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My dog has bitten again. Advice please.(116 Posts)
Please don't judge, I am not an experienced dog owner and have probably made several mistakes but want to do the best for my dog and my family.
I have a 2yr old JRT/German Sheppherd X. He is very smart, loyal but a real live wire. A year ago, he got out and when he came back my mother held his color to bring him inside but he bit her hand. It was a deep bite but we put it down to him being young and wanting to be out. I did take him to the vets and had him checked over. There were no physical reasons for his aggression and the vet said he was just young and asserting himself. We have been quite wary ever since and he is strong willed, posessive and gives warning growls. He also doesn't like a lot of fussing which my children know.
Last night my DS had a friend stop over. I shut the dog in the kitchen (where he always sleeps) and took my younger children up to bed. Shortly after I heard a snarl and a scream. The boys had gone to get a drink and the friend had put his face to the open crate door to fuss the dog (my dog does know the boy). Sorry if I'm rambling but my dog bit the boy's cheek. He then lay back down as if nothing had happened. I have reported all this and no further action has been taken, however I'm left with a dog that I cannot trust or keep.
I don't know what to do next. Is it possible to rehome a dog like this? Where would I even start? I honestly feel he would make a loyal pet to someone more experienced and confident and without children. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. TIA
You can't keep this dog. What did the boy's parent say. If this had happened while my child was at a playdate I was would be livid.
You know exactly what you should do - this dog is dangerous, no question.
He's clearly unpredictable and therefore not suitable for rehoming.
If I was the child's mother I'd be absolutely furious, you're being very irresponsible.
If the parents report it to the police then you won't have any option.
Your dog hit a visiting child on the face and you are not sure what to do???
Firstly I expect the parent will report your dog to the police. Secondly you have children? Why is the dog not leaving the house now today?
You list lots of traits that I as a non dog owner would think were things that should have been trained out of him as a pup eg posessiveness and " strong will" - or is this not possible?
The child was clearly in the dogs " territory" but this still isn't ok.
I'm sorry but your dog needs to be put to sleep
I hope the boy who was bitten is ok. What an awful thing to happen.
On his face? Oh god. I think you have no other choice. I'm sorry.
The boy shouldn't of been putting his face up to the create imo.
My ds once got bit on his face by my now exs dog. He was pretending to be a shark and jumped on him and the dog nipped him. We put an add on Gumtree explaining the situation and that he really can't be around small dc. A lovely lady with a huge house in the country came and got him and sent emails for a few years with pictures and updates. She didn't have any dc or dgc and was hugely experienced with dogs.
The boy shouldn't of been putting his face up to the create imo
No, the dog shouldn't bite, but you have to take full responsibility for the situation - the dog's crate is his safe space, and the children should respect that, poor dog
Everyone is voicing my own thoughts, just hoped there might be another option. Of course this is bad and as a mum of 3 I too would feel 'livid'. I'm not excusing my dog but he is just a dog and I'm sure in experienced hands he would thrive. Obviously we can't keep him. He is safely crated up at the moment and I am just exploring any other options (if there are any). I don't feel putting an animal to sleep is something to take lightly and thought I may get some useful advice here. BrandNewAndImproved a lovely ending to your dog's story I hope there are other people like that out there.
I think you know that the dog needs to go. He's proved himself to be unpredictable, and has bitten.
I'd speak to your vet, see what they say, and also rehoming centres. I'd look at rehoming before getting the dog pts personally. There may be a suitable home out there for him.
Oh just to add to my post.
It was my fault my ds got bit, I was there in the room when he jumped on the dog but the dog should have never been put in the situation of having a sturdy 2/3 year old launch himself.
The same as your dog who should have never been put in a situation where a strange child was in his face. It was your fault the dog bit the boy not the dogs. I would rehome if I was you like I did.
I'd contact a local rescue and hope they could help. But if not, I think I'd pts. The dog is clearly unhappy, unpredictable and things won't improve if everything stays the same. Your dog sounds stressed and fearful, and if he was in his crate he should have been left alone. Your home is not right for this dog.
Thanks and yes I do take responsibility. So where to start looking into rehoming? vets, RSPCA?
That would have been quite an aggressive act towards your dog from the dogs point of view so there is vindication for his actions that would make me say that if you can rehome him, then do so rather than PTS which would have been my suggestion if the bite had been unprovoked.
The problem is that most rescues wont take on dogs that have bitten. We had a dog that bit our DD that was from battersea and they said that if we returned him, he would be pts. I did try and set about rehoming but it turned out he bit because he had bone cancer and DD had accidentally trodden on his foot - must have been agony poor thing. So we had to lose him anyway.
I don't think you can keep your dog - GSD and JRTs are both quite highly strung dogs at the best of times (i imagine he looks a picture!) and he clearly isn't happy around the children.
Please don't advertise your dog on gumtree - most people are genuine but you get all sorts scouring gumtree and will use dogs for fighting etc, so the fact that your dog has already shown aggression would make him a prime target.
I hope the little boy that he bit is ok and not to traumatised, will be a hard lesson to leave dogs alone when they are asleep in their crate.
I would contact your local vet and ask for rescues that they recommend. Dogs trust wont take him, Battersea will PTS so you might have to use a specialised rescue and your vets may have contact details.
Realistically this may well still have a sad ending and you'll have to PTS but in the meantime i wouldnt have any other child visitors to your house.
Agreed Giss I don't think he is unhappy though. He is loved and cared for but just too active and dominant. I know now we're not the right family for him, he needs someone who knows dogs much better
Thanks TheOriginal Just the sort of honest info I needed, if very sad
2 things jump out here:
1) Your mum was holding the dog's collar, a big no no. Lots of dogs do not like this, I know several dogs who don't wear collars in the house to remove the temptation because they are defensive when grabbed by the collar.
2) The boy his face right up to the dog and invaded the dog's safe space: Another big no no, dogs see eye to eye contact as a threat, it's hardwired into them to see it this way, although they can be desensitised to this via counter conditioning. Never, ever, ever approach a dog's crate. Ever. This is rule number one of dog owning.
PTS is ott. The dog is just being a dog, both incidents were brought about by poor handling.
Get an APDT trainer in to teach you how to properly handle your dog or get him rehomed. Try Big GSD forum, they should know of rescues that will take him. Expect to be given some shit for the shoddy way you've allowed your dog be treat and suck it up with good grace and you'll get all of the advise you need for breed experts.
This is not a dangerous dog, this a poorly handled dog defending himself from threatening behaviours. Not the dogs fault.
Please try and rehome him. A bite on the face is not good, but your dog was provoked; this is not necessarily a dangerous dog in the right home.
How much damage was done? Our Lurcher snapped at my daughter when she tried to drag her head out of the rubbish bin ( DD was showing off in front of friend, she knows she isn't supposed to interfere when it came to the dogs and food) and our dog just grazed her cheek.
I am sure she didn't mean to cause damage, just give a warning, but got the timing wrong and touched the skin instead.
We kept the dog and had no more problems because the kids respected her space and meals. There is a difference between accidental damage from a warning and a deliberate bite.
LEM speaks sense. I know your dog isn't one but blackretrieverx rescue have an excellent reputation. Perhaps they could advise.
Most rescues won't take him on with a bite history...but it might be worth contacting breed specific ones, they will take crosses and are often more willing to work with problem behaviours.
Sorry, but your vet has let you down quite badly, they should have referred you to a behaviourist and you could have been working with them instead of just sending you home to wait until a worse incident happened.
Realistically, yes, I think your options are to either find a rescue who will take him on or have him PTS.
Both incidents were defensive bites and not aggression.
Just as an aside, dogs don't dominate humans. Why Won't Dominance Die
Not the dog's fault or the child's fault - but it's like putting a fox in with a chicken. Why on earth was the crate door open and the child not warned?
I'm sorry, you have fucked up here and I expect you feel crap about it already - it could have been prevented but it sounds like that would be too much hard work to do, so it is probably best to rehome the poor dog.
He doesn't sound compatible with your life style.
I hope you can find him a home.
Several of the smaller local rescue centres have a 'nothing healthy pts' policy. It may be worth trying to find one of them - try Yellow Pages or google.
I really feel for you - my dog is quite well trained but I always live in fear of something like this happening as he gets very excited when playing with children.
I tripped and fell onto a relatives dog when I was about 3. Broke the dogs ribs and got bitten on the face. I was very lucky, it was a fraction of a cm away from my eye. My parents didn't consider it the dogs fault or the relatives. It was an otherwise unaggressive normal dog lying there minding its own business when I happened along and hurt it. It also wasn't my fault, just an accident. The dog wasn't put to sleep.
On the other side, we had a dog about 3 years ago now. A shar pei which we bought as a puppy. We started to notice that he was developing characteristics not classic with the breed. Then he started to be very aggressive. We were afraid of him in the end. He (like your dog) was kept in the kitchen away from guests etc. It wasn't fair to him but we thought we could get past his behaviour issues. The straw that brokwthe camels back was when He bit my mum twice, the second time drawing blood. I knew I couldn't keep him.
The vet advised us to have him put down. She ran some tests on him and concluded that she thought he might have been a dangerous dog. We had the breeder reported.
The thing is op, you know that your dog can be aggressive. Thats the problem. You know and have not kept this child safe from him. You need to be real about it. Even rehoming him might be a long shot. I couldn't have lived with myself if I thought my dog was rehomed and had bitten again, perhaps worse than the other times.
"I'm sorry, you have fucked up here and I expect you feel crap about it already - it could have been prevented but it sounds like that would be too much hard work to do, so it is probably best to rehome the poor dog."
That's unfair given that they did seek professional advice after the first incident - they were given terrible advice, but that isn't their fault.
Living with a dog with behavioural issues (and while yes, the dog isn't at fault, a dog that will bite a known person deeply does have an issue) is hard, it's really really hard work to constantly manage a dog's environment and interactions while working on training those issues as well and everyone has the right to say, actually this isn't going to work...especially when you add children into the mix and an injured child who is by the sounds of it a frequent visitor and also will have a justifiably upset family.
It's a lot to take on.