Dog Behavior Patterns – 9 month Old German Shepard and Lab mix has always been fine with children and now shows aggressive signs with some children – what do I do?

Dog Behavior Patterns – 9 month Old German Shepard and Lab mix has always been fine with children and now shows aggressive signs with some children – what do I do?

A Dog behavior question about aggressive behavior traits around children and how to cure this problem.

My niece’s dog has always been very calm around other children with them petting her and playing,she has a 7 year old and 3 year old and the dog has never shown any bad behavior towards them,the other day at park,dakota the dogs name,was playing with a stranger returning the ball and dropping the ball at his feet,she went from this to coming back to family and 2 little kids who went over to pet her,they did everything correctly putting out back of hands first for her to smell, she suddenly went from calm to hair on her back standing up and trying to bite and had to be pulled back, she has never acted like this before need help has was she purchased to be a Therapy Dog for the 7 year old.

Hi and thanks for the question – it is always a worry when a dog suddenly show aggressive behavior especially when it’s towards children. Ok so lets try and cure this problem as best as we can. With dogs they don’t always understand how to react to a person’s behavior and body language – of course if someone walks towards a dog looks directly into his eyes and invades a dog’s private space this can be perceived as a threat and a dog will respond to this perceived threat with aggressive behavior. The problem with children is that they sometimes don’t understand the boundaries that exist between humans and dogs – they might tug, pull or invade your dogs space and this can of course cause the problems you are experiencing.

Has your dog been socialized from an early age with a wide range of different experiences especially with children and people. I would enroll the support of a dog behavior expert who can watch and correct any behavior issues as soon as they happen the reason this is so important is that this problem needs to be sorted and fast. It might be that the dog behaviorist uses desensitization techniques to get your dog used to any perceived threat. For bad aggressive behavior around children the involvement of a professional dog trainer for one on one support is even more important. The problem with children invading a dogs space is that they may respond to any aggression with fear and the dog will simply pick up on this fear with fear of his own. Have you considered having your dog neutured? Speak to your vet about this as it might help to alleviate the aggressive behavior.

There are certain triggers that you might be able to notice – if you notice these signs you will be able to remove the trigger before it starts to cause the aggressive behavior in your dog.

1. Watch for raised hair on his back
2. Your dog might show his teeth
3. Keep eye contact with the perceived threat
4. Your dog’s body might become stiffened as a response to the perceived threat.

Hope this helps

Dog Behavior Patterns

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