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-   -   If your dog bit your child... (http://www.mothering.com/forum/35-parenting/1244824-if-your-dog-bit-your-child.html)

BlueWolf 07-19-2010 10:19 AM

If your family dog bit your child in the face, what would you do?

candycat 07-19-2010 10:24 AM

Rehome the dog to a home with no children, or have him put to sleep, depending on the aggressiveness of the act (was he just reacting to a strong tail pull or was the child minding his or her business).

DH would probably not even ask questions but take the dog out back himself. I don't agree with that personally, that's what his mother did when he was attacked by the family dog as a child, and he's said that's what he'd do too.

kanga1622 07-19-2010 10:32 AM

As much as we love our dog, we'd have him put down. He's got pretty strong allergies so he'd be hard to rehome and I couldn't take the chance that he'd bite some else's guest even if he went to a no child home.

My dad's dog frequently gives warning nips as he hates children. That's going to be hard to deal with when we visit but I know how horrible it could be if DS even touched that dog. He's given kids warning nips/growls for even walking near his edge of the couch while he was curled up there. There is absolutely no way that dog could ever live with us and I see the danger even though he lives in a no child household.

lonegirl 07-19-2010 10:38 AM

What was the situation leading to the bite? Yes it matters to me on making a decision.
Even the most tolerant/docile dog can be tormented to the extreme and have a breaking point...

Owen'nZoe 07-19-2010 10:39 AM

It really depends on the dog, the child, and the circumstances.

In our case, our chihuahua nipped my son in the face when he was a year old. We opted to keep the dog (she is very small and we were relatively confident we could prevent further bites by keeping them separated). We've never had another problem, and he is 6 now.

Best of luck to you and your family - I hope you are able to find a solution that works for you!

purslaine 07-19-2010 10:44 AM

I am sorry if this happened to you.

I would take the dog to the vet and see if it had anything wrong with it - pain can cause aggression.

I would also look at the circumstances around the bite - was it a nip? Was the child teasing the dog - or startled the dog from a deep sleep? etc

If the child was old enough to be trained to not do whatever it had done to cause the bite - i might work on that.

If I felt the dog was not solely at fault, but I could not trust the child to behave (perhaps due to the child being really young), I would rehome the dog.

After considerring all of the above, if I felt the dog was needlessly aggressive, I would have him put down. Truly aggressive dogs should not be rehomed.

geekgolightly 07-19-2010 10:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
I am sorry if this happened to you.

I would take the dog to the vet and see if it had anything wrong with it - pain can cause aggression.

I would also look at the circumstances around the bite - was it a nip? Was the child teasing the dog - or startled the dog from a deep sleep? etc

If the child was old enough to be trained to not do whatever it had done to cause the bite - i might work on that.

If I felt the dog was not solely at fault, but I could not trust the child to behave (perhaps due to the child being really young), I would rehome the dog.

After considerring all of the above, if I felt the dog was needlessly aggressive, I would have him put down. Truly aggressive dogs should not be rehomed.
I did all of this and I did behavior training and had a behavior assessment by one of the best in the country, who happened to reside in my city.

Nothing was to be done. We had to put our dog down.

I would not recommend this until all of the above is done.

Areia 07-19-2010 10:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonegirl View Post
What was the situation leading to the bite? Yes it matters to me on making a decision.
Even the most tolerant/docile dog can be tormented to the extreme and have a breaking point...
I agree with the above. If for some reason I felt we couldn't keep our dog, I would re-home her to a child-free relative who I know really wants her and would take excellent care of her, but I'd really consider the circumstances before doing this.

greeny 07-19-2010 11:00 AM

Quote:
I am sorry if this happened to you.

I would take the dog to the vet and see if it had anything wrong with it - pain can cause aggression.

I would also look at the circumstances around the bite - was it a nip? Was the child teasing the dog - or startled the dog from a deep sleep? etc

If the child was old enough to be trained to not do whatever it had done to cause the bite - i might work on that.

If I felt the dog was not solely at fault, but I could not trust the child to behave (perhaps due to the child being really young), I would rehome the dog.

After considerring all of the above, if I felt the dog was needlessly aggressive, I would have him put down. Truly aggressive dogs should not be rehomed.
This is how I feel as well.

Also, if a young child was left unattended with the dog, and was roughly pulling its tail or ears or otherwise bothering/hurting it, and the dog retaliated, to ME this is clearly not the dog's fault. Even well-trained and docile animals will retaliate in some situations, and to ME this is clearly the parents' fault for not supervising better.

However, if the dog, largely unprovoked, attacked, it's a totally different story.

We have a golden retriever who is very gentle with the kids, yet I always feel that it is my responsibility to protect him from the kids and vice versa. I will leave the two older kids alone with him, because I know they won't provoke him, but I never left them alone with him when they were younger and wouldn't with the baby now. I feel that no matter how gentle and wonderful an animal is, you can never 100% trust a dog not to bite/attack.

Peony 07-19-2010 11:01 AM

We went through this last fall. I also highly suggest taking the dog to a behaviorist, we did, her suggestion was putting the dog down. We ended up finding a miracle of last minute home for him with no children, and years of experience working with aggressive dogs. Had that home not come though then I was prepared for the worst. It was the hardest decision of my life honestly, he was a member of our family, but my children's safety comes first.

geekgolightly 07-19-2010 11:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post
We went through this last fall. I also highly suggest taking the dog to a behaviorist, we did, her suggestion was putting the dog down. We ended up finding a miracle of last minute home for him with no children, and years of experience working with aggressive dogs. Had that home not come though then I was prepared for the worst. It was the hardest decision of my life honestly, he was a member of our family, but my children's safety comes first.
I still cry about it and it was over two years ago. Giz attacked my son twice and numerous attacks on my husband. Giz felt I was his property and no amount of training from us helped the situation. It was horribly depressing. I held him as the techs/vet administered the medicine. I;m crying right now thinking about it.

Seriously LAST resort.

shanniesue2 07-19-2010 11:11 AM

This is not going to be a popular answer... but in my situation with our dog, I would have the dog put down. I absolutely would NOT risk the same thing happening twice. Also, our dog is a pit bull mix... and looks mostly like a pit. I think it would be near impossible to rehome a pit bull with a bite in her history. Plus, she has food allergies and requires expensive food... so I think putting her down would be the route we chose to take.

Joyster 07-19-2010 11:14 AM

If I felt the bite was unprovoked, I'd probably put the dog down. If there was provocation, then I'd probably work with the dog and rehome him/her as soon as possible. That said, a lot of the times I've found the provocation is usually due to not so great supervision between dog and younger child.

Latte Mama 07-19-2010 11:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by greeny View Post
This is how I feel as well.

Also, if a young child was left unattended with the dog, and was roughly pulling its tail or ears or otherwise bothering/hurting it, and the dog retaliated, to ME this is clearly not the dog's fault. Even well-trained and docile animals will retaliate in some situations, and to ME this is clearly the parents' fault for not supervising better.

However, if the dog, largely unprovoked, attacked, it's a totally different story.

We have a golden retriever who is very gentle with the kids, yet I always feel that it is my responsibility to protect him from the kids and vice versa. I will leave the two older kids alone with him, because I know they won't provoke him, but I never left them alone with him when they were younger and wouldn't with the baby now. I feel that no matter how gentle and wonderful an animal is, you can never 100% trust a dog not to bite/attack.
Great post. I've read quite a few stories online about people being torn regarding dog bites on their kids. Yet describing the situation, it seems totally preventable! In a few instances, sure, dogs just don't like children and may bite unprovoked. But you cannot leave a young child and a dog alone even for a second. Pet ownership is a responsibility that some do not take seriously enough.

Spirit Dancer 07-19-2010 11:39 AM

I would definitely put the dog down- no doubt about it.

sunshinejanie 07-19-2010 11:43 AM

I would put it down, no question. Nothing that could be wrong with the dog would even make a difference to me. It happened to my dd, it was someone elses dog. It not only changed her appearance for life but also it changed her in every way.

Lady Mayapple 07-19-2010 11:46 AM

This happened when we were kids. My parents bred springer spaniels, and one of the male breeders bit my hand. They placed an ad for him to be re-homed to a childfree owner. He was a fantastic hunting dog, and nearly double the size of most standard springers-he just didn't have any manners or lights on upstairs. The day the man came to get him, he bit my younger sister's face! The man took him anyway....I just hope he never allowed that dog around children.

My dad REALLY wanted to take him out back and shoot him, but because of Uno's hunting talent he stopped himself.

BlueWolf 07-19-2010 11:51 AM

Our family dog bit our daughter last night. I didn't know my husband had just fed the dog and my one year old daughter crawled into the dining room where his bowl is located. She wasn't "near" him or pulling on him or harassing him in any form when he turned at bit her in the face... growls, snarls, and everything. I know my dog inside and out and his bite on her was very intentional and he meant to hurt her.

I've done extensive training with this dog already as he is very poorly bred and has a very poor temperament due to that poor breeding. Two seconds of unsupervised time with my daughter landed her in the ER having to have stitches on her nose and lip. Yes, it could have been worse. Yes, it happened because we (as parents) failed to protect our daughter and our dog from this situation.

But I've always felt in my heart that my dog is a ticking time bomb. Despite the years of training I've put into him he's still an incredibly unstable dog. I've done all the training tricks and what have you with the end results of knowing that my dog has severe limitations that can't be trained out and it's up to me to keep him from the situations that I know are dangerous. I've failed and my daughter paid the price.

I think I need to have the dog put down. My husband is having a hard time coming to terms with this. But he knows as well as I do that this dog is not rehomeable due to all his issues, even without his new bite history.

A&A 07-19-2010 11:55 AM

My first concern would obviously be my child-- plastic surgery, etc. Then I would put the dog down.

AFWife 07-19-2010 12:03 PM

This actually happened in my family.

My brother was eating a hotdog (he was 2 I think...if that old) and one of our dachshunds jumped up and grabbed it from his mouth. My mother said, "Nope, we're done." The dogs (they were sisters and couldn't be separated) were gone within the week. She'd had those dogs longer than I'd been alive. She said it was probably an accident but she didn't want to take that chance.

verde 07-19-2010 12:08 PM

This happened to my DD. Our dog is gentle and sweet-tempered. When DD was a toddler, she was poking him and twisting his ears. I did my best to keep them apart and keep an eye on them. One time she got him before I could stop her and he snapped at her. She was shocked and she cried. DH and I reinforced to her that when she hurts the dog, he gets upset and bites back. She learned her lesson and has never done it again. It was a teachable moment and it worked.

kcparker 07-19-2010 12:10 PM

In a situation like that, when you have worked with him, know he's got some serious temperament issues, and he bit because of food possessiveness/dominance aggression, I'd do the hard thing and have him put down. You all can't trust him, and I wouldn't pass him on to somebody else given what you said about his instability. Would your husband be able to forgive himself if you didn't euthanize the dog and he bit somebody else or bit your DD again? It is totally sucky, but not worth continuing to risk everybody's safety to keep him around. It sounds like you have given the dog a good life.

geekgolightly 07-19-2010 12:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
In a situation like that, when you have worked with him, know he's got some serious temperament issues, and he bit because of food possessiveness/dominance aggression, I'd do the hard thing and have him put down. You all can't trust him, and I wouldn't pass him on to somebody else given what you said about his instability. Would your husband be able to forgive himself if you didn't euthanize the dog and he bit somebody else or bit your DD again? It is totally sucky, but not worth continuing to risk everybody's safety to keep him around. It sounds like you have given the dog a good life.
This.

Peony 07-19-2010 12:19 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcparker View Post
In a situation like that, when you have worked with him, know he's got some serious temperament issues, and he bit because of food possessiveness/dominance aggression, I'd do the hard thing and have him put down. You all can't trust him, and I wouldn't pass him on to somebody else given what you said about his instability. Would your husband be able to forgive himself if you didn't euthanize the dog and he bit somebody else or bit your DD again? It is totally sucky, but not worth continuing to risk everybody's safety to keep him around. It sounds like you have given the dog a good life.
I agree. I know how hard it is to make this decision, my DH was very opposed as well. Our dog got DD2 in the hand, we did the whole extensive vet exam, kept them separated unless I could watch every second. He bit again and I was literally within arm's reach, and watching, it happened so fast. I couldn't do anything. He got her face that time, minimal damage, thank goodness but that was it. DD1's classmate has severe facial scarring that will require several surgeries as she gets older from a dog bite. It is a chance you do not want to take, you know you can not trust this dog, and you know what you ahve to do now.

hildare 07-19-2010 12:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWolf View Post
Our family dog bit our daughter last night. I didn't know my husband had just fed the dog and my one year old daughter crawled into the dining room where his bowl is located. She wasn't "near" him or pulling on him or harassing him in any form when he turned at bit her in the face... growls, snarls, and everything. I know my dog inside and out and his bite on her was very intentional and he meant to hurt her.

I've done extensive training with this dog already as he is very poorly bred and has a very poor temperament due to that poor breeding. Two seconds of unsupervised time with my daughter landed her in the ER having to have stitches on her nose and lip. Yes, it could have been worse. Yes, it happened because we (as parents) failed to protect our daughter and our dog from this situation.

But I've always felt in my heart that my dog is a ticking time bomb. Despite the years of training I've put into him he's still an incredibly unstable dog. I've done all the training tricks and what have you with the end results of knowing that my dog has severe limitations that can't be trained out and it's up to me to keep him from the situations that I know are dangerous. I've failed and my daughter paid the price.

I think I need to have the dog put down. My husband is having a hard time coming to terms with this. But he knows as well as I do that this dog is not rehomeable due to all his issues, even without his new bite history.
In this situation, you should rely upon your instincts. I totally agree that you should put him down, and without guilt, as it sounds like you have made every effort towards rehabilitation. So sorry this happened to you.

cappuccinosmom 07-19-2010 12:29 PM

The dog would be gone. Immediately.

This happened to me when I was 3 yo. We had a beloved old family dog. I loved her, she loved me, but I hurt her and she snapped at my nose. As much as my parents loved the dog, they felt that was an indication that we did not need to be in the same house, and they couldn't exactly give me away.

They told me they sent her to a farm where she could run free and not have her whiskers pulled by children. However, she was already very old at the time and I suspect that was the story they made up for me, and she was probably put down.

KatWozBlue 07-19-2010 12:31 PM

Two years ago, our dog bit my 4 year old son in the face unprovoked. He was standing behind her and she was sitting in a chair and she turned her face and bit him. I was sitting right next to area where they were and saw the whole thing.

We put her down, there was no question for us. But even if she had been provoked we would have made the same decision, we can not have a dog that is capable of biting a child in our home. For us it was a simple choice between our son and our dog and we picked our son.

She had a good life and though I cried when I knew she was getting put down, it was absolutely the right decision and one that I don't question at all.

chaoticzenmom 07-19-2010 12:34 PM

Given your 2nd post, I'd say to put the dog down.

rightkindofme 07-19-2010 12:34 PM

I have 117 stitches in my face from a dog bite as a child. I will never have a dog in a home with children and I am not real willing to allow my kids near them much. I know that lots of people are very defensive about their animals but given my personal experience I don't feel that dogs should be trusted around small children. This was an animal that had never been aggressive in the past and I wasn't tormenting the animal. The animal was pissed because I had displaced him from sleeping in the bedroom my sister was in. Animals are unpredictable and the damage potential is too great.

PoppyMama 07-19-2010 12:35 PM

It would depend on the situation and in your situation I would have the dog put down.


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