I had an interesting incident yesterday. Ryka has never disliked children unless they're overly rambunctious. Just the other week a young girl asked if she could pet her, and Ryka was so very sweet with her.
But yesterday was different. I was on a walk with my SIL and her dog and a young girl came running towards us as fast as she could without saying anything. I assumed she was running to the bench to grab something near us, but she bee-lined straight for the dogs. As she got close, she put her hand out to try and pet our dogs without asking. My SIL shouted that the dogs were not friendly (they are, but we've agreed not to let strangers pet our dogs on walks). The girl continued to try and get close. I pulled Ryka near me and tried to educate her on how to approach dogs, but she kept trying to get close. Ryka barked, warned her off, and the girl still continued to approach, so Ryka stepped up, barked more, and grabbed the front pocket of the girl's hoodie. It was a quick nip and let go - a warning nip - and she didn't grab anything other than the fabric. I gave a quick, hard correction to have her sit quietly, but it took me by complete surprise because it happened so quickly and she has never done that before. The young girl thought nothing of it, in fact she laughed. I was horrified. To put the kid's behaviour in perspective, her younger brother came running towards us shortly after and asked if he could hold our dogs' leashes as if it were a totally normal thing to do.
Is that a normal reaction given the situation? Ryka has been good with children, and often she's the confident one that's happy to be engaged with once she's done sniffing. We have young kids come to our club, and whenever they come she licks their faces or happily interacts with them. She's never behaved that way before, but recently during bite work when the helper went to run his hand over her head during the bite, she let go to try and grab his hand when he did it a third time. The two incidences happening so closely together threw me off a bit, and I'm probably over thinking it, but I don't want to risk Ryka ever biting someone if it isn't in self-defense.
Having not read any farther than your OP: I live in a super dog-friendly area, so she can go lots of places with me. We have great luck with places like hardware stores and a few taprooms I've identified, and less-good luck with certain taprooms (drunk parents + unsupervised kids = bad) or mall walking type things. I stopped going to the places in the latter category for the most part, because without fail, she gets rushed by some kid, and it isn't worth the risk. That being said, a free range toddler once rushed her left side during an outdoor training class when we were doing heeling exercises and I had no time or room to get out of the way. I yelled at the kid just to stop her cold.
My dog's reaction is basically nothing; she trusts me to handle it. If I have time, I will body block. If I don't have time to do anything but throw my voice, I will yell at kids. I'm not shouting abuse or anything, just using the tone of my voice to startle them and buying myself time to turn or stop them. Basically, though, I raise my voice to strange children in public a lot more than I ever thought anyone should. Surprisingly no parent has ever reacted to this. It almost makes me sad because they are invariably paying so little attention to their kid that they have no idea the kid just tried to rush a dog four times its size OR that they got yelled at by a strange lady for doing so.
My dog is kept close and controlled and I keep an eye on her at all times - but I would be very surprised if she ever reacted. At this point in our relationship, she understands that I will handle whatever happens and she will wait for me to do it.