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My dog tried to bite someone :-(

(75 Posts)
superlambanana Tue 11-Feb-14 19:30:33

I am SO upset. I absolutely adore my rescue Rottie. She has been a bit of a handful as she is scared of strangers and has backed away from them and given warning snaps (in the air) so we've tried positive reinforcement (getting visitors to give her treats), making sure she's not crowded or put into situations where she's nervous, (eg not leaning over her) and not letting others stroke her until she knows them well. We've also started using a Halti to stop her pulling on the lead.

Today DH was bringing her up the path and she apparently just went for the builder and got his trouser leg. She always barks her head off at people coming up the path and this seems to have got a bit worse recently but she has never, ever gone for anyone. DH had her on a short lead.

We are going to muzzle her every time we take her out but I'm just gutted. We can't afford behaviourist sessions, which would otherwise be my next step. We have a baby on the way in June sad I love my dog to bits and just want to sort it out. Does anyone have any advice? She is six and we've had her 18months.

hercules1 Tue 11-Feb-14 19:36:43

You can't afford a behaviourist? You need to pass her on to someone who can. Owning a large dog is a massive responsibility and it sounds like you are in way over your head and it would be wrong to keep the dog.

hercules1 Tue 11-Feb-14 19:38:02

Can you physically hold her when she goes for someone next? Thank fuck it wasn't a child.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Tue 11-Feb-14 19:39:03

So you will muzzle the dog whilst out - what about at home with your newborn baby?

TheGreatHunt Tue 11-Feb-14 19:39:14

Sorry but you have a dog that notes, a rescue dog and you will be having a kid?

Fucking hell.

TheGreatHunt Tue 11-Feb-14 19:39:25


Aked Tue 11-Feb-14 19:47:00

I think a behaviourist is the only possible way of sorting this out OP. Yes a muzzle outside will prevent her biting anyone else, but I would also be worried about having a new baby, and then toddler in the house with her if she has these issues without at least getting some professional advice beforehand.

Hope you can find a way, as it sounds like you love her a lot smile

MomentForLife Tue 11-Feb-14 19:51:47

She's nervous if strangers...the baby will be a stranger. Sorry OP but if you had a child at the time you rehomed her, the rescue centre would not have let you have her.

MomentForLife Tue 11-Feb-14 19:52:09


lougle Tue 11-Feb-14 19:55:11

Do you have insurance, OP? Many insurance plans will cover behaviourists.

superlambanana Tue 11-Feb-14 19:58:58

We would have been able to afford a behaviourist up til now but our finances have taken a sudden and rather dramatic hit. The dog has never bitten anyone, nor tried before, or shown any innate aggression until recently in the situations I've described, and didn't display any trace of any issues like this at the rescue centre or for the first few months of us having her.

I am not somebody who has taken on a dog without any idea of the responsibilities. I took her to training when we first had her, did breed research before committing to her, weighed up all the costs, look after her well, and yes, I can hold her on her lead. This has come as a shock and I would far rather sort out the problem than take her to a rescue centre where she'll probably either stay for ages or be put down. Obviously the baby will come first and we've already made plans for how too deal with it. She has, incidentally, spent time around our friend's baby (always supervised, and we don't let her near, only in the same room) and been absolutely fine.

superlambanana Tue 11-Feb-14 20:01:33

Good point lougle, thanks. Incidentally she is absolutely fine with people when they're in the house and will quite happily fuss round them and then settle down - she just doesn't like being touched by them. I think she thought the builder was an intruder.

SimLondon Tue 11-Feb-14 20:01:34

im sorry but i don't think you can have this particular dog in the house with a baby - look at todays news. I think you should contact the rescue society and see if they can take her back.

As far as behaviourists go, then find a college or university that train animal behaviourists and see if you can get a student out to help - i did that once with a rescue collie.

MomentForLife Tue 11-Feb-14 20:10:08

It's horrible because you love the dog, but the fact that this has come out of the blue is why this dog isn't right for you now. You cannot have an unpredictable dog around a baby.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 11-Feb-14 20:11:03

What sort of help might the rescue be able to offer in the form of behavioural advice?

Otherwise, I appreciate your predicament with finances, but with a baby on the way and the fact that your dog has escalated past warning to actually attacking people, you really cannot afford NOT to get specialist help

needastrongone Tue 11-Feb-14 20:25:56

If the insurance can't help and the rescue unable to either, why not try dogstrust, who have behaviourists too?

OP, there's also a Facebook group, called dog training advice and support. It's run by Sally Bradbury, a respected canine trainer and expert, she only practices positive methods. If you join the group and ask a question, they will give you lots of support and advice.

I am afraid that on here, you will be told to rehome your dog and the thread will descend into a fight. It doesn't need to, and you clearly love your dog and are committed to her too. Please ask the Facebook group for advice.

I wouldn't be rehoming until I knew that I had exhausted every single option either.

Good luck x

needastrongone Tue 11-Feb-14 20:27:01

Ps I do think the situation needs to be urgently sorted though, so good luck.

Scuttlebutter Tue 11-Feb-14 20:30:56

If you adopted from a reputable resuce (not a pound) they will provide lifelong advice, backup and behavioural support. Please contact them in confidence, tell them what you've told us, and ask for help. A good rescue won't charge you a penny for this (sadly, bad rescues do) and will provide help, support and advice, often from a qualified, expert behaviourist.

One of the many advantages of getting a dog from a rescue is this kind of support. If you are committed and willing to work with the dog, it is still possible for her to come round. If, after trying, you are still not happy, at least the rescue will be fully aware of the situation, and will be able to ensure the dog is rehomed to a more suitable placement. For instance, as a child free couple, and with very few DC visiting, we have taken on several dogs that wouldn't cope well with small DC, and one who is particularly nervous of strange men. Because we know about it, we work around it, manage it very carefully - we have decorators in while we are away on holiday for example, so there is no dog/tradesman interaction, and I'm not fretting about doors being left open.

The one thing you can't do though is nothing - especially with a baby on the way, which is going to lead to a big increase in the number of visitors you have in the house, both family/friends and health professionals etc.

Good luck.

hercules1 Tue 11-Feb-14 20:40:15

When you say fussing round people what exactly do you mean? It sounds like you've missed a lot of signs hence surprised by her going too bite. You are out of your depth with a baby on the way and a dog that needs walking in public.

nuttymutty1 Tue 11-Feb-14 20:52:03

Agree with getting advice from Sally.

But how many threads will there be on here of a dog showing aggression when there is a baby on the way. It is just so common.

You HAVE to afford a behaviourist to assess the problem. Sally can recommend one. You need a qualified professional (not random panicky unqualified Mumnetters) to give you RL and on the ground advice.

They can tell you the risks and the triggers and then you can decide if that is something you can manage. Dogs will have been giving warning signs for a long time which you have missed and a qualified behaviourist will be able to show you these and the way forward.

tabulahrasa Tue 11-Feb-14 20:57:27

Lots of rescues have behaviourists...most behaviourists offer a discount for rescue dogs as well.

Having her muzzled will give you peace of mind in the short-term, but, it won't deal with the problem and it won't stop it getting worse.

You could also try contacting a rottie rescue for help as they're experienced with working with them.

Personally I think it's an escalation of her existing behaviour, but, if you think it's new - then she needs a full vet check as well to rule out any medical causes.

MomentForLife Tue 11-Feb-14 21:00:40

From my experience,Rotties can be difficult to read. I'm sure I have read that as well.

This is not people just being panicky. You cannot get away from the fact that with this dog, if OP already had a baby, rescue would have probably said no children.

MomentForLife Tue 11-Feb-14 21:02:02

And it's worth remembering that rescue dogs sometimes have a 'honeymoon period'

5OBalesofHay Tue 11-Feb-14 21:07:22

I would put it down. Not worth the risk to anyone.

WeeClype Tue 11-Feb-14 21:12:54

Superlamb, I know exactly where you're coming from...I have 2 German Shepherds, one is exactly Iike your dog, hates strangers and won't allow anyone to touch her! She loves who she knows and will not take to anyone she doesn't.

Funnily enough I have 4 kids, 2 older but a 1yr old and a newborn. I've had mine since pups tho, I'm not sure id allow a toddler to be around a rescue dog that has snapped before.

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