My New Australian Shepherd Is Aggressive Towards Children And I Don't Know What To Do

by Kendra
(United States, IA )

My new Aussie pup Bandit is aggressive towards children and I don't know why. We recently got a new dog after our last Aussie passed away. Our last dog Josh never showed any signs of aggression the only time he ever growled was when he was near the end of his days and was having seizures. Josh was the most laid back dog I have ever met he was a gentle giant this new pup on the other hand is nothing like the last one. This pup wants to be near us all the time and acts like it's the end of the world when we leave him alone since he still is young he play nips at us which has earned me a couple of scars. I can deal with that but his worst trait which I unfortunately had to discover is his aggression towards children.

It started when we were at the dog park. A man and his young child had come in with a Cocker and Bandit instantly locked on to the child. He was creeping towards the kid and growling with his hair raised. I didn't think anything of it at the time and simply took him home. My younger sister has come over to stay with us for the week. She's about 6. She was sitting in the living room minding her own business nowhere near Bandit but he lunged at her snarling and barking. If I didn't push my sister out of the way he would have bitten her face but fortunately he only managed to grab ahold of her side.

Every time he sees my little sister he starts snarling and barking trying to get at her. We have to keep him on a leash most of the time and we have to use a muzzle.

I don't want to lose my baby boy could someone please help me?

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A Professional Dog Trainer Might Be Needed
by: Anton

Hi Kendra,

When things get this serious and a dog is getting aggressive with people, especially children, it might be advisable to consult a professional.

Bandit can be acting this way for several reasons. Aggression isn't necessarily because a dog is mean. It can be out of fear. You said that Bandit was your new pup. Perhaps he is wary of children because something happened involving a child before you got him and is now behaving aggressively toward any child because of this association.

It could be that he is being protective of you and again, for whatever reason, views these children as a threat. In this case he may not regard you as a leader that he trusts to take charge and protect him so he takes matters upon himself.

You can consult a local professional dog trainer to help you sort things out. Another option I recommend is a program I've had the chance to review that addresses issues like aggression and pack leadership (as well as many other behavior problems). It is a comprehensive training program that is available online and has been created by a professional dog trainer. You can visit his site here or you can find out more about him and his program in a post on our site here.

I actually recommend his program for everyone, not just those who are already dealing with behavior issues.

This has helped my Aussie
by: Sherry

Please do not feel alone. I also have an 18 month old Aussie who rushes children and barks excessively all the while circling them. I scares me because I feel that one of these days she will make contact. I immediately command her to come back which she does and she is put on the leash and taken away from the situation until she calms. When she calms I will bring her back with the permission of the parent and introduce her to children. I ask the child to throw the ball and she is quite happy now playing. I also give the child treats to give her when she brings the ball back. I leave her leash on and watch her to ensure she is behaving. It seems to have gotten a lot better but it has taken time.

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