Just going though old posts and reread this thread. Sorry, greenmagick, that I didn't address your concern about the biting. We were in the middle of moving at the time. It's still helpful for me to talk about it now, and maybe it will help someone else. So here's our dog history.
1999 - Mittens was a mini poodle/mini schnauzer mix we adopted from a rescue, and our first dog as adults (we didn't have any kids at the time). The group had recently rescued her from the city shelter. She and her brother were brought there by an elderly man who was going into a nursing home. Her brother was adopted from the shelter, but she wasn't. The rescue group didn't have a foster home for her, so she was at their vet for a couple weeks before we adopted her. About a year and a half later, we had our son. She didn't bite him because he wasn't mobile yet. But she bit my friends' kids. She was just afraid of kids. They didn't try to pick her up . They just went near her and she bit without warning. I assume she must have been mistreated by kids in the past. I was afraid she'd bite our baby, so we rehomed her through a rescue group with an older couple. It broke my heart to part with her.
2003 - We tried again. This time we adopted a lab/border collie mix from the SPCA. She's awesome! She's 9.5 now and has never bitten or snapped at anyone. We spent months visiting shelters and rescues looking for the perfect family dog. I asked at the shelter what dogs of theirs would be the best with young kids and two different people said on two separate visits that Raven was the one. She hadn't been adopted in the 9 months she'd been at the SPCA because was a black dog in a sea of black dogs, according to them. She was chosen as a pet therapy dog by the SPCA. She visited nursing homes as an outreach of the shelter. We wish we could clone her!
2005 - We wanted a buddy for Raven. Ruby was a lab/blue heeler mix that we adopted from the SPCA. The dogs got along great. At that time, my son was 5. He grabbed her and she nipped him. Only nips, but once it left a mark above and below his eye. He has sensory integration issues, and we just couldn't get him to stop grabbing her. Sometimes he would "stim" by bonking his head on her back. I think she was just correcting him like she would a puppy. The near-eye bite made me scared, so she went to live with my aunt and her pack of dogs.
2007 - Mac (the old Jack Russell we found wandering in a neighborhood) has a valid excuse for being cranky. He's old and arthritic. Also, he's a bossy, reactive Jack. Most of the biting issues with him were when my friend's kids came over and tried to pick him up without permission. I didn't have a crate for him to keep him separate. He went to live with my mom not because of biting, but because my grandparents had to move in with us for care and their little dog came with them. Three dogs and a grandfather on hospice for lung cancer was too much for me, so my mom offered to take him.
2010 - My grandma and her dog moved in with her son, so we had one dog again (Raven). I asked my mom if she wanted us to take Mac back, but she said she thought he was happier with her (no other dogs). My son was 10 when we adopted Bob (a lhasa apso or lhasa mix) from the rescue group I used to foster for. We did see a behaviorist about him. She said like a lot of lhasa apsos, he has "handling issues" and is likely to snap if handled abruptly or just if you try to make him do something he doesn't want to do (such as get down from the couch). Yes, we let him on the couch... He was terrified of the groomer until we found a good, patient one, and he would bite the brush if we tried to brush him. Our rescue group found him abandoned and full of mats in an apartment complex. He was so matted he had to be completely shaved down. So I'm sure that had something to do with it. He was a sweet dog, but in a family situation, you've gotta be able to handle your dog! The rescue had him listed as a shih tzu mix, and that's what we were looking for temperament-wise. Our vet (an owner of lhasas) is the one that said he was heavily lhasa if not a (poorly bred) pure lhasa. So perhaps breed also played a role in that situation. Bob went back to his foster mom, and as far as I know, he's still there. After our experience, they had to list him as not suitable for a family with young children. I'm afraid that affects his chances at finding a permanent home. BUT his foster mom is great, and he seems happy there with a pack of little dogs to run with. She doesn't have any kids. Looking back, I should have limited our options to dogs fostered in families with kids.
If you're still with me, thank you!!!!!!!
Because we've had so many challenges and several situations haven't worked out, my husband doesn't want to get another dog until our dog Raven dies. And I'm ok with that. I never considered adopting a puppy before. I always thought that although they are super cute, they are much more work. I've never potty-trained a puppy! However, we have had adult rescue dogs pee and poop inside and chew up rugs and carpet and shoes, so that's probably not very different from a puppy! My belief was always that the perfect dog is a 1-2 yo fostered with a family rescue dog. But maybe I was wrong. I know that puppies are in demand, so I thought I was doing something good by adopting adults.
I'm so grateful to have you guys here for advice. I want to do what's right. Irresponsible pet owners drive me nuts, but with several rescues that haven't worked out, sometimes I worry that I'm one of them! :(