zues is testing his limits....
at the park
Recently i wrote you about Zues scaring my daughters friend when she walked thru the house without the lights on at night. Well now I am having problems with him bullying her everytime she comes over to play with my daughter. He does things like back her into the corner, has unbroken stare at her when she is around. Tonight we were all out in the yard having a bonfire and this little girl who up until yesterday was sooo scared of Zues went running through the yard. Zues ran after her as he always does when kids are playing in the yard. But he nipped at her.
I don't think that he was intending to hurt her. A lot of times he will play nip at my daughter as if to say play with me. I am concerned because this is my daughter best friend and is over a lot. I do not want to have to put him outside everytime she is here. I know she is very scared of Zues and I also know he feels that.. And I know him, he is doing these things because he feels it. So my question for you is what can I do to help this situation?
Most of the time I call him to me and make him sit beside me and stay. I worked some with her and zues having her use basic obedience commands then treating him. Trying to build some sort of trust between them. I can't make her be less afraid of him, but is there anyway to help Zues to know that she is ok.
One more thing.... This little girl screams a lot when they play. I have tried to get her to stop but it's not working too well. How can I get him to be less sensitive to the screaming??? If that's even possible..
Thanks again for this wonderful site..
It seems as though the relationship between these two is a bit fraught, and it's definitely something you need to deal with quickly and effectively. Rottweilers rarely get second chances and if Zues does bite her he will be in a lot of trouble - and rightly so.
It's not okay for him to chase, growl at, or intimidate anyone, adult or child, and you're most likely correct in thinking that he's well aware of how afraid of him she is and that is stoking the fire so to speak. Dogs sense fear and anxiety, and it makes them anxious in return, that causes them to play up, as you are seeing.
Rotties have a strong prey drive and anything small and fast-moving, especially if it has a high-pitched voice, is going to trigger a desire to chase. Once the prey drive kicks in it's an instinctive behavior and when instinct takes over he will likely forget his training and it's not inconceivable that he could bite her or knock her down in that state. That doesn't make him a bad or vicious dog at all, most dogs will act the same way. But a Border Collie biting your heels, or a JRT jumping and pulling at your clothes is different to a Rottie nipping and jumping!
It's vital that you make sure this little girl doesn't run or scream when she's playing at your house and Zues is around. That's going to be a big 'trigger' and she needs to respect the house rules for both of their sakes. I'd recommend continuing to try to work with her and Zues in terms of building a relationship between them as this will help given time.
You are going to need to be very firm with Zues and make him understand in no uncertain terms that he is absolutely NOT allowed to chase her, nip her, or bully her in any way. Correct him very firmly whenever you see a hint of this, and if necessary crate him or separate him from the kids at play. This is going to be a pain for all of you, but it's a much less painful scenario than having someone get hurt and all of you paying the price for it.
I'd also suggest calling around some of the local dog obedience schools in your area and seeing if you can find a qualified dog trainer who could meet Zues and help you to work with him to overcome this type of issue. Regular training and more socialization will help. It's all a matter of time and patience and continual reinforcement of good behavior and correction of the bad.
While he is learning all of this you will definitely need to be very proactive in protecting this girl though, and don't try to rush them into interacting or being 'friends' it will take time and consistency. As Zues has such a good temperament I think you will be able to get through this difficulty, but getting some 'hands on' help from a trainer is highly recommended :)
Hope this helps some. Best of luck.
PS. I love Zues' expression in this photo, he's such a handsome boy and looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth lol