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Terrified Of Children


Guest KPS915
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Guest KPS915

We've had Lila since August. First she was afraid of the kids outside playing basketball, not sure if was the sound or the sight of a bouncing ball. We would reassure her when we took her out, she'd pull a bit, but was able to be calmed.

 

Tonight, I take her out to pee and poo after dinner. The neighborhood kids are up the street playing in their driveway, a good 20+ feet away. Her ears perk up and she looks over at them, we start walking the other way to her usual potty spot. She was pulling and spinning in circles. I walk her up the other side of the cul de sac and she calms down a bit and does her business. We walk back to the house, which requires walking past the kids outside, Lila freaks out, pulling, circles, statuing, tail tucked upgainst her belly. I massaged her behind her ears a bit and I get her moving again, she nearly pulled me down the street back to the house. I'm not sure what gives, the kids don't come near her, but the sight of them alone is stressing her out.

 

Any training suggestions?

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Bring really yummy treats with you to distract her. If she can learn to associate seeing the children with something good (treats) she may eventually show no reaction. I have used this technique with fosters who were aggressive towards other dogs when on a leash. The key is to get her to focus on you instead of the children. If her stress level is extremely high, she may not respond at all to food, but it is worth a try. You could also research clicker training which can be very effective.

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Talk to the kids before you take her out. Explain that she is shy and not to run up to you. Ask them to not bounce the ball (one of my dogs was terrified of a bouncing ball).

This could be a science project for them. Gradually let one give a treat as you walk near him/her. Hopefully it will progress to your girl being less shy.

 

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Guest KPS915

Talk to the kids before you take her out. Explain that she is shy and not to run up to you. Ask them to not bounce the ball (one of my dogs was terrified of a bouncing ball).

This could be a science project for them. Gradually let one give a treat as you walk near him/her. Hopefully it will progress to your girl being less shy.

That's the weird thing, the kids are really good and completely leave her alone. They're all playing in their own driveways, a good 5-10 feet away even when we're walking down the street. I'll start bringing treats when the kids are out and see if that helps.

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It's probably a combination of the sight - lots of small unfamiliar bodies running around erratically and the sound - high pitched screaming and yelling, the ball bouncing. You can try desensitizing her at times other than when she needs to go potty. Take her out to the porch or front lawn and have her focus on you or a treat or squeaky toy. If she can do this once or twice - back inside where she feels safe. Do this several times a day, in addition to potty walks.

 

If you can engage the kids to help you that would also be good. Have one of them come over at a different time, when she's calm or feeling playful. Have them carry the ball and just walk up to her from the side (NOT head on as that can be seen as threatening by a dog). TREAT for calm behavior. If she's not calm, back up several feet and start over. Work in small increments. Hopefully you can get to the point where a small group can approach her, or she can walk by them with no difficulties. Then have them go back to the beginning and bounce the ball once or twice. Work up from there. If she shows stress at any point, stop and back up a step or two.

 

It can take a while, but gradually introducing them will be good for everyone.

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Guest jbbuzby

Along with the tasty food, gradually increase the distance to the kids. One of my hounds is terrified of kids too, but she is a fast learner and very food motivated. I took her for walks near elementary schools during recess and parks and things along with tasty food and would only do what she was comfortable with and gradually getting closer to them. Now it takes a child actually approaching her head on to startle her (we're still working on it, but we've definitely made progress, and I've not been as diligent about it has I could be). We can at least usually walk by kids on scooters and things without her freaking out now because of this.

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Henry started off the same way- terrifed of children. I can totally understand why. They have zero volume control and they jump and run around like lunatics! :)

 

Honestly, the best type of training for us was bringing (well behaved) children into a controlled environment and allowing them to be the "giver of all things good." We were fortunate enough to have a greyhound-specific training class where we could do this in a neutral environment with other greys present. First, we just started with the kids slowly walking around the room and handing the dogs high-value treats in a nonchalaunt way (no eye contract, no threatening body movements). Then, once they were comfortable with that, we had the kids pet the dogs while giving treats. Eventually, we worked up to having the kids skip around the room, pass soccer balls, yell, fall down, etc. Every one of the dogs was fine by the end of the class, and they all passed their CGC and Therapy Dog tests with flying colors.

 

Henry still does not prefer kids, but he'll "tolerate" them like a perfect gentleman. For us, that's fine, because we don't have kids and he doesn't have to see them very often. If you're consistent enough with the desensitization and counter-conditioning, I'm sure Lila will get there too. Good luck!

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Guest driser

Our GH was terrified of kids when we first got him. A couple things we did: going to our rescue groups Meet & Greets where he saw other greyhounds being loved on by kids and loving it helped a lot as did slowly desensitizing him around kids in our neighborhood. We'd ask kids to approach slowly, choke down on his leash so he was close to our side, stay calm ...and he learned to trust what we trust. Good thing because he's the only GH in our populated neighborhood and VERY popular now. All the kids know his name, but not ours. :)

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Her ears perk up and she looks over at them,

 

Stop there, or one step before there, and let her hang out and watch for 3-5 minutes. Then turn around and go the other way. Next day or the day after, one step closer if she's still calm. Next day or the day after, another step closer. Et cetera. Don't rush her. You can have a little quiet conversation with her and a few delicious treats if you like but the main point is to let her observe from a spot where she feels safe, so she can figure out they're harmless.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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