Doesn't Like Little Kids

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by southerngirl, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. southerngirl Honored Member

    Missy is being really aggressive toward my two year old niece. I'm so worried that she is going to bite her. My niece, Lizzie will pet Missy gently and Missy will show her teeth. Once Lizze tripped over Missy and she snapped at the air. Another time I had to push Missy away with my foot to keep her from biting Lizzie's face after she had screamed. My sister visits a lot with her kids and I babysit them all the time so I really hate putting Missy up so much. Around Missy there is no rough housing with the kids, no running a definitely no screaming... She will show teeth, bark and I'm very sure she will bite if it weren't for me pushing her away or quickly picking the kid up. The problem is mostly with Lizzie she is fine with the boy ages 6,8 and 10. Missy has never cared for very little kids. Please help I don't want Lizzie to get hurt and I really don't know what would happen with Missy if she did.
    running_dog likes this.

  2. kassidybc Experienced Member

    Will Missy take treats from her? Or just treats thrown to her? Or can Lizzie throw a tennis ball for Missy? Once Missy understands that Lizzie is a treat machine or ball chucking machine or whatever Missy likes she may be more fond of her. Just an idea.
    running_dog likes this.
  3. southerngirl Honored Member

    I wouldn't have Lizzie hand treat to Missy, because I don't feel comfortable with that, but throwing treats would be okay. And that gives me a idea, I could feel the kong and have Lizzie give it to her since Missy loves her kong. Any ideas with getting her to be okay with running, screaming and squealing?
    running_dog and kassidybc like this.
  4. kassidybc Experienced Member

    You could try teaching her the same way you would teach a dog to not chase a car. Have Missy next to you and when Lizzie starts running or squealing or screaming just give Missy treat after treat after treat after treat. Don't give her time to even think about chasing Lizzie. Your hope in the end would be that when Lizzie starts and running and screaming Missy will look to you because she knows that you give her treats when Lizzie runs. I've never had to try this personally, Chloe's not around kids enough for it to matter, but I think it might work...
  5. running_dog Honored Member

    Feeding treats to condition a calm response as suggested by Kassidy is a good suggestion. Zac used to respond to most male labradors in an unpleasant way but now he generally keeps an eye on them but hangs around close to me for treats when they are there.

    If Missy doesn't like little kids why does she feel the need to get involved?
    Can you teach an incompatible behaviour?
    Can you give Missy a safe place/anchor point?
    Are there places where Missy finds the child less of a problem - outside at a little distance perhaps?
    Dogs can respond differently to girls and boys - Zac had no interest in my nieces but was very curious about my nephew.

    Only bring Missy out to train with the children there when you can concentrate on Missy 100%, don't chat, don't get involved in what the kids are doing. Put Piper away if she'll distract you. Focus on Missy completely - even when it seems like it's safe not to. When you feel your energy wearing down put Missy away with her Kong. Think of managing Missy with this kid there as being in charge of a loaded gun. As you know the near misses you have described are too near.

    Sorry if I sound harsh, I respect you and your care for your animals and family very very highly, more than you can guess. That's exactly why I don't want you to make the culpable mistake of inattention I made a few weeks ago which resulted in Zac chasing a wild animal which died as a result. Injury or worse to a child would be something you would never forgive yourself for.

    And count your blessings, at least Missy is honest about how she feels. I have friends with grandchildren, one of their dogs is lovely as long as they are watching but as soon as she gets the kids alone she intentionally knocks them over.
    kassidybc and southerngirl like this.
  6. southerngirl Honored Member

    I really don't know. I find it odd becuase she is so protective over our other animals. For example when my parakeet gets on the floor she follows him around not letting Piper near. Or once our cat Sophie got on the table and Chase went to pull her off Missy jumped in front of Chase growling. When my first nephew William was a baby she would check on him every time he cried.
    Not sure what behavior I could use. For Piper I used getting a toy instead of jumping on people.
    Missy's safe spot is my room. But Lizzie is in my room a lot because she enjoys playing in it, kind of like her room away from home. She used to try and bite my nephews when they were younger baby 1, 2 years old when they came into my room. I stopped that by creating a bubble in a sense around them, I still never let them go in my room when they were real little by themselves. Lizzie though goes in my room whenever so I end up having Missy follow me around the house a lot when Lizzie is in my room. I could use Piper's crate, since Piper only sleeps in it every now and than by choice.
    I've never had her outside when the kids are playing. I could try this out with Missy on leash.

    No, you don't sound harsh at all. I would be so upset with myself if Missy were to bite Lizzie, Lizzie is my buddy and I love that child so much I can't put it into words. And not only that I want Missy to be comfortable and relaxed when they are over and I would like the same for myself. I'm always ready to jump up if a kid screams or if Lizzie goes to pet Missy, I redirect Lizzie to Piper to pet..

    Yes, I'm glad Missy gives clear distinctive warnings.

    Thank you so much for the advice I really appreciate it and will put it to use next time the kiddos come over.
    running_dog likes this.
  7. running_dog Honored Member

    If you read over what you have written in this paragraph and think about it from Missy's perspective I think you'll understand why she is struggling so much with Lizzie :)
    southerngirl likes this.

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