Some dogs can't stand children -- and who can blame them. Kids are loud, they move quickly and they take adults' attention away from dogs. That doesn't mean you should let your dog go around biting children. It does mean you're going to have to put some effort into training Fido not to indulge his aggression.
Train the kids first. If you have a dog who doesn't like children and children who insist in annoying the dog, what do you think is going to happen? Whether the kids are yours or just visiting, let them know what the rules are: no pulling, grabbing or doing anything to annoy the dog. No taunting and no screaming loudly to overexcite the dog. Doggie might get used to the kids eventually and you might be able to relax the rules, but until then, children should be on their best behavior.
Train Fido, too. He needs to learn not to get overexcited around children. Teaching him basic commands such as "sit" and "stay" goes a long way when trying to control his behavior. If he gets overexcited -- and that's when he bites or snaps -- you need to learn to manage that anxiety. Training, along with plenty of exercise, can help.
Borrow a kid as a guinea kid if you don't have one of your own. Don't worry -- you're not willingly going to let an attack take place. Older kids might do better with an anxious dog, because they do't have the hyper, hard-to-control behavior of a toddler. Keep Fido on a leash and let him get used to having the child around, doing normal things, such as watching TV, going to the kitchen for a snack or just talking to you. Once he gets comfortable with the idea of having a kid around, you can let them get closer -- but without giving up the leash. Eventually, Fido will realize kids are not so bad.
- Some dogs have an innate "chase" innate. This is common with hunting dogs, including spaniels, terriers and hounds. These dogs might never do well with small children because if the kid takes off running, he might feel the need to take off and "get him." If this is the case, simply avoid all the running and screaming around him. Put Fido in a different room if necessary when kids are around.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images