My Dog Barks At Children?! 2 Causes And 4 Solutions Explained

When you go for a walk, your dog is calm, on the train he sits quietly and well-behaved next to you, and you’ve never had a problem with your dog. And suddenly it happens: Your dog barks at children.

Not a good sign and unfortunately also really dangerous in an emergency. To prevent bites, fights, or worse, you must train your dog to stop barking at children.

Here’s why your dog barks at children and how to stop it.

In a nutshell: Dog barks at child – what should I do?

Broadly speaking, your dog has two different reasons that could lead to this behavior.

The first option requires work with the child and the dog: the child presses, frightens or injures the dog. In this case you have to explain to the child how to deal with the dog.

The second option lies in the dog’s nature: he discovers a weaker member of the pack from his point of view. Your dog is trying to train your offspring. You should dissuade him from this by making the hierarchy clear to him and giving him other tasks.

The dog growls at children – that’s the reason

Children and dogs can become an absolute dream team. Some dogs even accompany “their” human offspring into adulthood and literally become their human’s best friend.

However, when dogs growl and bark at children, this beautiful idea is quickly destroyed. In this case, you will have no choice but to realign child and dog with each other.

Your dog’s barking is a clear indication that something is wrong. Your dog often wants to convey to the child: “Not like that! I’m older, taller and stronger – you rank below me!”

Gain experience

Most children love dogs and naturally want to discover, touch and love them. That’s okay and beneficial so far, but it depends on how a child explores a dog.

Pulling the dog’s ears, pricking the dog with its fingers or eyeballing it… a child doesn’t exactly explore its surroundings in a considerate manner. Hard as it may be for some people to see this truth:

Maybe the child is the cause, not the dog.

Clarify ranking

Dogs are pack animals and live in a hierarchy every day. In the best-case scenario, you’re the boss and your dog thinks that’s great. Of course, the dog also wants to defend its place when a child comes into life.

It becomes particularly difficult if your dog is naturally dominant or even more dominant than you! In this situation you have to act quickly and consistently: fight back (non-violently!) your position in the pack.

Your dog needs to learn that children are not puppies and should not be raised by them. It can be helpful if you consult a dog trainer in this case.


Some dogs just can’t handle the chaos and stress that kids bring. If your dog shows clear signs of being overwhelmed, you should explain to the child how to behave calmly with a dog.

Play with me!

Dogs bark at each other while playing and challenge each other. Therefore, there is a high probability that your dog only wants to play with the child and expresses this need by barking and growling.

If you have the same problem with barking, you should read our article “My Dog Barks at Me”. There you will find useful tips that can also be implemented with a child.

You can do that

Do not worry. If the barking and growling has not been a frequent occurrence and you have a good relationship with your dog, you will quickly get the problem under control.


If there have been attacks or very aggressive behavior towards (small) children in the past, please do not attempt this yourself! No matter how small or big your dog is, it is and will always be an animal that would be capable of inflicting serious to life-threatening injuries on a child.

In these cases, please seek professional help immediately and avoid any dangerous situations until then!

Explain to the child

Explore your dog together. Explain to the child that your dog can also feel pain and demonstrate how to properly handle an animal.

For example, show the child that your dog cuddles very lovingly if you don’t hurt him. Children are extremely understanding and want to do these things right.

Don’t scold

If things get rough: let your dog make his point of view clear and separate child and dog. Then you can explain to the child again what happened and your dog can collect himself.

Explain the hierarchy to your dog

Put the child above the dog in the hierarchy. This works well, for example letting the child on the sofa but not your dog. Feeding is also extremely effective:

eat together Once you’re done, the child can feed the dog. This is how your dog learns: “The two eat first, they are on top. I get something afterwards too.”

If this exercise doesn’t work, you or the child should only hand-feed the dog for a few days. This gesture makes the hierarchy even clearer.

Occupational therapy

Give your dog something else to do. Instead of raising the offspring, he might like a toy. A play date with another dog will also distract your dog and keep it busy.


Sometimes a dog is just stressed. Try to distract him with exercise and play first, if that doesn’t help, leave your dog alone. Dogs need periods of rest that are spread out throughout the day.

Practice at home, practice outside

If your dog barks at children outdoors, you should work on the problem with him at home or in a quiet place. It is important that you do not get nervous if you meet children outside.

You will also find an article on the subject of “dog barking out of insecurity”. There you will find tips and advice if your dog barks at other dogs or walkers outdoors.

To keep your dog from barking at children outdoors in the long term, you will need to practice with a child you know. Then apply the advice from the paragraphs above.

Conclusion – When the dog barks at a child

Actually, your dog is just trying to help and the child just wants to discover the world. As long as dangerous situations don’t occur, helping both parts understand each other better will do wonders.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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