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Dear GT, I need advice

This is a question for those accustomed to dealing with kids and animals. (Emmer? You care for kids on the spectrum... maybe you could weigh in?)

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the younger kids and I are going to be moving in with a friend of mine and her 2 kids. All is well, everyone’s on board, looks like it will be as easy as this sort of thing can be... but there’s a new wrinkle. It turns out that my 13 year old is afraid of my friend’s dog. This was news to everyone, including him!

My kids are all “animal people”. We’ve always had pets and an assortment of strays and rescues, wild and domestic. They don’t have a lot of experience with large dogs, though, and my friend’s dog is a very sweet, very playful, very enthusiastic 8 month old Newfoundland/Poodle/Golden Retriever mix. She is still in that puppy stage where she likes to jump and bark and nip to get you to play with her. This freaks my son out and he runs away from her. Which, naturally, makes her chase after him. Having 80-odd pounds of dog chasing him sends him into a panic.


(Photo from Google Images search to show breed and approximate size of the dog in question.)

He’s ok with her if she’s on the leash or on the other side of the gate. He’ll pet her or give her a treat, and he’s fine with it. I’ve even seen him play tug of war with her. If she’s off the leash, though... We’ve tried to get him to at least stand still and call for someone to pull her away, but he can’t seem to help running away.

I love animals, but I have very little experience with large dogs and/or puppies myself. The dog we had years ago was older and much calmer. I don’t know how to help him get used to her. We’re going to be living there in about 8 weeks, so... Help!


(My friend has been doing training classes with the pooch, but she’s kind of a stinker and doesn’t like to listen yet. The only thing I can think of is maybe another round of training and have my son go with and work with her?)

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