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My dog bit my child

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Linda81, Nov 7, 2019 at 11:30 PM.


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  1. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    I am desperately needing advice, we are all so distraught about this. We have a gorgeous cocker girl who is almost 2. She is crazy, a bit unpredictable. We also have another dog who is a dream. Anyway over the time we have had her she had bit my husband, but me even though she was sitting cuddling me, she has bit my then 5yo 2-3 times, she has bit my 10yo, and she has bit my 12 yo. When she has done this she has been sleeping and the kids have went up to her and she’s just snapped at them. We have said to the kids that if she bites one more time she will have to go. Well tonight she bit my 12yo, she was sleeping next to me and my daughter was kissing her, I’ve told her time and time again don’t go up to her she might bite but she knows best, the dog lifted her head looked at my daughter and snapped twice, she has a cut under her eye and on the opposite cheek, she was bleeding. I’m devastated, I know what we should do but I’m just wanting reassurance that we are making the right decision. We lost our old dog last year and I’m still devastated over losing him and now this has happened, please can anyone help! Thank you.
     
  2. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    @O2.0 @Rafa you can probably answer better than me.. I honestly cannot answer this one
     
  3. Ochre

    Ochre PetForums Junior

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    So you know your dog snaps when she get woken up suddenly from sleeping, but yet you let your 12 year old child put her face next to your dog and kiss her when she is asleep? o_O
     
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  4. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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  5. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    I have told my daughter time and time again, she is 12 going on 21 so please I’m not looking for lectures on parenting, I am absolutely devastated.
     
  6. Rafa

    Rafa PetForums VIP

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    Has your bitch only ever snapped when she's been woken from sleep?
     
  7. SusieRainbow

    SusieRainbow Moderator
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    That must have been a horrible shock for you and your daughter. Has she had the wounds treated and cleaned?
     
  8. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    Yes she has. She is terrible for eating socks and my husband went to take it from her and she snapped at him, she also did this to me, trying to bite our hands. This was at the start of the year. The time she snapped at my face she was on my knee and I was stroking our other dog and she turned and snapped. She has snapped at my son when she was lying in her bed but awake.
     
  9. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    Yes we cleaned her up. My daughter is so upset and is blaming herself.
     
  10. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I don't understand why you have let this continue. You know your dog will snap, you know your children are not heeding your warning (& in fairness they are children so cannot always think before they act) but you have still let this continue.

    IMO you need some help from a behaviourist but in the mean time (if you decide to keep your dog) you need to give her somewhere safe to sleep where the children can't annoy her. Lots of people train their dogs to enjoy being in a crate & will prevent any biting.

    It also sounds as if your dog is resource guarding so this is where a behaviourist could help you understand & mange this behaviour. If you let us know where you are then maybe someone could recommend one nearby.

    Personally I would not be letting the dog up on to the sofa at all atm & getting her used to a crate asap to prevent any further occurrences.
     
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  11. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    A few things (in no particular order) come to mind.

    There is a reason for the saying 'let sleeping dogs lie'. If your children can't be trusted to understand she mustn't be disturbed, maybe get a pen, use baby gates across the doors or crate train your dog - by crate train, I mean do it slowly, don't shut the door until she is happy in the crate. These are other threads on this. Your priority is to keep the children safe from your dog and that means keeping your dog safe from your children.

    Spaniels are known for resource guarding so taking something from her makes her want to keep it all the more. That could be food, socks, a comfy space, you - anything. Always have something special, something better, to swap or to lure her off the sofa. Please read the thread at the top of this category about resource guarding. But - the fact she snapped and didn't fully bite is a good sign, she at least showed some inhibition.

    You have mentioned rehoming her. You will have problems rehoming a dog with a bite history. You said she has snapped before and this time, bitten. Dogs give a series of signals that they are unhappy, but unfortunately most people don't recognise them because they can be quite subtle. To begin with there is often wide eyes, lip licking and yawning. There is also muscular tension in the body. Then the ones we sometimes do see - growl, snarl, nip then bite. If the early signals are not seen (or, in the dog's view, ignored) he won't bother with them because us stupid humans pay no attention anyway; so he may go straight to the bite. So it's important never to ignore the early signals. As a friend says, she would rather be told verbally to sod off than be smacked in the face with no apparent warning.

    I agree with the others who have said professional help is a must. Your insurance may cover it . If you say what part of the country you are in, someone may have a recommendation.
     
    #11 JoanneF, Nov 8, 2019 at 8:33 AM
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019 at 8:38 AM
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  12. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
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    Some really good advice has been given, definitely get in touch with a behaviourist.

    A really good book you might like to read on resource guarding behaviour Mine! by Jean Donaldson.

    I also think you need to work on teaching your children about body language to look out for when dogs are uncomfortable, & that dogs aren't playthings for them to cuddle whenever they please.
     
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  13. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    I'm so sorry you're going through this.
    I have to say, I too am having trouble understanding how your children have been able to repeatedly disturb the dog while she's sleeping. A one-time occurrence, maybe twice, but now you know, this dog bites when disturbed when sleeping, how on earth have the children managed to get to the dog repeatedly?

    One thing we do know about dogs who bite, is that without appropriate and effective intervention, dogs who bite will do so again with less provocation and more damage every time. Each time your dog bites she is getting 'practice' in biting and the damage she does each time will escalate. You have already seen this, she has escalated from snapping to making contact, to drawing blood. The next time will be worse. You have to prevent these situations where you know the dog will bite. That is YOUR responsibility. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but my goodness, how many times does the dog have to tell you she doesn't like something for you to stop allowing it to happen?

    Your dog is not unpredictable, she is very predictable. She will bite if disturbed when sleeping. It sounds like there is some resource guarding going on too. Again, very predictable behavior.
    While the biting is predictable, and there are ways to responsibly rehome a dog with this sort of bite history, you will struggle to find a responsible, legitimate rescue who will take her. You can not in good conscience rehome her yourself. There needs to be a professional involvement in the way of a credentialed behaviorist. A thorough vet check would not go amiss either.

    I know you're thinking about rehoming her but if you choose not to, this is actually very fixable behavior. One, the dog doesn't get to sleep on the sofa any more. If she has a crate, that is her sleeping spot from now on. And of course the children are to not disturb her in her crate.

    Good luck to you, I hope this ends up working out for all involved.
     
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  14. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    Not sure if this means rehome or if it's a euphemism for euthanise.
     
  15. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    I think O2.0 has hit the nail on the head. She's learned that snapping is the only way to get you to listen to her, and your kids still aren't heeding her warnings, things will only escalate and you could have a very serious incident. Get her a thorough vet check - ears, eyes, teeth, glands, joints, even a blood test. Then make sure she has a safe space to sleep where she will never be disturbed - a crate with a cover is best. Don't let her on the sofa and don't try to take things off her without swapping for something better - she needs to see it as a good deal for her. Spaniels have a tendency towards resource guarding whether that's objects, food, attention, or space, you need professional help for this before it becomes even more serious. It isn't easy to rehome a dog with a bite history, even if it's RG based because the dog has learned to use a high level of aggression to be heard, and it's hard for them to unlearn that.
     
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  16. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    I would not consider keeping her. Your children are not safe to have around a dog and the poor dog is going to pay the price. You cannot rehome her so there is only one answer I am afraid. I think you probably know this from what you have said.
     
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  17. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    I did think the same thing
     
  18. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your kind reply, we just can’t take the chance she will do this again and in my heart of hearts I know she will. I have been in touch with a charity who are going to take her and hopefully find the right home for her. We are all distraught but we have to do the right thing for her and the kids.
     
  19. Linda81

    Linda81 PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your reply, we have made the decision not to keep her.
     
  20. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

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    But you are going to let a charity have her who will possibly rehome her where she can bite someone. Or more likely they will fail and she will be one of these dogs that will be advertised in a few years as so sad that she has been in kennels for years and she really is not happy so can someone take her. Sorry, but I think you need to be responsible here and have her put to sleep, sad though it is. She is your responsibility so you need to make sure she does not suffer.
     
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