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Puppy barking at kids

444 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  bowacato
Hi everyone! I'm new to this post and a new dog owner, I've had family dogs but this is mine and my gifriends first dog. He is a border collie x golden retriever. He's very intelligent and doesn't even act like a puppy much anymore but he's only 9 months. We take him to the dog park once a day and recently he's been barking at smaller children. He's never done this before so I'm open to all input! Thanks
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Small kids are very interesting to a lot of dogs - they look and move differently than adults, and often move about at higher speeds. Border collies in particular are highly motion-sensitive, so it's not surprising your dog's taken notice of them! That and pups can go through developmental stages where certain things are more fascinating or scary for a little while. I'd start by asking him to refocus on you the moment he spots kids, and reward with an awesome treat (a high-value food treat or a game with a favorite toy, depending on what he likes). If he's too fixated on the kids to get his attention, take a step back and teach him a really solid "watch" or "focus" cue at home, making sure he's well rewarded for turning towards you.

Your goal is to teach him that it's more rewarding and interesting to pay attention to you, and that children aren't all that interesting, after all.

EDIT: also wanted to add that if you can't get him to focus on you with children around, don't keep trying. You don't want him to practice getting overstimulated and amped up, because that usually leads to it happening faster next time. Either increase the distance between him and the child, or leave the area completely and try again when you've got a bit better control of the situation.
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My Millie has a similar tendency, she barks at random people, but I know she's not an aggressive dog. I'm not sure if she's unsure and making herself appear bolder than she actually is or what the reason is.

I try to stop her with No and sometimes it works and she comes back to me. Sometimes if she's barking at people while standing next to me, I'll hold her muzzle shut and say quietly. And finally, if I'm too far away and she's gone up to someone barking I'll just call her back to me.

I need to think of an explanation to give people when she's barking as sometimes they seem worried that she's a possibly dangerous dog
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