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Advice on how to stop dog being nervous of kids in our street(7 Posts)
She’s an 11 month old terrier. She’s fine with and children we see on walks, no reaction at all. Our street has a lot of kids that play out. I take her for a walk to the green before bed each evening. If I don’t take her she messes during the night. They’re nice kids but they’re loud-often dancing about, on bikes and scooters, screeching or singing. She’s just not sure about them, she’ll bark at them, often hesitate at our gate. If they’re standing quietly she’ll go up for a stroke but they’re not usually.
I don’t know if I need to address this, try and help her to be more comfortable as we pass them but I don’t know how or if it’s ok to just accept that she’s unsure of them.
I speak up for her, I say to give her some space but I don’t know them well enough to ask anything more of them (eg offer her a treat or something).
My dog is rescue that I have had for about 3 years now. She is a lovely, gentle, affectionate girl but soon after I got her, I discovered she was really scared of children (presumably due to having to survive on the streets of inner London for a while). In my road there is a similar situation to yours and sometimes there is a group of children with bicycles running around and making noise. If she feels threatened, mine will snap at children (it has only happened once at the beginning, when one ran at her, before I knew of her fear and she was on lead so nothing bad occurred). She's come a long way and will now calmly walk past children on our walks, on or off lead. However, I do not think it is fair to trust her 100% (to her or the children) so I never, ever let a child come up and stroke her and will avoid approaching family groups when out walking if the children are small in case they do approach her without permission. I think you should just accept she isn't comfortable at the moment and if you just keep out of "touching" distance and walk calmly by, she will slowly relax more. However, I really don't think you should let them touch her ever as, if she did become alarmed, things could suddenly escalate very quickly. My previous dog would never have bitten a child but the local children were sometimes very irritating and would rush up to cuddle her (she put up with this) and one wretched girl kept trying to ride her like a pony despite being repeatedly told it was painful for the dog and she wasn't to do it. She never even growled at them but she much preferred them to keep away (and so did I).
Many thanks for the advice. She’s fine when we’re out on walks, doesn’t bat an eyelid but I have started to give children a wide birth and I’m ready to tell them not to stroke her as she’s nervous because I now know she’s got this anxiety and I’m just not sure if she would ever react and I wouldn’t want to put her in that position.
* I wouldn’t want to put her in that position.*
Yes, that's how I feel. It just isn't worth risking either the child (wouldn't you feel TERRIBLE?) or the inevitable fall out for your poor dog. I've been doing the wide berth thing for a few years now so it has become second nature. I have to be particularly careful about is when my dog is off lead (I live next to a forest and she is off lead away from roads in the forest) as she can run ahead a bit and I have to scan ahead for possible children walking towards us in case they think it is a good idea to grab at her as she tries to pass them peacefully. I just call her back if any are approaching and keep her by me until we are past. The other thing that makes her very nervous is children waving sticks (and, in the forest, there are often some of them waving sticks about with neither they nor their parents realising how scary it is for lots of dogs nearby).
Yeh that’s the other thing I’ve become aware of-her recall’s not great at the moment so I’m being very selective about where I let her off. We’ve got her walking quite nicely on the lead (she used to pull like a train) so I’m tending to keep her on and just let her off to chase sticks for 10 mins to burn off some steam and then she goes back on again.
I walked her along the canal this morning and we went past a few children along the way, I kept her close to me, used my body as a shield and fed her treats as we went past. She showed no particular interest or concern to any of them though but I want it to stay that way so I’ll continue to do that.
It's amazing and shocking how many people will walk up to a dog and try to stroke it without asking if its OK. You can buy a bandana that says "nervous" and put it on your dogs neck this may help to prevent anyone lunging at your dog to stroke without asking.
I’d spend some time hanging out in your street doing some training, inside your gate to start with, then just outside your gate, then a bit closer and so on...
Basically spend some time doing something fun with lots of rewards while the kids do their own thing so she learns they’re not anything to do with what she’s doing.
And say to the kids, she’s a bit scared so we’re doing some training, just you carry on playing and ignore her...