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Dog snapped at my daughter this morning

(31 Posts)

We've had our greyhound for nearly a year now and she's not shown any aggression at all. This morning she nicked an empty packet of chicken satays and took the packet to her bed. DD (8) decided to take the packet out the bed (it wasn't in the dogs mouth) and as she stood up with the packet the dog barked/growled and lunged at her. She caught the end of her nose, there is a tiny red mark/pin prick on the end of dd's nose where it looks like the skin has just been broken.

My heart tells me the dog was warning her and if she'd really wanted to bite her she would have done. DD is really shaken up but I think now at least she won't approach the dog on her bed. Which we've spoken about before. I've told DD she mustn't take things off the dog but must let me. Again I've told her this before. Hopefully now she will have learnt a lesson.

Am I been too laid back about this? I know DH will want to get rid of the dog if I tell him.

sarah293 Thu 08-Oct-09 09:04:28

Message withdrawn

GetOrfMoiLand Thu 08-Oct-09 09:10:35

I wouldn't be laid back about this tbh, it could have been worse (thank God it wasn't).

I would definitely tell your DH anyway. But I am emphatically not a dog lover so that is probably colouring my views.

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 08-Oct-09 09:16:59

Pack theory is outdated nd disproven, your dog was not telling dd she is lower in the pack it was simply telling your dd "hands off this is my space and that is my food" still not acceptable I agree but please do not get any ideas about showing the dog who is the "pack leader" as it can make situations like this many times worse.

I will say the same to you as I have to others in the same situation, get in a behaviourist, a good one. If you have insurance it should be covered if you get your vet to refer you, have a good read of your policy.

As you have said it si best if dd does not take things away from him although she should be able to just to avoid these situations happening (ie she shouldn't do it but you should be confident that, if she did, it would be safe). Hopefully a behaviourist will be able to advise you on the best wya to get dd able to handle him confidently and corretly as part of his re-training.

GhoulishFan Thu 08-Oct-09 09:17:29

did the dog get told off? It should have done - and harshly. A loud, very stern "NO!" and ignored for the rest of the day. Totally. Don't engage at all - walk it if you have to (one day off won't kill it), but after that, totally utterly ignore it. It's how the pack would deal with a dog's wrong-doing.

You should be able to take anything off it - allowed or not, at any time.

Get thee to a training school and deal with it before anything else happens.

beautifulgirls Thu 08-Oct-09 09:21:02

In this situation there is a clear reason that the dog was unhappy - your daughter was taking from her whilst in her own space and she didn't like it. This does not mean that the dog is a danger to your daughter long term, but it also equally does not mean there is no risk either.
The most sensible course of action is as has already been advised to you and that is to get hold of your vet and get a referral to a qualified behaviourist for an assessment and advice. They will be able to judge the nature of the dog and situation the most closely and give you safety advice here. In the meantime though, please take sensible precautions and do not leave them alone together, and try to teach your daughter that a dog in its bed should be left alone.

It is perfectly normal dog behaviour though.

Dogs growl
Dogs bite

It is not 'aggression' she is guarding something she considers to be hers in her bed.

She needs to know this is not acceptable behaviour though, I would suggest your daughter needs to work with her to make the dog realise she is not a 'threat' as regards food.

The classic way is for your daughter to add some treats/scraps of food to her bowl while she is eating. This needs to be done in the correst way though, the method is describes in John Fishers 'Think Dog' or you could consult a behaviourist.

I think you do need to tell your dh other wise you are going to have to ask dd to keep it a secret and I think that would be wrong.

You may want to get the vet to give her a once over before you do anything else, if a dog suddenly behaves very out of character it can be because something is medically wrong.

There is no need to get rid of the dogsmile.

MmeGoblindt Thu 08-Oct-09 09:22:27

I think that ignoring the dog for the rest of the day is not going to work, sorry. My dog does not know the difference between me popping out to empty the bins and me being gone all day. Your dog has forgotten that she snapped at your DD.

I am not a fan of the "pack mentality" thing either.

To me, the dog had food and your DD tried to take it off her. It was not ok that she snapped at your DD but it was also not ok for your DD to try to take food off her, as you have already warned her.

I think that you should leave it be. Keep a good eye on the dog to make sure it was a one off.

Sorry about the typos, feeding.

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 08-Oct-09 09:25:40

Goulishfan a dog will not remember what it has done wrong for 24 hours, ignoring is only effective for as long as the animal/child/adult is able to apply it to the behaviour it is meant to correct.

Doing as you suggest is akin to suggesting you ignore a 2yo for hours on end for bad behaviour, if you cannot explain to them what it is for it just becomes you ignoring them rather than them being corrected for something they did wrong.

Whilst ignoring them after telling them off for bad behaviour is one approach that you can use, ignoring them for a full day, not walking etc is likely to cause far more problems than it solves.

GhoulishFan Thu 08-Oct-09 09:30:28

It doesn't forget. Dogs are far more clever than people give them credit for, but not many people beleive me!

My mums dog bit my dad when they first got her for similar reasons - she had something she wasn't allowed and dad took it off her (she was given to them at 1yr old) - they did this and she's never even growled at him again.... it works, but not everyone likes our style (firm but fair).

I still say go to training classes - this is only "normal" if you want to run the risk of her snapping at all and sundry and getting in huge trouble for it... don't make it normal, make respecting each and every member of your family normal and it shouldn't happen again.

ChilloHippi Thu 08-Oct-09 09:33:44

I agree with wherethewildthingswere. I wouldn't get rid of my dog for that, but maybe make sure that your DD is never alone with the dog to do it again, just in case.

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 08-Oct-09 09:38:41

Dogs are clever yes but the behaviour here is not an unreasonable one, it is a natural one, the dog needs to be trained into an un-natural behaviour (ie allowing anyone to take its food at will even when in her own space). Things like that take training and patience not ignoring.

I am sure your way has worked for you, that is fine however I do think it is irresponsible to advise people you do not know to do things where you have no input as it goes along. Espepcially where it is an approach that could potentially go very wrong.
You have said this now so say the op goes ahead with your plan, for all you know she could do it completely differently to the way you would and end up with the dog biting her to get her attention - or her dd for that matter, if you are not there to supervise an approach you are not able to prevent things going wrong either.

WRT your parents dog, it is far more likely that she just picked up that they were strong people she was happy to be with than that ignoring her for hours had any effect. However I have no intention of getting into a row with you about it.

I did tell the dog off at the time and she definetly knew she'd done wrong. I'm not going to ignore her for the rest of the day as I do think she'll have forgotten about this by now. I only ever tell her off for something if I catch her actually doing anything, ie; digging in the garden. If I just find the hole later that day then I don't see the point in telling her off as she won't have any idea why she's been told off.

I did take her to training classes when we first got her and she is generally obedient. She'll stay and come and she will let me take things off her.

I think she maybe felt a bit threatened by DD as well. As dd didn't talk to her while she was getting the packet but instead ran up to the bed and snatched it quickly. The dog's got a poorly leg at the minute as well so is maybe feeling a bit vunerable. I'm seeing the lady we got her from tomorrow anyway and I know she knows a good behaviourist so will mention it to her and see what she thinks.

Thanks for the advice.

HKT Thu 08-Oct-09 12:33:09

"As dd didn't talk to her while she was getting the packet but instead ran up to the bed and snatched it quickly. The dog's got a poorly leg at the minute as well so is maybe feeling a bit vunerable."

I would say those are the reasons for the snappiness, and in the dogs POV, quite deserved. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying your dd deserved to be snapped at, just that sometimes if you look at a situation from the other side, it all becomes a bit clearer.
When the dog is in its bed - its space - it needs to be left alone, particularly by younger members of the family.
Hope your DD isn't too upset by this

DailyMailNameChanger Thu 08-Oct-09 12:34:04

Good luck stripey, I think your assesment of the situation sounds pretty spot on - especially if you add in the fact that she has a painful leg. smile

minimu Thu 08-Oct-09 17:24:35

Have you taught your dog a leave it command? If the dog has a solid leave it command you will be able to remove anything from its mouth or bed with no problem at all.

I do it with a clicker but you don't have to. Put a small boring titbit on the floor and have the dog on the lead say leave it and do not let the dog get the food on the floor then when the dog looks at you praise like mad and give a really yummy treat, cheese or sausage something better than on the floor. DO not let them have the food from the floor. Keep doing this but make the leave it treat more and more valuable as time goes on it may even be a favourite toy. Mine will leave a sausage on the floor if asked and they are labs!

Then if you or your children need to remove anything from the dog say leave it, remove the item and treat the dog. The dog does not see this as a threat and will not bit or be aggresive at all.

Simple, no need to rehome the dog, no need to worry about domination or pack theories just a calm well mannered dog!

spugs Thu 08-Oct-09 18:04:51

I wouldn't get rid of the dog, it was in its bed with food which someone tried to take away. It sounds like its beginning to resource guard (bed/food). Your best bet as some ones already said is to get in a behaviorist. In the mean time though make sure your dd doesn't go on/touch the dogs bed and that the dogs fed in its own room.

VetMedStudent Sun 25-Oct-09 19:23:39

I have a greyhound too and when she was young she used to snap. I honestly dont think i could ever mix dogs with kids tho(i do love them but theyre not cuddly dogs the way retrievers or whatever are).
I would probably say just be aware your dog does occasionally snap and make sure your daughter is aware too (im sure she is, if your dog got her nose...)

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Sun 25-Oct-09 20:46:58

I'm going to go against the grain here -

When we were kids, we always had dogs and they were always docile, lovely animals unless you went near their beds. In the entire house that 2sq feet is their own space. Dogs need to feel like they have their own space.

Your DD is 8, she's old enough to understand that the dogs bed is off limits. It was only a warning snap, he was just marking territory.

Btw - the only time my lovely dog bit me (in fairness I'd been winding him up), I bit him back. Doesn't work with kids, but certainly works with dogs

Sure the dog-haters will disagree with me, but hey ho

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Sun 25-Oct-09 20:50:14

Ok, didn't read rest of thread properly - turns out i'm not going against the grain smile

Vallhala Sun 25-Oct-09 20:55:25

I agree with the comments that there is no need to get rid of the dog and that the poorly leg may well have added to her general irritation that your DD took food from her, and from within her own bed at that.

With the greatest respect its the child who needs "training" as much as the dog - its a fools errand to do as she did. I know your DD has been told not to do this but imo it needs to be reinforced. To be even more direct, my own children would have been told that it was their own damn fault under the circumstances.

Plenty of good advice here, you all beat me to it so I won't repeat it - what a bunch of stars these MN-ers are.

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 26-Oct-09 12:14:02

def no need to get rid of dog

your dd was invading the dogs personal space and bed and took her packet away from her and woofa prob feeling a bit sore from leg

we have a dog at work and all my dc 1,4 and nearly 7 know not to go in/on dogs cage/bed

it is the dogs space - and where woofa goes for peace and quiet - baby was told no from when she started crawling and she knows at 16mths not to go on dogs bed

your dd at 8 should know this

do tell dh, but explain the circumstances

hope dd is ok

alysonpeaches Mon 26-Oct-09 22:32:11

Im sorry if someone has already posted this, I have read halfway down then abandoned the rest.

You have to teach the dog that the child comes up higher in the pecking order than the dog. Do this by allowing your daughter to give the dog her bowl of food at feed time.

TBH one snap at a child during a dogs career isnt unusual.

shineoncrazycockchatter Tue 27-Oct-09 18:54:10

Message withdrawn

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