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Should we rehome puppy?

(8 Posts)
MarsBars123 Sun 07-Oct-12 19:03:24

Our 6 month old puppy bit our friends 6 year old daughter today.

We were having a meal and gave him his food afterwards. She walked behind him while he was eating and he spun around and bit her, he didn't draw blood but her hand was red.

I am in total shock, he has never done anything like this before, should we rehome him straight away? I'm really confused.

VintageAxeWeldingPboredWarrior Sun 07-Oct-12 19:12:15

Contact your nearest rescue/rspca and ask them for advice on this and for a behaviourist who has worked with troubled dogs. Food aggression is serious. Do not rehome the puppy yourself, work with a rescue/rspca and if it is not tenable to keep the dog hand it over to them as they have the know how to deal with it.

WithoutCaution Sun 07-Oct-12 19:50:20

Are you sure that she didn't touch him/the bowl while he was eating?

Do you have the space to give him a temporary quite area where he can't be disturbed while eating - For when your have other children at your house?

Honestly I wouldn't rehome in that situation - He's a puppy and is still learning what is and isn't acceptable. It's very easy to teach a puppy that food guarding is not on. It is also very easy to teach children not to approach/disturb/mess with a dog or puppy while they are eating smile

If you do decide to rehome him try going though a breed rescue or via his breeders (any descent breeder will take back a puppy they bred at any age and find it a new home). Don't do a private rehome.

WithoutCaution Sun 07-Oct-12 19:51:16

smile should be smile blush

InvisibleHotPinkWeasel Sun 07-Oct-12 19:59:15

You say friends child? Did you have a houseful? 6 months is still very young. Sounds like a warning rather than food aggression in the classic sense? Although obviously you are in a better situation to judge.

She may have simply been over stimulated, tired and hungry.

Lionsntigersnbears Sun 07-Oct-12 21:46:29

6 months is a baby, he's just learning. But before you do anything else, talk to your vet. Any out of character biting can be caused by pain, and dogs will often be very stoic in not showing pain, but get snappish under pressure. Get your vet to check him over.

I wouldn't see rehoming as your only, or even your first option here. Perhaps consult a behaviourist if the vet rules out a physical problem but to be honest I'd try to work on getting him more relaxed about food. You know, sit close but not staring at him when he's eating, when he's comfortable with you being near his bowl, move it a bit and then add a really awesome treat like cooked chicken or liver, so he learns that human + interaction with his food bowl doesn't necessarily mean a threat.

However, I would be very cautious with letting your friends' DD be with him until you're clearer on what happened. I can easily see a young pup taking the line that a visiting child is beneath him in the 'pack' hierarchy and therefore should show deference - i.e. not 'challenge' him for food as he (mis)read the situation. If this is the case, he'd unlikely to change his view in a hurry. You don't say what breed you've got, or whether you have DCs living in the house, but this could make a difference.

procrastinor Sun 07-Oct-12 23:29:37

mars my experience with dogs is limited but I don't think I understand. He is a puppy - he's still learning about what is and isn't appropriate and this just shows that you need to teach him about food behaviour.

Rejoining is a drastic step and one that should only be taken as a last resort. Perhaps get a behaviouralist involved or talk to the puppy trainers?

pongysticks Mon 08-Oct-12 20:06:11

I wouldn't rehome - I have two big grown up dogs but I always tell my two DS stay away when they are eating, give them space, they are hungry and munching away and if someone pats them it disturbs them, I know mine wouldn't snap or bite but they are big boys now - I think actually your pup was just displaying normal behaviour - he just needs to be shown and trained not to snap.

Where you in the room when it happened? did the girl put her hand in the bowl??

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