We have a new dachshund, he is 3 months old. I am worried about his behaviour around my kids. If they run or walk by, he aggressively bites their ankles, pants, bathrobes and growls at them - every single time.

I have told them to stop moving and say 'stop/no' loudly. I have to physically stand next to them for him not to do it. He does not have this behaviour with my husband or me.

I need some help because my daughter, aged 6, is sometimes very scared by this aggressive behaviour. I try very hard to intervene but I can't be in the room at all times. We had friends visit yesterday and I was terrified he'd do this with their children. I've exposed this puppy to as many people/situations as possible to make sure he's socialised.

I am a new dog owner and have little experience. I don't know if this is normal. Maybe this dog would be better suited for a family without small children. And my kids don't engage in aggressive play - no tug-of war for example. Just fetch and he is still biting at their arms. He also growls at them if they are playing fetch when they try to take the ball back to throw it again.

Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you very much.

2 Answers 2


How old are the kids? The children ALL should take part in training the dog. At this age and without further knowing the dog, I would suspect it is a mix of overexcitement and trying to get the running kids under control.

So, long-term:

Have the children involved in teaching and reinforcing simple commands like "sit", "stay" and so on.

About the fetch-play: if the dog growls, the play is over! Period. You can resume after 5 minutes or so. Perhaps longer, adapt the time to something that works. The idea should be: dog brings ball back, dog lays ball down (!!!!), ball gets thrown again! You may have to invest some time into getting the dog to understand that, AND into making sure the kids understand that rule as well (Good weather, lots of fun, all of them are bound to forget! Remind them as needed!)

Hopefully, if the kids are involved in this simple training, the dog will stop the growling and nipping as well.

The kids don't run past the dog. They calmly walk past him. If he shows any sign of growling, THEY give a clear "no". Or "Blanket!" to send the dog to its spot. Choose something simple and clear!
If that is not practical due to age of the kids, or the kids fearing the dog, he will need to remain separated from the kids when you are not present. But I believe if you practice the "NO!" with them (and most dogs DO respond to that after some practice), I think even your 6-year-old daughter will be able to walk past with confidence :).

Once the kids know how to deal with the dogs aggressiveness, and the dog learns that the kids will not be intimidated, things should hopefully calm down and there will be little need for strict "NO!"s.

  • Good advice. It might also be an idea to introduce play with just one child at a time. The world is a completely overwhelming place for puppies, so it makes sense for them to get used to things incrementally. Having two excitable (or frightened) children might well be causing a little anxiety, leading to inappropriate behaviour.
    – user8045
    Nov 7, 2016 at 13:45
  • Thanks a lot for responding. Kids are 8 and 6. Right now the kids are just trying to walk in the kitchen (where the dog stays right now). From the second they come in, he grabs hold of a pants-leg and hangs on. I seriously hope this is him trying to play. But as of now. My daughter is walking on the kitchen chairs and asking me to put her in another room. :(
    – Susan
    Nov 7, 2016 at 13:58
  • Yep. We have a 9 week old Labrador who is going through the same kind of behaviour and gets into a nipping mood, even when we try and distract with a toy. I've been kneeling on the floor and pushing him away with a firm "No" and he's thankfully getting the idea now. If you think of how a mother dog will react to a naughty puppy, you're going in the right direction (short, sharp, yap). It might be an idea to contact the breeder as they may be able to give you more breed-specific advice (a good breeder should be more than happy to help customers out).
    – user8045
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:06
  • @Susan At that age and as it is "just" (needs to be stopped, but doesn't seem dangerous!) the pant-legs, my gut-feeling would really be just unruly behaviour, and no serious agression-problem :).
    – Layna
    Nov 11, 2016 at 6:34

Like the answer above me, I would like to point out that everyone needs to be involved in the dog.

The dog needs to understand that you are all his family, not just you. That way he will not feel jealous of the kids.

Maybe you should read about symptoms of the aggressive dogs here and check it out, maybe you spot or remember any additional symptoms: Is my dog aggressive?

Also, ask yourself did you provide everything that is needed for a puppy. Young dogs can feel agitated if they lack on something and even if they won't throw tantrums at you, they might do that with your kids. Read here about everything that a puppy needs: Puppy checklist

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