Our Dog Snapped at My Baby... Please Help - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, Chasmyn... I appreciate the support!
-Mindi
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#32 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 06:52 PM
 
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Mindi,
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#33 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 07:12 PM
 
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I am glad you made a good decision and your son is now safe. It is hard to loose a pet you just get so attached to them. They say the right thing to do is always the hardest thing to do.
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#34 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 07:57 PM
 
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I'm sorry you have to go through this.
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#35 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 08:06 PM
 
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I can imagine how hard that was.

FWIW, I think you did the right thing...but I'm a huge animal lover and I can understand how you feel.

Mama to DS (8) and DD (7) Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement.

 

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#36 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 08:07 PM
 
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Mindi,
this was a decision you had to make quickly and we all know it was not made lightly. i am sure you guys will find a more suitable pet when you are read.
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#37 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 08:28 PM
 
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I know it hurts to have to give away a pet, however, I feel your decision was a responsible one. Children are definately worth the precaution. There is no way of knowing all the time if a pet fits in your family life. If they do not, it is merciful to give them and yourself a different option.

Hopefully in choosing another pet, please be careful and choose a good breed for children. It is well worth the time and saves heartaches. I also would not want my children to fear and hate animals and even mistreat them because of a bad experience.
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#38 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 09:55 PM
 
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#39 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 10:53 PM
 
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Mindi, I believe you made the right decision. Obviously without knowing the dog, family, or situation, I agree with Milky Way's assessment of the situation. Your dog has given you lots of clues that he is stressed in certain situations. A baby/toddler/preschooler does not have the self control to ensure that your dog would not become stressed out and aggressive in the future. As Shannon described in her response to you, it takes a huge amount of work to work with these dogs to try to get them to overcome their triggers and anxieties. It can be done with some dogs, but you are a busy mother raising a small child. I think it might be a lot to do for you right now. It is more fair to the dog to take him out of a stressful and potentially devastating situation. I know it sucks, but think you made the best decision in this unfortunate situation.

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#40 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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#41 of 56 Old 07-26-2005, 11:55 PM
 
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I am the biggest animal rights person. You made the right decision. The dog had some kind of history that unfortunately is preventing it from being a good member of the family. It is a shame, but certainly not your fault. Training can't undo the damage that abuse (from the people that had the dog before he got to the shelter) that the poor thing probably incurred.

And your child and his safety is definitely more important.
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#42 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 10:05 AM
 
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You did the right thing for your family.
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#43 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 10:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polka123
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Polka1232, I'm with you on this one. I offered tons of advice and I didn't even get a PM. I have delt with this SO many times and it's 100% workable and of course I'm thinking about her sons safety first. I've responded to so many pet threads on this board and I tell people to PM me for more help and I've only gotten a few responses and all those folks where SO glad they PM"d me. Poor Jessie it's not his fault and now he will pay without being given even a chance. We nor the Op really even knows what happened the OP said she didn't see what happened and thats a sign of a problem right there but we will leave that for another day.

If you really HAD to give him up you should have contacted a rescuer who could have worked with Jessie and placed him acordingly. It's not that hard to find homes for dogs with imperfections I do it all the time it's just more worek on my part to ensure the dog goes to the right home like to a college student or to a retired family or to a CF family. Or you should have had Jessie put down yourself. Why because at least he would have been with his family and loved on for his last moments not drug down a hall by someone he dosen't know forced into a small chamber and sruggling for his last breath all the while panicking(I know the shelter here uses the gas chamber and not injections not prettty folks). Another happy ending
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#44 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 10:37 AM
 
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You made a decision that was best for your family.

I can't believe that last post. Very mean. I didn't see anyone offer to take her dog so I don't think her decision should be judged. PM'ing a total stranger on the internet might have helped if your PM said "I will take your dog."

She knows what is best for her family.
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#45 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armonia
You made a decision that was best for your family.

I can't believe that last post. Very mean. I didn't see anyone offer to take her dog so I don't think her decision should be judged. PM'ing a total stranger on the internet might have helped if your PM said "I will take your dog."

She knows what is best for her family.
:

The dog is not worth more than her son. Sorry.

And if you are new to MDC, a bit more circumspection is considered polite, btw. Many long-time posters with rescue work experience have advised otherwise.
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#46 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 12:31 PM
 
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You did what you needed to do.
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#47 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 12:40 PM
 
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I think this family did what was right for them and no one has the right to judge them or tell them what they did was wrong. The dog had some serious issues and a dog like that is not appropriate to be around children.

I have been involved in breed rescue for some time, finding a home for a dog with a good temperament is hard enough, people do not line up to adopt dogs with a history of human aggression and biting. Finding a proper home (not the first person that says they want the dog) for a poor tempered unstable dog would be extremely difficult if not impossible.

Our rescue, as most reputable rescues I know, will not take dogs with a history of human aggression or biting, if we end up with a poor tempered dog they are humanely euthanized. It is too risky to adopt dogs like that, especially in our litigious society, not to mention the guilt we would feel if we adopted an unstable dog out and it mauled or killed someone.
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#48 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 01:23 PM
 
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I'm sorry guys, I believe the op did what was best for her family--and yeah, I've been involved in rescue for years too. In the beginning I had that attitude of "I'm gonna save them all" but you know, I was about 7 yrs in when I realized were spending funds we didn't have and copious time we didn't have to save one aggresively inclined dog because we would make him a cause--after all, it's not his fault, they all deserve a chance, yadda yadda yadda. I was especially bad for this--afterall, I'm the dog trainer who specializes in aggresive dogs! At about 7 yrs in I stopped to look at things and realized we were killing perfectly friendly, lovely nice dogs--why?? cause there was no challenge in them, there was nothing "special" that made us go to bat for these dogs--everyone just figured that the nice dogs would do ok without any extra help--but they don't--they end up dying while we pour our lives and money into a dog that really should not be adopted out and when it does get adopted out it's going to have 15 precautions attached to it. There are only so many homes out there--it's unfortunate but it's just that simple, why are we killing the nice dogs just so we can pat ourselves on the back and say we saved the unsaveable??? It doesn't make sense to me anymore.
In this area there is an organization who has become known for adopting out these types of dogs-so much so that I really want nothing to do with them. They adopted out a large lab cross who had "only ever growled and shown teeth" the new owners were told it was just because the other people had not excercised it enough, they were told the dog hated having his collar grabbed--etc, etc, etc, etc. The dog mauled and damn near killed the dog walker his new and really nice owners had hired--these people had a 2 yr old!!! Frankly, I testified in court against this rescue organization--normally I would never support attacking a rescue organization, but in one year, I had seen 11 dogs from this very organization that should never have been adopted out--their new owners were paying me through the nose to attempt to save the dog because it was just plain snarky--all 11 of those people would have saved a nice friendly dog, so you can pretty much count on the fact that 11 nice dogs were killed so these nasty dogs could have a home and this particular rescue organization could continue to say "we're no kill--no matter what"

So I'm sorry, but I've learned over the years that they just can't all be saved and in my humble opinion, our efforts at saving are best made in the area of saving the dogs that don't have temperment problems.

Milky way, I've got to be honest, I don't agree with you that this dog could be fixed and I think you'd be hard pressed to find proof that behavior modification would actually solve this problem. The owner would NEVER, EVER be able to trust this dog--I don't know about you, but I have pets to enrich my life and make my life better and I don't think living constantly on edge and having to be hyper vigilant because I KNOW my dog is a fear biter and just about anything could set it off. If this was a one time issue, I'd wholeheartedly agree that they OP should try some behavior modification and some obedience training, but this was not the first time--how many near misses should one endure before they take action. As a trainer I can tell you that all the training in the world would not make this dog trustworthy--and frankly, as a trainer that's exactly what I'd have told this owner in an initial consult. Should she have been watching the dog closer-sure, but no human, no matter how diligent is going to be 100% on top of it 100% of the time and unfortunately it only takes a couple seconds for tradgedy to occur. With a dog of more stable nature a warning would be issued first and therefore those couple seconds of inattention would involve a warning by the dog instead of a nasty bite.

I'll be honest, the reason I seldom advice families to adopt from a shelter is because of exactly the statements made here--that in your rescue this dog could then be placed with another family frightens me. In interviewing people there is no real way to know for sure how much experience and knowledge they have. Recently we sold a dog to someone who swore up and down he wanted a working shepherd, he was going to do schutzhund, he was gonna start tracking ASAP, he came to us because he didn't want one of those "unstable, wobbly show shepherds" We got the dog back after a month--he didn't have a clue what was involved with puppyhood in a working dog. He was shocked that this pup had no fear--but he knew enough to fool us--and we're not newbies.

Also Milky Way, I've said this before, but you say nobody PM's you--the reason for that I'm imagining is that you come out with guns blazing and a my way or the highway attitude. Try a gentle approach and be a bit more understanding of the trauma this poor mama must have felt when she saw her babes head in the dogs mouth.

It's all unfortunate, but there's really no happy ending to be had here. Unfortunately, if the OP had kept this dog and in the future it had badly hurt her son--she is the only one who would have to live with it for the rest of her life--not you, not me and not anyone else--just her.
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#49 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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I have not read through this whole thread -- and each case is an individual decision to make...

I just wanted to say that there is a difference between snapping and biting. My 50 pound German Sherpard mix has snapped at DS several times. Mostly because DS pulls his fur too hard, pokes his eye, picks his nose, etc. The dog is just warning DS and defending himself.

We spent A LOT of time in the early days (DS is now 13 months) setting up controlled interactions between the baby and the dog, teaching both how to handle the other one. Teaching the dog the new pecking order in the house and making it clear that there were consequences for being aggressive to the baby. It took A LOT of time, but was well worth it.

Now they are best pals. Sure, I hear the occasinal yelp or slight grrrrr -- but usually it's because DS is too rough, and I know I can trust my dog to do no more than warn him and run away.

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#50 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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Snapping is a step before biting, just as growling is a step before snapping. I would NEVER tolerate my dog snapping at my child. I very much hope your dog never escalates with your child--or that your dog doesn't "miss" with his snap and actually catch baby in his mouth--sometimes babies move quickly and directly into a dog's mouth.

On "I know I can trust my dog to do no more than warn him and run away" I almost cried when I read that as it was almost the exact statement made at an inquest here about 8 yrs ago by a mother who's daughter was killed by the family mastiff. We can never trust blindly--never--but absolutely never with a dog who already demonstrates snapping at a child.
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#51 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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You got a lot of replies, and lots of good advice, so this is somewhat superfluous, but I just had to post because of my experience. I had a dog who I loved, and I found a new home for her when ds was about 11 months because I realized, after much effort, that it just wasn't working out. But when I say 'effort' I mean I really tried and I didn't give her away until I'd really tried what I felt in my heart was every possible way and to the fullest extent possible. Because she was, in a way, my first child. I still miss her. I got her as a puppy from people who were friends of mine whose dog got pregnant accidentally so I knew the mother pretty well. The thing is, dogs vary, there are all kinds of aggression and the fact is that the combination of baby/toddler/small child and dog is fraught with a lot of difficult situations, that I don't need to go into because you know what I'm talking about i.e. protecting food is deeply instinctual for all dogs and it is hard for a very young child to resist playing with the dog's dish/food.

I did the trainer route: I had an excellent trainer and I worked hard with her with this dog. Depending on the dog you would be amazed at how much a really good trainer can do. BUT 'depending on the dog' means a great deal--and probably you can tell after some work is done with the dog whether or not he can ever be able to restrain himself. My dog was trained to be far less aggressive around children than she was. The thing is, since I knew her from birth on, and I knew she was not mistreated, it was definitely in her hardwiring, and it became clear over time that no amount of training would ever be enough. And throw into the mix the nature of my child, which is that he turned out to have mild Sensory Integration Disorder, and he is a rough child generally with things and animals (and people).

I was very lucky in that the trainer found for her an excellent home so I know she is well cared for. There are dogs that have to be put down, of course, but there are also dogs who can be taught to do things like go off away from children and lie down, but for this you need to commit to a lot of hard work, some money usually, and lots of time and this is only if your dog can in fact be trained. To find out whether or not your dog can be trained you'll need to do research and probably consult with some trainers which does cost money and it can be confusing because of course trainers differ in their approaches, ideas, and methods regarding such dogs. As for finding a good home--sounds great but is usually very difficult. I don't know where you live but I threw myself into and just got lucky with the trainer knowing someone. If this is what you end up doing, you can stress that you've taken good care of your dog, that he's young, take the cutest pictures possible and post them on line. I provided the new owner with a complete set of my dog's vet records (I had her for more than 5 years), photos of her from puppyhood on, all her paraphanalia, and all the info about her likes and dislikes I could possible think of. Anyway I just wanted to say I know how you feel; I mourned the loss of her, and miss having a dog period. I hope it works out, whether the dog can be trained out of this behavior or you get as lucky as I was with finding a new home.
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#52 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 03:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milky Way
Polka1232, I'm with you on this one. I offered tons of advice and I didn't even get a PM. I have delt with this SO many times and it's 100% workable and of course I'm thinking about her sons safety first. I've responded to so many pet threads on this board and I tell people to PM me for more help and I've only gotten a few responses and all those folks where SO glad they PM"d me. Poor Jessie it's not his fault and now he will pay without being given even a chance. We nor the Op really even knows what happened the OP said she didn't see what happened and thats a sign of a problem right there but we will leave that for another day.

If you really HAD to give him up you should have contacted a rescuer who could have worked with Jessie and placed him acordingly. It's not that hard to find homes for dogs with imperfections I do it all the time it's just more worek on my part to ensure the dog goes to the right home like to a college student or to a retired family or to a CF family. Or you should have had Jessie put down yourself. Why because at least he would have been with his family and loved on for his last moments not drug down a hall by someone he dosen't know forced into a small chamber and sruggling for his last breath all the while panicking(I know the shelter here uses the gas chamber and not injections not prettty folks). Another happy ending
thank you & ITA !!

poor poochie...

the OP still does not know what happened b/c she was not there

now, I must go b/f I

good bye

Me & DH hug2.gif , adult DD lips.gif & 7 yo DS guitar.gif . 2 GSDs, 6 rescue kitties, 4 birds & a gerbil.
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#53 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 04:24 PM
 
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To those who don't like what I said I'm sorry. I asked so many questions to get to the root of the problem before I judged anything. Sleep/space agression cannot be cured , but it can be worked with. Should a family with a young child undertake that task, probably not but the condition is workable but not treatable. I also said the safety of her son was more important. In one of my previous post I said she should seek a proffessional she did she spoke with a trainer who said getting ride of the dog was a good idea. Therefore there where some options after the choice was made that Jessie wasn't right for the family. I personally would have advocated to her for putting the dog down herself that way Jessie would have gone in the loving arms of his owner.
I know all to well choices have to be made with pets sometimes, it's just a matter of how the choice is made and what actions are taken after that gets me all fired up. As for offering to take her dog, I am unable to because I currently have a foster that someone dropped at a shelter, why because he was to old! Poor thing is 14 and the family decided he was just too old. He will be staying with me untill it's time for him to cross the bridge(which will be soon) at least he will have a warm bed and lots of love untill that time comes.
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#54 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To everyone that disagrees with my family's decision:

According to everyone that we talked to, both at the shelter and over the phone, we did the right thing. We also feel that we did the right thing for us. I hope and pray that Jesse finds a new home somewhere, with owners that can work with him and be there for him. Putting him down is the last thing I want to have done. However, my son is infinitely more important than the dog. Period.

The fact that there was a history of snapping at other people, for reasons we couldn't really determine, meant that there was no way of preparing for his 'trigger'. We got the dog from a shelter in the first place, and we have no idea of his history.

Polka, I was there when it happened, I was just not looking in the right place, apparently. You say that you should never take your eyes of your child for a moment, but it happens sometimes. I'm sure all of us, at one time or another, have wished that we were watching more closely when something happened.

This was not an easy decision, or one made lightly. I've spent most of the past 36 hours in tears. I didn't have a good meal until today at lunch. I'm not sure where anyone got the idea that we didn't try to come to another decision, but it was most definitly one that we didn't want to make.

Yes, snapping is not biting. It is one step removed, however. I can't risk the dog taking that next step with my child. I am able to read and understand the dog's body language that my child cannot. If it were just me and my husband, we would have kept the dog and tried to work it out and train it out.

The flip side of the training issue that a few people have been upset that we didn't try is money. My husband and I are flat broke right now, living on loans from his mom and my unemployment checks. I am starting a business next month. The last thing I need right now is another drain on my finances. It would be nice to have the extra money, but any money that we have right now is going towards caring for our child. It seems wrong to say, but when you have no money, spending money on your pets is a luxery. We are already dealing with a diabetic cat who needs insulin and frequent doctors visits. If you have any extra money that you'd like to send my way, great, but if you don't, don't knock my decisions without knowing the whole picture.

Milkyway, I'm sorry I didn't PM you about your post. By the time I read that, I had already spoken to two dog trainers, and my husband and I had already made the decision to bring Jesse back to the shelter. In my mind, that was a better way than putting him down right off. If the shelter can re-home him, they will do so. I hope that he finds a family that he can run and play with and be the mostly happy dog that he is. We loved him and we love him still, and want something better for him, than a home where we can't trust him.

I'm done ranting. Thank you to all of you who offered support and understanding.

-Mindi
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#55 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 05:40 PM
 
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Mindi,

I know this must have been awful for you. I'll be sending lots of positive energy your way in the days ahead, because I know this had to be really tough.
I will also say I am absolutely shocked that people would criticize your decision right after you posted and said how upset you were. As you stated in your later post, they didn't have the full picture. Even if you totally disagree with someone's decision, I hardly think that blasting them in a thread where they're seeking advice and support is really going to do anything but add more pain to someone who is obviously suffering.
I think the appropriate thing to do would be to post in another thread. It is obvious you did what you and the trainers you spoke to felt was best.
Take care, Mama.
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#56 of 56 Old 07-27-2005, 07:18 PM
 
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mama

If my dogs ever bit my kid, I would get rid of them as well. My love for my pets is not worth my childs life.

Quote:
We nor the Op really even knows what happened
Does it matter? No. The dog is a threat to the baby. Even if the baby crawled over and pulled it's ear, it should not bite a baby. My son has annoyed the crap out of my dogs but they wouldnt even think twice about biting him over it. That dog needed to be out of their home.

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