The Unthinkable has happened...

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by gapeach, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. gapeach

    gapeach Big Mutts

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    Carey bit Maggie (our daughter) on the face yesterday. First of all Maggie is ok, she has a scrape over her eyelid and two on her cheek with some bruising. Next, those of you who don't know me, Carey is a fantastic dog. Yes she has food aggression and it was my fault. We bought Carey a treat ball for Christmas, she had been locked up earlier in the day (two baby gates in the kitchen, lots of space) because she has seperation anxiety and will tear things up. We had come back from my mom's (Carey too) and I had forgotten to pick up the treat ball from earlier that day, Carey picked it up and before I get get to them Maggie tried to take it, Carey dropped the ball and bit Maggie on the face. We struggled with the decision of putting her to sleep and have decided not to, she is a beloved part of our family. And a loving, protective dog. But we must make certain this never happens again. Carey has always been very dominant, at times trying me, by not letting go of a toy or such. When Maggie gets to rough, she does a low grunt or growl. She has nipped at Maggie before as a warning, but in no way did I ever think she would bite her like she has. My problem is, we have to find a way to show Carey that even though Maggie is smaller, she is dominant over Carey. Those of you who know, please advise us on how to do this. I must also say that we have always taught Maggie to be gentle with animals, but she is very high spirited and like any two year old doesn't listen sometimes. She is punished and sits in time out but still has lots of learning to do in this area. Please Help!
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Why not? Once a dog warns or bites and finds out it works, she's more likely to bite again, and you may not get so lucky next time. (I'm so glad your daughter was not severely wounded or killed)

    I strongly advise you to find a certified and reputable behaviorist who uses fair and unharsh methods to modify this dog's behavior as well as your own. There is clearly a leadership problem here, where your dog does not know it's place in your family. Once it gets to the point where your dog is biting, you need professional help. It is not safe for you to rely on help from the Internet.

    I doubt that it is necessary to put the dog down, but you might consider finding a home with someone who is really in the know about how to handle this situation. I know you love your dog, but if you don't get help and this escalates, you may have to resort to putting her down and that is not in the dog's best interest as long as there is a possibility of re-habilitating her and turning this around. It has a very good chance of escalating to a more severe bite next time. Please be careful.
     
  3. Gempress

    Gempress Walks into Mordor

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    I agree with doberluv about finding a good behaviorist immediately. I think that the problem is fixable, with time and patience. In the meantime, really start using NILF and spending more time on obedience training.

    But I do not agree with rehoming Carey. It is not a good idea to rehome a dog with any type of aggression problem. You can be held liable if the new owners are bitten/injured. As sad as this may sound, you should have Carey euthanized if the training does not work.

    I feel so bad for you. :( I've been in that situation. I really hope you find a good trainer, because I think that Carey can get over this.
     
  4. Julie

    Julie Are You Blowing Me Off?

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    I guess I am just overly cautious with my children, but even if one of my dogs growled at my children I would not tolerate it. To me you got off lucky with this bite, but what if it happens again, but the next time leaves permanent scars? or worse......I love my dogs and I know you love Carey but our children have to be our first priority.....regardless.
    And I see you are expecting....congrats.......but that will be yet another child to be cautious of.
    I wish you the best, but I would have to say for me, rehoming would be my decision. Into a home without children. With someone very familar with dog behaviour. That would be hard to find.....but maybe some rescue organizations could help find one, if you change your mind of course.

    Otherwise, just be very careful. Good Luck,
    Julie.
     
  5. Keep in mind that dogs bite in the face with INTENT TO HARM.

    You need help and you need it now.

    Meantime, ZERO access of dog to kid.
     
  6. kidsanddogs

    kidsanddogs New Member

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    What a terrible situation you are in. I'm so sorry. However, I think you must be realistic. Two young children will be even more overwhelming for your dog and it's impossible to watch them all the time.

    I have a very good friend who has two boys. She had an airedale terrier who had never shown any aggression. But one day, one of the children was crawling and cornered the dog. The dog lashed out and severely injured the boy's face. He needed more than 50 stitches and even now, at 24 years of age, he still has a scar. My friend loved that dog. They decided to give him to her parents, the grandparents of the children. That way, the dog was away from the children in a childless home, and when they went to visit Grandma, the dog was locked in a kennel outside. My friend could still see her dog whenever she wanted. It worked out ok.

    Just my opinion, but I think it would be a mistake to keep Baxter around your baby. It's such a sad situation. I wish you good luck with your decision.
     
  7. brock23

    brock23 Guest

    I have a nice bruise on my leg from getting in between Otto and my parents beagle this weekend over a food dispute. I socialized him with some little kids on Sunday and he did great, but I have the bite mark to prove that he still has some demons. I would not let him around kids right now without me being there standing directly over him though.
     
  8. corsomom

    corsomom New Member

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    I am sure you love your dog and feel bad for you but I think this is a disaster waiting to happen.personaly I would never keep a dog that bit my child in the face.Good luck to you with what you chose to do. Again I feel for you knowing that you love your dog.
     
  9. scob89

    scob89 DILLIGAF?

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    I agree there. Find a trainer to work with Carey and not let him around your kid any more until the problem is fixed.
     
  10. tainted_870

    tainted_870 New Member

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    Everyone's going to disagree with what I say here, and I'm probably even going to get yelled at.

    I don’t know much about dogs, but I know the basics. I too have a Ridgeback (and by the photos, I’m guessing that's what your dog is) and she has never gone for me, or anyone in my family.

    I am nice to my dog, don’t get me wrong. But I don't take any sh*t from her either. The very first time my dog ever attempted to be aggressive towards me (to get her own way), I came down on her like a ton of bricks. She has never tried anything since, and she knows that our family (or me at least) are the dominant people in the 'pack'.

    I agree in praising dogs and all when they are doing the right things, but it comes to some extent when you've got to show them that your not a complete pansy, otherwise they will walk all over you (and end up biting you, like yours did).
     
  11. casablanca1

    casablanca1 Happy

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    I sympathize with your situation. The only way I can see to control the situation is to withdraw all food treats (since she's food aggressive, and yes, I know it's hard) and do the Wrath of God act if she looks crosseyed at anybody for any reason. She is way out of line, and the time for niceness or moderate behavior is past. You don't have to abuse her, but it is permissible to scare the living heck out of her.

    Don't forget, though, it's not your children alone at risk from this behavior. Keeping Carey means always, always being on guard with her when she's around other people, especially other children.
     
  12. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I think Doberluv and Gempress have given you the best possible advice, especially as you already understand that food is the real heart of the issue, not a general reaction to small children.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    When I mentioned re-homing, I didn't mean to just anyone. I stressed that it should be someone in the know about this and know how to work with it...someone who is made aware and is willing and able to train the dog. Someitmes rescues are good places to re-habilitate dogs.

    Of course, this is a last resort and you'd hate to give up your dog. But your child's life, isn't worth risking and if you can't get help asap, well......if it were me, I'd get rid of the dog.
     
  14. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    Whatever you do, don't treat this dog with any form of aggression. Aggression just begets aggression with dogs, and you will make it fear you, not respect you. Fear biting is an extremely common cause for injuries from dog bites.

    You need to establish your dominance, and there are ways to do that. If you can find an animal behaviourist who specialised in Amichien Bonding, or other alpha-dog methods, that is what you want.

    In the meantime, get the book, `The Dog Listener' by Jan Fennell. It will change your life with your dog to a huge extent before you get the trainer in. But let me stress, although I recommend this book to just about everybody I write a post to (lol) this is NOT going to be enough for you. It will teach you the basics and help you understand your dog's behaviour, but you need a professional to deal with this situation as your dog has already bitten your child once, and in the face at that.

    Keep us posted, please, and best of luck.
     
  15. Rubylove

    Rubylove Training the Trainer

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    And no, you won't get yelled at, but a little redirection might not hurt. :D You are only teaching your dog to fear you, not respect you, by being aggressive or violent with it. They don't understand this kind of treatment, and I wouldn't be surprised if your dog bites someone ELSE one day as a way of releasing its fear and stress. That is the most common scenario - it fears you, so, no, it doesn't think you're a pansy and it won't bite you, but it'll surely go for someone else one day unless you change your methods. There are many better ways to go than this, honestly, and your dog will love you and respect you a lot more for it.
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Good advice from Rubylove. You never treat aggression with aggression. Being dominant that way is not the way dogs communicate or understand things. If you have problems with aggression, please seek professional help.
     
  17. lucille

    lucille New Member

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    I agree with Julie's reasoning.
     
  18. ARottMweilerY

    ARottMweilerY New Member

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    Well, I didn't See what happened so I can't really give training advise on this. But I can say my thoughts on this. I believe this to be a situation of Resource Guarding. Though you did mention her giving a warning to her before, was this also over a toy or food? Maybe you could explain that better? If it is only Resource Guarding, then I'd make sure to keep the kid and dog seperate during toy and food times (Including interactive toys of course). I do agree that you need to find a behaviourist / trainer in your area. Where are you located, maybe we can help you out with that. I do think this can be fixed, I'd deffinately try your best to get it fixed before anything else. Again I didn't see this, nore did anyone else, so I can't give you my total advice or anything. Good luck with this, I'm sorry to hear she was bitten, though the first time this happened there should have been something done with it instead of waiting for it to escalate this far. I also recommend the Nothing In Life Is Free Program.

    ~Amy~
     
  19. gapeach

    gapeach Big Mutts

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    sorry I double posted
     
  20. gapeach

    gapeach Big Mutts

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    After some more serious discussion between my husband and myself we have come to the conclusion that we won't be keeping Carey. It's too scary of a situation. We have no leadership problems here, as Carey has always (before I mentioned her not giving me the toy, but we solved that problem quite awhile back) known we were more dominant. But I suppose because Maggie is smaller she questions her place in the back. We never had Any problem with Maggie and Carey until recently. I don't understand why she is more aggressive towards Maggie, when a year ago they were rolling around on the floor together playing and Carey would let her do anything to her (although we didn't) Carey was also around small children growing up and had no issues. We would love to re home her but find that pretty unrealistic in our area, as the humane society has dogs that our being fostered indefinitely because they can't find homes for them. And we know we would have to put a stipulation on Carey's new home, no small children and no other pets. I just don't see that happening. And we will have her put to sleep before we'd just give her away to anyone. The people that you would think make good homes for a dog don't usually. I won't have her abused or thrown out in someone's back yard. There are some people I am going to call about re homing her but I don't have to high of hopes for it. I know ya'll are all gonna think it's terrible but we will probably have her put to sleep.The people who don't know me here don't understand how much we love this dog and some of you who do probably think we don't anymore. But we know in our hearts that we will be doing it out of her best interests. I have cried and cried over these decisions and am about to cry again now. We really could use some support and not bashing.
     

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