Are dogs attracted to children?

I’ve noticed a lot of dogs (my friends and neighbors) seem to be drawn to kids, especially kids at play. They go to the window, wag their tails a lot, whine, seem to want to go out to meet them. At the same time they tend to be more cautious of adults, only greeting them friendly when they are familar or after being introduced/let in by somebody familar. What the dilly?

I expect they see that the kids are playing, and want to play too. Our dog gets excited when we act childish (for the purpose of entertaining the dog)

yeah especially pitbulls

Also, adults rarely chase each other around and laugh and giggle. Ever see a dog at a soccer game? No…they’d steal the ball and pop it like my dog does. Dogs also have to obey adults.

My SWAG would be that domesticated dogs are emotionally and intellectually children, so they would feel more at home with children’s attitude. Kids, especially younger ones, have their priorities straight - feed me, entertain me, let me do what I want, take care of me.

I noticed that the workers at the pound where I adopted my dog called the new owners “Mommy” or “Daddy,” and since we feed, clean up after, and take care of them, they are like children. Except they won’t want to borrow the car or go to a $150K college, or tell us to go to hell if we ask them to do something. My dog is neater than my daughter, and while he doesn’t really hold up his end of the conversation that well, he certainly does listen to me far more than my genetic offspring.

Animal Planet had a great show about ‘playing’, and the correlations between the various postures/sounds that various animals and humans exhibit when playing. Basically, playing is just about the greatest reward you can give a dog, and if they see someone having fun, well, they want in on that.

As for the Pit Bull, pool, that is all about the lack of socialization and training that certain owners give their dogs. If a dog doesn’t know, from a early age, what behaviors constitute play/proper behavior, then instinct takes over. They see something running, they chase. Something invades ‘their’ territory, they attack. Note that these attacks take place among Hood Rats, White Trash, etc. Not the sort of people that take the time to properly socialize and train their dogs.

(Large dogs; When a chihuahua acts all mean, it’s funny. When a Mastiff does the same, people get hurt.)

Our family has had Rottweilers since I can remember, and nary a attack. Of course, we don’t just chain 'em to a tree and feed them every week or two, nor do we ‘fight’ them.

Having owned many dogs, I’d say they definitely love children. And to make sure they get used to kids I walk dogs around the neighborhood and allow kids to play with them. Needless to say, both the dog and the kids love this.

Sometimes though, what might be considered canine “play” behavior can be seriously misinterpreted by humans.

Grown ups are big, and seen by dogs as a possible threat.

children are little, and less dangerous.

As a counterpoint let me offer this. My ex raised poodles (as a breeder and handler of show dogs).

While they were accustommed to grown-ups, they absolutely freaked out when my college roommate brought his kids by.

I think they were used to big people and little people freaked them out. Barking and snarling, they hid behind our legs.

Before it was socially unacceptable to let your dog run loose all over town, back in the 50’s, the school yard attracted lots of dogs every day. This resulted in lots of dog fights as well which provided much entertainment for the pupils during recess and lunch. Children were never attacked to the best of my memory.

Dogs would whine and try to join us adults, too, if we played as much as children. Especially if we played with dogs.

A friend of mine from long ago had a dog that loved to fetch tennis balls. Whenever a child came to the house, the dog would immediately get a tennis ball, and drop it at the feet of the child. Sooner of later, the child would throw, or at least drop the ball. The game was on!

Kids play the game longer than adults do.


While the whole “play” thing is a major component of the equation, another is the fact that dogs are a pack animal and tend towards a hierarchy.

Increased size (adults) are more likely viewed as dominant.

Also, among the breeds which instictively do herding behavior, a group of children at play can be compared to a herd of sheep. Many times bites directed at ankles occur due to herding behavior (dogs nip at sheep hocks to move them more efficiently).

Plus, they smell delicious!


Like what ** Ricos** was saying, my dog is the opposite, he gets very hyper, playful and comfortable around adults because he has grown up around big ppl and appears to be freaked out with children/toddlers who are about the same height as him. Actually he can’t stand children, so we keep him away from kids.

I think it’s part play and part the fact that they believe they can be a dominant player.