Posted : 7/15/2008 7:21:37 AM
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:
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".