WHY SOME ADULT DOGS DISLIKE SMALL CHILDREN
Dogs dislike very small children for two reasons. Either they belong or belonged at some time, to someone who does not discipline their children and allow the children to pull the dogs ears, hair, tail, fall on top of the dog, step on his toes, take his toys away from him, interfere with him while he is eating, all those things can make a dog dislike small children. I have often seen the parents of such children yell at the kids but make no attempt to actually discipline the child and teach the child to really leave the dog alone. Without stopping the children or teaching the children, the dog is being set up as the bad guy in this scenario. The day he snaps at a child or bites the child, the dog gets a beating, locked up or disposed of. And it wasn't the dogs fault. It was the adults who wouldn't discipline the children who are at fault.
The second reason is that the dog is simply not used to young children. He is nervous around them as he is afraid of them. You often see this with adult dogs that have never been exposed to young children on a regular basis before. Children move rapidly towards and away from a dog, their little hands are reaching towards the dog continually and the dog doesn't know what the child wants. The children's voices are higher pitched, often punctuated with squeals of delight and things like that. Again the dog does not understand this difference in tone. These dogs growl warnings at the child just like a dog that has been mauled by kids. They attempt to stay out of the child's way much the same too. Again, a child may get snapped at or bit by such a dog. Again, it is not the dogs fault for not having been exposed to well behaved children as a puppy when the dog is more open to learning to get along with them. Adult dogs like these may never learn to relax and trust small children and should be placed in a home with no young children to prevent a child getting bitten.
If we were talking here about a dog not liking adults or even older, more mature children, then I would say that with patient and slow exposure to the adult or older child, that the dog can reach a level of acceptance for them. That is because the human in this case is wise enough to follow rules and guidelines when earning the dogs trust and affection. With such small children as babies to approx. 7 years old (depends entirely on the child as they mature at different rates and learn at different rates), I would say a dog who either has learned to dislike children or one that is nervous and/or afraid of them, that regardless of how patient and slow and correct the exposure to these children, that there will always remain the possibility of a child getting bit.
The dog should never be punished for his fears but at the same time, he must be firmly disciplined for any show of aggression. Growling and threatening to bite a child must not be allowed.
"He Must Always Be Given An Avenue Of Escape." Meaning that he must be able to get completely away from the child at all times and never be forced into sitting there. You cannot force a dog to accept any object of his displeasure or fear. They must learn this acceptance on their own terms, which some do with enough time and gentle encouragement.