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I'm becoming at my wits ends with Ruby.

She has never liked children, always has given them a wide birth or lied down if they come to say hello. Ive done my best to socialise her with children and she has never to my knowledge been hurt by a child to give her a reason to be scared of them.

Very recently she has started barking at children, Ive been doing my best and taking her to lots of places where she is likely to see children in a safe environment (park, town, marina etc) and doing some training near them or just sitting down watching them go by then quickly walking her off on the opposite direction to them the second she barks makes a noise or i see her body tense with a stirn "no", to get her attention off them praising her when shes calm and then going back, but she seems to be getting worse!

I don't want her to be so fearful of children, i don't want children scared of her barking and i certainly don't want it to get worse and for her to end up snapping at children.
:(
Shes such a lovely placid dog most the time. Can anyone help?
 
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I can only sympathise as my Mojo was exactly the same.

Like you I did everything I could to socialise her with children, yet one baddish experience, one that any other dog would have shrugged off, left her terrified of them and defensive.

I wish I could offer you some advise on what to do but really I have just done more of less what you are doing now.

Mojo is 5 now and soooooo much better but I do still have to watch her with Dog Scared/Unaware children as any screaming, staring, flapping about, can set her off, although she hasn't run up to one and barked now for well over a year. All I can say is work really hard on your recalls and distraction and keep your wits about you. Get her out as much as possible in environments where there are children about but not necessarily going to come over to her. If children do approach, tell them not to look at her and not to touch her because she is scared. The other thing I found and still do find, is Mojo is better if we keep moving, so if I see her squirming because there is a scary child looking at her, we get up and move, even if we have to move towards the child to get past it, as while she is sat still, she has FAR too much time to think and this of course leads to a reaction.

I really thought I had done something terribly wrong with Mojo because EVERYONE knows LABS LOVE CHILDREN :roll: ....but I have now heard of so many that are wary, scared or defensive (and sticking my neck on the line here, they are usually part or wholly Working Bred) towards children, I think we can blow that myth right out of the water.
 

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Ruby can be like this but her main problem is jumping up and knocking them over. I keep her on a lead around children as she does jump up and she can bark but i think with Ruby it is excitement although she is a little timid if they are screaming (in her face like one child did) She stared at him then jumped up before i could get her away. I was the same as Jules that people have the understanding that labs love children and are gentle with them. When she is with older children she is all over them but way to rough so i try and keep her moving past little children and if they stare to long at her it can make them bark. It does make you feel on edge more when children are around so i can sympathise with you. I try and keep treats in my pocket so as we are walking past i praise her with the treat in my hand.
 

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Just to say we sometimes have this problem too. And yes Jules Rufus is fully working lines. He's ok if children are with other dogs but occasionally gets really spooked if 'little people' take him by surprise.

Claire, it sounds like you're doing all the right things with Ruby, so hopefully she will improve but as Jules says you will have to try to be one step ahead of her all the time.

Yvonne
 
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Thanks Julesand Yvonne! You have made me feel tons better knowing im not alone. I really don't think she has it in her to hurt a child, but she does a pretty good job of scaring them witless!

The breeder i got her from fosters children and every time the boy walked into the room where the puppies were they all flew to him (including Ruby) for cuddles and she ADORES my friends daughter (because she generally feeds Ruby the majority of her lunch under the table) but any other children have always been a no go area.

Problem is people see an obedient little lab doing exactly as told (most of the time :wink: ) and parents send their kids over full pelt running to "pet the nice andrex puppy!" only for it to stick its heckles up and bark in their faces then run away.

We will keep persevering!

I really want to get her involved in some PAT work as she is so lovely with adults and my nan volunteers at a home and keeps asking if i can bring her along one day as she keeps telling me the "old people" would love her ( bearing in mind my nans older than most the people in the home!) but i don't think its fair on her why she has such a bad reaction to children in case someone was their visiting with their children.

Edit: Ruby is working lines too!
 

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You have my sympathies. I lost Mouse in the wood at a GT yesterday and I was on the verge of tears, all because the couple of children in the group were running towards her (not at her). She bolted and hid behind a tree and, had Bernie not heard a rustling and spotted her, I think I really might have lost her as she was in a full panic and was too frightened to come out even to my whistle. That's never happened to me before.

So today I spent the afternoon just with Mouse at a village fate, armed with sausages which I asked any children who came to talk to her, to give to her. She wasn't great (she would have rather hid behind me), but she wasn't too bad in that she did take the sausages off the kids. At least she didn't go into panic-mode. Later on when we went for a walk, she actually approached a child and sniffed him (hoping for a sausage!) which I gave a silent cheer about.

I'm worried as I've not had a pup be frightened of children before. All my previous ones have been 'the World is my friend' type, but Mouse is very different. The last thing I want is for it to become an issue, especially if she decides as she gets bigger and bolder, that barking is the way to get rid of kids, so I think I've got my work cut out.

I don;t know what the answer is. If anyone out there has cured the problem, that I'd love to know how you did it too.

Becs
 

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Little Izzy hates them too- probably my fault as she didnt get to see any really little ones when young- but then nor did Mocha or Jemima and they love everyone.
I have tried hard with Izzy of late to accept them but truth is she is a timid dog and doesnt like men, boys or children very much. Although she is far better with little girls.
I am still working on building her trust and confidence and take her most places that i go.
I do empathize.
I will keep working with her and hopefully she will get better. i had a dog like this once before and although she was surrounded by young children a lot of the time, she never really liked them and lived her life on my lap and out of their way. Its sad but I really believe some dogs are hypersensitive and wont ever like everyone.
 

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I sympathise too.

Sophie has had issues with traffic, men and children. For a while I had one-to-one training and was out with Sophie 3 times per day trying to socialise her. Truth is, I think it made her worse at the time. I think, like humans, they can get in a heightened state of anxiety and it's best to leave well alone for everything to calm down.

In Sophie's case, work forced me to not have the time to keep taking her out 3 times per day. In fact, I just ignored the whole issue/s and months later she is a different dog, much calmer and less worried.

So, my advice would be to try and just forget Ruby's issues with children. Don't try and address them directly, i.e. by keep putting her in a situation she is frightened of, just lead your life as you would and fingers crossed that in time she will get over this.

Just my opnion and personal experience! Best of luck!
 
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Ruby used to be scared of men too!!!

She was terrified of my dad (who lives in the same house as us!!) for weeks after i got her, in fact he got so annoyed of her hiding from him, he decided to take the "confrontational approach" corner her, pick her up and give her some fuss to show he wasn't scary.


It actually worked out as him cornering her, picking her up and her weeing all down him! :lol: :lol:


They are the best of friends now and shes generally fine with male strangers!
 

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Clairelovestlc said:
It actually worked out as him cornering her, picking her up and her weeing all down him! :lol: :lol: !
:D

I have no idea why Izzy is scared of boys/men.
She loves my son to bits and will happily go out and play in the garden with him but when he is indoors she is under my chair or by my side :?
 
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claireliz said:
And yes Jess was and Izzy is a working breed as Jules has said. Food for thought.
I do firmly believe this has a lot to do with issues with children, men, in fact anything or anyone they feel is scary.

I also feel the reason a lot of working dogs work so well, is that they are sensitive and a little bit lacking in self confidence. Ok not ALL of them are like this and I'm sure loads will be bold and LOVE everyone....but I'm sure certain lines ARE.

I really don't know what the answer is though, when it comes to socialisation. Some pups just don't seem bothered by anything and even if they do get a knock back, they just dust themselves off and carry on, whereas the sensitive (and dare I say "Clever") ones seem to retain any bad experience and think on it everytime a potentially new bad experience comes up again. The thing is, sometimes we are not even aware that an experience is BAD, as it could be something really subtle, such as someone staring at them in the distance.

I have tried in the past getting children or scarey adults to feed Mojo tasty treats but I can honestly say it made no difference to her. She is a dreadfully greedy dog but in the end she either wouldn't take the food from the child/person....or else she would snatch it and run back behind my legs. I was then worried that we were somehow rewarding this fearful behaviour, so I stopped doing this. Maybe by this time though, it was too little, too late, although I'll be blowed to think how I could have made her like everyone, when by nature she is slightly suspicious anyway. :?
 
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I like the way of describing Mojo as suspicious i can imagine her sitting in the park with a newspaper with a hole in it, watching everyone and their movements, making notes etc.

Complex creatures these monkeys aren't they!
 

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Yes Mojo as suspicious (excellent description Jules) - just like Izzy.
Izzy has no interest in people apart from myself and my eldest daughter.
Wheras the other two love everyone.
Izzy will keep one eye open when asleep even to watch me and anyone who might be in the house. A funny little dog and very vulnerable and yes Jules, very clever.
Very interesting and makes me feel better that izzy isn't alone in this.
 

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Nellie went through a bit of a ninny phase with children too, she is now loads better but still selectively chooses not to say hello to certain ones, which is fine by me- though can be hard to explain to kids and adults alike as they look at me like it's something i've done. In general she likes dog savvy kids and the rest she'd rather stay close to me.

Nellie is super socilialised to being around children but just doesn't enjoy being physically fussed by some of them, whereas Basil will roll over and flash his belly at the sight of an interested kiddy :roll:

I tried the treat thing a few weeks back with my niece and nephew on a special-sort-out-nellies-ninnys trip oop north and it really just made her run in and then jerk back away from them.
Then on the way home we stopped at her breeders, Lynda, and she was just all over Lyndas Grandson - so I realised it's just some kids she doesn't like - rather like me I suppose :lol: .

My niece and nephew came to stay with us for 4 days last week. They are noisy, jerky, non-dog savvy kids. Nellie went from slight woofing and backing away when they entered the room to happily sitting near them. I don't think she liked them by the end of it but she definitely got more used to them and tolerated them being around. I feel like we made a huge leap forward.
Our training class does lots of children socialisation and she is great there....but obviously they don't practice with kids who run up or pat the top of her head hard which is where she shys away......but then really that's the children that need teaching not Nellie.
 
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