Jump to content

Frightened Of Children


Guest daytonasmom
 Share

Recommended Posts

Guest daytonasmom

I adopted my first greyhound, Daytona, just under a year ago, he's about 3.5 years old and a retired racer. He's only dog in my house, and adjusting wonderfully to being a pet. Of course, I think he is the best dog in the world but I'm sure others would disagree with me :)

 

He has become absolutely terrified of children. It wasn't this way when he first came to live with me - he was nervous around them but ok. Now if he even hears them we have turn around on our walk and go the opposite direction or straight back home. He'll do the "horse" move, I call it - when his front feet go up in the air and wave around as he tries to make me go where he wants to go. He hasn't had any bad experiences (or good, really) because I have no small children, don't socialize with anyone who does - he simply isn't exposed to them at all. We only encounter kids on walks or sometimes at the dog park.

 

I figure the change from nervous to terrified is probably just one of those quirky things about greyhounds, but I want to know how to help him overcome his fear. Especially with warmer weather coming, we'll be outside more and so will kids. I don't want every walk cut short because he heard some kids playing.

 

Has anyone else had this problem? I didn't see it addressed in the previous posts, and could really use some help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry ... I can't help you much with this. I've lived in a neighborhood with children for the past 15 years (all of the time I've had greys). The greyhounds are like the icecream truck to the kids in my neighborhood -- one sees us, and they start yelling and all come running from every house on the street!

 

Since I was warned before I got my first greyhound that they may never have seen a child, I have a standard process for each time I add a new pup to my home, and in fact, each time a new child comes into the neighborhood. So far, I've never had a dog that was afraid of children, although some of them are quite ambivalent about the little persons (my boy Riley is my best ambassadog ... I use him to help kids who are afraid of dogs to learn to not fear the big scary animals. Riley would let anyone put their hands nearly anywhere on his body and at most, he'd turn to look to see what's up).

 

The kids learn the 3 rules of being around my dogs: 1) no food in hands or mouth (that includes gum), 2) INSIDE VOICE (so you don't scare the dog), and 3) do not crowd the hounds (leave the dogs a way 'out').

 

The dogs get a muzzle for all neighborhood walks for the first week in my home. That gives the kids a "warning" about the new dog, and the combined rules let me watch the dog's body language. The muzzles always raise questions, but the parents appreciate knowing that I'm watching out for their children, and give me a chance to explain to the children that my dogs are brand new to me and may never have seen a child (we use it as a teaching moment too -- they should never approach a 'strange' dog without permission).

 

Perhaps you could play close attention to your pup and his body language immediately prior to the frantic signals? It may be the high pitched sounds of children's voices, or the fast movements that they can sometimes have. I would certainly shorten your leash ... it will give you better control of the situation, but can also reassure a sensitive dog that they'll be protected from these strange beings.

 

I hope people who have had to work through this fear can give you other advice. Good luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest normaandburrell

We have grandchildren that visit and neighbors with small children. Our first grey was curious about the children and adapted quickly. Iceman, our current hound, was absolutely terrified! If he could hear the neighbor children playing outside, he would refuse to go out and potty. He also had no bad experience with children, he just didn't like the noises they made. I agree that teaching the children to use inside voices and walk slowly and quietly around the dog (no crowding the dog, but also no running or jumping) is important. However, I encouraged the children to give treats to the dog (under my supervision of course).

So now Iceman loves the grandchildren, because are used to dogs and good about obeying the rules. He is still a little shy about the neighbor children, because they are not as used to dogs and tend to still yell and run toward him. It may take a while to get your dog out of this. I used to worry that Iceman's bladder would burst from holding it rather than going outside when the kids were playing. I would insist that he go out, and give him lots of treats to encourage him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a big believer in just letting the dog get his own way. I would make him stand and listen and watch the children, perhaps feed him yummy treats at the same time.

 

Letting him decide he wants to turn around will only increase his behavior.


Hamish-siggy1.jpg

Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

Link to comment
Share on other sites

YES. Neither of my greys likes children. Both Henry and Truman will hide between my legs if kids try to approach them. In the past, they have both snapped at really exhuberent kids when they've felt really threatened or cornered, so I don't feel comfortable forcing them to interact. It's not an aggressive thing, more fear-based. We've tried some counter conditioning in training class, but it hasn't worked well since kids aren't part of their lives. IMHO, you have to be really consistent and have many, many good experiences before the CCD has much of an effect.

 

For us, it's more about 'managing' than 'fixing.' We cross the street if there are a bunch of kids around. When kids come up, I tell them my dogs are shy, and they're not allowed to touch them. I tell the parents that they are not friendly with kids, which maybe makes them sound mean, but that's alright. I'd rather do that than risk a bite. At this point, the dogs have had enough neutral experiences that they'll be tolerant if a child suddenly rushes up. But they have their limits, and I doubt they'll ever be 100% comfortable around kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest daytonasmom

Thank you all! Lots of helpful suggestions. Especially greyaholic - thank you for reminding me the dog isn't in charge, I am. Since he is my first dog and I'm a softy, it can be easy for me to let him get his way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest BlueCrab

No suggestions, but our Trixie dislikes kids too, although I wouldn't call it "fear" per se. We adopted her just after she turned 2, she'd only been with one foster between the track and our home, and that foster lived out of the way up on a mountain with no kids around, so I'm not sure where the dislike came from. But she shows an obvious dislike of them: doesn't want them to pet her or be near her. Our boy Leyland loves kids, so we try to move Trixie away and move Leyland in when kids are present.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...