Why Do Dogs Lunge At Kids

Why Do Dogs Lunge At Kids
Why Do Dogs Lunge At Kids

Aggressive behavior is not inherent to any particular breed, and any dog, regardless of breed, has the potential to become aggressive if not properly trained, socialized, and managed.

It’s important to remember that every dog is an individual, and their behavior is influenced by a range of factors, including their genetics, temperament, and past experiences. Furthermore, aggressive behavior towards children is always unacceptable and requires prompt intervention.

Rather than focusing on specific breeds, it’s important for dog owners and parents to educate themselves on responsible dog ownership, including proper training, socialization, and supervision around children. This will help to prevent aggressive behavior and promote safe and happy interactions between dogs and children.

Today I will try to break down the reasons of why I think dogs lunge at kids.

Reasons Why Dogs Lunge At Kids

Below I’m going to cover the top reasons of why dogs lunge at kids. Note that most of them are very dependent on the dog and not the breed itself. There’s a lot of factors that go into this so I’m only talking here out of personal experience owning a bunch of dogs and talking with other dog owners in my community.


Afraid Dog
Afraid Dog

Dogs can become scared of children if they haven’t been exposed to them before or have had a negative experience. For example, if a child pulls a dog’s tail or ear, the dog may become fearful and try to defend itself. Breeds that are more prone to fear aggression include Chihuahuas and Dachshunds.


Protective Dog
Protective Dog

Dogs may become protective of their owners or their territory and view children as a threat. Particularly for breeds that are known for their protective nature, such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers.


Playful Dog
Playful Dog

Dogs can become overexcited when playing and may accidentally nip at a child. The ones more playful and prone to this behavior include Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.

Prey Drive

Some dogs have a strong instinct to chase and hunt small animals, which can include children running and playing. The high prey drive include Greyhounds and Jack Russell Terriers.

Lack of Socialization

Dogs that haven’t been socialized properly may not know how to interact with children and may react inappropriately. There are more independent and not as social, such as Basenjis and Afghan Hounds.

Pain or Illness

Dogs that are in pain or are feeling unwell may lash out at anyone who comes near them, including children. In this case pretty much every dog breed I know could be falling for it since illness hits every dog.


Dogs can become territorial over their food or toys, and may see children as a threat if they approach. Some breeds that are known for being possessive, such as Bull Terriers and Shar Peis.


Guard Dog
Guard Dog

Dogs that have a strong sense of dominance may see children as subordinate and try to assert their dominance. In this case the dominant personality breeds, such as Akitas and Doberman Pinschers.

Previous Trauma

Dogs that have been abused or mistreated in the past may be more likely to lash out at children. Again this can apply on any dog breed depending on what history it has.

Lack of Training

Dogs that haven’t been trained properly may not know how to behave around children and may react inappropriately.

It’s important to note that not all dogs of a certain breed will exhibit these behaviors, and any dog can become aggressive if it’s not treated properly. Many of these behaviors can be prevented or corrected through proper training and socialization.

Things To Do To Prevent Dogs From Lunging At Kids

If your dog is lunging at kids, it’s important to take action to prevent any potential harm. Here are some things you can do to help stop your dog from lunging at kids:

Identify the cause

Understanding why your dog is lunging at kids is important for developing a solution. If your dog is fearful or anxious around kids, you may need to work on socialization and exposure to help them become more comfortable. If your dog is possessive of toys or food, you may need to work on training them to share and be less possessive.

Work on obedience training

Dog Train
Dog Train

Teaching your dog basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” can help you manage their behavior around kids. Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise to reinforce good behavior.

Use a leash and muzzle

If your dog is prone to lunging at kids, use a leash and muzzle to prevent any potential harm. This can help you control your dog’s movements and prevent them from harming anyone.

Manage your dog’s environment

If your dog is prone to lunging at kids, avoid situations where they may come into contact with kids. This may mean keeping your dog in a separate room when kids are over or keeping them on a leash when out in public.

Seek professional help

If your dog’s lunging behavior is persistent or you’re unsure how to manage it, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can help you identify the cause of the behavior and develop a training plan to address it.

Practice desensitization and counter-conditioning

Desensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to the trigger (in this case, kids) in a controlled environment. Counter-conditioning involves changing your dog’s emotional response to the trigger. For example, if your dog is fearful of kids, you can pair the presence of kids with something positive, like treats or playtime.

Teach your dog a “place” command

Teaching your dog to go to a designated spot or “place” can help them feel more secure and less likely to lunge at kids. Use positive reinforcement techniques to teach your dog to go to their place and stay there until released.

Supervise interactions with kids

Never leave your dog and kids unsupervised, even if you trust your dog. Always be present to monitor interactions and intervene if necessary.

Be consistent with training

Consistency is key when it comes to training your dog. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page and using the same commands and techniques.

Avoid punishment-based training

Punish Dog
Punish Dog

Punishing your dog for lunging at kids can actually make the behavior worse. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement techniques to encourage good behavior.

Remember that lunging behavior towards kids is always unacceptable and requires prompt intervention. By taking the appropriate steps, you can help prevent any potential harm and promote safe and happy interactions between your dog and kids.


Hopefully we covered the basics and gave you an idea of why your dog may be lunging in your kids. In my personal experience having owned a lot of dogs in the past it’s just a matter of being patient and following a steady routine with them and they will eventually settle in. Best of luck and remember to be armed with patience dogs take time to adopt and break habits like lunging into kids.



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