Trusting a dog after being bitten

(12 Posts)
DrizzleKicks Fri 13-Sep-19 15:46:29

Years ago my DM bought home a rescue collie X, at first he had a lovely nature and was very sweet. I was a teenager at the time.

About a year after having him, he started showing aggression to other dogs so we muzzled him on walks. He was fine playing with our neighbour's dog though.

One afternoon, my dog was with neighbours dog, I was throwing balls for them both like usual in our garden. Nothing different, no signs, no growling, just instant change in my dog as it viciously attacked the other poor dog. It was horrific.

I tried to intervene (I was only 14 and panicked) and my dog then bit me on my hand - when I screamed in pain this shocked my dog out of his aggression.

My DM came running downstairs (it all happened so quickly) and called 999 as my hand was badly damaged. I needed surgery, and sadly she took our dog to be PTS immediately. She took our neighbour's dog to the vet too and paid for all it's treatment, thankfully he was absolutely fine once he healed.

I still love dogs, I'm not overly nervous around them, but I have put off having my own dog because I can never quite trust a dog, however nice natured it seems. The change from calm to aggression was so quick.

Has anyone else gotten over a bite and learned to trust dogs again and have one of their own?

OP’s posts: |
Saucery Fri 13-Sep-19 15:51:25

I was bitten a couple of times by dogs belonging to relatives / out loose in the street and it never put me off.
There was a clear pattern of behaviour to your family dog’s actions leading to him biting you, which wasn’t adequately picked up on or addressed by the adults around you, so it didn’t really come out of the blue. Not your fault, but not the dog’s fault either.

Jouska Fri 13-Sep-19 18:04:28

I feel that education is a great way to deal with fear and it can help to put you back in control.

You rightly are worried by dogs - they have caused you pain and trauma.

It depends on how much you want to deal with dogs and how confident you want to feel.

Tbh your collie will have shown signs before the attack - the fact that he reacted to other dogs would have meant it was not the wisest move to be upping adrenaline levels by playing ball with two dogs at one - HOWEVER that is not me being criticial it is just explaining that knowledge can prevent a lot of incidents. We all have to learn and none of us were born knowing it all!

Studying dog body language is a great place to start - also see if a local behaviourist offers support - if they talk you through a few cases and let you watch from a distance you will pick up a load of info that will help you see what the dogs means and how to change the dogs emotion.

I am really sorry that you had to witness and be involved in such an incident it does sound truly horrific.

MarieG10 Fri 13-Sep-19 18:10:28

There is a simple fact. There is *no* dog that can ever be 100% trusted. They can be loving for years and turn, as has already been mentioned.

I get totally fucked off with owners attitudes of walking on footpaths and parks with dogs off leads. Dog run up and jumps up. Get covered in muck and dog saliva and owner gives the "oh he is only being friendly". Misses the point I don't want anyone's dog near me. Friend was similar but tried pushing dog off and it just bit her straight away

Frankly I would be happy if dogs were banned or made compulsory to have them muzzled in public and on a lead

spot102 Fri 13-Sep-19 18:39:22

Our collie started biting (years ago) for no apparent reason. In hindsight I think he may have been ill, but nothing obvious at the time, had to be PTS after he bit my face as I climbed the stairs (he was at the top). Other dog, the late Spot1, had a clear pattern of behaviour and lived out a highly supervised life and was much loved.
My way of working has been learning about dog behaviour, monitor how yours behaves and steer clear of other people's, particularly stranger's. Having said that, the more you interact, the more you learn.
I think all my family have been bitten at one time or other and we still have the dogs. Actually my sister was bitten by a relative's terrier type on the face for no apparent reason, she doesn't have dogs but that's because she doesn't want to walk them. She does (occasionally) walk my current un -bitey ones!
You could do some volunteer dog walking to build your experience. My local RSPCA always needs dog walkers and they don't give you the bitey ones, at least to start with, I'm sure there's others around.

TopBitchoftheWitches Fri 13-Sep-19 18:46:30

The dog was perhaps was ill? That's why it turned so suddenly?

I was bitten on my head by a neighbours Dalmatian when I was about 11. Came out of nowhere, I was saying bye to him as I was going home and was down at his level and he went for my head and bit me a few times.

Owners didn't do much at all, so I stayed away after that.

It has put me off dalmations for life but I have always had a dog myself up until April this year when my old gsd had to be put to sleep.

I'm not sure if this post helps you but thought I would share.

Jouska Fri 13-Sep-19 19:33:54

Not sure how to write this without it sounding critical and that is not my intention but here goes

Dogs will always give a warning and with education control and management they can usually be avoided.

I work with dogs on a daily basis and for more years than want to admit. Some of these dogs are reactive, some of the dogs are trained quard dogs, some of the dogs are frightened and in pain so could be dangerous dogs. I have never been bitten.

This is not good luck but an understanding of how to behave and react to dogs and their behaviour. It may be at times I back off and remove myself from a situation.

Dog bites are usually caused by dogs in the home being stressed and put into impossible situations many that could be avoided. They are owned by people who have little understanding of dogs.

All dogs have the ability to bite but most dogs handled in the correct way and kept in a stress free environment will not need to bite.

Collies have been mentioned several times on this thread. Collies will bite and nip that is what they do to the sheep to herd them and it is an instinctive behaviour. They are likely to chase and nip anything that moves eg children, other dogs etc if they are not trained and kept in an environment that works this instinct. Collies act on movement.

So if we know what drives a collie and why it may nip /bite etc we can control the environment and prevent this from happening.

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Fucksandflowers Mon 16-Sep-19 13:41:13

Collies have been mentioned several times on this thread. Collies will bite and nip that is what they do to the sheep to herd them and it is an instinctive behaviour. They are likely to chase and nip anything that moves eg children, other dogs etc if they are not trained and kept in an environment that works this instinct. Collies act on movement

I think two very different behaviours are being confused here.

It is definately true that collies are stimulated by movement, but nipping plays a small part in herding behaviour.

Most herding is done by 'eye' and stalking, very little, if any tooth contact is usually made unless the sheep is being particularly troublesome.
The exception is for collies bred from cattle lines which can be very nippy.

Cattle droving dogs like Corgis, Australian cattle dogs, Lancashire heelers etc are notorious for nipping, border collies from sheep herding lines not so much.

That is not to say that inappropriate herding behaviour can't be dangerous, it absolutely can but collies tend to stare and run infront/cut people up and chase rather than nip or bite.

When nips happen, it's often because the stare and/or chase didn't cause the victim to move how the dog wanted them to and they escalate.

The stories discussed on this thread sound much more typical of fear aggression which is totally, totally different from instinctive herding behaviour.

Collies are prone to nervousness so can be an increased risk of aggressive behaviour from one, but the two behaviours (herding and aggression) are totally different.

missbattenburg Mon 16-Sep-19 15:47:07

I would totally agree with the advice you already have about knowledge being power; the more you know, the more trusting you can be.

For example, I have seen a few dog fights and each time the 'warning' was a slight freeze in one or both dogs. That half a second or so of totally still movement can look like calmness but isn't. Once you have had a chance to see it a few times, it becomes easier to spot.

I also think there is a lot to be said for smaller, lighter dogs here. For sure all dogs can bite and do damage but it's a lot easier to trust a dog you are much bigger and stronger than. Not that you should need to 'overpower' a dog; its more a psychological comfort than a weapon to be used, iyswim.

missbattenburg Mon 16-Sep-19 15:49:01

For sure all dogs can bite and do damage

As I said that, our 5kg, toothless JRT just wandered by. Perhaps not ALL dogs can do damage grin

Jouska Mon 16-Sep-19 16:21:20

Fucksandflowers I'll get my working collies to read your thread and remind them of that when they try to move Roland Ram. smile

Frustrated collies will nip

Fucksandflowers Mon 16-Sep-19 16:32:34

I have a working collie too Jouska.

You've rather confirmed what I was saying really by mentioning can nip when frustrated.

Nipping tends to be an escalation.

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