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Our dog bit our DD this evening

(36 Posts)
onwardsnupwards Mon 19-Sep-11 22:16:18

Large 18 month old DD fell onto our small, 6 year old Lancashire Heeler this evening. He bit her - Hubby was in the room and saw everything, but I was in another room. DD has a long red mark from her eyebrow down to her cheek, more like a scratch than a bite mark. I'm trying not to over-react, but my instinct is to have the dog re-homed, particularly as he bit my friend's baby 10 months ago: admittedly, friend's baby kept chasing him round the room and pulled his tail. I love the dog, and don't want to break up our little family, but DD is the priority and she will fall on him again, and who knows what may happen next time...? Can anyone advise? Has this happened to you?

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Sep-11 22:21:18

i am not a doggy person really, but my initial thought was whether or not you could just keep them seperate? at least while she is so small?

chickchickchicken Mon 19-Sep-11 22:30:59

bloody hell. poor dog. you need to make sure he has a safe place to go in the house where he wont be pestered by LOs

Deuce Mon 19-Sep-11 22:33:14

Get a grip chickchick.

The dog has form, he needs to be re-homed, he should be able to handle stuff like this. I know my last 3 have.

Scuttlebutter Mon 19-Sep-11 22:43:44

Any dog, if fallen on/over, or pestered by a small child has the potential to bite, just as they may if you suddenly wake them. Must admit I wouldn't be too happy if I was dog sized and a toddler nearly as big as me fell on top of me. Your dog was probably frightened and sending out a warning to the child.

I think it depends on whether you feel committed enough to keep the dog and child separate until your DD is old enough to understand "dog manners" ie. no tail pulling, ear pulling, poking, etc. Sadly, this is a very common reason for rehoming.

Vallhala Mon 19-Sep-11 23:21:42

Agree with ScuttleButter as usual.

I understand that the knee-jerk reaction is to rehome, it's a common one as ScuttleButter says and one which can swing either way depending on how the rehoming is done. Get your dog into a good rescue and they will assess, sort any issues and generally not rehome where there are small children - I say generally as we DO see cases where clearly the dog is not at fault, as in the situation with your friend's child pestering your dog and pulling his tail.

BUT... bear in mind please that rescue spaces are hard to come by for even the most uncomplicated dog, ones with a problem to address are harder still to place. For goodness sakes, I beg of you, if you decide to rehome seek a rescue which is no kill and which will rehabilitate - I and others on here can help with identifing one if that''s your decision.

A bad owner will rehome to a disreputable rescue or rehome privately or just take the dog to the vet to be killed... as I said it can swing either way. The reason why I am saying this is to prove the point that a dog in this situation is far from beyond redemption - it depends, again as ScuttleButter said, whether you are willing to put in the work and seperate and supervise your DC and the dog (not saying that there was no supervision here, obviously there was, but seperation from clumsy DC and dog is equally clearly necessary).

Personally, speaking as someone who has taken on problem dogs and who has DC, and who also knows that it CAN be done - and tbh the joy and pride of overcoming canine issues - I would go down the seperation/stairgate/playpen (for pup or DD, depends on your POV here, I used playpens for my DDs but know that many MNers consider them the devil's work!), and so on. My own view is that a repeat is totally avoidable and that you are able to come out with a safe daughter and happy, cared for dog.

I must say though, without wishing to turn this into a bunfight, that you would be not only perfectly WITHIN your rights but also perfectly right, responsible and sensible to pull the parent of the child who pestered and pulled your dogs tail up BLOODY hard about allowing their DC to do it and perfectly within your rights to pull the DC up and stop them if the parent/s didn't, for everyones sake, dog and child included. Far rather your considered rude by the (very rude and silly) parent/s themselves than have their child injured or feel obliged to rehome your pet because of their irresponsibility. Don't feel bad about telling other people's children to behave, please, it's for all your sakes.

ChippingIn Mon 19-Sep-11 23:27:53

Agree with Scuttle & Val... well everyone except Deuce actually.

[This dog does not have 'form'... FGS. It is a dog, not a toy. The baby should not have been chasing and tail pulling and an animal will lash out if woken by something as heavy as it landing on it.]

ChippingIn Mon 19-Sep-11 23:29:40

I also think your title is very misleading. That's not a bite. If the dog had bitten her, you would know all about it sad The dog got a fright, went on the attack, realised it didn't need to and stopped. It scratched your DD. Which I'm sure was scary for all concerned at the time, but it's still not a bite.

BluddyMoFo Mon 19-Sep-11 23:33:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Vallhala Mon 19-Sep-11 23:41:29

I agree too that this wasn't a bite... it was what's generally known as a "nip and run". A bite would have been with the intention of doing serious harm (as has been said, you'd have known about it) and with the intention of a more sustained, prolonged reaction. This reaction was knee jerk canine language for "What the feck's that! Gerroff!".

Any dog is capable of that if shocked and momentarily hurt and in fear of what's happening, the same as you or I might throw an arm out if caught unawares. This isn't an indication of a more serious risk but a reminder that seperation of small DC and small terriers is necessary for all concerned - well, all dogs but especially dogs which are small and which will feel the weight of a clumsy DC more than a big one (not having a go, all DC tend to be clumsy at 18 months, I recall my own were even though it was a long time ago now!).

DooinMeCleanin Mon 19-Sep-11 23:46:21

Yes this has happened to me, although if a baby had been chasing my dog around my house, pulling it's tail I'd have bit the baby, never mind the dog.

Dd2 has fallen on Devil Dog once and he did snap at her. I understand it's scary, but really nothing much has happened. The dog did not bite, your baby is fine. Dd2 and my dog get along happily and she knows to stay away when he's resting.

One thing that helped us not have a repeat was to train the dog to sleep in places he was least likely to be disturbed such as under the coffee table in the corner or in his crate and we trained dd2 to never play near the dog's safe spaces. He snapped in this way about two years ago, pretty much when we first got him and while we have had problem behaviour with him on other issues he's never since snapped at dd2.

Be sure to keep a closer eye on them in future and all will be fine. A lot of dogs would have snapped in that situation. It doesn't make them dangerous.

FrauLindor Mon 19-Sep-11 23:48:21

I agree with Valhalla.

This was not a bite, and the dog does not have "form". Any dog, no matter how docile and sweet, may defend itself in this manner.

You have to keep your DD (and visiting children) away from your dog. It is unfair for both your DD and the dog.

Put it this way, if you rehome "because it bit my child" then the dog will be even more difficult to place, I would presume. Perhaps Valhalla can clarify this point?

Have you a way of keeping the dog separate from your DD, at least until she is old enough not to hurt the dog?

Yirkmum Mon 19-Sep-11 23:57:14

I grew up around dogs and I agree that this is not a serious issue. If you fell on me I would shove you. grin You need to keep the two parties apart for both their sakes.

mercibucket Mon 19-Sep-11 23:58:06

not quite the same, i was bitten as a child (well nipped going by the definitions on here) by our small dog, my mum basically told me off for annoying it (so she tells me). I've got a little scar from it. they never did anything about the dog. it never bit me again. I probably didn't annoy it again. If I'd been my mum, I'd have got rid of the dog like a shot, but my mum is dog mad and they come first so hey (shrug) I guess it didn't go on to do any more harm and so she was probably right even though I wouldn't do the same in her place

Vallhala Tue 20-Sep-11 00:05:24

"Put it this way, if you rehome "because it bit my child" then the dog will be even more difficult to place, I would presume. Perhaps Valhalla can clarify this point?"

Without a shadow of a doubt. It's something which will lead many rescues to advise "put to sleep", not because the dog is a danger or irredeemable but because of the number of dogs WITHOUT such a reason for being there alrady in their kennels which they are alrady struggling to rehome.

Those rescues include, to this country's shame, the "big ones" and it is the small, unfunded, struggling ones like those I work with which pick up the pieces and train these dogs whilst rehoming responsibly to responsible, sensible owners... IF we get the chance and IF the original owner hasn't taken the big rescues' word as gospel and taken their dog to be killed.

I agree very much with Dooin - a safe place for pooch to get away to, a crate in a quiet room or corner is an excellent idea, is a very helpful suggestion, whilst teaching DC that this is the DOGS place and he must NEVER be disturbed in it and whilst making the crate somewhere he WANTS to go into. That means never using it as a place of punishment and keeping the door open so he can go in and out at will, with his toys and blanket etc in there.

frostyfingers Tue 20-Sep-11 09:12:55

In cases like this, I'm always with the dog!

All my children, and any of their friends were always told to say hello to the dogs and then leave them alone, and under no circumstances not to go to their baskets or touch them while they were eating. In fact when the children were small, I'd feed the dogs after the children had gone to bed to they could eat in peace and quiet.

Every dog should have the right to peace and quiet in their own home, and have somewhere it can call its own. Saying that, I worked with the dogs when they were young so that they would allow me to remove a bone, or their food on command, and to make sure that they knew I was pack leader. I've never had a problem, and we've a pile of happy dogs and happy children getting along just fine.

kblu Tue 20-Sep-11 09:26:57

I've been in a similar position. I have a 5 year old Lhasa Apso and a 3 year old son. When my LO was first walking I kept them apart to be honest by putting a stairgate between the dining room and living room because there are times where you turn your back for 2 seconds and accidents like the one you describe can happen, sometimes because the dog is being curious and your lo is making jerky movements with their hands or being excitable round them. Then the dog can snap a warning because he is nervous and doesn't understand- but it is only a warning, not a bite.
Now he's 3 it's fine. He knows not to wind the dog up and the dog to be honest is still nervous of him and generally keeps out of his way. It's all about teaching your child how to behave around the dog when he/she is old enough to understand. Obviously if you have a dog that really does bite and draws blood then that is another story altogether...

winnybella Tue 20-Sep-11 09:34:07

I agree with everyone.

My mother has a lovely dog, a Hovovart, so fairly large. We visited her summer before last and DD (then 1.6 yo) was very nice to her. No problems there. This summer, otoh, DD (despite us having cats and me drumming into her to be considerate with the animals and her being great with them) kept on bothering the dog. One time, she began hopping on her knees around the sleeping dog and making noises. The dog snapped at her- it looked really scary, she really went for her, but stopped short of biting her. Then few days later DD kicked the dog (shock). She got up and snapped at her again. We just made sure that DD was not bothering the dog anymore. I certainly wouldn't suggest that my mother gets rid of her.

I think you need to keep them separate and when your DD grows up and learns not to bother the dog, the likehood of anything like that hapening again will be zero imo.

LtEveDallas Tue 20-Sep-11 09:46:53

When DD was around 8 months old we had a lovely JRT X Corgi from rescue. The dog was approx 2 when we got her. Bloody dog was marvelous, pretty much taught DD to crawl and walk (used to let DD lean on her). Used to sleep under DD's cot and would appear in our bedroom seconds before DD started crying.

Despite the fact that this was a wonderful wonderful dog, she snapped at DD twice. Once when DD was about 12 months and fell off the sofa on top of (sleeping) her, and once when DD was about 20 months and tripped over (sleeping) her. We didn't consider rehoming her for a second. Both times Dog was woken up in shock and pain, and both times she automatically snapped. In fact, if it is possible for a dog to be ashamed of herself, she was, as both times she immediately took herself to her bed, before we'd even reacted.

God I miss her sad. She was the best dog ever, and as much as I love MuttDog, I miss my Jorgi!

I agree with the others that if you do re-home then finding your dog a forever home will be an issue - unless the rescue simply advertises as a dog that needs an adult home (Many Tears I believe are very good at wording this). If you don't rehome, perhaps re-train the dog to sleep somewhere that your DD cannot get to - under a table or the like. Our dog always had a fabric carrier/cage thing under the dining table to take herself to that DD was NOT allowed to go near. Dog needs training, but so does child.

coccyx Tue 20-Sep-11 09:51:45

Sloppy dog ownership. Why would you allow a child to chase and pull at a dog's tail, then be surprised when it reacts.
Need to stop the chasing and pulling and give dog somewhere it can go where it will be left alone!

fishie Tue 20-Sep-11 09:57:53

My previous dog died when I was pg with ds and I waited 5 long dogless years to get another just because of this, the hassle of toddlers and dogs.

Agree with all those who say poor dog. Ds had to learn not to torment our enormous puppy, there were certainly a few snarls and warning nips along the way. Dog did get really fed up once and squished ds against the wall, was very effective!

LilBB Tue 20-Sep-11 10:12:46

I think I would probably have the same initial reaction as you. I have a 9 year old staff and a 3 year old DD. She winds him up all the time but he's very docile and has never reacted. However I know, no matter how much I trust him, he has the potential to turn so we try to teach her he's not a toy. She's at an age where we can tell her to leave him alone so it is a bit easier. We have a gate between the living room and kitchen so they can see each other and interact but he can have some peace when shes getting a bit much. Could you go down this route and see how it goes?

pictish Tue 20-Sep-11 10:15:44

Our dog snapped at our dd when she was just beginning to toddle, and I rehomed him immediately.
I loved the dog very much, but the warning was sufficient for me....I knew I could never leave dog and children unsupervised again, and that if a more serious incident were to occur, I would have no-one to blame but myself for not heeding the warning.

That was my take on the situation when it happened here.

GooseyLoosey Tue 20-Sep-11 11:29:11

We had a dog who snapped at ds once. I began to feel uneasy about the dog but told myself not to over react. Then it snapped at dd. Unfortunately her face got caught in his jaws when he snapped. The guilt every time I look at dd's scars is almost overwhelming.

I do not advocate knee jerk reactions but only you know your dog and whether you genuinely fear this happening again and whether it is realistically possible to keep your children and dog apart at all times.

If you have any doubts, I would consider re-homing the dog. You would have to live with the guilt if anything happened to your child, not anyone else here. I agree that you need to do everything you can to safeguard the interests of the dog if you do re-home him though.

jensape Tue 20-Sep-11 22:01:44

I remember your original thread gooseyloosey, but I thought it was your son who had to have surgery according to yr post then? I hope the same thing didn't happen to yr dd. Op - I do think it would be very unfair to rehome the dog. Any dog could react out of shock if landed on or tail pulled suddenly. And it was only a scratch. I would wait a few days and then have a rethink.

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