My German Shepherd (9 months, female) is completely non-aggressive. I only saw her being protective once when a female homeless person yelled at my girlfriend from very close.

All nice and fine.

Except she barks (once) at children and dogs to get them to play with her. Dogs are ok with that. Children not so much. Parents even less. I always say no but the damage is done - the parents look at us as if we were a three headed monster.

Any advice?

  • Hard to teach a dog quite.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 1:15
  • 1
    Just one bark is quite good in my opinion. Dogs are dogs after all, not big plushy walking things... Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 8:18

1 Answer 1


It sounds to me like you’ve got a very normal dog! That’s a good thing!

A dog communicating to the other object, whether it be another dog, adult, child, etc.. might be occurring more if you are apprehensive about letting your dog visit the other object. It might be that your dog is restrained and wants to get the attention of the other object because your dog wants the other thing to come to it.

It actually sounds a bit better than normal that your dog doesn’t continually bark and bark and bark at the other interesting thing. Beyond some people just not having an interest in dogs, I don’t know of anyone who likes a dog that barks non-stop.

You’re in a very normal position however. It’s the right thing to do that you aren’t just letting your dog run after whatever the interesting thing is, while barking, because it’s going to scare the other dog, adult, or child and turn them off from wanting to play at first.

My advice would be that if your dog barks once or twice at the other dog, adult or child, you can verbally ease the persons mind by saying

“He/She is saying hello, and wants to play”.

You might get a better response from whoever it is on the receiving end of the situation. Most importantly, you are now giving the recipient the cue that it’s their turn to either let the playing happen, or show that they truly are not interested.

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