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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone has any advice for me. Duncan is terrified of small children, particularly toddlers. He had a bad experience at the in-laws and was chased by some children and I didn't know about it until it was too late. He has even lashed out at a small child that he thought was trapping him. He is ok if he feels that he can get away. If he sees a small child coming near him he will try to avoid them. The problem is that he is so cute and the perfect height that children want to come and see and touch him. I will avoid them but this is getting a little ridiculous. He is even a CGC and therapy dog until the chasing incident. What do I do?
 

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This could take some time. Why not give him a break from being a therapy dog until you try this:

Bring a non-threatening child (someone small but not too young) over to spend some real quality time with him every day for a few weeks. Let them stroke him, feed him treats, play with with him inside and outside and form a real camaraderie with him. It will take some time for him to warm up, probably. Then vary the child. Bring another child, etc. Pretty soon (it may take weeks) he will get over his"bad" incident and he will make the connection with the fun and the "good kids". Think about some bad experiences you have had, and how long it took you to get over them.

Sounds like he is a very good boy and can get over this with your help, but it will take time. And be very careful about who is around him when you aren't present. Kind of like if you have a toddler. Which most bassets are, if you think about it. :)
 

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Elmer-n-Button's desensitization idea is on the money. However, desensitization should be approached in teeny, tiny baby steps. Duncan will need to be become comfortable with toddlers at a distance, and then that distance can be slowly decreased, as he tolerates it. If he becomes comfortable with a toddler somewhat nearby, then the toddler should not initially approach Duncan; Duncan should be allowed to make the first approach. This may be a challenge, as toddlers can't be reasoned with and don't take instruction reliably... :unsure: You might consider enlisting the assistance of an experienced trainer or behaviorist.

Desensitizing Dogs to Other Dogs--although other dogs aren't the problem, the general approach would be similar.

Desensitization and Counter Conditioning
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was thinking about taking him to sit outside a playground and let him watch them from a distance. It's weird because the lady that lives behind us does daycare so often there are little kids outside so I assumed he would be fine, he was used to seeing them.
 

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It's too bad that happened. We had something similar happen with our dachshund Minna:

When we got her at age 3 (she's 6 now) she was terrified of all people and dogs. After a year she had made alot of progress.Then a family with a 5 year old came to visit us. Minna seemed scared, so we put her in her crate, which is her 'safe place', with the idea that she could watch from her crate until she felt comfortable enough to come out. I was running in and out of the room serving food, and on one of my trips happened to glance towards the crate: there was the little boy kicking the crate with the mother standing there, letting him do it! Minna was a trembling wreck.

While she has a lot of confidence with people in general now, she hasn't made much progress with small children since that incident, which happened about 2 years ago.

Good luck with Duncan, and I really would be interested in an update on how he's progressing -
 
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