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Dog has nipped baby twice. Looking for perspective/similar stories.

(30 Posts)
stopgap Thu 27-Sep-12 03:13:19

My son is thirteen months, and I have two dogs, one a nine-year-old small female that is blind in one eye. Thus far she has been okay around my son, a little nervy, but quite manageable. She is sweet, but she definitely has a terrier edginess to her. She paces a lot when my son crawls by, and any whoops of enthusiasm I give my son to encourage walking, she comes dashing over, as if both agitated and excited by proceedings.

I have supervised like a hawk, and don't allow my son to touch the dogs, except when they're calm. Next step is a baby gate and a behaviourist, but I'm looking for similar tales, ideally ones with hopeful outcomes. If anything escalates, my SIL--childless, lives in a quiet area, has a dog that gets along with mine--has offered to take ours on.

My dog get two hours of walking a day, plenty of attention throughout the day, etc.

differentnameforthis Thu 27-Sep-12 03:53:21

What are the circumstances in which she has bitten him?

McPhee Thu 27-Sep-12 04:16:42

Get rid

Is it worth risking your son

I think not

armedtotheteeth Thu 27-Sep-12 04:57:09

"if anything escalates"?

Whether you keep the dog or not, you really can't let things escalate in any way -keep them apart!

geisha Thu 27-Sep-12 05:52:25

Not a risk worth taking. Dog needs to be rehomed. Great that you have someone willing to help and you know it will be going to a loving, dog friendly home. You would never forgive yourself if something worse happened to your baby and it's also not fair on the dog if it hasn't easily gotten used to having baby around.

First of all, the dog I believe has never bitten the child, is that right?

Well done for not immediatley jumping to the "put the dog to sleep/rehome straight away as some people have suggested and instead think rationally about behaviour training and baby gates.

You are doing the absolute right thing by not allowing the DCs to touch the dog and making sure dog and baby are not unsupervised.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who think that as soon as a baby comes along it is time to get rid of the dog, as you can see by the replies above but I'm glad you are not one of them.

It is probably very unsettling at the moment for the older dog, having a toddler running about, lots of noise etc.
But you are you correct in keeping them seperate and working with a behaviorist will help.

Does the dog have a "safe place" in the house, where he knows no one will disturb him?

caboodles Thu 27-Sep-12 06:32:17

I have 2 stories for you, one hopeful, one less so:

My DM tells me, when I was a new baby there was one particular night when I could not stop crying, there was nothing she could do to calm me. Eventually the dog ran out of patience and growled at me. My mums response was primal and she freaked out, screamed at and beat the dog (I'd like to add she never hurt an animal before or since). The dog never did anything like it again, and always treated me as it's superior in the pack - even as a toddler when I'm sorry to say I used to take her half-eaten food bowl out from under her nose, to 'help tidy up'. I'm not advocating beating your dog - but it's a true story of a scenario that worked.

Our friends had a dog that was excitable and used to 'nip' playfully, until one day (unprovoked) it actually chomped on their daughter's leg properly. The dog had to be put down. So I think if you want to prevent your dog from accidentally getting itself into that awful situation, you need to remove it from the equation. It's as much for the dog's own good as it is your DC's.

In my opinion once any kind of bite is involved, it's already too late and the dog goes.

caboodles Thu 27-Sep-12 06:34:52

Tantrums, the dog has 'nipped' the child twice

Well I have had 4 rescue dogs, all treated very badly.
I've been bitten, actually bitten by 3 of them.

I did not get rid of my dogs. I still have 2 of them. They have never bitten anyone since.

And please, all this leader of the pack stuff is nonsense.

There's a difference between nipping and biting.

sassytheFIRST Thu 27-Sep-12 06:38:32

Er - stop looking for similar stories and start looking for a new home for it.

poachedeggs Thu 27-Sep-12 06:39:00

Right, I'm with Tantrums on the non-hysterical stuff. BUT if your child is never allowed to touch the dog, exactly what were the circumstances of the 'nips'?

LtEveDallas Thu 27-Sep-12 06:40:52

Without knowing the circumstances of the 'nip' it's hard to advise. What was the dog doing? What was the child doing? Had the dog given a warning?

Have you had the dog vet checked in case it is ill or in pain?

Glad to see you aren't knee-jerking here.

When I first had DD we rescued a gorgeous JRT X. She was amazing with DD, but snapped at her twice, and growled once. Each of these times it was DD that was at fault and we didn't punish the dog for it. The two snapping incidents were when DD had hurt the sleeping dog (fell on her) and the growling was when DD bothered the dog in her safe place.

The dog was DDs best friend for years - you couldn't ask for a better pal, but friends of mine were horrified that I didn't 'get rid of the dangerous dog' after the first incident.

Like I said, you need to think about the circumstances and what was 'wrong' before you decide

OP tbh you aren't going to get any sensible advice. As soon as someone hears the word growl or nip their first and only reaction is "get rid of the dog"
How many people saying this are dog owners themselves I don't know.

But it's not helpful.

Can I just suggest you would get more impartial, sensible advice from a vet and a behaviorist who won't be as hysterical.

PM me if you want to know anything else, as I have had nippy dogs and DCs

doublemocha Thu 27-Sep-12 09:29:29

Blimey - what a reaction!

I agree, you need to speak to a behaviorist and explain the full circumstances of the incidents first.

I hope you find a solution that works for you and your family.

BushyFandango Thu 27-Sep-12 09:34:01

Ds2 was nipped by our dog when he was 7 months old.
He had crawled onto the sleeping dog (I turned my back for a couple of seconds, ds was a very fast crawler)
I spoke to the vet, who pointed out this was entirely my fault, and to put the dog bed out of crawly baby's way, and not to let the baby (or any child) approach a dog unless it is aware and comfortable with the situation.
Ds2 is now 7, the dog is 13, and has never bitten/nipped again.

In your situation, it depends entirely on the circumstances as to what you should do.

RikersBeard Thu 27-Sep-12 09:44:52

When we were little my mum had a westie, nervous rescue dog who was maltreated and only ever really relaxed and comfortable with mum handling her. Don't think behaviourists were around then. Dog had a safe place, basket in utility room, and when we were tiny there was always close supervision. I do remember being given a warning nip or growl (and yes there is a difference between a dog warning in this way and them actually biting). We were taught (once old enough) not to upset or bother the dog, and if she growled to stop whatever you were doing to her as she didn't like it. And it was fine. I apply the same rules to my cat, who will also nip or scratch if bothered, they are animals not toys and deserve to be treated with some respect.

Cuebill Thu 27-Sep-12 09:52:39

Please don't look for advice on here. This thread will turn into a bun fight and help noone. You will get emotional posts from people who have not got a clue about dog behaviour.

Contact a behaviourist who can see what is going on in RL and give your sensible educated advice. PM me if you want details of qualified behaviourists in your area.

A blind dog and a child will need some special care.

Hides thread

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 27-Sep-12 10:16:06

What Cuebill said.

Unfortunately, no matter where you post on MN now for advise on managing nervous dogs with children the thread is always invaded by hysterical pearl clutchers screeching "Won't someone think of the children"

This situation will be manageable with the right help.

We have a puppy who was returned to the pound for "snapping" at a child. I have two children, with the right rules in place and good parental supervision we have had no incidences.

I'd also echo Tantrums on making sure that the dog has a safe space to retreat to.

Well done on dealing with this calmly OP. I am sure you will do just fine in the end smile

PM any non hysterical poster if you need any hand holding or further advise. Most regular doghouse posters are luverly. These threads bring our the regular doghouse pearl clutchers - ignore those people.

<sits back and waits for 'when I was little the family dog ate me, vomited me back up and ate me all over again' stories'>

caboodles Thu 27-Sep-12 10:59:32

<<clutches pearls and pours herself another cup of earl grey, puts feet up on the stuffed dog pouffe>>

Bizlizmum Thu 27-Sep-12 12:22:45

Your dog has been the centre of your attention for years, then all of a sudden a baby comes along and it is cast out and the baby is the focus of attention... of course the dog is going to be jealous... make sure the dog has a separate room that it can go to away from everything, but more importantly make sure that the dog knows that it is still wanted and is still a big focus of your attention... it sounds like the dog has become insecure and just wants reassurance...i would suggest working with a dog behaviourist, give it some time and if the dog is still not happy with the situation then look at re-homing as a last resort.

stopgap Thu 27-Sep-12 14:32:51

Both times she nipped when they were about five feet apart. The first time he was stood banging a cabinet and she dashed in and nipped his nose; the second time he was banging a toy spoon on the ground. I should have recognised her pacing and removed her immediately, but I was too slow. She gave a quick growl and nipped on the chin. I don't allow my son to touch the dogs unless he is sitting on my knee (dog is great doing this) or leashed and ready for a walk (again, calm). The problem seems to arise when my son is mobile/loud and the dog seems to correct him.

Overall she is an extremely sweet dog and was raised alongside my nephews (now 9 and 6), with zero problems. We live in a big city and she has been petted by umpteen kids over the years.

We had a full medical done, including checks of her good eye, bloods, a urine sample and manipulation of joints, all fine. Aside from the blindness in one eye, caused by an accident, she is a lively, fit dog for her age.

Baby gate goes up today and we're working on scheduling an appointment with a behaviourist.

Just wanted to say you are doing exactly the right things IMHO and I'm glad you haven't let any of the horror stories put you off!

Good luck.

beancurd Thu 27-Sep-12 14:56:44

It's sortable, you keep them separate unless you are actively able to manage their interaction.

A nip, even a bite is no big problem if you see why it happened and can prevent the situation repeating.

Easy to expect too much from kids and dogs. Mine have all been nipped by dogs that have gone on to be great pets. I have a huge bite scar from a rescue that is the sweetest family member (now).

See a good real life Behaviourist, go from there.

LittleWhiteWolf Thu 27-Sep-12 15:44:09

It sounds like you have everything under control OP smile

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