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Hi,

The title kind of says it all really! When we go out to places, Truffle is inclined to bite other people - he bit a lady at our puppy class last week and this evening nipped one of the kids in the park. I know he's still a puppy (20 weeks) but to other people he is a big dog, and obviously I want to put an end to this asap. He tends to do it when he is over excited, and the kids in the park think it is fun to run round calling him to them, and then he runs around and gets excited and nips. I keep him on his lead until we are well past them (they tend to congregate at the entrance to the park), but then they cycle across the park and he starts to chase them (he likes to chase bikes and joggers at the moment). I've asked them not to call him, but they don't see the consequences of them encouraging him in bad behaviour and just see it as fun - until they get bitten. Equally I don't see why Truffle shouldn't have off lead time just because the kids (7+ years old) can't behave around him (after all, Truffle has to learn to ignore them). I think Truffle finds children hard to deal with because my 3 year old is inclined to wind him up at home, and likes to be chased by Truffle, so to Truffle all kids should like this. What is the best thing to do? I want to stop this from escalating into anything where anyone gets hurts.

I am trying to make him sit and get a treat when he sees other people in the street (rather than jumping up on them), and when he's on his lead this is usually possible (not always with a bike) but his recall at the moment is quite poor - he seems to have hit a teenage stage and is ignoring me but will go to anyone else who calls him. Would putting him on a long line help here? Or maybe just up the ante with the reward he gets for coming back?

Thanks

Cat and Truffle
 

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I would perhaps start at home, by stopping your child from encouraging Truffle to play chase games. It is probably encouraging the very behaviour you are now trying to stamp out because Truffle will not understand certain behaviours only being acceptable at home and not outside it. Dogs will just think that this is the way they are meant to behave, full stop.

Do you have any other possibilities for a walk rather than that park. To be honest, I would be very unhappy about children taunting my dog as we went into the park and then cycling on to taunt him again during the walk. I don't care what age they are. They may be young now, but as they grow it will become very intimidating. Are there any park wardens you could have a word with about them, or perhaps a local police community support officer?

Speak to the trainer at your dog class about this, and try to get some one to one sessions to thrash this out before it goes too far.

Good luck. I know how hard it is. Charlie was not into chasing at that age, but he was a jumper, and in the beginning would occasionally nip. I had to be hard on him at times, because believe me, it can really cause a lot of trouble. :(
 

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Can you walk in the park when the kids are (should be?) at school so you don't have to encounter them? Though I guess that wouldn't work at weekends/school holidays. Sounds like a stressful walk that would drive me round the bend!
 
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Chasing games are OUT....Simple as that. It seems like fun now to your 3 year old but when the dog gets big and flattens him, bites him, etc, it gets dangerous. I had young children and dogs and they did ALL have to learn chasing each other, is strictly a NO NO.

Like Helen, I would NOT be happy about other children calling, teasing, taunting my dog, no matter what age they were. You are asking for trouble in the future if you let this continue. If you can't get the children to stop, then you should find somewhere else to walk him.

To be honest at only 20 weeks old, you haven't got anywhere near the Teenage stage yet. You are walking him in an area where there are far too many distractions for his little brain to possibly cope with AND to obey you too. He is still a pup and as such he is acting like one.....he is going where the FUN is and ignoring you. This will cause you problems in the future, as if he learns at this tender age to ignore you, you really will have no hope of controlling him when he does finally hit the teenage phase.

I would not let him run free where there are soooo many distractions at the moment. Yes he has got to learn to ignore them.....but by letting him run free, you are losing control over him already.

If you can, find somewhere quieter, less frantic to take him and practise your recalls there.

I'm sorry if any of this sounds harsh but he really is still a baby and he needs to be set up to get things RIGHT not to get things constantly wrong.
 

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I would echo what Angela has said about using the park during school time if you can.

If not then it may be better to find somewhere else to walk, because the behaviour of these children is more likely to make Truffle defensive and nervous than teach him to ignore them.

I know Charlie still would not respond well to the situation you describe and he is five now. It would be a disaster, and the only thing I would be able to do is remove him from the situation or avoid going there. :(

Jules has also given you plenty of great advice. Put your foot down about the chasing games at home.
 

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I agree with Jules. You have to find somewhere else to walk him or at least go at times when there are not so many children about. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for lots of problems in the future.

He is still a baby at 20 weeks and your problems will only get worse unless you sort it out now.

Sorry to be harsh but they learn such a lot in those first weeks and everything he is learning is not helping him to become a well balanced controllable dog.

Yvonne
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all that advice.

The park is literally 300 yards from my house, so there is no other option than to walk there. In the morning there are no kids and we do lots of training - sit, down, stay, recall - because there are rarely other dogs either at the time we go. The problem is in the evening, and there is no time after 3.30 when there aren't kids until it gets dark, and I'm not walking the dog in the dark. I could just do a lead walk, and maybe that would help with not chasing bikes as he would be on lead, but won't he find that rather boring? I think I'll get a long line too so that he can still run round but I have control before he runs away.

Thanks again

Cat and Truffle
 

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i did on occassion take missys favourite toy, this was to try and stop her from running off after other dogs, i kept saying to her " what you got " and "show me", with this she got all excited and it did manage to distract her for most of the time.

i bet you would like to string the kids up, imagine if it was a great big german shepherd, shame there parents didnt teach them never to go up to strange dogs.

just had a thought, dont know what you think, if its a warm day can you pour some water over truffle so he then shakes and the water goes over the kids.

only a thought hope you get on ok,

all the best

gary
 

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I am sure you could find a different walking route. In fact, I would suggest that you do that from time to time anyway, as it adds interest for the dog as well as for you.

My local fields are barely 100 yards away, so yes, a lot of the time we do walk there. However, I have several other routes that I like to do in other areas of the town for a change, and also so that if one day there is a problem with our regular route we can go off and do another. Some of them I walk over to the other side of town for, although granted that our town is quite small.

If you can find somewhere to drive to then that may well help.

Also though, as you say you are doing, there is no harm in a good off lead run in the morning over at the park, followed by a lead walk at the end of the afternoon. That is often the sort of thing my dogs get - a good blast in the morning, and in the afternoon on the lead to come on the school run with me. :D

At 20 weeks though, just be careful with how much exercise - 25 minutes of on-lead walking is sufficient. For off-lead running you can let him be for a longer as he can stop when he tires.
 

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You know if this is your local and convenient walk I would stick at it - but on leash and work on it all being really uninteresting and getting his focus on you.
When you haven't got the time/energy it needs to work on it with crowded kids, joggers, bikes etc then go elsewhere. The principal is to take it back to a level where he can succeed and then gradually increase. So to start with this might not be walking directly behind a jogger but maybe 10 paces or so to the side as an example.

Yes going elsewhere for your daily evening walk will be more pleasant and he can go off leash, but the reality is if you go somewhere like empty fields you're not going to be able to then suddenly reintroduce him to this when he's older and it magically be all ok.....and I sense as it's local park that your goal is that he can be off leash here with all the distractions in time to come?
 

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Since moving I could actually do all of Luna's walking off-lead BUT I kind-of miss the walking on-lead when I do!!! SO have actually been finding some on-lead routes! I like the feeling of having her walk next to me (it still needs practice!), looking at the same things, being together and making progress ie pretending we're going somewhere important! She always gets at least 10mins of a 30/45 min walk off lead to toilet, sniff and often play with a friendly pooch. It won't do your youngster any harm to spend some of his limited exercise time learning to walk on lead and houses, walls and pavements are just as interesting to pups as the park!
 
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