:( Dog bit 3yo. What to do now?

(39 Posts)
NeverWinsMNComps Tue 26-Feb-13 20:56:17

I'll try not to make this too long. About 6 months ago someone at DH's work died, leaving a dog in need of a home. Being a bit of a softy, DH took him in with the intention of helping him to find a permanent home (if he didn't fall in love with him first). The dog's owner had rescued him from a bad start in life and we knew he suffers with fear aggression around dogs and must be walked on a lead. We didn't fancy his chances in a kennel/pound and thought he would end up PTS.

But since he's always lived with children and been fine, we took him in and have been continuing to socialize, train and work on his doggie issues. He's always supervised when the kids are home, and he's been wonderful with them.

Tonight he was sleeping on the floor near me and my youngest tripped up and fell onto him. He made a yelp/bark noise and ran away upstairs. DD was crying and I thought she was just startled--but after a minute I realized she was bleeding from a puncture at her temple sad

She calmed fairly quickly (her sister took it a lot worse than she did!) and we cleaned her up. Tomorrow I'll take her to the GP and probably get antibiotics for it. After about an hour the dog came back downstairs and I checked him over to make sure he was ok too. We tried not to make too big a deal out of it, and explained that it was an accident and that he snapped because it hurt and scared him when DD fell on him. She's been stroking him and saying he's "nice doggie", so at least she's not terrified of him.

But what on earth do we do now? Although I don't think the dog meant to bite, it happened right there in front of me. Even with supervision, how can I guarantee that it won't happen again? And yet having bitten other dogs and a child, I can't see him having a snowballs chance in hell at a rescue... Any advice?

elfycat Tue 26-Feb-13 21:03:06

Take the dog to the vet and get advice. And the child to the doctor.

It's hard when a child has been bitten but the dog was very startled, it's not like he attacked your DD. In fact running away afterwards shows that your dog is not the attacking kind.

My sister was bitten on the head by our dog when she was a child because she startled him and he didn't ever show any other signs of aggression to us in the following 6 years that we had him.

note: I may have pushed DD1 (then 3.5) off the bed rather violently in the night when she hit me in the face to wake me. I don't remember any of it and I gleaned this from the sobs. I assure you I am not routinely violent to my child!

elfycat Tue 26-Feb-13 21:04:55

oh and my sister learned to be more careful around animals... except for the time she was tormenting my cat (she was about 18 at this point) and the cat bit her on the nose....

ratbagcatbag Tue 26-Feb-13 21:06:51

Hmmmm I think as the dog was startled and legged it, he definately doesn't seem aggressive, if in every other way you're happy could you not see about how you feel about it later on. I think if he'd have gone for dd unprovoked then yes fine he goes, but it does just seem like a nasty accident.

heidihole Tue 26-Feb-13 21:07:00

Personally I don't see the problem (well I don't see a huge one!)

It was a one off, a child dropped onto him suddenly and I'm sure she's not light compared to what dog weighs.

I wouldn't be surprised if any dog could yelp and give a small bite of shock.

I have two dogs and a DS and wouldn't be too concerned if what you describe happened. I'd put it down as an accident.

Agree with elfycat. Your dog was startled, and reacted. In an ideal world, this wouldn't have happened, but it does't sound to me like a deliberate attack. I feel for you, though, because obviously your trust in the dog will be shaken. Although, in reality, putting trust in a dog not to bite if it's startled/scared/hurt is an unfair ask anyway. Gah, someone with something useful to say will be along shortly. I hope your DD is ok.

NeverWinsMNComps Tue 26-Feb-13 21:10:28

That's a good point about the vet. Perhaps we need to move his bed into a crate so nobody can stumble over him. He does have beds in tucked away places, but tends to sprawl himself somewhere near my feet instead.

Floralnomad Tue 26-Feb-13 21:10:45

I agree with heidihole , just carry on as you have been and try to avoid people falling on him in future . Accidents happen .

NeverWinsMNComps Tue 26-Feb-13 21:14:34

DD has enjoyed the delay to her bedtime and has treated us all to a display of naked tap dancing hmm

Her older sister is more unsettled about it all because there was blood, and she tends to freak out about that kind of thing. I'm hoping she'll be a bit more chilled about it in the morning...

catlady1 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:16:09

The dog might not even have bitten your DD as such - she could have fallen onto his tooth/claw or it could have just happened as the dog made to snatch his head away. He doesn't sound like a "problem" dog. Even if he did bite her it would have been a shock reaction rather than a deliberate act of aggression. You can train most dogs not to be aggressive but you can't really expect anything not to defend itself! I would say to put it down to an unfortunate accident and just keep a close eye on him in future (not that you weren't already).

PoppadomPreach Tue 26-Feb-13 21:16:18

I thought I was going to read this and say "of course he needs to be PTS"- I was imagining an unprovoked attack, but given he was reacting to what he probably perceived as an attack, I think he can probably be given benefit of doubt (and actually it's probably really good that he didn't launch a persistent attack , he just reacted with one defensive bite)

Check with vet for peace of mind, but in my (non professional) opinion, he can be given second chance.

LemonPeculiarJones Tue 26-Feb-13 21:23:47

I'm sorry but I disagree. He bit your daughter on the face.

Your daughter is tiny and there will be countless bumps and stumbles. I would immediately rehome the dog unless you can be sure that the dog will be kept completely separate from young children at all times. You just can't know what might happen.

Protecting your kids comes first sad

Bakingtins Tue 26-Feb-13 21:23:56

I'm a vet, and in my professional opinion, I'd agree with the other posters who said this was a split second reaction to being landed on and not a deliberate bite. A crate so the dog can slumber in safety sounds like a good idea and carry on supervising, but he doesn't sound like any more risk to your children than any other basically sweet natured dog.

mumofthemonsters808 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:23:56

This happened with our 7 year old lab my son fell onto him when he was asleep but I was lucky in that he just growled and walked away.But it was a shock to even hear him growl.He now sleeps with one eye open when the kids are around.It is a very natural reaction when a dog is startled.Great advice about getting him checked over at the vets and seeing what they reccommend.Very important your dog has a safe area where he can relax undisturbed,ours has one but he much prefers dozing in the living room.Sorry you have experienced this it must have been very unnerveing.

OutragedFromLeeds Tue 26-Feb-13 21:28:07

I agree it's a natural reaction to a suprise 'attack'. He had no idea that what hit him was your DD, it could have been anything. I think if someone landed on me while I was sleeping I could lash out in self-defence.

I think this is a problem of having any pet rather than this specific dog, any animal could have reacted in the same way.

Lucyellensmum95 Tue 26-Feb-13 21:29:33

A similar thing happened to me, long story, we had rescue rottie that had some issues, we had older DD who was 17 at the time - we had a surpsise baby so i found myself in a situation where i had a rescue dog and a baby. To be fair, it was fine. Then one day i was out with DP and DD2 and DD1 phoned us on our mobiles "mum, dog has bitten me, please don't be cross it wasn't his fault, he was asleep at the bottom of the stairs and i trod on his foot" I said, ok, fine - just leave him be then. Then my blood ran cold "mum, ive called an ambulance" shock WTAF?? Dog had bitten through her foot - major panic to get home to paramedics bandaging DD2s foot (please remember that DD1 was 19 at the time!") and it was fine.

Of course i decided that the dog would have to go sad as my DD2 was just getting mobile and i knew i couldnt chance it.

It turned out that my lovely dog had bone cancer in the leg that DD1 accidently trod on, so he must have been in AGONY, no wonder he bit her sad
Sadly we had to have the dog PTS in the end but its strange because I was devestated at the thought of having to rehome him and i felt like fate intervened in some way.

Not hijacking - just making the point that a) the dog probably wont do it again but maybe think about giving him a crate to sleep in? and b) please get him checked out, it was probably nothing more than fright that made him snap but its worth making sure.

Imsosorryalan Tue 26-Feb-13 21:34:17

Didn't want to read and run but our badly socialised rescue is also fear aggressive with dogs and generally has a nervous disposition. After snapping at my dd1 who is 4, who disturbed her sleep, we spoke to a dog behaviourist.
Her advice was first and foremost, crate train the dog. Not only is this a 'safe' place for the dog to rest ( cover with blanket to get and extra snug effect!) it is a very visual marker for the children to know when to leave the dog alone.
Then, not to allow the dog upstairs as this can create supervision problems when in childrens room etc. or if dcs stumble out in the night half asleep and dog is asleep upstairs.
Glad, your dd is ok but I would never trust any dog and children together. I have now always one eye on where everyone is.
Going back to crate training, it's also a handy place to put dog when you can't watch them eg. Loo tripwink
Good luck.

tazzle22 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:00:55

I agree with catlady in that the dog may not have actually bitten your DD .... did you see if her head end was near the dogs, it may have impacted rather than him moving to bit her when she hurt him ???

Something similar happened many years ago when I was swinging my young DD round in a circle playing and I did not see friends dog come nearer and I swung her legs into his face. He did not bite ( was wagging his tail all the time even though we had hit him) but there was still blood.

I do however agree there is a risk with fear aggressive dogs, my rescue GSD used to be very fearful ... and aggressive at times. She is much much better now and I will even let her and grandchildren have contact time, even cuddles.... but always, always supervised and with strict rules in place and dependant on age / ability to be responsible for actions. I could not have her if I had young children around all the time.

I agree with the crating system in this instance, a large one that is his "safety zone" and one where he can be when you are busy and the children playing downstairs. If not a crate then a utility room or similar with a gate across where he can have his toys / treats / bed ?

I hope all are ok now !

RedwingWinter Tue 26-Feb-13 22:07:17

The dog was fast asleep and got startled by a small child landing on him, which probably hurt. It really sounds like a one-off. I'm glad your DD still thinks he's a nice doggie - glad she isn't frightened of him and glad that she isn't badly hurt. It sounds like you've done the right things in dealing with it. Perhaps you can have a better sleeping arrangement for him (such as a crate) so that it won't happen again.

poachedeggs Tue 26-Feb-13 22:14:07

I agree, absolutely any dog would react in the same way in the circumstances you describe. I wouldn't let this worry you at all but the advice to crate train is very sound.

When you ask " how can I guarantee that it won't happen again? " - you can't, but that is the case with any pet. You can reduce the risk though smile

miggy Tue 26-Feb-13 22:22:08

Exactly the same thing happened to my DS when he was about two, Au pair was looking after him, he toddled past the dogs bed where he promptly fell onto the sleeping dog and had similar tiny pucture mark bite on his forehead.
It wasnt the dogs fault and actually a dog that leaves a tiny mark like that (and yours) is actually showing prety good bite inhibition really.
Never happened again and dog never showed any sign of aggression ever to him or any of my other subsequent children.
I am usually vehemently of the no second chances with dogs camp but honestly this incident wouldnt worry me (but yes crate fab idea, have seen some on internet that look like a coffee table-brilliant!)

Samu2 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:41:04

Agreeing with everyone else. It is a normal reaction to being landed on when you are asleep.

I would definitely put him in the crate in future and I hope your daughters head is fine smile

Another one adding to the general chorus. Your dog has done nothing wrong, and many dogs will understandably be startled if woken when sleeping by a falling object.

Def go for a crate - both dog and children will benefit from knowing that the dog has a safe space where he is not to be disturbed.

midastouch Tue 26-Feb-13 22:50:40

IT doesnt sound like he is a vicious dog it was just a shock to be sound a sleep and have someone fall on him. How does your DD feel about the dog now? Does he not have a bed to sleep in? although mine doesn't use hers or a crate?

midastouch Tue 26-Feb-13 22:51:12

oh god!! i meant isnt a vicious dog!!! oops!!

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