Dog bit DS this morning.

(27 Posts)
whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 13:34:36

I am not an experienced dog owner and I need some help over what to do next. I've NC for this.

Our dog is pretty new, a rehomed pointer, only had her 4 months. She lived with a family previously, who had young children, so had a good history of being ok with them. Her age is unknown but thought to be over 8. She is the sweetest, loveliest and most affectionate girl, we all love her and she's settling in well (bit of separation anxiety but getting better).

DC1 is 5 and very gentle and calm. No issues at all there. DC2 is 3 and a very different personality, loud and boisterous. We have worked hard to teach him how to touch the dog appropriately, feed her treats, not shout near her, away from her bed, when sleeping etc and he's improved massively. Obviously I try never to leave them together unsupervised but today I went back to the bathroom to get something and was gone for about a mintue, no more. According to DC1, DC2 put his shoe on the dog's head, she growled and then bit his wrist. He was crying and it's bruised but the skin isn't broken.

I'm pretty upset by this- and unsure what to do next. Our lives are full of our and visiting children. I can't see shutting her away all the time as a workable option, will it not just make her more anxious? I haven't told any friends/family in RL as I know most will be of the 'get rid' mentality. A friend of a friend's little girl was very badly bitten by a family dog recently (requring multiple facial surgeries and she has some palsy) and this is just haunting me. Will her tolerance be reduced now as she's already bitten? I cannot be a physical barrier between them all the time.

I've got a vet appt tomorrow to discuss another issue (crusty bit on her ear, doesn't seem to be itchy or painful but getting it checked out anyway) so I will discuss it with them.

Just let me add I do not blame the dog for this at all, she obviously felt fearful and provoked. I only blame myself for not protecting her from the child and my child from the dog.
Any advice appreciated. sad

fledermaus Tue 03-Jun-14 13:37:37

Can you not get the dog to follow you, so if you leave the room the dog does too?

Sounds like the dog didn't bite that hard if the skin isn't broken, maybe your DC will be more careful around the dog now too.

Lilcamper Tue 03-Jun-14 13:38:23

Could it be in putting a shoe on her head he touched her ear and it hurts?

KatieKaye Tue 03-Jun-14 13:41:32

Bet you all had a fright. Sounds like the dog was doing a warning bite if the skin wasn't broken
Have you thought about crate training her? The crate becomes her safe place to go yo, not a punishment at all. This could work well when you have to go to smother room, kids come over etc.
don't panic about it!

Lanabelle Tue 03-Jun-14 13:48:04

Pointers are gun dogs so relatively soft mouthed and able to control the pressure of their bite, it does sound like a warning bite and I will be shot down in flames for this but maybe it will teach the louder child not to do whatever they were doing to provoke your dog. I wouldn't get rid right away personally, I would keep going with trying to get the children to understand the dog but 3 is a difficult age. Is there any young handler groups in your area? might benefit your oldest but the little one would still be too young but maybe seeing an older sibling learning would help him too?

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 14:01:41

Thanks for the replies. I did wonder about her ear but I've been inspecting it quite closely and it really doesn't seem sore. I'll ask the vet though.

I really think he's a bit too full-on for her and she's getting more wary of him. I just worry the point at which she bites will be lower now.

I've reiterated how he must be gentle, leave her alone most of the time but like you say he's little so his understanding is limited.

I think my panic has been fueled by the conversations about the friend's daughter's bite, everyone seems to think any dog that bites a child should be rehomed or put to sleep. Which I can't bear to think about.

Lilcamper Tue 03-Jun-14 14:05:44

Lots of info on managing dogs and children here.

AlpacaLypse Tue 03-Jun-14 14:06:24

Is there room for a big crate, somewhere for dog to go during the busy parts of the day when you're most likely to be distracted from keeping boisterous three year away from dog's ears?

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 14:11:56

Sorry, didn't reply to the crate training. She has a crate which I do put her in at night and when the house is very busy. She doesn't go in it when I'm out as she fought her way out of it (separation anxiety, this was at the start) and I was worried she'd injure herself. I could crate her more often and when ds is being particularly noisy and physical. It just didn't happen when he was in a boisterous mood, he was singing quietly and tried to play with her (and being 3 didn't read the signs she didn't want to)

Argh.

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 14:14:49

Those links look great lilcamper, I'll check them out properly tonight.

SpicyPear Tue 03-Jun-14 15:04:07

OP did you get the dog from a reputable rescue offering rescue back up or did you rehome her privately?

As you are aware, this is not the dog's fault or your child's. This is a workable issue as other have said, not a worryingly aggressive dog. However, I would advise very differently depending on where she came from. If she has a good rescue to go back to I'm not sure a home with a boisterous small child and an inexperienced owner is best for her. Better to decide that at four months in than further down the line. If not, then I think you should get a behaviourist (APBC, no one saying anything about dominance or packs!) in to help you set up your home to keep dog and toddler safe and unstressed. There is a lot you can do but it would be easy to get it wrong. A trained professional will be able to see your child, dog and home and take all of that into account in a way we can't here.

SpicyPear Tue 03-Jun-14 15:08:28

Oh and I would not take behavioural advice from a vet. No offence, there are some vets with fab up-to-date behavioural knowledge such as affafan who posts here. However, most are not behavioural experts. Some have downright wrong and dangerous views on dog handling and behaviour.

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 16:26:57

Thanks spicypear. I've spent enough time lurking on the doghouse to run a mile from anyone talking about packs and dominance.
She wasn't from a rescue, no, the family who owned her
are friends of a friend. We met them and trust their history of her. It wasn't a rushed meeting or decision. They felt they couldn't meet her exercise needs and lived in a city with a tiny garden. We're rural and she gets what she needs here exercise-wise.

I'll see if I can find a behaviourist near me. Thanks again.

theeternalstudent Tue 03-Jun-14 19:58:17

If it helps, my dog has also bit my DD. Dog just wants to be left in peace and DD sometimes mithers the dog. The dog has bitten as it was her way of letting DD know that she wanted left alone. Trying to train DD to be kind and gentle to the dog is an on going process and I do seem to spend a lot of my time shouting to her to leave the dog alone. It is getting better though and I guess with age it's only going to get better.

When DD has friends round the dog goes into the bedroom with the door closed, in the garden or in the car (in winter obviously).

I'm sharing this information as I think this is something that you can work with and find a solution to, just like we have. Although it will require work and a lot of patience.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Jun-14 20:09:15

Yep get a behaviourist...

In the meantime, if you need to leave the room take the dog with you, so you can make sure DS can't do anything to upset her.

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 20:22:58

Thank you theeternalstudent, it's very nice to hear of a similar situation that is being worked though. It feels like in RL everyone immediately gets rid of the dog. Or adamantly says they would. I know in my heart she's not 'aggressive', seeing her with my order, more predicable child is lovely, both calm and respectful. Younger child is a dog's worst nightmare, loud, high pitched, very unpredictable, etc.

I'm concerned about a lower tolerance to bite now. I'm so glad she growled first though, at least there is a warning system.

I will do the bringing the dog with me tabularasa, and crate her in the school rush.

I don't feel as panic-stricken as I did earlier, just worried. Your advice and links have been brilliant, I definitely have a dog-magnetised child so will try and get him to see them as 'off limits' the way I would a fire or kitchen knife (some of the analogies in the dog blog linked to above)

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 20:23:50

Thank you theeternalstudent, it's very nice to hear of a similar situation that is being worked though. It feels like in RL everyone immediately gets rid of the dog. Or adamantly says they would. I know in my heart she's not 'aggressive', seeing her with my order, more predicable child is lovely, both calm and respectful. Younger child is a dog's worst nightmare, loud, high pitched, very unpredictable, etc.

I'm concerned about a lower tolerance to bite now. I'm so glad she growled first though, at least there is a warning system.

I will do the bringing the dog with me tabularasa, and crate her in the school rush.

I don't feel as panic-stricken as I did earlier, just worried. Your advice and links have been brilliant, I definitely have a dog-magnetised child so will try and get him to see them as 'off limits' the way I would a fire or kitchen knife (some of the analogies in the dog blog linked to above)

mrslaughan Tue 03-Jun-14 20:47:33

Stair gates/babygates, separate your 3 year old from the dog , except under the closest of supervision.

Yes a behaviourist for the dog, and hopefully your 3year old has learnt some respect....having said that he is 3 and it is hard to train them at this age, hence creating barriers , so he can't, put things on top of her, annoy her etc.

affafantoosh Tue 03-Jun-14 21:16:23

Agree that many vets are not clued up on behaviour. However, any good behaviourist will only work on veterinary referral so ask them specifically to examine her fully with regard to ruling out sources of pain. Then they will be able to confirm that she's had the all clear when they do the referral and it will speed things along for you all.

As mum to a 3 year old, stairgates are wonderful things. Perhaps put one on the kitchen door so the dog can be encouraged to go in there when you need to nip upstairs, and it is less enclosed than a crate (if she has form for separation anxiety then suddenly increasing the crating may be difficult for her). I usually advise people in your sort of situation to buy several kongs and fill them with the dog's daily ration of food each morning, so you can just grab one and leave her with it if she is being crated or shut in another room for any period of time. It makes it easier on the dog (and I think it helps owners feel less guilty smile ).

Good luck smile

affafantoosh Tue 03-Jun-14 21:16:45

*ask them = I mean ask the vet! <tired>

whatstepNext Tue 03-Jun-14 21:48:52

Thanks affafantoosh, I will ask the vet to check her overt o rule out sources of pain and ask about referral. There is no behaviourist in my area but some that will travel so have contacted one that does, seemingly she does a monthly clinic in my area too.

Good tip on the Kongs, and I'll try gating the kitchen (and switching on the bin alarm, she's a bugger for bin raking)

Lilcamper Tue 03-Jun-14 21:53:33

Put the bin out of her reach when she needs to be in the kitchen smile

I can't advise as our situation was different but in December last year my dog bit my then ten yo. In the face. It's a long story, won't bore you with it but we still have the dog. It wasn't his fault ( or daughters), more mine tbh. He is a changed dog now though. DD is his second favourite person. It's perfectly possible to get around this with the right advice from the right pro. Good luck.

tabulahrasa Tue 03-Jun-14 22:52:52

What you have to remember is that without downplaying it in any way as obviously you need to act on it and you are...but, she could have really hurt him and she didn't - my dog can break lamb ribs easily with one bite when eating them, that's how powerful their jaws are.

The fact that it's only a bruise is a good thing, she wasn't intending to bite hard, just make him stop doing what he was doing.

Obviously it's scary and worrying because it's your small child and getting a behaviourist in is absolutely the right thing to do, but reassure yourself that she didn't bite him as hard as she is capable of.

I know that's a weird reassurance, but I think it matters that it was a fairly soft bite if you see what I mean.

whatstepNext Wed 04-Jun-14 08:54:01

Thanks tabularasa, I know what you mean. Seeing the vet this morning to rule out pain and have a general chat.

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