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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I'm just discouraged I guess. My s-i-l brought her four kids over last night, ages 15, 12, 10, and 4 years. Maizie has been laid back and relaxed a lot more with just me and my DH. No kids in the house regularly. Well, it is like an electric current of energy goes through Maizie around the kids. Usually we have kept her crated and taken turns taking her out for walks and exercise when they visit, but last night I thought she was ready to come out and would settle after a few minutes. Noooooooooo... she would settle just enough to do a few tricks, then would be right back to racing around, jumping up at people, tail wagging wildly all the way. We worked with the kids, getting the older ones to put treats on Maizie's nose so she could flip them into her mouth. That worked for the moment, but then she was off again. So we put up sections of fence to gait off part of the living room area for the kids to play. Maizie went nuts and when she finally sailed over the arm of the couch to get at the 4 year old, and I sailed over the couch to catch her, we had to crate her again. Only to listen to her groaning and yipping and complaining the rest of the evening.

For reasons I won't go into, it would be really good if Maizie could learn to settle down around these kids, and others.

So I was reading all over the forum last night and I came up with these things:
1 - Safety is the top priority. No if, ands, or buts.
2 - Maybe use a leash to keep her under control at all times.
3 - maybe pen her in to keep her contained in something bigger than her crate.
4 - keep teaching the kids to stay back and ask for a sit - and get it - before approaching her. A sit that lasts more than her butt bouncing off the floor!
5 - Maybe take her out to places where kids are more. We do make almost daily efforts to socialize her, but maybe not doing enough. I've hesitated to take her to places where there are too many people at once and lets face it, even one new person is a cause for her to act like she is electrified!!! Tail wagging all the way, of course.

So, for a little while I was thinking... we can do this, we can get through it. Then I happened to read posts by people who have kids in the house 24/7 and it sounds like maybe this won't get better until Maizie gets older (she's 8 1/2 months now).

Sorry so long but my main questions are:
Anyone have any other ideas to get her to calm around kids/new people?

And can someone please reassure me that one of these days she will calm down?

What is this electricity that seems to zap from kids to Maizie ????

Thanks in advance.
Jill
 

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Despite her size, an 8 month old GR is still a puppy/juvenile and still has a lot of energy to burn. She will calm down eventually, but there are a few things you can do to help the situation...

-Obedience class. This is great exposure to other dogs and strangers and help her learn manners.
-Frequent visits to public places. Another good socialization trip.
-A long walk before the kids come to visit. Use up as much of that energy before the kids arrive (calm kids would help as well).

I don't think restraints and crates are a good solution. They just hold her back, they don't teach her anything... IMO
 

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i know with my baby girl (now 5) who is a wild woman, i would take her out before my grandson would come, and tire her out so much that she could barely wag her tail when he would enter the door. that seemed to work until she got older and now i don't have to tire her out, she's become a couch, bed potato.
beth, moose and angel
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Jill she sounds like an exuberant young Golden...yes she can learn settle down around kids.

Personally I would add to your list teaching her some impulse control....
long down stays...
crate games...nice DVD to own...
increasing her recall reliability...
leash work -- teaching her where heel position is....
 
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I'm thinking that more exposure would help? And definitely the long walks before the kids come. We have a 2 year old, 6 and 8 year old with our 11 month old golden retriever. He is amazing around kids. What gets him ramped are GROWNUPS coming over, believe it or not! Funny - I think alot of it has to do with what they're exposed to on a REGULAR basis. How often are the kids around? Maybe getting them over at least once a week would help desensitize your pup to all the energy? But just some good old growing up will help, too. Your pup is still exactly that - a pup!
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Pups and kids feed off of each others energies. Excitement breeds excitement. Could she play with kids more often so she doesn't see them as soooo exciting?
 
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Kristy
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Do you have regular puppy playdates for her? If you could try to schedule them the day before and day of a visit, it might help take just a bit of the edge off, set the stage for success with the suggestions from previous posters. I know in my own house, a brisk hour long 3 - 4 mile walk with hills wears me out and just seems to get my puppy warmed up. The gold standard for me is a puppy playdate with a neighbors young dog. If you don't have a friend for this, start networking, asking around at your obedience class, friends and neighbors. It is a huge help for me. Good luck with your sweetie, it sounds like her zest for life will hang on for a few years. :)
 

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Sounds like Excessive Greeting Syndrome to me. :D And at 8 months, the 'off' switch isn't connected yet.

More exposure to children (willing volunteers only) is the answer. I agree that restricting her doesn't teach anything.

Children have naturally higher pitched voices and that tends to excite the pup even more, especially if she's running around and they are squealing or screaming. THAT's a recipe for chaos.

Try to have the kids over 1 or 2 at a time so you can keep the situation under control...the leash is a good idea.

But for the most part, she'll out grow the worst of it. Goldens just love kids so she will always be more excited around them but eventually she'll quit bouncing off the walls!
 

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I too think you are doing the right things. Increase the time with those particular kids and you will see the excitement taper off. With our pup, he has really calmed with our own kids, but still gets really excited with ANY new kids. He loves kids, like all goldens.

Nolefan's suggestion of puppy playdates is a good one - this is something we started doing and I really think it has helped tame Zeke's excitedness. No matter how much exercise he gets, he still needs to play with other dogs at least a couple times a week, or he starts getting ants in his pants ;)

And like the PP's have said, I'd avoid the confinement. The more exposure and time she has with the kids, the better.

With my kids we have a pretty strict rule about running, screaming, squealing.... none of that is allowed w/ the dog.

Zeke has learned to "catch" and this is an activity the kids love. He sits away from them and they toss treats to him. He catches the treats and the kids giggle. I think it helps get his mind off the excitement. Just a thought :)

Edit: also I just thought of another activity the kids started doing - tug of war. Even my 3 year old plays this with him. Everyone loves it! Zeke is really good about not pulling too hard with them, and he will stop at any time I tell him, so we don't get overexcited. It really tires the pup out!
 

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Nancy
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Even at almost 3 y.o. Hank gets wound-up when people visit. Depending on the visitors (the elderly or young kids) he stays in his room (it's right off our kitchen so he can see everything going on) until things calm down. Our granddaughter lives here so he's used to kids but you get a house full and it's nuts! Also, the elderly can't handle a large dog wanting to kiss them or be a lap dog.
 

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I once had a trainer tell me that in children under the age of twelve, a dog cannot read their body language, so it is very hard for a dog to respond to their commands, etc. They also look at them as other puppies.
 

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In part, it will come with maturity, but in the meantime, try to get her more exposure to kids. Perhaps 'hang out' outside of school grounds or playgrounds, staying far enough away that she can remain calm, reward her being good, and slowly decrease the distance between her and the children as long as she stays calm. If she gets wound up, you have moved too close too quickly and need to back up a bit to where you had success previously. Over time she will learn to stay calm when she sees kids, and then you can work on polite greetings and behavior around children. It is about 'self control' and it is a tough tough thing for a pup - be patient!
 

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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the ideas and encouragement! I'm going to use a lot of the ideas. It's such a relief to have this forum to turn to when I'm at the end of my rope!! Lol! Thanks for every one of you that chimes in with help.

I've got some kids willing to help me. Puppy play dates happen already, but I can make them more frequent. Lots of exercise is a great cure for too much energy but I sometimes forget how great it is. Yesterday was rainy and very cool here, so we hadn't got out enough before the kids came. We have a couple neighborhood spots that would be good for exposure to kids and already have been taking Maizie to "people watch" from the car many evenings this spring. We can take it up a notch, but back off with distance if she looses her calm, etc.

I've regained some of my optimism. Thanks!!
Jill
 
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