Aggressive to kids

Posted by Jacqui-T
Aug 9, 2010
Hi. I have 2 dogs, Rosie- a Mini Schnauzer 15 mths and Samwise- MS, Havanese? mixture. When we're home with just family Rosie is an almost perfect angel and Sam is a mischievous trouble maker. When guests arrive Rosie barks and is very timid but usually thaws with adults after a few minutes. With kids she growls and if they try to come near her then she lunges and snaps at them even when she can see Sam playing happily with them. He loves all people and dogs. What can I do to make Rosie safe with our friend's kids?
Posted by kjd
Aug 10, 2010
Hi, Jacqui,

We are neighbors!

Please look at it from Rosie's perspective. She is shy and afraid of all these strange people. Some are big, but they are relatively slow-moving and, after a bit, she can see they are predictable. The others, however, are small and quick and erratic. She has no way of predicting what they will do in the next second.

Sam may think these little creatures are fun, but, if you are afraid of heights, the fact your friend isn't doesn't help your fear. So Rosie is still shy.

Since the children can play with Sam, ask them to ignore Rosie. Don't talk to her or make any gestures towards her. Let her watch them inter-acting with Sam. If any one of the children is particularly quiet and gentle, have this child sit on the floor with treats and expose those treats to Rosie. If it is explained to them, many children can appreciate the dog's fear and will take special pains to be quiet and gentle with the fearful dog. (Of course, there are always those who love to scare others!) The children might toss treats in Rosie's general direction, without trying to get them too close to the dog.

If Rosie approaches a child, that child should still ignore her. Give her a chance to sniff this scary person! Then maybe toss a treat near her. By not making overtures to Rosie, but letting Rosie make the overtures, I think you will see an end to snapping and lunging. This snapping and lunging is really Rosie's way of saying "Stay away! I'm scared of you."

A behavorialist told me that you should always let a dog approach what he is afraid of; never let the object of fear approach or be brought to the dog (or force the dog to approach it).

I have only one dog and she is wary of people. I tell people who come over to first ignore her. If she approaches them, I praise her profusely. I've seen an improvement, though she still stresses out if somebody else takes her leash.

Be patient with Rosie. Do expose her to children, but make sure they are pleasant experiences for her.

Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 10, 2010
Hi Jacqui,

kjd is full of great advice! Rosies still a young girl, she just needs time to get used to the loud, moving blurs of life that are kids. Some dogs handle them better than others, just like some people are great with kids and others, well, not so much

As kjd said, definitely keep bringing kids around, but they shouldn't fuss over Rosie. Its all about letting her come to them, and rewarding her profusely for progress made. Just be patient, and I"m sure she'll learn to at least tolerate the kids