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DDog tried to bite. Rehome or PTS?

(170 Posts)
TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Fri 07-Dec-18 11:21:06

Hi, I have a 10 month old Maltese-Westie cross.

Today, after his bath, I tried to remove some dirt from his face and he tried to bite me. He is normally very placid after a bath, and I had him wrapped in a towel having a cuddle. He had let me wash his face in the bath, but as soon as he saw my hand approach his eye, he tried to bite. He has tried to do the same thing before in similar circumstances, when being groomed.

DDog does have a history of nipping ankles and hands, and we have redirected to toys or said a firm "no". We have also gently pushed him away or distracted by getting him to sit and calm down.

I do feel DDog's behaviour is deteriorating. We have contacted the Behaviourist, based at the vet, about the nipping and have followed her advice, but DDog still tries to attack feet and hands, often in an attempt to play, and despite our best efforts.

DDog has also become very barky. Again the Behaviourist advised us how to deal with this, which I thought was going pretty well, but he has now started barking and growling at people just passing the house.

It sounds silly, as he is only a Maltese, but his nips really hurt.

I have an 8 year old daughter who cannot cope with th1r barking or nipping due to Aspergers. I am worried that the dog will try to bite her when she pushes him away from licking her fave etc.

It seems as if in the past few weeks, the behviour has deteriorated more.

Does anyone have any advice re what the best thing to do in this circumstances?

We were looling at rehoming anyway due to the barking and its adverse affects on my daughter. I have contacted Maltese Rescue and have arranged for the lady to call me back.

Do I try to rehome or PTS? Any advice would be great.

pigsDOfly Fri 07-Dec-18 12:53:34

I was going to come on and mention what MabelBee said, but she got there before me, about the signs every dog owner should be aware of prior to a dog attempting to bite.

You sound as if you've made up your mind to rehome the puppy, pts is not an option you should even be considering; this is a puppy not a great big slavering out of control dog, but if you did decide to keep him you need to make yourself more aware of dog behaviour and reactions.

Your dog may very well find being wrapped in a towel and cuddled very intimidating; a great many dogs hate being cuddled, it's not a dog behaviour and now he's an adolescent animal he's going to start to make his feeling known.

I'm wondering how much research you actually did prior to getting this puppy as even for a first time owner you sound very unaware of what to expect from a puppy.

Failingat40 Fri 07-Dec-18 12:59:47

Hmm...was he bought from scumtree too by any chance?? Bought as a live teddy for a kid?? hmm

If he's nippy around bath time and face cleaning then use a muzzle on him for those times. You'll have to desensitise him to one first though.

Pp's are right, he's an adolescent puppy just now they can become horrendous with pushing bounds and training can go backwards before going forward again.

A small dog like this at that age should never be pts, it's not even an option for any sane person to think that way. Is this typical of today's instant gratification then throwaway society?!

Fashionista101 Fri 07-Dec-18 13:02:52

PTS because a 10m old puppy is nipping?

With not disrespect why didn't you do some research? For the pups sake please seek a professional and pay for regular classes. Once the effort has been put in, think about rehoming but you've got to be prepared for a lot of hard work with a puppy. I genuinely do think a baby is easier confused

SummerGems Fri 07-Dec-18 13:07:04

Really some of the responses on this thread and on this particular topic are so aggressive and there is really no need.

At ten months old he is still a puppy and I wouldn’t have considered him aggressive, but then society is now obsessed with how dogs should always behave at all times and looking at this board alone you’d be forgiven for thinking that all dogs are should always be 100% impeckibly behaved and that no dog ever barks ever.And the real world just doesn’t look like that.

Many young dogs nip for whatever reason, sometimes it’s because they’re young puppies and are still learning, and so are the owners. Sometimes it’s because they’re aggressive but generally aggression is much more obvious than just general nipping, and for the record I would put an actually aggressiveive dog to sleep without hesitation but doesn’t sound as if this one is.

In terms of barking, he’s a small breed, and generally small breeds are more yappy than larger breeds, but fact is that dogs bark and it’s what they do.

If you all genuinely love the dog I wouldn’t even look to rehome tbh. What are the issues your dd is having with him and how can you look to resolve them? Unless her diagnosis is a very serious one and she is a threat to the dog I would say that it’s actually crucial to develop a relationship with the dog if possible.

As for this statement from a PP

No vet will put a 10 month old puppy to sleep because his owner is incapable of looking after him. you’re wrong. A vet will put any animal to sleep if the owner requests it.

TatterdemalionAspie Fri 07-Dec-18 13:14:00


Please read this -

And this -

When you say he bit you, did he make contact? Did it break the skin? Did he growl or use the calming signals in the first link? Have you ever punished him or told him off for growling?

As for the barking when people walk past the house/come to the door... of course he does - he's a dog!

If you want to have a dog, you need to do some reading and be willing to learn about their behaviour, language and needs. He's still a pup.

Lucisky Fri 07-Dec-18 13:17:29

I have had dogs all my life, and I can honestly say that all of them have bitten me. Either as puppies, which is just par for the course, or accidentally, as adults while playing, and one when he had a bad leg and I accidentally hurt him when I picked him up. I would never ever have considered pts or rehoming for these things, which are part and parcel of owning a dog. And barking. All dogs bark; it would be a strange dog that doesnt. You will never stop a dog barking, you just have to train them to stop when you tell them, which requires consistency.
Your dog is also in the teenage stage when they are at their most bumptious. Things will improve with time, but tbh it sounds as though it is not really working for you and your family.

ScreamingValenta Fri 07-Dec-18 13:20:44


Chocrock Fri 07-Dec-18 13:31:13

Nipping is normal puppy behaviour.

Barking is normal dog behaviour.

If these behaviours are not acceptable to you then re-home him and carefully ensure they are a loving experienced dog family as re-homing can be traumatic for the dog.

Wolfiefan Fri 07-Dec-18 13:37:10

What training and exercise is this dog getting?
Of course you don’t pts. This isn’t a dog attacking people. It’s an exuberant or scared puppy.

mimibunz Fri 07-Dec-18 13:39:57

Just rehome the pup. You trot out killing the dog way too easily and early.

mimibunz Fri 07-Dec-18 13:41:09

I loathe the term PTS. They’re not going to sleep!

RedDeadRoach Fri 07-Dec-18 13:48:06

Normally I do say if a dog bites unprovoked it should be put to sleep but normal puppy nipping is not the same as biting and a dog can be trained out of that. My first thought was when he tried to bite seeing your hand come towards his face is has his sight ever been checked? I know he's only young but he might have an issue with his eyes.

I would also suggest as a first time dog owner that you read up on the non verbal signs that dogs give as to their discomfort. There are lots of signs that a dog will give before they go to snap so if you can learn to recognise some of those signs then hopefully you could avoid this happening in the future.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 07-Dec-18 14:17:51

* I wonder how people who have never had a dog become experienced?*

One way is to start with a dog, not a puppy. Of course, it may not be easy to be matched with one suitable for your family but there are adult dogs who have no behavioural problems who need homes for various reasons (illness or housing problems of previous owner, for instance).

The other way (which is of no use at this point to the OP) is to start when they don't have small children or ones who may not be able to cope with a pup.

Most families with an 8yo could probably work through this pup behaviour; the OP may need to put her DDs needs first and rehome the pup.

Best of luck, OP. thanks

wombatron Fri 07-Dec-18 14:34:42

Mine still bite me when it comes to cutting nails - it's not our favourite together activity to say the very least. Though at 10 it's more gums now. It sounds a bit like puppy behaviour and it doesn't sound like you have the experience or time to deal with it alone - I think rehoming pup is the kindest thing you can do here. Westies are known to be a bit barkey so if considering a dog in the future I'd say research carefully before committing.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Fri 07-Dec-18 14:50:55

Thank you for commenting.

Just to clarify.....our little pup is loved and adored. We got him from a reputable breeder (not as a live teddy bear whichever judgemental idiot said that upthread). Sadly the breeders have now moved away so unable to ask them for advice.

He has been through KC puppy training with all of us attending and is well trained in most areas.

The nips have always been due to over exuberance and a few minutes time out has tended to work well.

I know about the warning signals that dogs give, we went over them at puppy class and with the vet.

Today, there WAS NO warning. He just went. Lips pulled back, and tried to bite. THAT is why I am bothered!

I am sorry if I sound too calm about this for some of you. I am actually devastated to even consider PTS (I am happy to call it that, whoever objected). I absolutely adore out pup.

The lady who owns the breed rescue was surprised at how much we do try with him, how seriously we take his exercise and routine etc.

Also, the reason I have mentioned rehoming anyway is not solely due to my DD not being able to cope with the barking and nipping. I am currently going through a marriage break up and am disabled. I physically can't walk him as much as he needs, and I am currently employing a dog walker as much as I can afford. The rest of the time, I am walking him and it is causing extreme pain. But I am putting his needs first.

I do have to say, some of the posters on this board may think they are standing up for animal welfare, but the hostility they have shown really makes me question their capability for compassion.

To the others who have reassured me this is normal, thank you. PTS is now off the table and he is going to the vet tonight to have his eyes checked for sight and any source of pain.

I am rehoming via breed rescue and was really worried that they wouldn't take him after this instance. Hence my concerns. Private rehoming would be out of the question due to concerns re the suitability of the new owners.

I put in so much time looking at which breed was right for us. It is so nasty when people make false assumptions about me not caring or being a good owner. It is precisely because I care that I asked here.

Obviously, I now wish I hadn't.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Fri 07-Dec-18 14:52:59

PS We were told we were being sold a docile Maltese. Only after discussing it with breed rescue have we realised he is a cross. We would never have adopted him if we had known!

DogInATent Fri 07-Dec-18 14:57:23

It's a small terrier puppy, all of this is normal. Your reaction to even consider euthanasia is what's not normal, and what's destined you to get a lot of flak over this. Unsurprisingly the people in this section have a dim view of killing healthy animals.

Small terriers are generally nippy and barky, it's in their nature. To an extent, from puppyhood they will settle down somewhat as they mature. But even adult dogs of these breeds are inclined to these behaviours. Maltese are a very barky breed. It's part of being a small terrier.

Should there be a next time then research, research, research, should be the order of the day. I'm not sure that any dog will ever be right for you though if your daughter would find close canine contact uncomfortable. The best breeds with children do tend to be quite physical with their affection. Maybe find a friend with a dog that you can visit, ideally someone with a spaniel or staffy as these tend to be the softest with children. Let her get used to a dog that isn't around constantly.

This time around rehoming may be best for all involved. It's a shame, but euthanizing would definitely be an excessive response.

adaline Fri 07-Dec-18 14:57:42

I'm confused OP.

You say you bought him from a breeder and that you were sold him as a docile Maltese (whatever that is, he was just a puppy, there's no such thing as a docile puppy!) Then you say he's a cross and you adopted him?

If you bought him, he clearly wasn't from a good breeder if he's actually a cross (having been sold as a purebred) and if he was bought, why are you talking about breed rescues and adoption? confused

Failingat40 Fri 07-Dec-18 15:06:21

We got him from a reputable breeder (not as a live teddy bear whichever judgemental idiot said that upthread).

A reputable breeder does not breed crosses

Only after discussing it with breed rescue have we realised he is a cross. We would never have adopted him if we had known!

And you say I'm the idiot!?

Sadly the breeders have now moved away so unable to ask them for advice.

Hmm very convenient for them.

It smacks 100% of puppy farming at its best. You have been sold a pup for looks with absolutely no selective breeding or socialisation and possibly shipped/smuggled from Eastern Europe.

I'm sorry if you think I'm the judgemental idiot here but it's people like you who are inadvertently causing so much damage to the pet industry.

I really hope this serves as a lesson for others reading who may want to but a puppy from 'a reputable breeder'. So reputable that they are selling cross breeds then moving away. That's how puppy farming works, they rent houses etc.

starcrossedseahorse Fri 07-Dec-18 15:07:33

Tetley rehome this pup asap via the breed rescue. They will know who to place him with so that he gets the best chance of a long and happy life.

starcrossedseahorse Fri 07-Dec-18 15:11:56

And posters have got upset and angry here as talk of euthanising a 10 month old pup is pretty shocking tbh.

I am glad that you are doing the right thing by this little chap and not putting him up for sale on Gumtree or the like as some 'owners' would.

The breed rescue is def the way to go.

BiteyShark Fri 07-Dec-18 15:17:31

I was led to think, by other posts I have read on here and elsewhere, that dogs who attempt to bite should be either rehomed or PTS.

OP non doggy people who don't understand normal puppy behaviour would say PTS. Sounds like you need to rehome to the breed rescue ASAP so they can find him a suitable home.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Fri 07-Dec-18 15:20:27

@FwllingAt40 - lots of assumptions there and you know what they say about people who assume.........

I have his KC registration paperwork here. The breeders brought a Maltese stud in to breed from the mother. Having explained this to breed rescue, the lady there asked if the breeder had Westie's too. I said she did. So the breed rescue lady thinks that given more of the description I have given, that mum was already pregnant when put to breed.

I am hoping it was an honest oversight by the breeder, and not that they were swinging the lead. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Vet was convinced pup is a full Maltese. Breed rescue lady thinks he is a cross.

We knew all puppies are hard work. But a Maltese has different exercise needs and attributes than a Westie. Well according to the KC anyway when I rang them doing research.

If poor pup was from a puppy farm, then that is terrible. I am even more pleased we had him neutered despite him coming from a Crufts line.

So to clarify we bought our pup, and the lady I am rehoming via is breed rescue and adoption. Apologies if I was confusing.

adaline Fri 07-Dec-18 15:21:41

Reading back I misunderstood you OP, sorry.

But you clearly didn't get this puppy from anywhere remotely reputable. He's not a Maltese but a cross (very common for puppy farms) and the breeders having "moved" leads me to believe they probably never lived there in the first place - in other words, the house was a front so you believed your pup came from a lovely family home (which is obviously not the case).

In contrast our pup came from a breeder who I'm still in touch with. We're friends on FB and there's a private group set up for everyone who has puppies from him. We message each other most days, receive photos of each other's pups as they grow and I think we've all asked him for help and advice for some reason or another - be it diet related, how to stop them pulling on the lead, or how to stop them whining when alone.

I'm glad you're rehoming your dog but please don't get another. I know you couldn't predict a marriage breakdown but your dog clearly never came from a decent background in the first place so it's pretty obvious you didn't do all the research you're claiming you did.

adaline Fri 07-Dec-18 15:23:08

Oh, and pretty much anyone can KC register a dog. It doesn't make them reputable breeders.

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