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herding breed barking at and nipping children

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herding breed barking at and nipping children
  • Title says it all. Dog is barking and lunging and nipping at children that run by and are playing. How would you solve this? 

  • Do not let him around children, until he learns that this behavior is inappropriate. My  BFs blue heeler does this , he does not like fast movement. He is allowed around children only on leash.

  • Preferably we'd like to do more than just manage the behavior, but cure it. Management is going well, working on fixing the problem is next.

    How do others go about teaching appropriate behavior?

     

  • Teach the dog "watch me". Make it very, very solid, and use it any time the dog looks at a child. Eventually, the dog's head will whip around when it sees a child moving fast and feels tempted. The day that happens, throw a party. Buy him a cheeseburger. Tell all your friends. It will be a GREAT day!

     

    My dog didn't chase kids, but she was reactive to other dogs. Now, when a dog gets in her face, she whips around to watch me. It's incredible. 

  • And what when he barks, lunges, and nips after children?  

  • You need a that will do command, a rock solid stay and long term management.  Few people have the time and inclination resources to remove this behavior from a dog, so management is more likely to be successful.

     Leave or cease commands start with low value, low distraction activities (looking out the window with no squirrels or other distractions).  Calling the dog off and engaging in some other behavior.  Slowly increase the distractions.  Use the 100% rule to decide when to increase the level of distraction.  This is necessary because biting behaviors have been observed and you dont want a serious problem or reaction in the mix.  Determine a series of low value distractions or  basic training near a low level distraction.  Practice 3 to 5 times per day for 10 trials with some other commands mixed in as well (could be sits, downs, stands, tricks).  When the dog has been correct and responded within a 1 second delay, for all 10 trials on 10 days in a row, then change ONE variable.  That can be distance from the distractor or introduction of a new distractor.

    When practicing in high distraction situations (little league games).  Start at distance.  Walk until she appears more interested in the activity than you.  Back up two steps.  Work on a down stay while you watch.  Using the same approach (10 trials, 10 spots at the same distance for 10 days in a row) moving one or two strides closer to distraction each time criteria is met.

     Most herding dogs take a fair amount of time to develop a good "that'll do"  unless they are working stock on a regular basis or are heavily involved in other work based training (agility, SAR, etc.)

  •  

    tessa_s212

    Title says it all. Dog is barking and lunging and nipping at children that run by and are playing. How would you solve this? 

    This is one reason why most herding dog breeders don't sell to families with young, boisterous children.  There is no way to eradicate the strong herding instinct that is present in many of these dogs, to whom the kids seem like errant sheep or cattle.  When kids run, dog chases, and when they run faster, dog escalates.  Prescription for disaster, since the natural response of a herder to errant livestock is to grip them, which may not puncture cowhide, but does hurt human skin.  So, the best thing is to monitor all interactions, not let the children run in the presence of the dog, and teach the dog to have a "shut off". (It's still important to keep the kids still - dogs in drive are sometimes "deaf" to cues that aren't issued quickly enough, and that can mean the difference between a nip and a dog that diverts its attention back to the "shepherd").  The dog must know "stop", "leave it", and "come".  If the owner does not know how to teach those commands positively and accurately, time to get to a class or get some individual instruction from someone who knows the herding breeds.  One thing I can tell you is that if you own a herder that is exceptionally drive-y, it's critical to install the skills properly.  But, the time to say "leave it -come" is not once the dog is already chasing the kids, it's before the dog gets the first step off to chase the kids.  Eventually, just as Sequoyah learned that I didn't want her to herd the broom (or my feet) as I swept the training hall, dogs learn which things are ok to chase, and which aren't.

    For the lurkers: Great pages on the subject that I wish people would read BEFORE they acquire a herding breed:

    http://www.bcrescue.org/bcwarning.html 

    http://www.lizpalika.com/rightdog.html 

    http://www.gsrne.org/decisions.htm#Should

     On teaching "leave it" - remember, it's a progression, and it's important that the dog never get the forbidden item, but ALWAYS gets something better from you than what he "left".

    http://www.clickerlessons.com/leaveit.htm
     

  • Title does not quiet give enough information.  Is dog unattended?  Are children in it's play or safe area when behavior happens?  Other pets?  Working schedule for owners and age of dog.... who owns the dog?

    A dog who is genetically engineered to have a job will become bored and create a job for themselves when need be.  IF you are going to add a smart  high drive animal to your home then you have to commit to not simple exercise to assist in tiring the dog, but classes and work putting the dog though it's paces.  It must earn every facet of it's daily routines.  Distraction helps but only if followed up on with expectations of working. My herding dogs were spoi;ed rotten BUT they were expected to work. Every horse, pony and the bull calf were put away in their box stalls or moved from the barn to the corrals with quick effcientcy.  During one period where we did not allow Leonsin or Lobo to work they systematically killed every single chicken in our hen house and laid them side by side.  Necks broken, feathers nearly unruffled , a simple job found and handled from the canine persective. ( they were noisy darn things !!) German Shepard  Chicken 

    Bonita of Bwana

  • spiritdogs

     

    tessa_s212

    Title says it all. Dog is barking and lunging and nipping at children that run by and are playing. How would you solve this? 

    There is no way to eradicate the strong herding instinct that is present in many of these dogs, to whom the kids seem like errant sheep or cattle.... The dog must know "stop", "leave it", and "come".  If the owner does not know how to teach those commands positively and accurately, time to get to a class or get some individual instruction from someone who knows the herding breeds.  One thing I can tell you is that if you own a herder that is exceptionally drive-y, it's critical to install the skills properly. 

    I am going to defer the advise to those that have years of experience living with herders.  But, I was surprised to read that no one suggested that the dog owner work with the herding instinct to contain or controll its drivey triggered-response instinctual behavior.  Wouldn't surpressing these instincts manifest in other behavior problems and in fact cause the dog to be more drivey.  Should the commands of "stop", "leave it", and "come" be taught in the content of when the herd drive is triggerred so communication is made absolutely clear to the dog.  I have had many herder-type dogs in my home as fosters and yes there was some herding behavior that I had to control and I know my situation was no where near the level of the OP's situation, I still would work from the perspective of satisfying and then control the instinctual need.  JMO from a JQP dog owner.

  • Actually I did address it.  I specificially stated that other work needed to be substituted if herding was not available.  Most folks who are hobby herders ( of which I am one) do more than just herd since our lifestyles typically dont provide the day to day, all day, exposure and practice of the skills that are genetically engineered into the breed.  Working in herding is actually very time consuming and costly. You need lessons and clinics.    If you want to get really good at it, you need your own stock (and access to multiple other venues).  The only exception would be those folks who are in animal husbandry (like Brookcove) as they livelihood.

  • Have you tried getting up and physically stopping the dog, putting it into a sit/stay everytime this unwanted behavior is exhibited, LOL? Used in conjunction with your chosen word and repeated adamantely is key.

    No need to be rough but these are smart dogs and just need for you to convey what is expected of them. The kids can also take part in this exercise and show the dog they are higher in the pack. They could easily be taught to stop and redirect the dog IF you think he would respond to that.

    Maybe start with sharing with us what you have tried to do so far.

    Kudos to you for realizing this is a inherant and instictual drive and nowhere near aggression or instability.

  • DPU

    spiritdogs

     

    tessa_s212

    Title says it all. Dog is barking and lunging and nipping at children that run by and are playing. How would you solve this? 

    There is no way to eradicate the strong herding instinct that is present in many of these dogs, to whom the kids seem like errant sheep or cattle.... The dog must know "stop", "leave it", and "come".  If the owner does not know how to teach those commands positively and accurately, time to get to a class or get some individual instruction from someone who knows the herding breeds.  One thing I can tell you is that if you own a herder that is exceptionally drive-y, it's critical to install the skills properly. 

    I am going to defer the advise to those that have years of experience living with herders.  But, I was surprised to read that no one suggested that the dog owner work with the herding instinct to contain or controll its drivey triggered-response instinctual behavior.  Wouldn't surpressing these instincts manifest in other behavior problems and in fact cause the dog to be more drivey.  Should the commands of "stop", "leave it", and "come" be taught in the content of when the herd drive is triggerred so communication is made absolutely clear to the dog.  I have had many herder-type dogs in my home as fosters and yes there was some herding behavior that I had to control and I know my situation was no where near the level of the OP's situation, I still would work from the perspective of satisfying and then control the instinctual need.  JMO from a JQP dog owner.

     

    I didn't think it was necessary to repeat what mrv said, but as long as you made the point, yes, it is a great idea to channel the herding instinct into other activities.  However, I do not think that alone will solve the problem if the kids continue to run and screech.  If you're going to live with intense herders and kids in the same environment, then you have to do some parenting, because the dog cannot be expected to cope with every single situation accurately without some guidance.  I trust my dog implicitly to respond to my cues, and I actually use her frisbee to intro her to new people (if they throw the fris for her, she thinks more highly of them), but I never leave her alone with kids, nor do I allow running and screeching at my training center or in my home.  The way you keep the kids safe is to keep the dog safe.


  • The dog is not mine. It is a border collie/rough collie mix that was adopted out from the humane society. The husband and wife do not have small children at home, but only a step-granddaughter that comes very sparingly. The problems she has experienced so far include a little league game gone wrong - the dog just couldn't handle it and was barking and lunging at the end of the leash. They learned their lesson and the dog stayed away from such events, but when their small 5 year old step-granddaughter payed a visit, she became scared of the dog when it was nipping at her.

    I've told her to keep the dog and children separated. The dog should never be unsupervised with children, and until some behavior modification, on leash a good distance away or crated during visits.  No training has been tried yet - tomorrow is our first private session. No other pets - she is an only dog.

  •  In the method I suggested.... nothing happens if the dog barks, nips, or lunges. It's never allowed to. You start at a low level of distraction (a child/dog./whatever in the far distance) and work up slowly. Little league games are FAR from where a dog with reactivity issues should be... I guess they know that, now.

     

    There are lots of good suggestions here, now.

  •  Well, if you are going to be working with the dog, I'd say start right in with name recognition.  You want a dog that will turn its head and look at the handler when it hears its name.  When that response is automatic, it's easier to follow "Fido" with a command, because the dog is already paying attention:-))