Anyone else's dog hate other children coming to your house ?

(6 Posts)
time4an3wname Mon 28-Oct-19 18:32:00

Dog is neutered, no health issues, 5 years old, male working cocker spaniel. My Ddog is absolutely fine with my young DC. I've never had a single moment that's been an issue, but I always exercise caution as in I don't leave them alone together. This sort of happens naturally as my dog tends to follow me around anyway. I also have stair gates so on the rare occasion I need to separate them, say if I'm having a shower then I shut Ddog behind the gate. I took him to dog training, no issues with other dogs and can walk him off the lead no problems, even on the roads. He recalls and won't go near a dog if I say no.

Ddog is also fine with Children he meets out. Doesn't jump up, not massively keen for them to stroke him, but will tolerate it and is used to being chased about my DC, although I do intervene in this. Fine with my DC touching him, but will move away if he's had enough. Fine with other children playing around him bikes, scooters, shouting or going past schools. Everyone tells me what a wonderful dog he is.

So my issue is if someone under about 12 comes into our house or garden. He barks at them and it's not just on arrival. He can be fine, but then will just randomly bark, loudly. He will sometimes grumble a bit first, but not a snarl or show of teeth. However it makes it impossible to have any young children over. I have tried numerous times and he starts off fine, then after about an hour he starts with the random barking. It's not set off by particular things that I can pinpoint. He does suffer the common spaniel anxiety over certain noises, but in those cases he shakes and wants to be cuddled. He doesn't display that shaking when other children are at our house, so I don't think he's scared of them. I can't tie it to a noise setting him off. But who knows.

If it makes any difference Ddog is walked twice a day, morning and afternoon. He goes different places, and would always of had a walk and been fed before any people come over. He is a healthy weight. I'm at home with him most of the time, left by himself a limited amount of time, which he copes with fine, will sleep. He does go crazy about someone ringing the doorbell or the post coming, so is protective over the house. Does look out of the window and bark at passers by.

I did hire a behaviourist about this child issue and she was useless. She says he needs a safe haven to go to when children are round. He has this our bedroom, but his safe haven is me, he's not the type of dog that goes off by himself into another room. He always wants to be with us. Sleeps in his basket in our room at night. Doesn't go on sofas or DCs beds. Will jump on our bed, but will get off if told.

I hope I've given enough info. Just after any suggestions on what I can, if anything? Or are my children destined to never have friends over?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Tue 29-Oct-19 09:34:48

Hi OP.

Just picking this up as it appears to have gone unanswered.

There is plenty you can do along the themes of:

1. Thinking about what behaviour you want the dog to display, being realistic about the dog's capability

2. Changing how the dog feels about children in the house.

Buckle up because I may waffle on here...

1. I suspect a realistic goal might be that the dog takes himself into his basket and settles down. However, the dog is unlikely to want to do this by himself, he wants to be with you. So I would be tempted to move his basket downstairs into a room where he can be with you, you can watch the kids but you can keep everyone safe through a physical barrier such as a baby gate. Something like the children playing in the lounge, a baby gate seperating it from the kitchen and you and the dog in the kitchen with his basket. You obviously may need to adjust this to suit your home.

Reward him libarally any time he is lying down in his bed. Do so in a low key manner (i.e. just gently pop a treat in front of his nose rather than chuck a treat he has to catch). The first few times children come over you may have to give him treats a lot and then and gradually space them out. For that reason, chose something very small so you don't fill him up and consider skipping or reducing a meal that day to compensate. You may also need to encourage him into his basket the first few times but he should slowly learn that the food only arrives in the basket so is likely to stay there.

You an also practice this whenever the post man rings the doorbell. It will help with that behaviour too.

2. Changing the way the dog feels means looking at ways to reduce how stressful it is and trying to associate children being in the home with good things.

To reduce the stress, ensure the children do not come in the kitchen. It is important that the dog feels safe and can trust he will be left in peace. So if this is not possible with the kitchen then think about what other room combinations you can use.

Do not let visiting children pet him. Ever. No matter how much they want to. The dog needs to be left in peace. I would also put a total stop on children petting him in the street. If he doesn't actually like this but is just putting up with it, then from the dog's pov everytime he sees a new child he has to put up with something he doesn't like. Not good.

To help him link children with good things then food is normally used. As you're using treats to keep him calm in his bed this is happening anyway. However, up the potency by finding something he finds really tasty but never normally gets. Roast him a chicken (for e.g.) and feed him tiny bits of that while he's calm in his bed. What you want him to do is to learn that whenever strange children are in the home then he gets lovely roast chicken and so starts to change how he feels about children being there.

It will also help if the first few play dates are with children you know to be quite calm and well behaved and perhaps with just the same 1 or 2 children, while he gets used to the new routine.

I would also stop him being able to look out the window and bark - it will be raising stress levels which won't ever help. If you cannot do that with furniture etc then have a look at window film which is opaque, cheap, easy to apply and easy to remove Purlfrost is one make, but there are many.

Hope some of that is useful and/or that this bumps the thread so that others can also help.

Winterdaysarehere Tue 29-Oct-19 09:42:07

Or do what we have to do.
Lock ddog in the utility /kitchen!!
She enjoys the peace anyway!

time4an3wname Tue 29-Oct-19 21:54:02

@Winterdaysarehere sadly Ddog's worse nightmare is being shut in another room. I have tried this when having kids over . Once our bedroom, where he has his night basket and could of had a sneaky sleep on our bed. And once in the kitchen, where he also has a basket , but isn't so practical as I need to use the space. I even put the radio on, but he howled the whole time. He doesn't usually howl. I didn't let him out, but he kept it up for a whole visit and was exhausted after. It was not nice.

@missbattenburg thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it all. I think Ddog is so well trained on other things I've actually forgotten how to train him confused He'd love treats again. I can sort the windows, can't move furniture, but can sort some additional blinds. Most windows have them, but not the lounge, which is upstairs where he looks out of and barks at any neighbours. I do tend to shut the stair gate when I go out, just to stop this, but he does it when I'm home too.

In terms of getting him to stay in his basket when visitors come... He is like a little shadow and as soon as I move he is there, doesn't really lie down unless you sit and watch tv or Mumsnet. He has multiple baskets though one in the kitchen, lounge, bedroom so there are options there to progress this idea. I can sit by one and try to get him to stay put with the treats.

Is hard to describe my house layout, but it's a town house and I only have a kitchen and a small playroom/study on the ground floor. So I can't really separate him with a gate as the kids playroom is so small you couldn't fit two adults in there comfortablely too. So we use the kitchen/ diner for the adults. He wouldn't go in with the kids. I don't think a visiting child has ever even attempted to stroke him and he doesn't stand still long enough. He's not a cuddly dog really, he gives off an aloof vibe. He does like to lie his head on you and be close by at all times if you stay still. I have tried gating him at the top of the stairs and it was the same effect as shutting him in a room, he howls. He is not used to being separated from his humans.

I will try to report back once I find some more friends victims that haven't been put off coming over. I do have some friends that have come back, so it's not all bad. I do find that ones used to dogs don't seem to be that bothered by the barking, but it's not nice and I don't like the behaviour or the howling if I remove him. The behaviourist was very anti everything and basically just gave me a ladder of aggression chart. She didn't witness the behaviour as said it wasn't ethical to get a child around. I'm very careful about DDog and children so I'll go slowly. Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
time4an3wname Tue 29-Oct-19 21:58:52

I realise I say in my First post that I shit him behind a gate when I shower. So he basically sits on the top step of the stairs if I do this, so as he's on the level pretty much as myself and the kids playing or watching tv. So he doesn't howl or bark. If I gate him upstairs with me downstairs he will bark or howl. I have 3 floors in my townhouse, but it's small if that makes sense.

OP’s posts: |
time4an3wname Tue 29-Oct-19 21:59:22

grin* shut

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in