There is a neighbor boy who is 6. I have a 4 and a 2 year old. The boys mom is nice, the boy seems nice (I can tell he's a coddled only child, but whatever). He's been over to play a few times with the kids but my dog (a friendly mutt terrior mix) and a different neighbor's dogs both don't like the kid. My dog who wouldn't snap or bite my kids if they were hurting her snaps at the kid for seemingly no reason. The other dogs (a chow and a st bernard) both act like they will break through the fence and attack the kid. My kids have gone in and played with the chow and st. bernard and they've not so much as turned an eye at my kids. This boy has a German shepard dog which is a nice dog (no evidence of abuse that is to say). So I'm at a loss. My parenting instinct says something is up as 3 dogs don't like this boy for seemingly no reason. I super-supervise when the kids play but nothing seems out of ordinary. So I dunno. Do I tell the kid never come back? Do I let my kids continue to play and just keep supervising? (A side note, when I speak to this boy he listens and respects my authority)? Or should i not really give this more thought?

  • I don't know how close you are to the other boys mother, but could it be he has some mild mental disorder, epilepsy, diabetes, anything in that direction? Docs can be really sensitive to signs from those and other illnesses. His Shepherd may be used to whatever the other dogs sense, and it is not a case of "this boy is dangerous" but "There is something strange about him, I better sound an alert!"
    – Layna
    Jun 7, 2016 at 13:16
  • @Layna I've only met her the one time. I've never met or seen her boyfriend. Have no clue what type of guy he is Jun 7, 2016 at 13:19
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    The other dogs might also just not like the Shepard and smell their favourite enemy on the kid.
    – skymningen
    Jun 7, 2016 at 13:40
  • @skymningen Thank you for that bit of insight, i hadn't considered that. I've seen my dog walk over by that fence, but now that I think about it I haven't seen her go over there lately, infact she avoids that side of the street Jun 7, 2016 at 14:04
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    I think you should have a sit-down with your dog. When your dog has fully explained his reasons for acting the way he does, then you can weigh the merits of his opinion when deciding how to treat a neighbor child. You just don't really know why your dog snaps at this kid until he tells you straight up (as @skymningen stated, it just might be that the child smells like a strange dog.)
    – anongoodnurse
    Jun 7, 2016 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


No, you should not trust any dog's instinct nor should you trust any strangers on the Internet like me. You are the responsible party and you need to do your own homework.

You certainly should apply good parenting strategies: observe the kids when they are playing together, set clear rules of what's okay and what isn't, and follow through consistently when any rule violation occurs.

The dogs can be set off by anything: maybe there is a cat or other pet that the boy interacts with frequently (even if it's not his own). Maybe it's the fabric softener his mother uses, or maybe he has piece of beef jerky in his pocket.

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