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Today, I was out for my daily walk, when a lady on my block who happens to be good friends with my grandma, called me over to ask how my grandma was doing. As we stood there talking, the lady's grandson comes running up to tell his grandma something. I see my year and a half dobe suddenly get excited as he always does when he sees running and playing children, so I immediately made him sit and stay. The child stood there meters away staring directly at my dog. A few seconds later my dog springs up with his hair on his standing, pushes himself into an intimidating posture and begins to bark in a very deep, growly tone. Naturally I correct him and make him stay in a down position while I quickly finish up my conversation with the lady and tell her that I'm in a hurry. The whole time my dog was glaring at the child who ran back to his friends across the street when my dog started getting hostile. I'll admit, my dog hasn't been very socialized with children due to having no children in the family and unwilling strangers, but never have I seen him act this way towards a child before. Any advice or opinions are greatly appreciated.

Also, does anyone happen to know any good intermediate to advanced level obedience trainers out in the Vancouver area?

Thanks,
Iamparm.
 

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Wrigley can't stand dogs to stare at her. She acts the same way, if not worse. During her obedience class, the puppies would stare at her. Wrigley would then bark and growl and lunge. The trainer said when dogs stare at each other, they might as well be saying "f-you". I was to keep Wrigley focused on me, while the owners of the puppies were to not let the puppy stare.
I have read different posts on here on how dogs can view kids differently from adults because of their size. So, your dog probably saw this child as a threat/challenge/? When he was staring.
In the mean time, be very aware of your dogs eye contact with others, human and canine.
But DEFINITELY get the help of a professional trainer.
 

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Holier Than Now
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I would immediately go to Leslie McDevitt's website and see if you can search for a good Control Unleashed class in your area.

In the meantime, get the book, read the fundamentals, and skip to the Look At That! exercise--then get professional CU help in implementing it.

Your dog was uncertain and insecure and chose to react inappropriately, but was telling you he was stressed.

No offense but you likely missed a whole series of signals from him, leading up to the ones you finally noticed, which was the hackling, posturing, growling, etc.

Another book to grab immediately is Turid Rugaas' On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals.

It's only about ten bucks, a quick but hugely informative read, and worth its weight in gold.

Once you read all that, you'll see your reaction could possibly have made things worse--your dog was already stressed over threshold, had not been "listened" to when trying to tell you he was about to go over threshold, and then he got in big trouble and corrected for going over threshold.

In his mind now, do you see how kids might have gotten even more negative associations, for him?

Don't get me wrong, it's not a cool feeling to want your Doberman to be a breed ambassador, and suddenly he's growling and hackling at a little kid--no fun being on the other end of the leash at THAT point, for sure.

But, you need better tools at your disposal, to teach him properly that he doesn't have to blow up around kids, even if he's not real used to them, as you say.
 

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I agree that you need to seek more professional help for this one, but in your dog's defense, he most likely viewed the child as a threat. My kids already know to NEVER stare a dog down or approach from the front in a threatening way. Unfortunately, most kids have no idea how to interact with a dog correctly. When I have Gunner out in public, I specifically instruct all kids on how to approach him if they want to pet him. They have to be calm, zero eye contact, come down to his level, and wait for him to move towards them. Gunner is used to kids, but I can see how any dog may have perceived that child as a possible threat.
 

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I would immediately go to Leslie McDevitt's website and see if you can search for a good Control Unleashed class in your area.

In the meantime, get the book, read the fundamentals, and skip to the Look At That! exercise--then get professional CU help in implementing it.

Your dog was uncertain and insecure and chose to react inappropriately, but was telling you he was stressed.

No offense but you likely missed a whole series of signals from him, leading up to the ones you finally noticed, which was the hackling, posturing, growling, etc.

Another book to grab immediately is Turid Rugaas' On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals.

It's only about ten bucks, a quick but hugely informative read, and worth its weight in gold.

Once you read all that, you'll see your reaction could possibly have made things worse--your dog was already stressed over threshold, had not been "listened" to when trying to tell you he was about to go over threshold, and then he got in big trouble and corrected for going over threshold.

In his mind now, do you see how kids might have gotten even more negative associations, for him?

Don't get me wrong, it's not a cool feeling to want your Doberman to be a breed ambassador, and suddenly he's growling and hackling at a little kid--no fun being on the other end of the leash at THAT point, for sure.

But, you need better tools at your disposal, to teach him properly that he doesn't have to blow up around kids, even if he's not real used to them, as you say.
Yep, this. I highly recommend picking up both books and finding a trainer if possible. The other thing I would suggest is to be very proactive in the meantime about your dog and kids. Protect him from kids. If a child is in the area and about to run towards him, you need to tell that child to stop. If a kid is starting to stare, ask them to stop and you'll probably need to move away. You want to make sure your dog doesn't "practice" the response where he reacts strongly, so that means not putting him in a situation where he is over his threshold of tolerance and can't stop himself from reacting.

I also want to reiterate what RFR said about corrections. Correcting his signals that he's uncomfortable can make things much, much worse. Either you make his discomfort even greater, or you teach him that he can't give a warning and he goes right from no reaction to a bite, or both.
 

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I completely agree with everything that has already been said but I thought that I would share what I do.
My boy has been raised with kids and is wonderful unless we encounter a staring child or adult. It makes him very nervous and I have learned to redirect in those situations. I have done a few different things and it all depends on how the other person is acting but one idea is to work on your "look" command. When we meet any stranger I will get eye contact and really reward any focus that he gives me. I will also play with him for listening which tends to also relax him and the stranger. I think that when they see you loving on your dog the other person also relaxes and realizes that he is not a killer.
Funny thing is that my boy has met a very large, intimidating and forward special needs kid and he stood for 10 minutes enjoying his inappropriate attention. It is just important to always be right on top of their body language and read it immediately.
I would never ask my dog to down when they are scared. It makes them feel more vulnerable and trapped. In addition to the dog having a negative association to down which is supposed to be a fun behavior.
Good Luck
 
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