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5 Year Old Boxer and 7 year old

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by meekasmom, Jun 25, 2013.

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  1. meekasmom

    meekasmom Boxer Pal

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    ok so my girl is now 5 and she has always been a little bit timid. her normal behavior is to start 5 to 10 feet from someone and bark at them till she builds the courage to get close enough to sniff them and then she is good, this is what she does with adults.
    Kids on the other had she makes me very nervous. she is amazing with my son who is 7, there is not one little bit of me that thinks she'd hurt him, however his friends are another story, I do not trust her with his friends anymore :( she runs at then, and although she has not hurt one (yet) she looks like she nips at them and jumps at them. I'm not sure why she is doing this to them, and Im scared that she may bite one of them one day even though she has never been a biter. Has anyone else incountered this?
     
  2. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    Situations like yours worry me. You have an adult dog that is afraid of people--well past the point were you can just "socialize" her as a remedy. You'll need to do remedial work with her. Your best bet is to hire a behaviorist who will develop a behavior modification plan and work with you on this serious issue. You have a 7 year old child so it is likely that your dog will encounter many children/teens in your home during the next 10 years or so. IME situations like yours don't get better on their own, they get worse. In this kind of case "worse" usually means that a child gets bit, you get sued, and the dog either needs to be rehomed or euthanized. Frankly, her reaction to adults is nothing great but at least if an adult were to get bit the physical damage likely won't be as severe as if a child were to be bit.

    Right now, I would implement some strict management measures to make sure nothing happens to a child and to prevent the behaviors from getting stronger until you contact a profession. Don't let her around kids--period. Keep her leashed and hooked to you at all times when there are kids over. Condition her to accept wearing a muzzle so that when she is leashed to you there is another layer of safety. Better yet, keep her in a separate room with baby gates installed and doors LOCKED while kids are over. If you have functions at your home that kids are attending, board her at a kennel or send her to dog daycare for the day. Get serious about her obedience training so that if management measures fail you have a better chance of being able to prevent something from happening in that instance. Keep the number of children that come to your home at a minimum--preferably none. Certainly, don't allow children to enter your home unplanned.

    If I were a parent of one of the children that have been to your home, I would be extremely upset to know that you have exposed my child to a dog that reacts that way. If your dog ever bit my child, I would sue you for any medical costs associated with the bite. You can even be sued for pain and suffering if the bite were severe, caused the victim to be subjected to major medical procedures, or caused lasting physical or psychological damage.

    Start working with a professional now.
     
  3. meekasmom

    meekasmom Boxer Pal

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    Thanks two dogs, I know this could end up being a very seriouse situation, I have already spoken to my son about his friends and my concerns with her. i've already told him that his friends are not to come over unless I am aware, his friends are not allowed in the house or yard without me letting them in so that I can either put her out side of in my room. I just dont understand in the 5 years we have had her this was never an issue. I dont understand. she is fine with the teenagaers and the adults its just my yougest friends. do you think it could be that she has takin him as hers and feels like she is protecting him in some way?
    She has been WELL socialized since I got her at 4 months. there are always people around our home, as well as other dogs.
    I will look into a behavior specilist
     
  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    I'm a little perplexed that you would describe her as well socialized while the quote above is how you said she greets people. That is not how a well socialized dog greets people. That is how a timid, anxious dog that is uncertain about people greets people.

    The amount of socialization a person does really has no bearing on how well socialized their dog ends up. It is the type and quality of socialization done that matters. Every dog is different in how much socialization they need to end up "well socialized". Two owners could take two puppies and socialize them in precisely and exactly the same manner and the pups could turn out very differently "socialized".

    Additionally, when a trainer or behaviorist talks about a dog being well and properly socialized, they are referring to the exposure and experiences a dog has during a very particular developmental phase (3-16 weeks old) and the result that has on the dog's temperament. You got her at 4 months. That phase had ended and you had no control over what her experiences were prior to that. My guess is that is a huge part of why she has "always been a little bit timid".

    Now, as for the question of why in the last five years it hasn't been an issue but now seems to be--I think the answer might be as simple as for the last five years you haven't had a 7 year old child with 7 year old friends. Are your son and his friends playing more running and jumping games? Are they outside more? Are they louder? Does there tend to be more of them now? It could be that it is not just the fact that they are young kids but that now their level of activity or the number of them is over stimulating to her. Combine that over stimulation with a little bit of uneasiness with them in general and you can easily get a dog that behaves in whatever way it feels it needs to just in order to get the kids' activity to stop.

    I see individual dogs like that a lot actually in groups of dogs at the dog park. They get agitated when there's too much uncontrolled activity going on and will attempt to bark, nip, lunge, and shoulder check the other dogs into stopping. It is like they can only stand a certain level of frenetic energy around them before they are compelled to make it stop by whatever means.

    You could also have the flip side--still a generally timid dog, maybe even with less socialization than was necessary given her temperament, but one that is actually trying to engage with the kids and have fun with them yet is also still over stimulated and unable to control her impulses. This is less bad than if she is acting out of fear, but a kid could still get just as hurt. Given how you described her and her actions though, I don't think this is merely a case of over stimulated and uncontrolled play behaviors. I think the kids and their activity make her uneasy.

    Either way, a behaviorist will help you figure it out while keeping everyone safe.
     
  5. LILYLARUE

    LILYLARUE Boxer Insane

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    Excellent post TwoDogs. I totally agree! Seems she is overstimulated and trying to get the kids to STOP MOVING! LOL. I have one pit/boxer mix that is highly anxious and will display just the same behaviors as you describe when in a busy (stressful to him)situation. His reactions are to spin, jump, run in circles, charge and pounce, and bark. I don't put him in those situations any longer. As I know he will not "socialize" any more progressively than he is already. So I monitor and maintain his comfort to keep him out of his anxious state. Still have those times and the other 2 eldest dogs will try to calm him with behaviors.

    One thing I want to add. It is possible that the behaviorist will ask for you to have a thyroid panel done. At her age, it's possible that a thyroid issue is exacerbating her anxiety. I highly doubt it's the entire problem though.....but could be part of her issues. Wouldn't hurt at her age to just get one to see what her levels are - and a good place to start with meds or rule out thyroidism as a culprit.
     
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