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I don't know what to do!

(48 Posts)
Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 18:05:12

I have an 11 year old lab who has been a bit of a struggle throughout his whole life, barking with the doorbell etc. When he was a young dog, he'd always jump up, and despite much training etc he has never been a dog you can feel relaxed with, however he has never bitten anyone. I suspect it is our fault, before anyone flames me. He is now very elderly, has bad legs and life seems a bit of a struggle, but his behaviour has definitely mellowed in the last 5 years,
Today everything has just gone belly up. I was out walking, lovely sunny day. Dog was on lead as always, I never let him off as I would be nervous he might do something. A small child of about 7 was cycling by, and he got off his bike, ran to the dog and started putting his hands on the dog's face. For the first time in his life, the dog bit, and drew blood.
The child got on his bike and cycled off as fast as he could, with me in a right state.
I have no idea what to do. I don't live in the UK any longer, not that I'd know what to do there either. This is absolutely the end of me.

I have ordered a muzzle, but I don't think its enough. What do I do ?

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 18:15:48

I have NC for this, as I don't want it to out me.

Lollylovesbones Thu 26-May-16 18:23:47

How is his eye sight? I would take dog to the vet. My old lab started nipping if someone approached suddenly and it turned out she was losing her sight. Another friend's dog bit her owner and drew blood but it turned out that the dog was ill and in a lot of pain. I think the muzzle is a must for the time being though.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 18:26:43

Thank you very much lolly, I will take him to the vet tomorrow. Is this not a putdown able offence ?
I am absolutely distraught. This poor child will have cycled home to his mum , and if I was the mum I'd be outraged.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 18:27:22

I have to say, he is also deaf. I haven't noticed his eyesight being a problem yet.

Smurfling43 Thu 26-May-16 18:30:04

flowers foy you, it must have been a hell of a shock. Muzzle is a good idea , and a trip to the vets to rule out dog being in pain/ eyesight problems.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 18:39:31

Thank you, Smurfling. I could cry! There must be something up with him, he is woofing and there's nobody at the door. But it doesn't excuse it.

pigsDOfly Thu 26-May-16 19:11:31

Muzzle sound like a good idea and I'd definitely get him checked out at the vet in case he's in pain.

If he's woofing at nothing it does sound as if he's a bit confused. Might be worth asking the vet about that as well.

Unless you know the child there's not really much you can do about him and he was clearly not hurt enough not to get on his bike and ride off. As harsh as it sounds, he shouldn't have grabbed a strange dog. Had your dog been an aggressive or particularly reactive dog, the child could have been very badly hurt.

I imagine your poor old dog was probably taken completely by surprise and just reacted. Unfortunately, some children don't realize that this is not the way to greet a strange dog and these things can happen so quickly.

I was out with my dog once and for some reason I had picked her up - she's a small dog, obviously - and suddenly a little girl rushed up to us, slung her arms round my dog's neck and hugged her tightly. Fortunately, my dog didn't react in any way, but had she been in pain or confused or just been a bit shocked by the child she could have bitten too.

Please don't beat yourself up over this. It must have been as much of a shock for you as it was for the boy.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 19:20:15

Thank you very much, pigsDO, you have made me feel so much better. Vet sorted for tomorrow.

2plus1 Thu 26-May-16 20:20:48

Our labrador had painful arthritis at that age and dementia too. We had to make sure the children were really gentle and not pull her about. Whilst it is a shocking thing that happened, the child pushed all the boundaries in the way he approached your dog. If a stranger came and did this to us we would probably tell them in a rather unkind tone to 'get off'. Dogs feeling threatened will do the same. Why people think this is an appropriate way to greet dogs is beyond me! A trip to the vets would give you an idea of the geriatric nature of the situation.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 22:24:39

Thank you 2plus1. I'm all over the place tonight. But I will take him to the vets now and see the extent of his problems. I know he is deaf and has problems with his back legs/hips but despite all his over exuberance over the years and his distrust of people ringing the doorbell, he has never shown real aggression before, especially with children ( we had four ranging from 6 to 12 when he was a puppy)
I feel so stupid to not have reacted quickly enough, and really sad that he hurt a child, and I don't know where the child is so I can apologise and pay or whatever properly.

stonecircle Thu 26-May-16 22:41:41

WHAT???! Small child rushes up to dog, puts his hands on the dog's face, dog bites and he needs to be muzzled???!

FGS - if a child did that to me I'd react badly too. I'm quite sure if a child did that to one of my labs he'd bite or nip. The onus is on parents to teach their children NEVER to do that to a dog and on the owner to step in and make sure that if they see a small child approaching their dog they tell it to stop.

One of my labs snapped at my young nephew and drew a small amount of blood. Dogs were in my sister's care for a couple of hours and I'd reminded her one could be snappy if provoked. Nephew decided to lie on top of dog and pull his ears. Dog's fault? No.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 22:54:56

Stone circle, thank you. smile

It's to my eternal regret I didn't jump in quickly enough to prevent. I should have done, I should have realised the situation was wrong. I had headphones in, so was listening to music , and was taken a little bit by surprise. I saw the boy, pulled the dog on a tight reign when he approached, but just didn't understand what the boy was doing quickly enough. Although I would never in a million years have thought the dog would have bitten. Still no excuse.
Gutted at the whole thing tbh.

Theworstpetowner Thu 26-May-16 22:55:42

The child was unaccompanied as well, no parents to be seen anywhere.

villainousbroodmare Thu 26-May-16 23:02:46

That was really unfortunate. Poor child.
Vet check and muzzle when walking on that dog for sure.

Iknownuffink Thu 26-May-16 23:04:20

FFS a child runs up and touches a strange dog, dog reacts.

Your dog was not at fault the small human was.
Nor were you.

As said up thread, parents have a responsibility to teach their children not to approach strange dogs.

SeemsLegit Thu 26-May-16 23:04:35

The kid had no business touching your dog. And I think him being deaf, potentially short sighted and potentially having niggling pain from his arthritis actually does excuse him when a kid puts his hands on the dog like that

stonecircle Thu 26-May-16 23:12:36

I think you're beating yourself up unnecessarily op. At least the child has learnt not to push himself in the face of a dog! It sounds like there won't be any comeback given the absence of a responsible adult and you have been alerted to the fact that your dog may need a check up by the vet.

Just think about it - if you were getting on a bit, feeling a bit achey, short sighted etc,strolling along minding your own business and another creature about your size rushed at you and started holding your face - what would you do? I'd push them away fairly aggressively as a minimum and I might hit them if I was really startled. That's the doggy equivalent of a bite.

My kids are almost grown up and I've told them from a very early age that they should treat animals with respect and approach all dogs with caution and respect.

stonecircle Thu 26-May-16 23:15:37

And no no no 'muzzle for sure' hmm

nmg85 Thu 26-May-16 23:22:42

Although you feel guilty this really wasn't your fault. The child should never just run up and start touching a dog, to be honest they were lucky to just get a nip. Don't agree with the dog needing a muzzle in this case, if it had randomly gone up to the child then yes but not for being scared when someone invades his space.

Theworstpetowner Fri 27-May-16 06:38:23

Thank you everyone, I was so down yesterday. I'm not hopeful at his age he will let me muzzle him anyway. But it is ordered. At least if he will wear it, then possible people will know not to approach him. I guess thinking back on it, the child was eyeball to eyeball with him, and he's not used to that, he might have felt threatened as well as afraid.
That's the thing with dogs, they are unpredictable.

Rubberduckies Fri 27-May-16 07:46:41

It wasn't that unpredictable. Pretty reasonable response to an unaccompanied child running toward and old deaf man and grabbing his face....

Twooter Fri 27-May-16 07:53:08

Have you ordered the basket type muzzle rather than the black material muzzle? The basket ones should be used as they allow te dog to pant whereas the black material ones are only good for short periods.

stonecircle Fri 27-May-16 07:54:16

Please don't make him wear a muzzle op - I don't believe there's any need at all. How awful to have got to his age without incident and then after this one occasion where he reacted in an unfortunate but understandable way have to wear a muzzle.

Please don't do that to him - especially when his sight and hearing will be failing. Poor old boy - let him enjoy his walks.

But do be vigilant for small children grabbing him!

Theworstpetowner Fri 27-May-16 08:04:25

Thanks, I know, I feel sorry for him, but oh so depressed as well. I ordered a material one, I'm not sure whether I will even get it on him, if it is no good, or he can't pant/drink with it on, I won't use it. I guess it was a knee-jerk reaction tbh because I needed to do something.

He is a poor old man, his back legs have been rubbish for a while, actually most of his life,but I have been pretty confident he is not in pain. We've had them checked several times over the years, but the vet has never given us anything for them. Yesterday when we were out though I did notice him stumbling a bit more than usual, so maybe there has been a recent deterioration.

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