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Biting Dog

post #1 of 125
Thread Starter 
I have a 2 year old cocker spaniel and an 8 month old Peanut. My dog is an absolute sweetheart to me and my husband, but doesn't like strangers and doesn't like Peanut. Peanut is crawling really fast now-a-days and it's difficult to keep her away from the dog. Any suggestions or helpful experiences? We really don't want to get rid of our dog and honestly I don't think anyone would take her because of the hating strangers thing. I'm looking into hiring a one-on-one (we've done classes with her to no avail) trainer on Monday.
post #2 of 125
this is not what you want to hear, but this is a complaint I have heard of Cocker Spaniels before. I love dogs and when I have a pet they are really like members of the family, but I wouldn't have a dog that I would be suspicious of biting my baby.
Otherwise, invest in lots of baby gates and keep dog and baby seperated.
post #3 of 125
Sorry to say this, but you have to get rid of the dog or someone to foster until Peanut is older. Our DD was 13 months old and was bit on the face by our small dog and it happened so fast and out of the blue AND It was not around food!!! It happened right next to me when I turned my head for a split second. I trusted our dog 200% and he LOVES kids and EVERYONE. She loves him still and he loves her, but he is living with some in-laws about 1000 miles away.

DDog was in our family for 6 years and had Canine Good Citizen Cert. I talked to breeders and trainers as this was a full bred dog. They said that the worst time can be when kids are toddlers. They don't act predictably and the dogs don't "recognize" them as human. This can happen with highly trained dogs.

DD had an inhibited bite...they decided to not put stitches in but she is left with 2 scars on her face almost a year later to the date. He almost got her eye. It was one of the most awful days of my life. Sitting in the ER with everyone looking at her face and having to say that it was not some strange viscous dog, but our own beloved family pet.

If your dog is already showing aggressive signs with strangers and her, then it probably is not going to get better. This is maybe my one opportunity to have some good come from our horrible experience and that is to save another family from repeating our experience.

DH was adamant after the bite that DDog was staying and we gave it 2.5 months and it was such a relief the day he left even though I miss him every day and just emailed 2 days ago to see how DDog was doing. Anyway, we had baby gates, to keep them separate but both the dog and child can move quickly. I was so stressed & fearful that it might happen again and I found myself wanting to yell at both the dog and DD. About 2month after the bite DD was toddling and fell close to where DDog was laying by DH and bared his teeth. That was it. He couldn't stay away from her and couldn't be near her during this developmental stage. We may get him back, but if the foster parents insist on keeping him then we will have to accept that.

Finally, I will reiterate. Keeping the dog is NOT worth the agony and guilt and horror of the experience. I feel that we were lucky he did not get her eye. It happened once and that was unfortunate, but I know I could not live with myself if it were to happen again. However, you have a lot signs that this is not a good combo and all the training in the world will not give you the peace of mind that the dog's absence will.

Sorry, that that may not be the answer you were hoping for, but hope that it is helpful nonetheless.

BTDT and have long wished I could rewind the hands of time.
post #4 of 125
Is your cocker actually biting? moving away from peanut? growling? You didn't really specify what's going on.

While I agree with the PP that in many situations it is not worth keeping the dog when you're worried about biting, I do think it's only fair to try a GOOD behaviorist before making a decision.

Sometimes things are a lot less dire than they look, and no one on the internet can tell you what is going on. If you really want to keep the dog, if you can, get some good help as quick as you can.
post #5 of 125
If it's any comfort...

My parents had a Scottish Terrier when I was born. Those of you who know dogs know these have major territorial issues and bite.

Everyone said when my mom was pregnant that she'd have to get rid of Heather. When they brought her home, she sort of adopted me. She would sleep under my crib. When I learned to walk, I leaned on her, sometimes pulling her fur. She would whimper but not snap at me. Mother was super-paranoid but she never had any reason to doubt Heather.

The problem is that this is a small dog and people would come up to her. I was constantly pulling her away from them and lecturing children on how they shouldn't approach dogs they don't know. She was also hell in the gas station before the days of self-service. She had quite a reputation.

We also never had food issues but we were taught not to go near her dish. Apparently, that's a real red flag. Toddlers, someone explained to me, are at dog-height and look them in the eye, which dogs misinterpret. That's why they tend to get attacked, even by dogs who were good with them as babies.

Babeck's story scares the crap out of me! What a horrible experience, especially involving two things you love.

I wish there were a way your dog could bond with your baby the way Heather sort of adopted me. Is he jealous? Is this a territorial issue? A trait in this breed? I would not want something that could potentially harm my child around but maybe there's some way to avoid having to get rid of the dog.

Good luck!
post #6 of 125
I'm sorry. There was a thread similar to this in the Pets forum not too long ago. You might try looking over there for more information. Personally, I would not keep a dog that showed any aggression towards my child unless I could really keep them separated (like an outside dog).
post #7 of 125
We just went through this in our house as well. What you really need a dog behaviorist, you can call your vet and they should be able to refer you to someone. Our dog has many other problems that made rehoming impossible, or so I thought. He is now in a wonderful home without children and doing well. Our dog attacked our 3 year, bit her in the face several times, this was after a "warning bite" on her hand a couple months ago. After the first incident I took precautions, never left them alone, etc... this second attack occurred when I was less then 2 feet away, DD2 was just standing there, she had done nothing to the dog.


Children have quick, sudden movements, they can be very unsettling for a dog. Some dogs, especially those that tend to be nippy dogs to begin with, do not tolerate children well. I would urge you to keep the baby away from the dog, while the baby is crawling around, put the dog in another room. If even you are right there, it only takes a second as I found out.
post #8 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by babeak View Post
Sorry to say this, but you have to get rid of the dog or someone to foster until Peanut is older. Our DD was 13 months old and was bit on the face by our small dog and it happened so fast and out of the blue AND It was not around food!!! It happened right next to me when I turned my head for a split second. I trusted our dog 200% and he LOVES kids and EVERYONE. She loves him still and he loves her, but he is living with some in-laws about 1000 miles away.

DDog was in our family for 6 years and had Canine Good Citizen Cert. I talked to breeders and trainers as this was a full bred dog. They said that the worst time can be when kids are toddlers. They don't act predictably and the dogs don't "recognize" them as human. This can happen with highly trained dogs.

DD had an inhibited bite...they decided to not put stitches in but she is left with 2 scars on her face almost a year later to the date. He almost got her eye. It was one of the most awful days of my life. Sitting in the ER with everyone looking at her face and having to say that it was not some strange viscous dog, but our own beloved family pet.

If your dog is already showing aggressive signs with strangers and her, then it probably is not going to get better. This is maybe my one opportunity to have some good come from our horrible experience and that is to save another family from repeating our experience.

DH was adamant after the bite that DDog was staying and we gave it 2.5 months and it was such a relief the day he left even though I miss him every day and just emailed 2 days ago to see how DDog was doing. Anyway, we had baby gates, to keep them separate but both the dog and child can move quickly. I was so stressed & fearful that it might happen again and I found myself wanting to yell at both the dog and DD. About 2month after the bite DD was toddling and fell close to where DDog was laying by DH and bared his teeth. That was it. He couldn't stay away from her and couldn't be near her during this developmental stage. We may get him back, but if the foster parents insist on keeping him then we will have to accept that.

Finally, I will reiterate. Keeping the dog is NOT worth the agony and guilt and horror of the experience. I feel that we were lucky he did not get her eye. It happened once and that was unfortunate, but I know I could not live with myself if it were to happen again. However, you have a lot signs that this is not a good combo and all the training in the world will not give you the peace of mind that the dog's absence will.

Sorry, that that may not be the answer you were hoping for, but hope that it is helpful nonetheless.

BTDT and have long wished I could rewind the hands of time.

Wow, this is pretty much what happened to my son with my nanns dog while I was staying with her for the holidays last year. I lived with her before I got my own place and I raised a kitten with the dog that bit my son on the face. Me and DP were not even 3 feet away when it happened. I would be very careful and keep them in separate areas at all times, no matter what.
post #9 of 125
Sounds like what happened with my IL's dog when my DH was learning how to walk. DH got bit in the face on two separate occasions, and after the second time, the pediatrician told FIL that he'd have to call CPS if they kept the dog.

DH still has the scars, one on an eyelid even.
post #10 of 125
this is so sad, i dont have any advice but hope you can find peace in whatever situation will work best for your family. i know first hand how much of a family member pets can become and it can be so heartbreaking to make a decision like this.
post #11 of 125
I am sorry to hear. Unfortunately though...in 13y of working as a vet tech....Cockers are one of the only breeds I am likely not to trust at the get go.
Dogs are pack creatures...you and your DH are alpha...and your dog is trying to assert dominance over your little one. This cannot happen. You must keep them separated!
My friend (a vet) had to go through this with her own dog (a duck toller)....unfortunately all the behavioural training (with a specialist) in the world would not work for her. She had no choice but to put her down...she would snap at strangers too
post #12 of 125
I forgot to tell you the other part of the story. The hospital reports this to animal control and they come out and put your dog under quarantine. Then we had to go through a lot of other paperwork to get this lifted by proving he had his vaccinations, etc. otherwise they would then take the dog or something like that...blah, blah, blah. BUT, we ALSO HAD TO POST A NOTICE ON OUR DOOR that we had a quarantined dog. Talk about a Scarlet A!!! It was just a horrible experience all around.

At the hospital, they were convinced it was a large dog, but I had to show them how he essentially dragged his teeth across her face (upper and lower jaws) and pinched her cheek really hard. I can still remember it vividly and probably won't ever forget it.

All of the stories from PP saying that it was in the face is what I was told to and that this is not uncommon, which is very scary. We were told that as awful as this bit was, that it was inhibited and it was a quick bite, not an attack. However, I would have hated to see anything more than that.
post #13 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadiMamacita View Post
this is not what you want to hear, but this is a complaint I have heard of Cocker Spaniels before. I love dogs and when I have a pet they are really like members of the family, but I wouldn't have a dog that I would be suspicious of biting my baby.
Otherwise, invest in lots of baby gates and keep dog and baby seperated.

There's also a good book I've heard of, Childproofing Your Dog, that maybe you can look into.
This has got to be a rough situation
post #14 of 125
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your advice. I would really like to avoid getting rid of my dog if at all possible. I'm having a one-on-one trainer come to my house.

I don't think she's jealous, though she might be territorial. She never snaps at people outside of our house. Mostly when Peanut goes near her, she just walks away. Peanut likes to follow her though. Sometimes she growls and we correct her. The times that she has snapped at her have been once when Peanut cornered her, once when they were both on the bed and Peanut got too close to her (she was awake, just for some reason she didn't go away that time), and once when my husband had food he was giving to Peanut and the dog thought she should have it (she didn't actually get her that time). The times that she has bitten her, she hasn't actually broken skin. Though she has recently bitten me and broken my skin (I was trying to take off her sweater).
post #15 of 125
i really hope the trainer can help, sounds like a dominant thing, which as far as i know is correctable and will most likely also be grown out of as baby gets older and isnt on her level anymore.
please update us with how it goes, i really hope you guys can work it out.
post #16 of 125
There is no way I would trust a biting dog around my child even if the dog were to go through training. I just wouldn't be able to trust that the dog, if provoked, wouldn't bite again. If it were me, the dog would have to go.
post #17 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by lactatinggirl View Post
The times that she has snapped at her have been once when Peanut cornered her, once when they were both on the bed and Peanut got too close to her (she was awake, just for some reason she didn't go away that time), and once when my husband had food he was giving to Peanut and the dog thought she should have it (she didn't actually get her that time). The times that she has bitten her, she hasn't actually broken skin. Though she has recently bitten me and broken my skin (I was trying to take off her sweater).
re:bolded
I didn't realize the dog had already bitten the baby. no way no how would i keep an animal that has already bit my baby. sorry op. can you find a new place for the dog- maybe someone who would let you have the dog back when baby is older?
post #18 of 125
Im with the others the dog NEEDS to go. You will never be able to truely trust the dog. We love our chinese crested but if he ever opened his mouth to my 13 month old ( or 6yr , 15 yr or 18yr) he would be gone. Its not fair a child should suffer because of a pet. They should be safe in their own home with out fear of harm from a dog ( or cat ) bite.
post #19 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by lactatinggirl View Post
Thank you all for your advice. I would really like to avoid getting rid of my dog if at all possible. I'm having a one-on-one trainer come to my house.

I don't think she's jealous, though she might be territorial. She never snaps at people outside of our house. Mostly when Peanut goes near her, she just walks away. Peanut likes to follow her though. Sometimes she growls and we correct her. The times that she has snapped at her have been once when Peanut cornered her, once when they were both on the bed and Peanut got too close to her (she was awake, just for some reason she didn't go away that time), and once when my husband had food he was giving to Peanut and the dog thought she should have it (she didn't actually get her that time). The times that she has bitten her, she hasn't actually broken skin. Though she has recently bitten me and broken my skin (I was trying to take off her sweater).
There is NO WAY I would keep a dog who was actually biting me or my child. There is nothing on this earth that would make me do that.
post #20 of 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBaxter View Post
Im with the others the dog NEEDS to go. You will never be able to truely trust the dog. We love our chinese crested but if he ever opened his mouth to my 13 month old ( or 6yr , 15 yr or 18yr) he would be gone. Its not fair a child should suffer because of a pet. They should be safe in their own home with out fear of harm from a dog ( or cat ) bite.
Yes. In all honesty, I have seen what a dog can do to a child. A dog that there is *any* question about needs to go. It is not worht the pain and disfigurement for your little one, who cannot speak for him/herself.

Babies and children deserve a safe home. I am sorry for your heartache, but do it now before your baby is injured. Please.
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