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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel so horrible because dd is 18 months old and LOVES her Abby. Abby is a beagle-cocker spaniel mix who is a wonderful dog with adults who she knows. She was always good with our neice, but our neice is older (she's 5 now, was 3 when we got our dog) and wasn't always around Abby.

Abby showed aggression towards our rabbit, Punky. She would be totally fine, just look nervous when Punky was around. Finally last year Punky was romping around and Abby attacked him causing a scratch on his eye and broke one of his nails off. We decided thes was prey aggression and we kept Punky and Abby separate ever since.

Ever since dd has been mobile, Abby has acted nervous around her. She'll be fine, but if dd hugs her around the neck (I know, we try to stop her, but we can't prevent it 100% of the time) Abby growls. She has snapped at her once, but didn't actually bite her. Well, today, dh and I were standing at the counter right next to dd, but we were looking away. We heard that same aggressive "attack" bark/growl sound she made when she attacked Punky. She had knowcked dd over and bit her face, breaking the skin under her eye and causing some minor swelling and some other small scratches.

We can't keep a dog who is this unpredictable with a small child. I can't have her euthanized. She is wonderful with everyone else. She just needs to be in a household with no kids, no rabbits, and probably no cats or other dogs (she's not good with other dogs and since she was so unpredictable with our rabbit, I wouldn't trust her around any animals smaller than her). Not to mention she has hypothyroidism and has a history of seizures. And she needs to be on special food because she had bladder stones in 2005. SHe has had so many health issues, I don't know if we'll be able to find anyone to take her.


I really feel so bad because even after being bit, dd kept crying for Abby, who is now being kept in the basement. She'll be devestated when we get rid of Abby. I can't decide if we should just jump right in and get another dog or wait it out a while. We're big animal people, dh is a 3rd year vet student (he's going to see if any other vet students would be willing to take her). I know this is going to cause so much stress for dd. She's too young to understand why Abby has to go
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That's a rough situation.
When I say "a dog is for life" I think that aggression toward my child would be the exception.
I don't know what to say about getting another dog. Hopefully you'll get some good advice here!
 

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Oh man......I know your pain. Unfortunately.....I think you are making the right decision. I'm not one to rehome a dog just for one accidental bite.....but what you describe sounds like more than an accident. And I'd be afraid it would get worse. Yes, it's good that Abby growled first (giving a warning) but...........oooh, I just think it's too risky. I'm sure you've played out all the what if scenarios in your head so I don't need to go there.

I have no advice, just offering support in WHATEVER you choose to do. And do I think you would be a bad person if you euthanized Abby? Nope. Sometimes that is done out of love and protection as well (I know about this also).

Usually the right decisions are the hardest. Hugs to you........and Abby.
 

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So sorry you are dealing with these troubles.

I had a Pekingese who bit my son's face when he was 19 months old. The damage was greater then in your case, and we eventually euthanized the dog.
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Biting at the face is the most aggressive reaction possible from a dog. It denotes a very high level of aggression, it was not a warning bite. Warning bites are to the hands or the ankles. You are right that Abby should never be around children. If you can find her a new home, can you guarantee that she will never come into contact with another child? Would you feel responsible if a couple years down the line she bit someone else's child? Would Abby adjust easily to a new home? Would it be easy for her new owners to learn how to handle her? Answering these questions honestly to yourself can help you decide what to do. You don't need to post your answers here unless you want to.

The chasing rabbits thing is normal. The beagle breed was developed solely for the purpose of hunting rabbits. That's just what they do.

I wouldn't get a new dog right away. Take some time to do some breed research and decide what the purpose of your dog is and how much energy you want to spend exercising, training, and grooming.

Our son is now almost three and we've had a couple of pets die. We just told him that they died and went up to Heaven (or whatever you believe). We told him that we buried their bodies in the ground, and we can't see them anymore, but their spirits live in Heaven now. I know he doesn't understand all of it, but he accepts our answers. He doesn't seem old enough to exhibit real grief. He never really was upset about any of it.

I pray that your family can be at peace with whatever you decide.
 

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Our dog, our "first child" brazed my ds's face with her tooth when he was about 14 months old after showing other signs of nervousness around small children. We removed her from the home the next week. Luckily she was able to go live with dh's parents with whom she was very familier. It was sad to see her go, but not a difficult decision in the least. She is a good dog for the most part and I'd hate for her or ds to have to go through the repercussions of what would happen if she were to really hurt him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Melaya View Post
I'm sorry to hear about all of this. Have you worked with a good dog trainer on her behavior?
We took Abby to a "shy dog" class at the humane society a couple times, and I've been emailing a good dog trainer who lives in our neighborhood, but really, the big issue we were working on was dog aggression. She is generally fine with dd. She'll growl or show some teeth and we work as quick as possible to break them apart (dd is fast, but we try our hardest to avoid the big doggie hugs that Abby hates). I've contacted both of these trainers for advice on this specific situation as well (waiting for response).

That's the thing I keep going back to. She's usually fine and gives a warning. We were even "okay" with it when Abby nipped at Haley a bit (not okay, but we realized this was normal dog warning/fear behavior). She snapped at her, but didn't get any skin. With us, Abby will snap when we're clipping her nails, but she never bites down hard enough to break skin. We always figured she would always warn, but never cause actual injury. There's a scratch now that's about 1.5 inches long under Haley's eye. Not too deep, but broken skin and swelling.

Our only other option would be to keep the two separated at all times (except under very close supervision), but so far tonight Abby has been whining from downstairs and Haley has been yelling "ABBY! ABBY!" (she misses her dog). I guess I don't know what would be worse for Abby, being kept downstairs alone all day, or getting a new home where the situation suits her better. (our downstairs is a big nice playroom with windows. We live in a ranch with walk-out basement. We'd have to put her elsewhere when I bring dd down to play, though)

Thanks for the responses so far. This is such a tough decision. I feel like it's my #1 job to protect dd and a dog isn't nearly as important as dd's safety, but she's our dog and she's been through a lot (we got her at the shelter at age 4 or so) and we can't just give up on her. Tough tough decision.

ETA: Not that this is something I'm proud of, but a couple times I've missed it and dd has run over and stuck her hand in Abby's bowl WHILE ABBY IS EATING. I would have been more diligent if abby was food-aggressive, but Abby really doesn't mind at all. I stopped her, but there has never even been so much as a growl while eating. DD also gives her treats and shares food with her, which according to one trainer helps with the food motivation so Abby has a positive association with Haley.
 

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I would not rehome the dog. If you can't handle the situation through management (separation and training), I'd euthanize the dog. It's just not fair to rehome an older dog who has multiple medical issues and who is known to bite out of fear.

What she did to Abby is still just a warning or fear bite. That's the way dogs bite when they don't intend to hurt--they strike with an open mouth or they snap. If she was trying to predate on your daughter, she would have grabbed on and shaken her face. However, that doesn't mean that the situation is safe--I don't think that she's crossed a new line; I think she crossed that line the first time she did any warning snap at a human. At this point, years later and with her medical issues, she has a right to expect that humans will listen to her warning bites (as you have done for a long time) and leave her unmolested. It would be very difficult to turn her life upside-down at this point.
 

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Oh man, it's last year played over in my head all over again. We had to euthanize our Rottie last year after MANY attempts at correcting aggressive behavior. We got her from rescue when she was a tiny puppy. The jack*** "breeder" docked their tails with rubberbands. *grrrrrr* She was *awesome* with DH and myself but she started exhibiting some aggression toward the kids at the age of 2 years. She would be laying on the floor and they would walk through the living room (on the other side of the room from her) and she would get up and growl and bark at them. And my kids are older (7, 9 and 12) who have lived with dogs their entire lives and understand how to behave around dogs better than most kids. We talked extensively to different trainers and our vet and we made the painful decision to put her down. That decision was made because she was a fearful dog anyway and just because she had never shown aggression to myself or DH didn't mean that we could guarantee she wouldn't turn on another adult that did not have an established dominance with her. It was the most awful decision I have ever had to make and I still cry over it but I do feel like it was best. I never could have lived with myself if she had seriously harmed someone. Nor could I have lived with myself if she ended up in a home that threw her in a backyard somewhere and didn't love her like she was used to.

I am not telling you to euthanize your dog but sometimes it is the right decision. Just make sure that the decision you make is one that you can live with and that if you do rehome her, that she is in the best hands she could possibly be in. I know you will.

Boy do I feel your pain. I am so sorry for you and furbaby. And, of course, your little one for getting bitten.
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R,

I know we've spoken about this, and I really do support you in rehoming Abby if you need to.

But Abby's behavior was not unpredictable - she has made it clear through growls and whatnot that she was not ok with Hailey hugging her. Abby communicated her position clearly, and finally felt she needed to be "louder."

I have used crates and also x-pens and child "pens" to keep my dogs and kid apart. It *is* extra work, but there are ways to keep the dog a part of the family and make sure that Hailey can't harrass her. I don't blame you if you don't want to take that route, or if you're just too nervous to keep Abby.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post
Biting at the face is the most aggressive reaction possible from a dog. It denotes a very high level of aggression.
Respectfully, this is not true. A warning snap to the face is very normal dog behavior, although very dangerous to delicate human anatomy. I don't minimize the danger of a warning snap, as a child could be severely injured by a dog who was trying to say nothing more than "Hey, get off me NOW."
 

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So sorry about the bite, I can imagine how scared you must be! And, at that age I *know* what you mean. My son is all over the place and if I wasn't super vigilent he would be all over the cats. It's just this age, he's so quick too! Though, thankfully since we have cats their tendency is to run away. So, if they even hear him coming they jump up where he can't get to them, or go behind a chair or out of the way. The good thing is, they sleep in out of the way places as well.

Dogs don't work that way, and are likely to bite if their growling warnings aren't listened to.
 

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I would not rehome the dog either. Actually, you'd have trouble with any rescue organization taking her in. And she'd definitely never be adopted out of a shelter, not with her history. An older dog with health problems, as well as anxiety around children - it's not fair to the dog (or to the new owners) to rehome. The only choice here is to work with a trainer one on one, always seperate the child and the dog ... or euthanize. But, rehoming in such cases, is very rarely ever a good idea. It works, sometimes, in cases if it's another family member who takes the dog. But, otherwise, it honestly doesn't. Simply because, forgeting the medical issues, your dog bites/snaps out of fear. This is not something that will go away in a new environment, in a new home. Quite the opposite, it might even get worse.

It's a tough decision, and I'm sorry it happened. And while this is an even harder decision to make now, I still advise you against rehoming.
 

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I'd definately keep a dog like that away from my child. I'm not sure if I would try to find it a new home without kids, or euthinaze. Reason being, what if this happened to another small child in the future? The dog's done it once, it's likely to happen again. Small children are everywhere, even if you find a home where they have no small kids themselves...should dogs like that be in our society? That's probably going over the top, and you think it would never happen, but if it did you would feel guilty because it would be party your fault for keeping the dog alive right? Why should people be allowed to keep aggressive dogs? Maybe I'm just feeling too over protective about this because I have a 4yo....I'm pretty sure I would choose to euthinaze the dog, which would make me feel awful too...but I think it's best.
 

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I've had a couple experiences with this that I'd like to share.

My first dog as an adult was a mini poodle/schnauzer mix. We adopted her through a rescue group. Over the year we had her, she bit three of our friends' kids. Not broken skin bites, but still. We didn't consider euthanizing her because she was a great dog otherwise. By the time our son was 4 months old, we realized that we were not the right fit for her. The rescue group didn't know that she needed a home without kids because she was at a vet's office rather than being fostered with a family with kids. We placed her through poodle rescue and fully disclosed everything they needed to know to find her the right home. Within a couple weeks a retired couple adopted her. They knew when they adopted her that she couldn't be around kids. So that worked out well.

A few years ago we adopted a lab/cattle dog mix from the SPCA. She was a good dog, but she wasn't tolerant with my son. We tried for 6 months to teach our son to give her space, but he wanted to interact with her. She nipped him on the face a few times and then finally, she bit him over and under his eye and left a mark. I knew then that she had to go. She wasn't a bad dog, but it wasn't a good match between her and my son. She went to live with my aunt who has her own spoiled pack of dogs and lives in the country.

It's a hard situation to be in. But there are solutions, particularly for dogs who otherwise do well (away from kids.)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by thekimballs View Post
I would not rehome the dog. If you can't handle the situation through management (separation and training), I'd euthanize the dog. It's just not fair to rehome an older dog who has multiple medical issues and who is known to bite out of fear.

What she did to Abby is still just a warning or fear bite. That's the way dogs bite when they don't intend to hurt--they strike with an open mouth or they snap. If she was trying to predate on your daughter, she would have grabbed on and shaken her face. However, that doesn't mean that the situation is safe--I don't think that she's crossed a new line; I think she crossed that line the first time she did any warning snap at a human. At this point, years later and with her medical issues, she has a right to expect that humans will listen to her warning bites (as you have done for a long time) and leave her unmolested. It would be very difficult to turn her life upside-down at this point.
ITA and that is what I was trying to say. I'd be afraid of what would happen to Abby if she were rehomed. Will the next person have your compassion if this happens in a different way?

Like I said, sometimes euthanasia is the most loving thing to do.......... to protect Abby.
 

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The human hugging impulse is seen by most dogs as threatening. Dogs only go chest to chest and face to face with eachother in agression. Most dogs will put up with it from thier adult owners, grudgingly, because it makes humans happy. But in the Other End of the Leash there are a bunch of pictures of happy humans hugging thier annoyed dogs. Now your daughter doesn't have the stature in the family to enable her to get away with things that your dog might allow you to do. Bites to the face are a common place for corrections. I would understand your not feeling safe around the dog anymore, but I do think training and seperation until your dd is older is the best answer if you can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Euthanasia is not an option. DH is a vet student and he has decided he will never do euthasia for behavior problems unless it is absolutely necessary. When dogs have behavior problems, it is often because they aren't in the right kind of home and to euthanize them for that is unfair. Abby would be a wonderful dog in a home without small children. She would never bite an adult. We were hoping my in-laws would take her, but we don't know if they will (my MIL always commented on how she wanted a dog just like Abby). I'm leaning towards keeping her gated in the basement for now and having the trainer come over and give us more suggestions. If we had to get rid of her to someone other than family, dh would post about her to the other vet students and they would be fully informed of her history. We weren't informed of her medical history when we adopted her at age 4 and had to find out the hard way about all that
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by haleyelianasmom View Post
DH is a vet student and he has decided he will never do euthasia for behavior problems unless it is absolutely necessary. When dogs have behavior problems, it is often because they aren't in the right kind of home and to euthanize them for that is unfair.
I urge him to reconsider that position, though I do respect and understand his way of thinking. My Pekingese would not have done any better in any other home. I'm a vet tech and I know very well how to handle dogs. I've also read tons of dog behavior and training books just for my own enjoyment. My Peke was just insane. He didn't give warning before attacking, he had a lot of normal everyday triggers that would send him into a blind rage. He was a rescue dog, so I don't know his past, and I didn't raise him. He wouldn't tolerate having his hair brushed, so I had to just shave him a few times a year. And even that was an ordeal where I had to pin him down with my knee so he wouldn't bite me, and he still managed to always get me once or twice. He had gunky ears and I couldn't clean them properly because he wanted to bite me for it. This dog had no future with anyone. No amount of training was going to change that.
 
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