavior and helps her gain some impulse control. She will not go after the distraction out of repect for you.