Socialize Your Dog and the Neighbor Kids!

I have 2 German Shepherds, and some people tend to be afraid of them and walk out of our path simply because of their breed. Other people love them and approach us to pet them, again because of the breed. Either reason is a great one to socialize your dog.This can happen with any breed of dog, I’m just picking on GSDs, because I have them!  We strive to make both Rosie and Ranger good ambassadors for dogs in general, and for the GSD breed in particular.

We live in a wonderful neighborhood where people are friendly and accepting. Even my neighbors that really don’t like dogs have admitted that, “as dogs go, these two are really good.” I consider that an accomplishment! There are also a lot of young children that will run up to the dogs to pet them. Ranger is 100 lbs, and Rosie is a petite 65lbs, but if either one of them jumped on the 40lb, 5yr old, boy that lives down the street, even to say Hello! and give kisses, they could hurt and scare him badly. I think it is my responsibility to teach the kids and the dogs how to behave around one another.

So sometimes we train obedience and socialization at the same time. I teach the kids that dogs have their own “manners” just like people do. When kids are young, their parents teach them to say, please & thank you, hello & good bye, nice to meet you and things like that. When dogs are young, their parents teach them that it is rude and aggressive to run right up to another dog’s face. If you want to be a polite puppy and make a new friend, you approach slowly, from the side, maybe even stop a few times on the way over, make sure that the new dog knows that you don’t want to hurt them. I show them how to hold their hand out for the dog to sniff, and I explain that we learn a lot by looking at things, dogs don’t really see as well as we do, they learn by smellling. Then I tell the kids that Rosie and Ranger really like kids, but that dogs show excitement by jumping on each other, and I don’t want them to jump on anyone and hurt them by accident. So the kids learn to approach slowly, from the side, and hold thier hand out. That way everybody is safe and happy!

Once they’ve mastered that, I ask them to help me train my dog. That always gets a great response! I have a long lead, or sometimes we walk to the enclosed tennis courts that are close, and lots of string cheese, which is Rosie’s favorite. Like I’ve said before, you figure out what works for you and your dog, I’m here to make suggestions, no judgment! I give each of the kids some broken up cheese, and have them stand in a circle. I stand in the middle holding the lead and some cheese. Here are the rules of the game:

  1.  Oldest child calls “Rosie – Come!”
  2. When she gets there, he gives her a small piece of cheese. (Dropping it in front of her is legal – she has big teeth!)
  3. As soon as she gets her cheese, I call her “Rosie – Come!”
  4. I give her a small piece of cheese.
  5. The next oldest calls her and treats her.
  6. Repeat! until everyonehas had a turn, or 2 or 3 or until the dog seems bored.
  7. Thank the children for being such great helpers and teaching your dog to behave and to like kids!

What this does, is teach the dog that children are wonderful! They play games and have cheese! Yeah!    It also teaches the children that dogs can be friendly, but they have to be treated with nice “dog manners” and they need to be trained. 

So there you have a nice afternoon out, playing with kids and dogs. Off the couch, forgetting about your arthritis, or RA, or Lupus, or migraines, or whatever is getting you down. The kids and the dogs do most of the work, and learning. You get to enjoy the interaction. It’s all good! 

Enjoy your dogs!


5 Comments so far
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[…] I was catching up on some of the blogs I read this week, I came across this post by ‘gowalkeaze’ . I love reading about Rosie & Ranger and the progress they are […]

Pingback by Sharing training tips | The Wolf Dog Blog

Thank you for sharing! I have lots of new of new followers! I will return the favor when I write my next blog on inside games. I am seriously stealing the muffin tin game, but will give you and your husband full credit!

Comment by Connie

I know what you mean when people tend to be afraid. I think my neighbor just has a grudge against my dog and tries her best to get us kicked out of the apartment complex.

I love your way of getting the kids to participate in training! Very educational for everyone and I might just have to steal your idea. 😛 BTW, your dogs look great!

Comment by learningdog

That’s a shame when people don’t understand that dogs are what they are raised to be, not just their breed. It really is a form of prejudice. I’ve known some incredibly gentle Pit Bulls, Dobermans, and Rottweilers, as well as some very mean Golden Retrievers and Labs.

I have 3 kids that are 14, 19 & 24, they are all animal fans, so I understand child behavior around dogs. Now I’m learning more about the dogs behavior around the kids! Trying to put it all together 😉

Good luck with your neighbor!


Comment by cbyron1027

Steal away!

Comment by cbyron1027

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