Can't believe he bit. . Now what?

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Mrs.Hadlock's picture
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My favorite dog has been a dream come true. But on Friday my 6 year old son was bitten severely in the face. He had been"hugging"  Bugsy.. Now what? My dogs are both in muzzles and I'm not sure what's next? I've told my son 1000 times to respect the dogs space(in more kid friendly words) and he didn't listen. I am the responsible adult, don't get me wrong, my son is small and needs supervising obviously. Three adults present and he was told a minute before it happened. My son has 20 stiches. Now what? The dog has been a dream.  100%perfect for our family. Even though not quite 2 years old he is very mellow whichi nevere expected out of this breed at such a young age. My dog knew immediately what he did was wrong but honestly there was a lot of blood and he was never punished for his behavior. I'm scared that this is now the new Bugsy. is there training? Euthanize?  Re home?? Google has every opinion imaginable buti know the advise on this forum to be pretty sound..

 

Fire away!  Questions welcome

Cyndy

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Oh my gosh you must be horrified, terrified and every other 'fied' I can think of.

The very first thing I would do is have Bugsy checked by a vet. There might be some underlying health problem.

\We know dogs do not like having anyone in their face, and I"m as guilty as the next one for getting too close... it's a natural thing for us to want to do..dogs don't like it and find it threatening..

I'm not excusing Bugsy for this.. biting a human, big or little is unacceptable.. however you're going to get tons of advise and some that will be painful to read.. hoping ( well in a way) that it's a thyroid problem.. or something that has been causing him pain and he reacted in a natural dog way.

Please keep us informed and breathe...

BTW did you report the bite to animal control.. or did the E.R. do it.. that could be a problem..

KevinK's picture
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Here's some of that hard to read advice :-)  Hopefuly it helps put the situation into perspective, and encourages you to learn more about what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.

When we are dealing with dogs, we can't think in terms of humans.  Humans consider a hug to be an endearing display of affection.  Dogs don't.  For a dog, this is a very dominating, intimidating, and controlling move.  To put this into an easier to understand equivelant, it would be like if I came up to you, put my hands around your throat like I was going to choke you, and expected you to say "Oh, sweety... you are so thoughtful"  That wouldn't happen, right?  You would think I was a crazy lunatic :-)  if you knew 100% that you were stronger than me, you would probably punch me in the face and get me off of you.  Well, that's exactly what happened here.  While we never want our dogs to bite anyone, at the same time we have to remember that they are animals, have instincts, fight or flight responses, etc.  When these instincts are triggered, very similar to humans, we don't really have "control" per se.  It would be like if someone was drowning, and instinctively their throat closes, and their arms & legs start kicking.  It's not a controlled or learned behavior, it's survival instincts kicking in.  Dogs, similar to humans, have tolerance thresholds.  We can take so much, and at some point, we've simply had enough.  As parents, and dog owners, it becomes our responsibiltiy to make sure it never gets this far.

I strongly suggest becoming more familiar with canine behavior, psychology, and especially body language.  The dogs body doesn't lie, and learning these cues will be a huge help in displacing situations before they occur.  With some practice, it's quite easy to be able to tell when a dog is becoming stressed.  THe problem is, most people don't recognize these signs, and even misinterpret them.  I cringe when I see the "cute" pictures of dogs and babies, because to me it looks like a disaster waiting to happen.  Our 11 month old daughter LOVES the dog.  She also loves doing things like pulling her tail, yanking ears, pulling fur, etc.  So, we have to be very careful with her interactions and what she does, and I always make sure to keep a good eye on Dakota so I can tell what she is thinking/feeling.  

If the vet says no medical conditions, and your dog is otherwise great, I wouldn't personally euthanize or rehome just yet.  What I would do, is keep an eye on the interactions at all times.  If you can't watch the interactions, there shouldn't be any interactions.  Kids get rambunctions, and what we as humans consider to be "normal", animals do not.  Dogs don't understand "He's just a kid, let him be" like we do.  Your boy now understands (while this was an AWFUL way to learn this lesson) that he needs to respect your dogs personal space.  If you have to repeatedly tell him not to do this, my suggestion would be to simply limit the interactions until your son understands how to play with a dog more appropriately.  Don't be afraid to say "Honny, mr. pooch needs some alone time, he doesn't like when you hug him like that" or whatever the case may be, and remove your son from the situation.  I know how hard it can be, McKayla's favorite place in the world to be is in Dakota's food dish... you can put here anywhere in the house, and in 5 seconds, she's at the food dish.  It gets frustrating...  But to keep the peace, sometimes we have to deal with these frustrations.  :-)

 

Best of luck, and if you have any specific questions on training, canine behavior, body language, or anything else, please don't hesitate to ask.

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That is definitely devastating I can imagine. I would definitely have him checked out by the vet like Lady Kate advises. It can happen so quick. I had a neighbor when I was growing up that had a male & female dalmation. The male bit their granddaughter in the face and tore the upper part of her lip off.  She had been left unsupervised with him though.

Has Bugsy had any obedience training?  Has he shown any disrespect toward your son before this incident?  Were the 3 adults that had told your son a minute before it happened talking firmly or with a tone in their voice that Bugsy clued into as them disciplining your son?  I mean (maybe this is out of line), but sometimes children don't listen very well and behave badly even when told and Bugsy maybe turned on him in aggravation?  I don't know, but I can only imagine the heartache you're going through. I hope others can help give you some advice on here. 

Atticus's picture
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Good advice, Kevin.  You posted at the same time as I did and you nailed it. ;-)

leslieak's picture
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I am sorry for what happened but since otherwise the dog has been a well-behaved dog hopefully you can figure out what triggered the dog feeling threatened enough to bite. If not a medical issue, I believe an animal behaviorist may help and that they may have specific experience on how to help you recognize your son's behavior that could trigger this and early warning signs that the dog is feeling uncomfortable. I think KevinK has alot of good points and advice although I don't really think there is a problem with the overall concept of hugging a dog or that it is necessarily a recipe for disaster. I have seen alot of articles on the dangers of hugging a dog but I really think it depends on the dog and the human doing the hugging. Obviously, a child is not going to be necessarily as aware as some adults of subtle body language changes in a dog to recognize whether it is uncomfortable with the physical contact. I agree a dog cannot be treated just like a person and it is important to remember the differences but we are also asking dogs to assimilate into the worlds we live in by bringing them in to our homes. Likewise, we are not requiring them to perform work in order to be fed and cared for. Because the old school working dynamic between dog and owner is much more rare these days, I think a new language is created between the dog and its owner based upon mutually recognized patterns of behavior and trust that may deviate from the typical language the dog defaults to with strangers and other animals. I would think it would be the goal that our dogs would understand the intention (and even enjoy and initiate depending on the dog) close personal contact from the human who is training, socializing, and setting expectations for the dog's behavior. One example is that my veterinarian has to hug my dog pretty much every time she is in the office for one reason or another and I want to feel like the dog is trained or even happy to accept the closeness and associate it with positive interactions so the vet (or a random child I don't have control of) will be safe with that type of contact. The vet tech clipped Zooey's nails last time and she commented that she very rarely felt that safe around a strange dog to be in a contorted and vulnerable position without muzzling the dog. I think it is a reasonable expectation that your own child can hug the dog within limits without fear the dog cannot handle the interaction. This is something based on trust and education for your son on reading the dog's cues over time (and keeping interactions controlled until then) but I don't think completely avoiding situations based on the theory that their instincts intepret the behavior only one way is really a solution. This is of course just my opinion. There can be arguments all day about people anthropomorphizing their dogs but only you will know what is realistic for your family and whether rehoming the dog to a home with no children or older children or euthanising are your only options. I wish you the best.

Kim
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Considering that you've had severe aggression between your two males, they have to be kept separate a lot of the time, and you have muzzles on them, I really think it would be best for everyone all the way around to re-home Bugsy. It's hard to do, but I think everyone would be much happier, and the tension that's bound to be present all the time would be relieved for all of you.

It just isn't the optimal home for anyone, really. I know you've tried your best to make it work, and maybe this is just a really big sign that it isn't working out.

I would think a rescue would be best at placing him in a home that doesn't have small children.

Mrs.Hadlock's picture
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 the  er  was required to report to police but the police don't do anything for family pets.  Your right I hadn't thought about the vet. I just had them in for their regular checkup 2 weeks ago.

Mrs.Hadlock's picture
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IThe muzzles came into play after all this happened.  went through a bunch of other bite topics on here and kicked myself hard after I followed a link to a website that someone posted that demonstrates a dogs warning signs before even the growl.  I  believe my son pushed him too far.  kids  can be pests even to other kids and truly my kid can be the worst.  he definitely learned his lesson but I've got a little daughter also. I would never leave her alone because she's almost 2 and acts like it.  I  talked to a trainer who says she's confident she can get the dogs under control but I do realize that  that  does not mean he's gonna feel better about being their pillow or trampoline.  honestly after reading up a bit last night I  realized his warning signs have been their for quite some time.  also one we were at the hospital my son told me that b Bugsy was growling every time he tried to hug him.  I hate to  rest so much fault on my boy but the doggie body language was there but misunderstood  pretty much since Bugsy was a puppy.

 the muzzles came into play after all this happened.  we've become accustomed to having two dogs and as I have said previously I'm a housewife so I have time to rotate them all day with minimum interaction except for their first morning run.

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Sounds like you're off to a great start!  Learning these signs is HUGE!!  I can't tell you how many times I point out to people "See what your dog is doing, that means xxxxxxx" and they look at me like I'm crazy...  dogs do not just snap without warning, ever, assuming it's not because of a medical condition.  Ears back, tail down, avoiding eye contact, looking away, tongue out, panting, all signs that are often overlooked as "normal" dog behaviors.  Dogs generally give clues about what they're going to do, and it's helpful to learn them.  :-) The way they stand, their posture, their tale, ears, eyes, etc. all give clues to a bigger picture.  It takes a lot of time, and dedication to really, really learn what is going on.  But the basics can be learned by anyone in a few minutes with some simple google searches, and it's well worth the time.  Most people, just like you are shocked to learn that they were missing the clues leading up to an event.  The good thing, is now you know for next time when to call it quits and your dog is having enough.

This really doesn't sound like a case of an aggressive dog to me.  I'm not in any way saying it's acceptable, and it NEEDS to be addressed immediately.  But, this from the available info simply seems like it's a dog that was pushed too far.  Keep doing what you're doing, and don't give up!

Mrs.Hadlock's picture
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 Kevin can you recommend any good websites?  you seem tip know your stuff

Oz Dobe's picture
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Try dogstardaily.com a website run by Dr Ian Dunbar.

Dogs can be 'proofed' against this behavior from an early age but Im not sure if you are past that point now. You can try 'restraint' training but you need to be extremely careful. Start with vey gentle handling and treating and very very slowly graduate to more intimate contact. Im not in a position to elaborate right now but when I get home tomorrow I'll go into more detail.

You have two issues here. 1 no bite inhibition. A dog never biting is a bad thing because it never gets a chance to learn to inhibit its biting. 2 the dog was not proofed against retraint as a puppy.

These are the issues you need to deal with.

 

Im taking a break with my daughter in the ED, with pneumonia so cant go into details now but will tomorrow.

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've known and adored Kevin for years and think he is usually spot on with his advice.. Check out his Face Book page Click for Tricks Dog Training.

Oz.., you too have offered some sound and perfectly valid suggestions to our newbies and we appreciate both of you so much.

Usually this Forum is barraged by feeding questions,,

"to crop or not to crop.."

"how long do I post?"

"How do I get him to stop biting?"

"My puppy is five weeks old ( Mom stopped nursing) and is not potty trained yet. help"

So many of the same questions over and over again that some of the 'old timers' got weary of answering time and time again. ( even though there's a tutorial right here on the site.)and we are all encouraged to research research RESEARCH before getting our Dobermans..

Invariably some of the answers went unheeded and people would still get littermates,, same sex dobermans then wonder why they were having issues.. so I guess some members just shook their heads and disappeared...and I am so off topic here!! Sorry...

Mrs.Hadlock.. I am so hoping you will be able to rehabilitate your Bugsy... I now you love him and want the best for him and I"m hoping you will continue to ask questions and follow the wonderful advice given by Oz and Kevin.. They know what they're saying and best of all... love this breed with all their hearts.. good luck!!

Oz Dobe's picture
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Ok I have a little more time now.

I attended a lecture recently by Ian Dunbar, where the subject of dogs biting came up. Dog bites are very often a complete suprise to the owner, therefore I was not surprised to see the title of this post and I knew it was serious.

Dogs first learn about bite inhibition (soft mouth) from their mothers when they bite too hard on her teat, she gets up and walks away. When they begin play biting with littermates they learn to soften their mouths when their littermates yelp and stop play for a period of time. So good things stop happening when pup bites too hard.

When we get our pups the process of bite inhibition has hopefully started for us, and we just develop it further by doing the same things as the pup has already experienced. Treating/praising non biting behavior, ignoring biting behavior. But the pup does need to mouth in order for us to teach it to teach it to be more gentle. This is very important. This is the way the dog learns to soften his mouth around all humans. Stopping this behavior completely, stops the puppy learning. This is why I dont advocate punishing puppy play biting. Dog vs Dog socialisation is also a great way to teach them to use a soft mouth.

Your case absolutely highlights a puppy who has not been trained to properly use a soft mouth on humans, so when he is surprised or upset, he goes from 0lbs pressure to Max lbs pressure because hes never learnt to lower the threshold.

Ian Dunbar sited a case of a golden retriever which had a beautiful nature, no history of biting what so ever, owned by a capable dog trainer, but ripped his owners arm to shreds when he got his tail accidentally caught in a door. Same reason.

So this is not really the fault of the dog. Its responding with a sledgehammer to crack a nut, because no one showed him how to use a nut cracker.

This situation also serves as a lesson for owners to socialise their pups adequately around children and supervise. If you tell a child not too irritate the dog, and the child does not listen it is your responsibility to keep them seperated. A dog can bite five times before the quickest human can press a button, let alone stop this from across a room. This is whats is at stake here. Its fortunate this was the act of only one bite, and this is why I think it was an accident waiting to happen.

However, children will be children, and therefore it behooves us to recognise the fact that a pup needs to be 'proofed' against restraint. This is also important for the vet, or the groomers etc. You need to proof a puppy by handling every part of its body and doing things (like hugging, or handling the ears) that mimic what he may one day have to deal with in the future. There are a variety of ways to do this but I dont feel comfortable going into them here, because I dont want to encourage a potentialy dangerous situation.

Another issue is the danger of stopping a dog barking or growling or displaying agression as some might call it. This is dangerous because as I've heard before, stopping this display just takes the 'tick' out of the time bomb. A dog should not be punished for displaying agression because its his way of telling you to get out of his face. So there can be situations where a dog will not display before it 'attacks', if it has been conditioned not to. This may be the case with your dog.

So puppy owners pls use this as a very sobering lesson about how to rear your puppies. Dont punish play biting, dont punish agressive displays (deal with the issue that makes the dog reactive), teach the puppy that being restrained is ok both by physically holding him and also by the collar (which is the cause of a majority of dog 'attacks').

This is a very serious issue and I think its beyond the scope of this forum to give you hard advice in your particular case, a vet or a behaviourist who can work physically with your dog is the best option, and thats what I'd advise you to do with utmost urgency. I am reticent to give advice, but I do hope this may shed a light on why dogs sometimes do what they do. Very often, though we dont realise it, we set the dog up for failure in the way we train.

I would like to mention that I did have a doberman do this on one occasion and I take full responsibility for it. A child loved my dog and effectively cornered her in a crowded room. I trusted my dobe %100 and though I had restrain proofed her and taught her to use a very soft mouth, she was in a crowded room and I was not watching and neither was her mother. My dog bit. In the face. But it was with such a soft mouth she never left a mark, just gave the little girl a fright. The dog got a fright too and never did this again and was around loads of kids and a baby for a while (always supervised)  until the sad day I had to euthenase her at 13yo. She was around 5 or 6yo when this happened. So this highlights the differences training can make.

I do sincerely hope that your young son recovers speedily and I wish you and your family the best in your recovery from this tragic accident. And I believe an accident is what it is.

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I second everything that everyone has said. This, while it's a tragedy, is something that can be fixed, though gently. Teaching bite inhibition and getting a dog to learn what kind of touch to expect and be okay with at a more advanced age (older than maybe 3 or 4 months) is difficult, but it can be done. This was an unfortunate accident, but the fact that you're here, asking for advice and willing to listen is more than a testiment to your love for your dog. I don't think that I can add anything to what's been said other than a story of my own.

My dog, who's three and a half, has been socialized and began to learn bite inhibition the minute she stepped foot in my door. The man who we got her from had the pups outside and his two kids purposely ran over her feet with their bikes when she was sleeping, fracturing the bones. She now hates her feet touched and we muzzle her for all nail trimming and pad repairing. We took her to a groomer a few months ago who blatantly refused to muzzle my dog. He swore he'd dealt with trauma cases, and so we took her to him, believing that he could show her that having her feet touched wasn't a big deal. The minute he touched her foot, even after calming her and showing her that he was friendly, she began showing signs of stress and growling. Of course, thinking that she wouldn't bite even after we told him that she might, he went on. She lunged at his hand, grabbing him roughly and pulling it away from her foot. She didn't leave a single mark, but he now muzzles dogs when their owners tell him to. This is one reason why bite inhibition is so important. You've now reached the point where I would almost call it "inhibition rehabilitation". Good luck with Bugsy and Give your son a nice big hug from me. 

Kisses and butt scritches from Joelle and Skye! <3

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I  sense a misunderstanding..  Bugsy was trying to rest I believe and didn't have an out.. I  never allow any rough housing with the dogs..  even in good fun  they're just too big for the kids to pay like that.  Bugsy  does have a very soft mouth at play.  but you see he wasn't playing.  Wes was bugging him.  we've talked to a couple trainers and after sorting out the ones who were just salesman sounding we settled on a woman who says she can help them be more obedient,  which we need,  but I'm going to have her to look here at what you guys are saying.  Bugsy didn't play too rough  he retaliated at  Wesley pestering him.  supervision and separation would've prevented the whole thing.  I'm glad for the answers and advise here.  makes sense to have given Bugs  an out.  He's a good dog. I took their muzzles off  but feel very leary.  I  tried looking into classes for Wes to attend but one website has some kid friendly tutoring that might be useful.  sad to say but I think the little guy learned his lesson.  training is a must here and I'm still on the edge of rehoming  one. My common sense tells me they learned a lot from each other and not enough from us..  not too mention lacking some bonding  and one on one time.

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So you stand by and watch your son tease your dog to the point that it bites, and you cant believe he bit? And this is the dogs fault?

Im speechless...

 

andrew's picture
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In Australia, that dog would be put down sadly. A boy up the road from me was bitten by a Rhodesian ridgeback on the hand. The dog was over excited having escaped his property. While the boy was at hospital getting it checked out, the rspca made the owner surrender the dog, I assume after failing the temperament test (here) the dog was put down. The boy was released from hospital with only minor abrasions... the dog was already dead.

I trained my pups from the beginning to have ears pulled, hands in their food while eating, fur pinched and full embrace cuddles because we new we were having kids. I can have afternoon or morning naps with them tucked up and wrapped up in my arms. Its totally trainable but you have to be aware that everything you do with a dog needs to be trained and re-inforced everyday while they are young.

 

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 no oz misunderstood again.  I'm at fault because I'm the mom and I own the dog.  my son lied to me when I thought I heard him growl.  my husband and I left to the grocery store leaving the kids and dogs with my dad and in laws.  they called us by the time we were at the store. I  watch my kids and dogs closely when they're together and my son would have been made to listen  and not just told again t to stop.  I'm grateful for the advice from all of you and am trying to get as much information as I can.  my dog is NOT vicious.  He's a great dog.  my son definitely provoked it repeatedly.  I've looked to as many resources as I can  including a trainer.  I'm not sure yet  what we're  going to do with the dogs but we are responsible people.  I  want the trainer to look into this forum to see the advise I've gotten.  my biggest fear is that Bugsy bit once and during the chaos was not reprimanded..  the same bite would have killed my daughter who has enjoyed climbing on Bugsy since they were both tiny.  I wasnt  here but I've got a good idea how it went down.  my dog needed space and couldn't get away.  the grown ups didn't stop him.  you should hear their opinions though.

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hi, I am just reading this and am late in the conversation but this is REALLY serious. can you give us an update?

IMO, has hard as it is,  I would NEVER trust that dog fully again.  And no one can watch their children 100% of the time,  and this would have to be the case.  I could never chance this never,  if there is a choice and there is here, rehome the dog.  Dogs have genetic traits and personalities.   That's why breeders (conscious) breeders will do there best to breed out this or any unfavorable charactoristic.  This dog had a choice, to get up and move, walk away or bark.  I've seen dogs who are tolerate do this with other dogs.  Your dog, as wonderful as he is,  I mean that not in a condescending way, truthfully has a trigger aggressive reaction.  He may need a family without children.  I for one could never be able to have complete control 100% of the time.  I don't think anyone could truly.  We have friends that own three Dobies.  The are great show dogs and pets.  Two of them cannot be allowed in the same room together at the same time.  The want to fight to the death.  They have had horrible Vet visits.  They chose to keep them all and  "manage" the situation.  The dogs are rotated and crated all day.  They have to be vigilant.   That is the choice they made to keep their beloved pets.   But I cannot live that way.  And I would NEVER put my child in that position where he is living with an animal that may or may not ever rip his face off.   If you have the diligence to deal with this my hat is off to you.  It will take ALLOT of work and you may never trust this dog again.  You cannot be anything but 100% on top of this with training and supervision.   But I myself believe this is this dogs temperament, the dog had a choice.  It could of gotten up, barked, bared his teeth allot of things.  I'm sure this is a great dog in every other way.  But for me,  I wouldn't want to live with all the drama and controlled enviroment.  It would be taxing on me the dog and on the family.  this is just my opinion.  I have little tolerance justifying a potential dangerous situation for any reason.  be consideration might be given to what is the most best life for the family and dog. 

I am not trying to be mean or judgemental.  It is just my opion,  it is a serious situation. 

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 I'm still asking advise here BTW..  but not to rehomeupdate  bugs passed his very check..  Well, as big a pain in the ass as it is, I am diligent.  I'm not going to send  Bugsy  on the long walk.. Crates and rotations have been our way for a long time and we've just added another step to ensure the kids are only supervised with three dogs.  I  refuse to make excuses BUT  in the dogs defense he did get up,  move  away  and everything else you can think of..  my son tormented him for about 45 minutes.  my mother in law was chief and she did NOT supervise..  go figure she's the first to tell me to ditch the dog.. 

 

 My son, bless him,  is a difficult child.  My dog is a good dog.  nothing has happened since to indicate a coming of age type behavior. 45  minutes and bugs indicated in every way that he could that he needed space..  I  take responsibility for this. I  will never trust the dog fully but I am enjoying his company again.  no muzzles.  I've got no other answers.. I  told my husband that if any responsible person ever send interested in one of our dogs I'm open to rehome but I'm not actively seeking a shelter or  rescue..  I don't think the rescues in my area are very reputable and the dogs don't deserve a bad life or a short one..  we are responsible people.. 

 

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Oh no you are right about the shelters.  Rescues do a good job, mostly in evaluating the animals they receive and try to place them with the right home They will even turn people away if they don't seem fit.  Believe me ,  I am not advocating any of those,  but,  I was so horrified to hear about your child.   I had been listening to our radio last week and as usual TOO many times; there was a report of a dog mauling a child, this was a family pet who as family said, was so good and perfect in every other way.  Maybe that family did not have the same instincts and attention you provide.  If this was a Chihuahua, it wouldn't make news, fact is the bigger and the more risky(according to most people) the breed can do SO much more damage in such a short time.   I respect what you say,  it your dog, your life and your child.    I just don't think that in my house it would be the best match.   For the dog as well as the family as heartbreaking is that is.
 There is always another dog to love and to take care of and bond with and enjoy fully.   There is not another child to take your son's place.  Even if your son is difficult so is the dog in this case. The dog should be subordinate to him as well.    Please let me say again, this isn't a judgment,  it is just with somewhat experience and concern.     And as diligent as you are now, don't leave the kids unsupervised or not with anyone but yourself or spouse who knows the situation and can handle it. Especially with not with your mother in law!   No more lectures from me you seem now to know the dangers and for you those measures are in place. Good luck.

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Joined: 2012-01-20

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Oh no you are right about the shelters.  Rescues do a good job, mostly in evaluating the animals they receive and try to place them with the right home They will even turn people away if they don't seem fit.  Believe me ,  I am not advocating any of those,  but,  I was so horrified to hear about your child.   I had been listening to our radio last week and as usual TOO many times; there was a report of a dog mauling a child, this was a family pet who as family said, was so good and perfect in every other way.  Maybe that family did not have the same instincts and attention you provide.  If this was a Chihuahua, it wouldn't make news, fact is the bigger and the more risky(according to most people) the breed can do SO much more damage in such a short time.   I respect what you say,  it your dog, your life and your child.    I just don't think that in my house it would be the best match.   For the dog as well as the family as heartbreaking is that is.
 There is always another dog to love and to take care of and bond with and enjoy fully.   There is not another child to take your son's place.  Even if your son is difficult so is the dog in this case. The dog should be subordinate to him as well.    Please let me say again, this isn't a judgment,  it is just with somewhat experience and concern.     And as diligent as you are now, don't leave the kids unsupervised or not with anyone but yourself or spouse who knows the situation and can handle it. Especially with not with your mother in law!   No more lectures from me you seem now to know the dangers and for you those measures are in place. Good luck.

Mrs.Hadlock's picture
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Joined: 2013-04-25

Pet Profiles

IMy quest for a trainer has turned up nothing so far.  more people who seem to just be salesmen..  sucks.  I'll keep y'all posted on our progress and again,  new advise is always welcome  truly do appreciate your opinion.  I know the risk. I  just don't think any dog of any breed would have put up with the onslaught my poor boy was throwing at him..  what really gets me is Wes lying..  Bugsy is a VERY easy dog..  Capone, the other dobe,  is the one I've kept an eye on all this time.  I've been looking for classes for the kids but come up short.  looking back through this forum I found a website geared towards teaching kids to respect dogs and also identify dog body language( as if growling weren't a clue).  Wes note asks to pretty out play with the dogs, as always one at a time.  he's respectful but borderline fearful, understandably. I want to work on his confidence with them as well as their view of him as master.  all through play and it seems to be working.  Wes still helps with feeding and rotating and handles both dogs.  I'm not opposed  to rehoming  one but if both live here forever we'll be good too.  I'm sure I'll look to this forum again in the future because these people know our breed to be good dogs.

 

I'm coming to this very late, but it seems like you may have 2 male Dobermans?  If so, you may have bigger problems in the future as Bugsy matures.  Imagine the 2 dogs going at each other and what can happen if a child gets in their way?

 

I've raised my 2 girls with Dobermans - had a Doberman before either of them were born. Kids will do stupid things and can't be 100% supervised every second of the day. My kids are now 18 and 16 - even with multiple Dobermans, I've never ever had a bite.  A growl, yes.... but never a bite - even when my then 4 year old grabbed both ears of one of mine (with her face in the dogs face) and yanked as hard as she could ... because quote "I wanted her to move".... I was in the same room with my back turned and it happened soooo quick. The dog yelped and snapped air but did not bite.

My personal rule has always been that if one of my dogs bit hard enough to do real damage, I'd put them down - even my Grand Champion. I love all my dogs, but love my children more & know that my insurance company would drop us like a hot potato for a dog bite. I hope I never have to make that decision and I truly feel for anyone who is faced with that decision. 

Your dog didn't just bite, he did serious damage. Yes he should have been protected from pestering, but it happens in the best of homes.  I'm not sure you should give him a pass. If you are determined to get help, ask your vet for the name of a good behaviorist - hopefully they know the good ones.

Also, if you do rehome him - be sure to disclose the bite.  You could be liable for any future bites - especially if you don't disclose it.

 

Good luck - it is a very tough and often heartbreaking position to be in.