How do I stop my dog (3 year old) from barking and running at my nine year old daughter when she comes down the stairs or gets up from the couch, talks or if I talk to her? The bark sounds mean but the dog has never bitten her, but I don't want it to turn into that.

This has started over past couple months. She has always barked at people coming into the room from time to time, but now it's always. She's always been a very nervous dog.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • I don't know the situation, but I've known a few families whose dogs get aggressive when they start feeling intimidated or neglected by someone in the house (not necessarily the one the aggression is directed towards). So a small suggestion is to make sure the dog is getting plenty of love, exercise, etc. Maybe have your daughter spend extra time sitting with the dog, feeding treats, petting and snuggling until the dog feels more comfortable around her.
    – Gwendolyn
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


This is a difficult situation and I cannot offer you an answer that's guaranteed to work. It's best to contact a professional dog trainer and ask for their help. By that I don't mean a puppy class, but someone who analyzes your dog's behavior at home and then tells you what to do.

To give you a starting point, I want to refer you to some answers to different question that might help you. Maybe one of them works for you. But again, without analyzing the cause of this behavior it's impossible to tell what will actually work.

  • Train your dog to not be agressive. It's simple in theory, but might be harder than it sounds. Basically you start really small, just walk with your dog to your daughter, who calmly sits on a chair. If she doesn't bark, you give her a treat. Over several days, you make the training harder. Now your daughter should stand up, walk slowly, then walk faster, then talk to you. Every time your dog doesn't bark, she gets a treat. Be aware that this cannot be accomplished in a day or two, but probably takes weeks. Read more about this approach in this answer.
  • Get a crate for your dog. This is her safe haven where she can go if she feels intimidated or stressed. Have a look at this answer for more details. You need to get her used to the crate and train her to go in on command. Then you send her into the crate whenever she misbehaves or when you have guests in the house. The crate should be in a calm place where the dog can relax, but is not isolated from the family.
  • Be a leader and tell your dog not to bark at your daughter. From your question I have no way to know if you have rules the dog must follow or if she's always allowed to do what she wants. If it's the latter, she might feel that you are not the leader of the family and she must fulfill this role. This is extremely stressful, especially for nervous dogs, so they often bark whenever anyone moves. Read more about the problem and how to be a leader in this answer.

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