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Boxer puppy and young kids

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by Frauleinsmom, Feb 12, 2014.

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  1. Frauleinsmom

    Frauleinsmom Boxer Pal

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    Hi! We recently adopted an 8 wk old boxer puppy from a rescue after her mom had died at 1wk. I grew up with boxers and knew that someday I wanted my kids to have one so we jumped at the opportunity to grab her up. My boys are 5 and 1.5 and the only real contact they have had w dogs is with two non kid friendly ones owned by my inlaws. They have both been snapped at and my youngest was nipped twice, which has caused some fear for both of them around dogs. After we brought Fräulein home, she began to try and establish her pack order over both of them, but mostly my little one. We have worked with her on leaving him alone and not jumping on him, but she has growled and knocked him down and nipped his face. She cannot be off her leash inside at all because of her tendencies to go after the boys with the slightest movement. My youngest has become so scared to let her near him if she is awake and we keep trying to work with him on letting her do kisses but no luck so far. Are there any tips out there for how to teach my youngest not to be afraid of our puppy? It is starting to cause so much stress that we are at a point of discussing if this is the best place for her, which kills me to think about.
     
  2. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

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    Boxers can be wonderful with children. Your boxer is only a puppy and she needs to learn appropriate behavior. I don't really think that she is trying to establish pack order at 8 weeks. She is just treating them like litter mates. When she nips at them, they need to yelp loudly and leave the room for a few minutes. You children are very young so it is going to be very difficult.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Frauleinsmom

    Frauleinsmom Boxer Pal

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    Thank you for the response. We have been working with her on her behavior with the kids but my main concern is that my kids are scared of her. My oldest not so much but definitely my youngest, which is making a dog so stressful and I'm just concerned with him being so afraid. He pulls away and cries when she gets close to him, whether he's on the floor or on our laps. The only time he's ok w her is if she is crated and the door is shut.
     
  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    Typically, pups who are hand-reared have lower bite inhibition and low-frustration tolerance. Moms are great at teaching these and when a pup is hand-reared they just don't get the same experiences as pups who have been raised by a dog. Hand-reared pups often never experience being denied attention, contact, or food so end up being pups with poor impulse control and little to no tolerance for being prevented from getting the things that they want. This can make placement in a family with small children or first-time owners problematic. Even more than other pups, these pups need structured exercises to teach using a soft mouth and waiting calmly to earn the things they want. I would definitely contract the services of a trainer before this pup hits the 12 week mark.

    As for your 1.5 year old toddler. At this stage of the game, there is no reason that he needs to have direct contact with the puppy. Tether the pup to you, use baby gates, exercise pens, tie downs, and judicious use of crate confinement to keep the two separate. Your child is afraid and rightly so--puppy bites hurt BAD. Let him know that he can live in his home without worrying that the pup will get him. Living side-by-side with a toddler will give the pup everything it needs to be socialized with toddlers. She doesn't need direct contact to give her that. If she is allowed direct contact, she's only likely to continue to do exactly as she has been doing. After all, she doesn't know any better, yet. Take the time now to teach her some manners and get her past the bitey puppy stage. Physically manage the environment so your toddler doesn't have to be scared. When she's a little older then you can start some facilitated interactions between the two.

    Check out the following resources:
    Living with Kids and Dogs
    Family Paws-New parent classes dog and baby
     
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