Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
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First off, I agree, nothing can be determined until the OP says what was happening when this child was bit.
Secondly, sorry to offend, but the OP failed this dog MISERABLY prior to this child ever being bit (which in my opinion means the family also failed the child) These issues were KNOWN, but instead of dealing with them, desensitizing this do to things "she doesn't like", they ignored this dogs cues, they pussy footed around her, co-existing with her but never actually making an effort to understand her and be her LEADER. My dogs don't get the option of "not liking this or that" if I see a signal that something bothers them, I work through it using positive reenforcment until the dog readily accepts what he "doesn't like" and sees it as an opportunity to get my praise or a treat, rather than an opportunity to nail a kid in the face.
I can't even describe how much I HATE hearing a client tell me "Well....Fido doesn't like it when...., so we just don't do that" Give me a freaking break--yeah it's a DOG, but doesn't he deserve your respect???
I have absolutely NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with speak of humanely putting a dog to sleep when all alternatives have been exhausted. I am NOT a fan of rehoming a biter--you created the beast--you deal with him, don't pass your problems on--and especially NOT without COMPLETE DISCLOSURE. I also don't have a problem if an owner sought out help but the professional failed them. My job as a dog trainer is to ensure I don't fail a dog or his family.
To the OP, I really do hope you consulted a professional trainer regarding this, this issues you described are actualy fairly easy to resolve, part with training, part with informing an owner of safety stratagies to avoid another problem.