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Our Dog Snapped at My Baby... Please Help

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
I've spent much of the evening crying, because I'm just heartbroken over this. I'm not sure what to do at all... or, rather, I think I'm going to end up having to do something I hate (get rid of the dog)...

As background, we got Jesse about a year and a half ago from a shelter, so we're not sure at all about his background. For the most part, he's a happy, friendly dog, if anything more reticent and shy than aggressive. He has growled a few times at us, but usually when he's woken up from a nap to move (like when he's lying in my spot in the bed). For awhile, we had a group of friends coming to the house, and there was one person that he actively disliked, and he was very unfriendly towards that person. In that environment, he did snap at this person and one other person that was over (two different occasions, but both involving picking something up from the floor).

Needless to say, we were worried about having a baby in the house with this history. However, once we stopped having that particular group over, everything seemed fine. Until tonite...

Brian was crawling on the floor, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what happened, I just know that I heard a growl, and I looked down and it looked like Bri's head was in Jesse's mouth... now I know that if Jesse had wanted to bite, he easily could have, but that sight was one of my worst nightmares come true. Brian screamed for a little while after the incident, but he's fine now. Dan and I are scarred, though!

I don't want to get rid of the dog, I love him, but yes, I love Brian more. I'd love to be able to get training for the dog, but right now, we're flat broke, so unless someone is out there that does pro bono dog therapy, I don't think it's an option. It breaks my heart to think that Jesse might have to go through another transition in his life. But I'm also terrified of it happening again, and with worse results.

Is there anyone out there with any advice? I'd love to hear it....

post #2 of 56
If you cannot afford training, then your best bet is to find the dog a new home. You will always be worried about him. It is sad to have to do this but he needs to be in a house without kids and you need to have peace of mind in yours. Contact a local no-kill shelter or ask your friends for help. It is best for all.
post #3 of 56
Something similar happened to some friends of ours - they were going to put their dogs up for adoption and were waiting to find a child-free home after they got aggressive with their 2 yo DC, but in the meantime the dogs attacked and killed an unleashed puppy in a park while out on a walk (their dogs were leashed) and that was that. The dogs were put down.

I'd find him a new home pronto, before something worse happens. Even if you started training him, the effects won't be immediate and something else could happen.
post #4 of 56
call around to local animal rescues, the ASPCA, the animal shelter, and trainers explain the problem He's an adopted dog, in need of some serious training so he doesn't end up back in the shelter. Sometimes they will cut a deal...free/low cost or payment arrangments for training.
post #5 of 56
Honestly, I think that the dog needs to go. I wouldn't take the risk of even hoping that training will help. I'd find the dog a home or do whatever you need to do.
post #6 of 56
I would find the doggie a new home - hopefully somebody you know. Some dogs and cats just don't mix well with children.

sorry you have to go through this
post #7 of 56
Yep I would get rid of it. It's growled at you, snapped at the baby. What's going to happen when a little toddler pulls on it's tail?
post #8 of 56
I wouldn't let the baby near the dog again and I would rehome him. Depending on his breed the outcome if you keep him could be disasterous. What kind of dog is he? If you rehome him, be sure he does not have access to children.
post #9 of 56
I saw a show on this not too long ago and a couple of the dogs had this exact problem. The trainer who was advising people said get him to a good trainer immediately - one that will keep him while he trains him until he learns not to do this. The trainer said that this is a BIG problem, and he WILL do it again. So either superb trainer or new home, really. This is not something to be taken lightly from what that trainer said, it is a big big deal.
post #10 of 56
sorry it hurts but he has to go, undoubtedly.
post #11 of 56
There was a baby killed by the family dog recently in the news...somewhere in New England. Baby was in a pack and play, left alone in the room for only a second.

article is graphic!!! Warning!!!

post #12 of 56
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Chasmin

I clicked on the link to read about your son, Quinn. I cried through the story, thank you so much for sharing it. I have to say, it really helped me put things into perspective.

Thank you!
post #13 of 56
i agree with most of what has been said. the dog has to go. i had a german shephard (well, my ex did) who bit my son in the bottom while he was running away from him (my son was around 7). he went immediately. its hard to do, i know, but if they show a tendency toward biting, they aren't safe (although potentially no animal is really SAFE around a baby).
one thing i wanted to tell you is to tell the people who you send the dog to about its history. you dont want to have someone else experience the same thing. if the shelter knows the dog doesnt get along with kids, they will make sure the home he goes to doesnt have children.
i have a Simese cat (very expensive cat that we took from a friend b/c of her allergies) that i need to get rid of before our babies birth. She is not friendly at all and doesn't get along with the other cats (we have 2 others) and doesn't get along with the other kids. all she likes is to sit on our lap and be pet. that worries me b/c babies are unpredictable and im worried about her scratching, etc. She's given me a bunch of deep scratches when she has gotten scared.
at least feel grateful that nothing more happened and you learned this early.
post #14 of 56
well, I have much to say but little time to say it

Brian was crawling on the floor, and to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what happened,
1st - NEVER leave a baby/small child & a dog alone together.
Get a baby gate & keep the CRAWLING babe away from the dog. they need their own space.

I have 3 GSDs that I would trust with my life but they are never alone with my toddler.

I will write more later & I'm not in favor of booting the dog yet as you did not mention the
2-any training the dog had/has?
3- you so not know the circumstance if the incident... right now my DS likes to puts his fingers in everyones EYES & push.. he does this to the dogs. & of course they would react

For awhile, we had a group of friends coming to the house, and there was one person that he actively disliked, and he was very unfriendly towards that person. In that environment, he did snap at this person and one other person that was over (two different occasions, but both involving picking something up from the floor).
how often did this happen.

We need more of the Professional dog folks weighing in on this.
I will write more later.
post #15 of 56
When you say he "snapped" at people, did he make skin contact? Even if he didn't break skin, a bite and a snap are different things. It's a fine line, but meaningful. A dog knows perfectly well where his teeth end and where your arm starts. If he's snapping but not making contact, that says to me that he's unsure of his place in the great order of things and needs training help. If he's making skin contact, he's past the point where training is likely to help. There's a reason why most rescues refuse to work with dogs that have ever bitten, and why SPCAs will euthanize them without a second thought. The chance of rehabilitating them is too low, and the risks are too high.

We went through something similar with a rescue dog. Rare occurances of snapping, one previous incident of biting (only two weeks after we brought him home from the SPCA, we chalked it up to he hadn't been home long enough to acclimate). He was great with Talia... until she surprised him one night when he was focussed on "hunting" (he was stalking a mouse he heard in the wall, and was very intently focussed on it). He turned like a whip and bit her in the face.

After the first time he bit, long before we had kids, folks on a breed list (breeders and rescuers) were adamant that we should euthanize him. Once a biter, always a biter, they said. I didn't believe it. We worked like mad with him, training him. We turned from an undisciplined maniac into a seriously disciplined, loving dog. People who'd known him the whole time we had him, including folks with years of training background and a friend who worked with dogs as a psychology grad student, were honestly amazed by what a great dog he became. Then, he growled and attacked my daughter... My opinion changed.

Believe me, it still hurts my heart to think about having put that dog down. And it makes me shake to recommend it to other people. But I don't think it's safe or reasonable to do otherwise. You would be legally and morally responsible if that dog bites someone else if you rehome him. Furthermore, there are *so* many dogs that are put down daily who would make good, loving, safe pets. How is it ethical to keep around an animal who is *known* to be a danger, while killing three animals who are safer? In a perfect world, where there are enough homes for every dog out there, it would be reasonable to try to find a safe home for a dog with aggressive issues. But in a world there just isn't enough room for the dogs that are already here, it's not rational to keep a dog who is already known to be dangerous.

Flame away, I know it's coming. It always comes down to that on these threads...

eta: for those who question how my dog had the chance to bite Talia, I was two feet away watching, and she literally brushed against him in passing. She didn't jump on him, grab him, try to play with him. She simply brushed against his haunch while walking toward me, while I was standing nearby. He spun and bit, I kicked him away. Only time I've ever kicked an animal...

Interestingly, my instinct wasn't to care for her, it was to protect her - my animal instinct was to chase that dog as far away from her as possible, I chased him upstairs to the farthest room of the house, then returned to see how she was faring.
post #16 of 56
There is a great book, recomended by our dog trainer, called Childproofing Your Dog. It's a must read!
post #17 of 56
I, too, will probably have an unpopular opinion on this, as I believe that there are a lot of things to consider before removing a dog from a home..breed type, whether training is available, and supervision.
My dog growled at my younger son just yesterday. I was right in the same room. Many of you would hear that and say "Get rid if the dog, now."
What you wouldn't know is that my younger son had been teasing her, even after I repeatedly asked him to stop. She let him know the only way she knew how that she had enough. I was fortunate to be there, and removed the dog from the room that my son was in, so she could have her own space, and he could calm down.
I know that tragedies involving dogs and children happeen every day. But I also know that many of these tragedies are preventable, both by properly supervising the dog/child interaction, and proper training of the dog.
If these very important rules aren't followed, then, really, any home with small children is not safe with a dog, regardless of the breed.
Yuo have to be very committed and steadfast in your supervision and training, This includes teaching the child, once they are old enough to understand, that they need to be gentle, and respect a dog. Obviously a toddler or a child even younger is not able to do this, and in my case, obviously they won't always listen..but that is when it is the responsibility of the adults to supervise and direct the situation.
I am sorry you are hurting, and I hope you do not take this as a flame, because it isn't. Really, it is just my usual lecture on dogs, children, and the pros and cons of the two. I would be heartbroken if I had to give away my dog, but I would be devasted if she bit my son. And truthfully, I do not know what I would do, and admit I may have a different reaction, if my dog had actually snapped yesteerday, rather than merely growled. The scary part is, because I am always in the same room as my child and the dog, I am sure that is what prevented that from happening. What if, in a different circumstance, I was not in the same room. Sigh..it is so hard.
post #18 of 56
Until you can find the dog a new home, the dog has to be an "outside dog."

Until you can find the dog a new home, the dog and your child cannot be together, even under supervision.

The dog has to be rehomed if you cannot find a way to keep the dog out of the house, day and night, and never let the child and the dog come into contact with each other.

We used to do dog rescue, and we still have four dogs left over from our dog rescue days. The dogs all live in the garage in a fenced yard now.

Yes, it is sad, but not as sad as letting my kids get bit or having those dogs be separated from each other. I'm not happy with this situation, but these particular dogs cannot be trusted with our children.
post #19 of 56
We did euthanize one of our rescue dogs for severe aggression after Gracie, our older dd, was born. We tried everything with that dog, and nothing would help. He was taking human pyschiatric medication, and had trainers, behaviorists, etc. So I dont' know about the one bite thing, but that may be true. We did not want to give him to a rescue group, because there are so many sweet, easy dogs who are being killed every day at shelters because of a lack of room and resources. We felt we had done everything possible and we didn't want to inflict him on someone else.
post #20 of 56
ITA with Tara.
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