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Help! Bite incidents with my three year old :(

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hi, I really need some advice (and no lectures please; I'm already very upset.)  We have a four month old female schnoodle, who has frankly been delightful up til yesterday.  She has her typical puppy moments, but is mostly quite a good pup.  She knows all her basic commands, is housebroken, loves everyone.  We have two little boys, age 3 and 5, and she's been very good with them up til now.

While I was in the bathroom yesterday, I heard a scream and came out to find blood streaming down the 3 year old's face.  Apparently he'd been teasing Moya -- holding a toy she wanted above his head out of her reach -- and she was jumping up for it.  (This was the 5 year old's version of events, which I believe to be true.)  I assumed she bit him by accident; that she jumped up for the toy near his face.  I had a serious talk to James about not teasing the dog.  Yes, I know he should be supervised with the dog.  But my husband travels and every so often this tired mom forgets.

This evening, we were all in the family room and James tossed a ball for Moya.  She retrieved it, dropped it in front of him, and then jumped up and bit him in the face.  It was very shocking. This bite too drew blood. 

I don't know what to do.  She's in a training class at Petsmart (not terribly useful; it's mostly about basic commands and I'd already taught them to her.)  I'll ask the trainer there today, but this is serious stuff.  Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?  I can deal with many issues, but the dog wounding my children is unacceptable. 


post #2 of 26

Poor babies! And poor mommy, too


While you wait for good advice for fixing this, my advise is to keep the puppy on a leash hooked to your pants at all times that she is not safely in her kennel (assuming you have one).


It's so hard to remember that the "great dog" you are used to is still a baby and will still act out after you have gotten to know her and thought of her as gentle. Also your boys are way to young to protect themselves and to always be gentle, if one was to fall on the puppy and hurt her she would be likely to bite again.


No judging, we all let our guards down sometimes, but tethering puppy to you will help you to never forget and be in reach of her at all times

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

You're right.  That's a good idea, and probably a necessary one.


We are having a private session with the trainer next week and the kids.  I realize that though I've spent a lot of time training the dog, I haven't spent much time training the kids to train the dog!  And I need to have her respect them like she respects me. 


post #4 of 26

Good for you for finding a trainer to come in to help in person - there's only so much help to be had over the internet!  Since you have someone coming out, I would second the suggestion of increased management until the situation can be further assessed.  Tethers, baby gates, and crates are all wonderful tools to have!


I hope the trainer can give you some insight - please keep us updated on how it goes!

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Erin.  Yes, I'm trying to stay on top of her and containment has been my friend the past couple days.  Exercising her a lot too seems to help with the nippiness.


post #6 of 26

Just wanted to post that I'm so sorry. That had to be pretty hard to draw blood and that would really concern me- but at the same time, sounds like she is really young and I know those puppy teeth can be sharp, and she is "just" learning.  Good luck in figuring things out! Sorry I don't have any real advice.

post #7 of 26

I have a 1yo schnauzer and a 3yoDD.  I have a crate that the dog uses at night that is in our bedroom.  But during the day if I can't fully supervise or if I feel the dog and DD need a break from each other, I put the dog in a playpen.  It's 3ft tall, which is good cuz DD can't lean over into it.  The playpen is in the living area of our apartment so the dog is able to see and hear what is going on but still be protected from a toddler who doesn't fully understand doggy etiquette.  And the play pen is not a punishment for the dog.  She goes in willingly and gets lots of loves for going in.  She has water, a bed and toys in there with her.  But the person I got our dog from used such a set up for her young daughter and schnauzers and I'm really glad that I continued that routine.  So maybe consider getting another place that is just for the dog.  My DD doesn't get to play with our dog in the playpen, it is the dogs other safe place.  And I am the only one that can let the dog go in or out of it.  


This is the one I use.  It has a walk through door, and no assembly required.  The spaces between the bars are too small for the dog to get her mouth on nearby furniture or walls.  I'm a single mom and this thing really helps my sanity and stress levels.


post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks Kibba.  I appreciate the support.

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

The play pen is a super idea.  I live in an incredibly tiny house... we'd have to squeeze it in.  Does it set up/break down easily?  You mentioned no assembly so I'm assuming so.


How is your schnauzer with the nippiness now that she's a year old?  Moya gets better as she gets older, but it's definitely worst with the three year old for obvious reasons.

post #10 of 26

I lock my dogs up in a room with a baby gate when I can not watch them. I like the dogs but I know they can bite. One time the dog bit my ds trying to get something in his hand(bone or toy).Accident I am sure on the dogs part,but I won't hesitate to get rid of any pet if needed. Hopefully you can keep on eye on the dog.Crates or gates are the way to go. I always lock the dogs up when the kids have friends over.

post #11 of 26
Originally Posted by bygones75 View Post

The play pen is a super idea.  I live in an incredibly tiny house... we'd have to squeeze it in.  Does it set up/break down easily?  You mentioned no assembly so I'm assuming so.


How is your schnauzer with the nippiness now that she's a year old?  Moya gets better as she gets older, but it's definitely worst with the three year old for obvious reasons.

We live in a small 2br apartment, and while it does take up some space, we have the panels arrranged so that its about 5ft long and 3ft at it's widest point.  It folds down flat and is easy to put up or take down.  I was pleasantly surprised when I brought it home and it set up so easy.  With the panels as they are, it's easy to fit it into a reasonable amount of space that fits your area.  Like a 4ft by 4ft square would be too much, but the half octagon shape works really well for us.  And because it's in the main living area, the dog can see what's going on and doesn't display separation anxiety like she might if she was cordoned off in another room.  The baby gate thing isn't really an option for us because our space is so small.


So far (we've only had our schnauzer 6 weeks, she is 15 mos) she hasn't been nippy.  There have been a few times that DD was sitting next to the dog and I on the couch and she would lean on the dog or sit on her foot.  The dog only yelps and then looks to me for rescue.  She hasn't shown any signs of being nippy except when playing with toys, her mouth will occasionally get on my or DDs hand, but it's just the excitement of play and there isn't a bite or nip action.... it's just the dog trying to grab the toy before we throw it.  Those cases are always an open mouth that just happens to collide with a fast moving hand.  And yeah, it is so hard to make DD understand what is proper behavior with the dog.  She thinks the dog is the greatest toy ever, and I keep having to tell DD that the dog is really small (compared to a 30lb kid) and that she could easily hurt her.


I agree with getting a trainer involved.  Maybe consider going as far as getting your dog her Canine Good Citizen cert.  Schnauzers are really smart and need the mental activity and discipline.  If you don't get good results with the trainer you are meeting with, call a couple of different vet clinics to see if they have any trainer recommendations.  And a specialty/privately owned dog store might also have a good suggestion for a trainer.  I've not heard much good about the classes at the larger Pet store chains, although I'm sure there are exceptions.  I like to think that with the right training/trainer new undesirable behaviors can be trained out with some work.  Of course providing there isn't a health problem.


Good luck!  I hope this is helpful and that you and your schnoodle can find a way to live with a 3yo. wink1.gif

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

I know, the chain pet stores probably aren't the way to go.  But with us, it's always finances that are the problem.  I could pay $100 with Petsmart or $400 with a private trainer.  I didn't have either, but the credit card like the former amount better.  So far, the trainer fine.  Probably not the best in the area, but patient and willing to work on our problems with the kids there too, so that's a plus.  We'll see what the next session brings. 


Thanks for all the tips.  Hopefully when Moya is your dog's age we'll have her well-trained enough not to see James as another puppy to chew on.

post #13 of 26

You should be able to find good training classes for around the same price as petsmart classes.  Honestly, it sounds like just a puppy thing...though it is a bit concerning that she drew blood.  How old was she when she was taken from her littermates?  She is a mix I know, but do you have any info of her mother or father?


post #14 of 26

It's great that the trainer is willing to work with you, the dog and your kids together.  I'm sure it's a bit chaotic, but it is also a great way that she can see the dynamics and the kids can also learn from her as well.  Good luck!  Keep us posted.

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

to Greenmagic: There was another class that was comparable price-wise, but they wanted every vaccine done.  We only do distemper and parvo (and will do rabies next month.)  Petsmart was more lenient and only wanted to hear my reasoning for not doing the full schedule.  I'm thankful for that. 


She was 8 weeks when I took her.  I have the info on her parents from the breeder, but I guess that's taking her word on it.


To Theia: Thanks!  I'll let you know how it goes.

post #16 of 26

I can't do the full vaccine schedule with my schnauzer either.  She has already had one reaction when she got her rabies vaccine, and I got her on contract that she would not be further vaccinated but titer tested instead.  Another schnauzer in her family line has died from a vaccination.  Jean Dodd's protocol is a good one to follow and has also been adopted by vet schools in North America.

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

Yes, but try finding vets who actually follow Jean Dodd's protocol!  We see a holistic vet and he still does it old school.  The only difference is he allows my alternative schedule, whereas most vets would kick me out.

post #18 of 26

IT is sad that so many vets and training centers are so behind on the recommended vaccinations:(


The reason I asked about age she was brought home is often if they are taken to young their bite inhibition is not good and they tend to nip and bite harder.  But you said you got her from a breeder?  I guess it was a purposeful breeding of a mix?  Have you contacted the breeder at all...if you buy from a good breeder they will be a great support to you with behavioral issues. 


ANd petsmart classes arent all bad.  I know a couple trainers I really admire and respect who have or currently work for petsmart...but it is very up to the trainer whether the classes are good or not. 

post #19 of 26

I hate to be the mean one, but if an animal bites, it is out of my household.  No second chances with my children.  Find it a home with an elderly couple. Having been a vet tech for 8 years, I don't mess around with any sort of aggression.  I realize it is a lot easier to say that than when it isn't your animal and your children that are attached to it.  I hope things work out for you!!!

post #20 of 26

We struggled with biting in our schnoodle too.  But we didn't have a puppy.  Ours was a 4yo rescue dog, so we didn't know her history.  She bit every child who tried to pet her.  Even a gentle 8yo girl.  I think she must have had a bad history with kids.  Once we became parents, we decided to find her a home better-suited for her (with a retired couple who travel with their pets).  It was heart-breaking, but my son was only a few months old at the time, and I just wasn't willing to risk a bite. 


Your situation is different though.  Your dog is just a puppy, and you do know her history.  This time in her life will probably determine how kid-friendly she will be as an adult dog.  You've gotten good advice already and I'm sure you'll work this out.  I would worry much more about this with an adult dog than I would with a young puppy.  smile.gif

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