So I have a malamute coming to the end of her first heat cycle, she is 9 months old, lives with 3 other dogs of varying sizes and 3 cats, the most calm dog I’ve ever owned, not prey driven (towards the other pets) at all, not aggressive over food or water. Has displayed excellent behaviour around a friends baby and other children in the past. However earlier today my husbands cousin brought her 3 year old over, he is a loud, tantrum driven, rough child (I would say as most children are but his entire family literally describe him as feral, there’s no discipline) when he first met my dog, he was jumping all over her (I was not in the room at the time to stop him, I assumed my mother in law would see the dangers in that) and she didn’t react, he was lying on top of her apparently and she was nervous (the mother’s words) but didn’t react in any sort of aggressive way, he was then walloping her in the face with a balloon repeatedly and jabbing her in the ribs with a plastic sword and she would periodically start howling (edit for clarity:she does this when excited or when there’s new people for attention so I didn’t realise she was distressed) (I was there at that point and tried telling him off and to leave her along because she will get upset, but as usual he didn’t listen and his mother didn’t say anything) then his sister started waving food in her face, so my dog sat and waited to be given some (as she does) the 3 year old then ran up behind her and jumped on her back, my dog got a fright and turned around to yelp, but caught his cheek (because he was literally on top of her and he pulled her fur) and caught him slightly in the face (tiny little scrape, no blood) obviously this was unacceptable on the dogs part and she was told off and I made her sit next to me for the rest of the day EDIT FOR CLARITY: when I say it’s unacceptable I mean I’m not going to just ignore it. She was calmly told no, and was brought to my side where I was then petting her. Then he ran up to her again (20 minutes later) and started shouting in her face and waving a sword at her and she barked at him (que the mother shouting about how my dogs “proper going for him”) so I held her collar while his mother told him to go inside to put some shoes on (EDIT FOR CLARITY: after I told her she’s terrified of him and she’s not meaning to be aggressive, and hinted for her to remove the child) and to just walk past her, he then walked up to her, kept making eye contact (they’re on the same level) pointed the sword at her about an inch from her face then slowly started walking backwards and forwards, then when his mother told him to stop staring at her, he laughed and kept doing it (EDITED FOR CLARITY: his mother then more sternly told him to go inside and he did. This behaviour didn’t continue for long) but I noticed when either I or my brother in law had a hold of her collar, whenever he took a Step towards her or waved something, my malamute would step backwards/jump backwards and howl as if she was afraid of him (EDITED FOR CLARITY: when her collar was being held we were petting her and standing in front of her to put ourselves in the way of the child, because we knew she was scared of him but we literally had no way to separate her as it was not my house or my place to lock my dog in another’s persons room) My point is I’m not sure whether she is behaving this way because she was provoked and scared/whether she coming to the end of a heat cycle (she’s been harassed by my mother in laws male dog all day) and is just fed up or if this is an aggression problem and something I need to knos be permanently worried about when allowing her around anyone. As I say she’s never done it before and there were other children there and she was fine with them and she’s been fine since he left. Can anyone help. FINAL EDIT FOR CLARITY: after a lot of (some rightly, and some pretty unhelpful and unecessary) irate comments I realise now that I’ve told the story in a way that has made the situation a lot worse while not accepting my own failures. YES I do blame myself first, I am her owner and she is my responsibility, I know I failed her as an owner but I was naive enough to think that this child’s behaviour was “not bad” and that my dog was perfectly fine and then suddenly my dog was a monster, as there was 3 other people all dog owners watching it happen. I’ve never owned a bitch before (even this one is my husbands) and they told me it was because she was in heat. The child also lives with 2 other dogs and 3 cats so I assumed he’d been brought up to respect animals, clearly not in hindsight. Because the child got caught on the cheek, I naturally feel terrible to the child also, so I was doubting whether I was just biased in thinking that it wasn’t my dogs fault (because I even told my husband if someone put me in that situation I would have done the same. So please don’t think I blame her at all) and was looking for reassurance that it wasn’t my dogs fault. I already know it was my fault I should have stuck up for her more and there’s no excuse for that. I just wanted reassurance for my dog as now I have awful anxiety that my husbands family will think she’s a monster when I KNOW she’s not the problem at all, it was a mixtures of the adults in the situation and the child.