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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My dog is a ~90lb GSD mix who hates children. Based on his behavior, I'm under the impression that when he was a puppy, his previous owner let children mistreat him.

He also distrusts adults, and I get the impression that his owners were abusive -- my dog's brother was a lot worse with people, he was much more avoidant/scared of humans.

Some adults my dog is quick to bark at and tell them to back away, and others he goes up to immediately and seems totally unbothered by them.

Not once however, not even on the first day while we were at the pound, has he ever shown any aggression toward me. It was like he decided right away that he wanted me to be his master.

Anyway, today I took him to my sister's house and one of the kids came outside. My dog's fur usually rises, but it didn't this time -- he didn't care. We all played fetch for 5-10 minutes, and he was having fun with the kid.

Then the kid bent over to grab a ball, came up, and turned quickly. I believe my dog thought he was about to get backhanded, and he bit the kid. I assume it was a warning bite because he didn't draw blood (there is a bruise though) and he didn't latch; it was not like he was trying to kill the kid. My dog did not continue going after the kid, but my dog stood his ground -- that is, he didn't run away.

... Once I have more money (I'm trying to get a job right now), I'd like to pay a professional trainer to work with my dog so I can trust him dog around other people. But what are the odds of success? And do you have any idea how much I should expect this will cost?
 

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I can't say much on cost, as that will vary between countries and companies. I think there could be great success with some proper training methods and time, but overall, I would probably keep him separate from children for a long time, if not forever. One of my dogs has never been mistreated by children but is terrified of them, so I respect her wishes and ensure she has limited contact to prevent any accidents.

The reason he reacts sometimes and not others is likely based purely off body language and pheromones given off by each new person. He reacts defensively when he sees the need to. His confidence around adults can definitely improve with the right methods, but I would be skeptical of children, as they are more unpredictable and hyper beings.

I strongly believe this was a fear reaction. I respect you for taking on this poor sweetheart and his past, he has clearly chosen you for a reason. For his protection, I would keep him from strangers as best you can, and DON'T let him around children. I always believe there is a way to rehab dogs like this to an extent, but the outcome for him if it fails just isn't worth it. I'm not saying to lock him away when people come, just explore methods of making the zone safe for everyone.
 

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I can't say much on cost, as that will vary between countries and companies. I think there could be great success with some proper training methods and time, but overall, I would probably keep him separate from children for a long time, if not forever. One of my dogs has never been mistreated by children but is terrified of them, so I respect her wishes and ensure she has limited contact to prevent any accidents.

The reason he reacts sometimes and not others is likely based purely off body language and pheromones given off by each new person. He reacts defensively when he sees the need to. His confidence around adults can definitely improve with the right methods, but I would be skeptical of children, as they are more unpredictable and hyper beings.

I strongly believe this was a fear reaction. I respect you for taking on this poor sweetheart and his past, he has clearly chosen you for a reason. For his protection, I would keep him from strangers as best you can, and DON'T let him around children. I always believe there is a way to rehab dogs like this to an extent, but the outcome for him if it fails just isn't worth it. I'm not saying to lock him away when people come, just explore methods of making the zone safe for everyone.
You made an excellent point and I think I'm going to just isolate him from strangers, and from all children.
 

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You made an excellent point and I think I'm going to just isolate him from strangers, and from all children.
I wouldn't necessarily isolate him, but I would look up and play BAT (behavioral adjustment training). BAT 2.0 Overview | Grisha Stewart

It helps build confidence and helps show them other dogs/children are not a threat.

There's also LAT (Look At That) training that can help change your dog's response to said stimuli (children). If you keep him at a distance (like maybe he can see/hear children playing at a park) which is a foundation in LAT, you run no worry about harming a child and might help him to view things differently.
 
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