Fear of Children


Photo by Mandi Pratt | www.greyboypetprints.com

It is very normal for dogs to be scared of children or one particular child, especially if they have not been raised with children or have been teased by them in the past. Even one experience can create an aversion or fear that is hard to erase and this causes all kinds of issues, especially when the dog lives in the same home as the child. It is also the reason why so many children are bitten by dogs. Children have less impulse control and tend to run around more, speaking in high pitched voices, which can be overwhelming.

If you have a dog that is scared of your child or other children that visit your home you must take the situation seriously and instead of punishing your dog for showing negative behavior, find ways to make him more confident around the source of his fear. Be very careful when training your dog with children.
How to Help Your Dog Be Less Fearful of Children

  • If your dog is scared of other children visiting your home, there is one simple solution: management. Find a safe zone that your dog can go to where children are not allowed. This might be in a room behind a baby gate or closed door. Be aware of where the visiting children are and never trust that they might not open the door or try and touch the dog over the gate. Always be there to supervise.
  • If your dog is scared of kids outside the home keep him away from playgrounds or parks where children play. No dog should be running around off leash in or near a playground.
  • Start having calm kids walk past at a safe distance and throw your dog’s favorite treats to her. The dog must always be leashed and a good distance away but if she sees that good things come to her any time a child walks past she might begin to look forward to the presence of children.
  • Never have kids try to greet your dog or come into her space. Teach any kids that will be visiting your household to pay no attention to your fearful dog. This will take pressure off and give her the space she needs.
  • Teach kids to be calm around your dog.
  • Never put a child in harm’s way in order to ‘train’ your dog. All techniques should be performed slowly with emphasis on safety.
  • Teach your children and visiting friends to be K-9 Safe and Smart. This will empower them with knowledge and understanding that will keep them safe.
  • Always supervise babies and young children around a dog and never leave them alone together, even for a moment.


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3 thoughts on “Fear of Children

  1. Imogen Steele

    Interesting read. When I was pregnant with my first child, Sara I used a book called Tell Your Dog You're Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. It was really helpful and came with a baby sounds and toy noises. Max (my fur child!) took some time to get used to the sounds but the book helped on how to do it. It gave me advice on what changes will occur and how to prepare my Max for them. It also talked about the causes for aggression and why it might occur and how to avoid it. It is written by a vet behaviorist too so it cover health issues as well - I got it from http://www.babyandpet.com.au or Amazon too i guess - mayb that will help someone else!

  2. lisa Richard

    my dog loved kids when he was a puppy. Its when he got older my neighbor kids would tease him him as we walked by, (he was on leash) , they would tease him so bad that now its in his mind kids are bad. I have held him on a leash in the house n my granddaughter was 10 at the time I would have her do every thing kids are suppose to do. , run jump around laugh scream . and, reassure my dog its ok pet him n let him watch , he was fine n all good he just layed down, however the moment she started to aproch him slowly with her hand out he freaked out, he didn't bite or bark he tried to lung at her, don't know if its he wanted to play or what, but he had his muzzle on just in case.. my granddaughter was very calm, it just made my dog very nervous. The kids out side that ride bikes n scooters he barks at all the time cause that's what our neighbors did would ride past him tease him throw rocks, si n his mind he thinks when he see,s them ride by that's gonna happen so he lunges n barks, One day a kid we know with his friend road by n my dog broke his chain the kid was smart got off his bike n put it between him n dog, all my dog did was bark, didn't go after him or try to bite just barked at the bike.. the kid talked very calm didn't scream, I got my dog petted him talked to my dog told him he was ok .. put him inside kid road off... we have another neighbor boys that moved in 5 n 9, I put my dog on his run I stand there with boys n make them ride past him calling his name n talking to him, my dog watches, not barking laying down watching kids play , run, yell, ride past him , I pet him n try to reassure him he is ok, im ok.. my dog see,s my other dog loose running around with kids playing, but still, he has nothing to do with them still... I paid for training classes n that was a bust waste of money, the trainer told me he was a bad dog n will never be good n I shouldn't have him... So,, my poor dog cant ever go out n play without his muzzle or be around any kids.... adults he barks at intill I say its ok n they come n my house he smells them n lays down or go gets his ball n every one plays he is fine. So, I am haven a new born grand baby come home to stay for 6 weeks till my daughter heals, I am smart n responsible he will be chained up, kenneled, n muzzled at all times, but really what can I do to show him its ok n kids are fun n don't want to hurt him??? should I get a shock collar n when he lunges shock him??? he is a good boy he is just so big n kids are small, I,m sure he just wants to play , but knocks them down.. he is 3 now n never bitten any one.. he was my service dog when he was younger but, now cant be... I muzzle him n take him out late at night to Walmart n walk around so he see,s people... trying to get him use to them again, however I just don't chance it with him muzzle or not cause people are ass holes n like to just say things. So please if any suggestions can u please share, or advice , thank u..

  3. A Better Dog

    I think most people have heard that the majority of dog bite victims are children, but ongoing studies and research have provided some really sobering data. For example:

    ~ The majority of dog bite victims KNOW the dog that bit them (be that the family's own dog, or the dog of a friend, neighbor, relative, etc.).

    ~ As published in the Animals and Society Institute policy paper entitled "Dog Bites: Problems and Solutions (Revised 2014)": 67% of injurious dog bites to children have been shown to be preventable by changing the child's or the caregiver's behaviour in interacting with the dog.

    ~ One study about dog bites to children found that there was no adult present in 69% of the cases studied.

    ~ A study in 2008 published in Journal of the American Veterinary Association (2008) found that parents generally lacked knowledge of factors that were likely to increase the risk of dog bites to children, even when they were supervising child/dog interactions.

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