My dog attacks our youngest daughter!

Posted by cmroll
Mar 12, 2008
We have a 6 month old Gernman Shepherd. She is submissive to our oldest daughter, 11 years old. Our youngest (9 years old)wants to be a 'puppy.' I try to monitor their interactions but sometimes I can not stop her. The problem is, our puppy sees her as a total littermate and jumps on her, bites her, scratches her, takes her things and does not listen to her at all. My daughter cries, says that she has been hurt and then continues with the same behavior?? I know my daughter set this up but how do I stop it? Any advice I can give to my daughter. I have told her until I am blue in the face about the dangers, responsibilities etc.
Posted by Blue
Mar 13, 2008
Hi there,
It is indeed a more difficult situation to correct a dog's behaviour when there are children involved-especially if the child wants to be on the same level as the dog!

I don't have much experience myself - with children and dogs, but perhaps I can come up with a few ideas to help you out!

I think the biggest thing here is you need to come up with a new relationship dynamic between your youngest daughter and the dog. A relationship where there is more training and obedience involved than rough housing.

Some ideas...

What about inviting your daughter to help out with your dogs obedience training? One or two 15 min. sessions a day of having your daughter involved directly in the dogs obedience. With your daughter try teaching the dog fun tricks, like play dead, roll over, sit pretty etc. Tricks that have a "circus" quality to them that may attract a child more than sit/down/stay etc.

I think what would really be great is enrolling your dog and child in an obedience/beginner dog trials class. Where your daughter can learn the dynamics of a good relationship with her canine friend. If you have a facility/trainer nearby and can afford to send them both, it would be good for both the dog as well as the child's relationship with the dog. you can encourage her to form this relationship by looking at DVDs/YouTube movies of dog trials/obedience courses, where the dogs are beautifully trained and the owners have a lot of fun! A GS is the perfect dog for this type of work.

Depending on the maturity of your nine year old, you could explain to her the consequences of not being an "owner". That when children get bitten by dogs, the dogs' stories often don't have happy endings. Explain that by her acting like an 'owner' around the dog, she will be able to keep him as a pet for his entire life, while if she doesn't, he might have to be sent away. This is harsh, but it's the truth, and some kids handle the truth better than make-believe or white lies.

Another alternative is to crate the puppy (buy a lock if you need to) when you (or your husband or eldest daughter) can't supervise your youngest daughters interactions with the pup, or have him on a leash tied to your waist (or another family member), so wherever you go he goes when you can't supervise interactions. -If your pup is already crate trained, that's good, just put him in his crate as suggested. IF he's not crate trained, be sure to research crate training prior to putting the puppy in one.--

Let me know if any of these ideas spark anything, if they don't I will try and think up some more ideas!