I have a one year old Cardigan who is perfect in every single way, except one MAJOR concern: he hates small children and babies. As soon as he is in close proximity, and especially if the child runs or makes a noise of any kind, our Russell will bark aggressively and even lunge forward! I cannot say if he would actually harm the child because we have never given him the opportunity to get close enough, and of course parents get quite alarmed and want us to get as far away as possible. This is of course a significant concern for us, because many of our friends and family have children, and we want to be able to bring Russell to parks, etc. where children will be.
Russell is in no way aggressive towards adults or other animals; in fact, he is very social and friendly towards anyone who is over 5 years old... It is the smaller, more unpredictable children that seem to make him anxious. He will even bark at small babies. Oddly enough, if he is interacting with another dog, and happens to come across a child, Russell seems okay. It's as though he follows the lead of the other, more well-behaved dog; or perhaps he is just distracted by playing that he can't be bothered by the child.
Any advice would be much appreciated. We want to be able to bring Russell with us everywhere we go, and trust that he will be well-behaved.
I was just working on this today with Luke actually. He's very unsure of young kids and barks really loudly at them, which of course usually freaks out the kid and parents because he sounds very mean when really he's just afraid.
I loaded up my treat pouch with super yummy treats and took him to the open house at my vet's office, and then Petco afterward. When we got there we just stood in the main area and observed people, and he got lots of treats for sitting quietly. If I saw a kid that looked interested in him I would ask if they would like to give him a treat, and showed them how to kneel down and offer the treat with an open hand. I started with older kids and worked my way down. I kept the interactions short and only let one older kid actually pet him. So he got a yummy treat from child, a "good boy!" and then we moved on to keep the interaction totally pleasant for him.
The only way to really "fix" the issue IMO is to expose him to more children.
We're experiencing the same issue with our Sheamus. I was wondering if you have had much progress with Russell in addressing this issue? Overall I believe more exposure will help as per Jane's advice but any further advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
It's good to hear Russell is getting there. Will certainly keep persevering. And yes, good point John hehe.
Also watch the children very closely. If anybody sticks a finder in his eye, that won't help.
hahaha right! I babysit 4 monsters and they were dog sitting a friends really mellow poodle. The 8 year old girl kept getting snapped at. Frankly, I'd snap at her to if she was roughly picking me up, chasing and pouncing on me, tugging on me etc. In fact, I really wish I could have bit them by now...
Absolutely! NO hugging! NO lifting! At least they can't pull the corgi's tail.