Post # 1
We have to get rid of our pup.
We’ve had our black lab mix since she was 9 weeks old and she’ll be turning 2 in September. My Fiance and I have trained her to be a wonderful companion, but she has always had a few problems that we’ve had trouble breaking her of. She has snapped at a few dogs in the past (once over a water dish and once because another dog stepped on me-she’s extremely protective of me). My Fiance and I had talked after the last incident a month ago and decided that we would work harder with her as far as socializing her with other dogs goes, possibly pay a trainer to help her overcome this issue and to teach us how to prevent, or treat, her possessive-ness.
This weekend we took her over to my mother’s house for a cook out and there were 4 kids there, ranging from 7-11 in ages. Our pup was having fun running around the yard and lazing in the shade, when all of the kids ran from the house to the backyard right toward our dog. I stood up to walk over to where my dog was so I could tell them to calmly pet her, but I was too late. I took one step toward them when my dog bit my 11 year old cousin in the hand. It wasn’t a “nip”. It was a full blown bite.
I’m so shaken up by this. She’s never bitten a person before, but now I know that it could happen again. My Fiance and I plan on having children in the future, and we can’t keep a dog that bites kids because they overwhelm her.
We’ve talked it over and decided that she needs a home that will provide her with a calm, adults-only environment.
I’m just so sad about this. She’s been such a great dog. I’ve grown so attatched to her. Have any of you had to deal with something like this? Would you have done the same if you were in our situation?
Arg…I’m just so upset about this.
Post # 3
I’m so sorry you have to give up your dog. I have never had to deal with that but I agree with your decision that you can’t have a dog like that around children.
Post # 4
My Rottie was not a kid-friendly dog. I decided to pay a trainer for private training. It was worth the money just to know that she wouldn’t end up euthanized in a shelter. She had a very happy and fulfilling life. I would urge you to consider hiring a trainer. It’s not fair to pawn your dog’s problems off on another owner…
Post # 5
Im so sorry to hear this! Is it still an option to get a private trainer to see if her bad habits can be broken? I agree if your dog bites you shouldnt have her around your kids but if you can break this habit before it becomes a bigger problem then Id try it.
Post # 6
That is tough, but if she cannot be trained, I think you are doing the right thing. Try to find a good home for her, and if you have to give her to a shelter, make sure it is a no-kill shelter. Also, you have to be honest about her past to the new owners or else she could end up in a worse situation.
We had a dog that we eventually had to put down b/c he constantly bit my brother (he was a toddler at the time, I was a teenager). No one would take him b/c he was old and he would sort of bite and growl for no reason…. I guess I’m just telling you this b/c I know how hard it is and I really feel for you.
Especially with bigger dogs, like labs, you can’t take the risk that they’ll bite your children.
Post # 7
I agree with above posters that if you have the patience and money for it, I would try a trainer first and keep the dog away from children in the meantime. I would get a muzzle for it to wear when it walks on the street.
I do not wish to be a Debbie Downer, but I volunteer at a kill shelter, and if an animal has a bite history, it’s likely to be put down with zero chance of being adopted.
Post # 8
I’m sorry to hear you are having to make this decision, but I agree with what you have decided as a couple and I hope you can feel better about it with all the agreement you are getting here. You simply cannot trust her and you know this by experience. A trainer would be nice, but in reality a trainer probably won’t change her propensity to protect and/or be aggressive. It’s best to find her a happy home while she is still young and it will be easier.
Post # 9
I’m sorry to hear that. My parents put their doberman down because he a) bit a gardener on the butt and b) tried to eat me through glass doors. Down he went =(
Post # 10
I read some of your comments after I got out of work today, and my Fiance and I discussed our options for training her. I did some research online for trainers in our area and found one that has excellent reviews. I contacted them a few minutes ago through e-mail as well as checked out their rates. It isn’t too expensive and completely worth trying if it means we get to keep our pup. My Fiance said we could try it, as we aren’t going to try for kids for a few more years, but if her behavior doesn’t change, we’ll put her up for adoption. Neither one of us wants to give her to another home, but we will if we have to.
We are active people that like to spend time with our families and friends who have children as well as dogs. We discussed whether it would be worth trying it out, and as I have a bit of money I can spend and time to work with her (as I have been since we’ve gotten her), we both decided we would give it a try.
I appreciate all of your advice and stories, and I really hope that none of you actually think we wanted to pawn our pup off to someone else and maliciously leave her problems to be discovered by a new owner without giving them her background info. We most defininetly would let any new owners know her past!
She is still young, so I have hope that we can fix this behavior and she’ll be a well rounded, social dog. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Post # 11
I think the trainer is a good idea, too! If you can all remain in the same place, that is the best situation. A word of caution, though- even with great training, you probably won’t ever want to leave your dog unsupervised with children who are rambunctious or very young (or most children). I feel this way even for well-trained dogs or dogs who love kids (like my own). Its simply too easy for a dog-child miscommunication to occur, and for either the dog or the child to get hurt!
Post # 12
I agree completely, hedgeknits. I believe the reason she bit my cousin was because she got overwhelmed. The kids rushed at her, trying to hug her and kiss her, she didn’t know what to do. I’m sure they scared her and she reacted the only way she knew how…to defend herself. At least, that’s just what I assume by her actions.
Post # 13
We have a 3 1/2 year old black lab mix whom we adopted almost two years ago. She was in the shelter b/c she beat-up a dog pretty bad. She is fear aggressive towards other dogs. We have trained in obedience classes off and on since we adopted her and her aggression has subsided some, but it is still there. We can’t go to dog parks b/c she will pick fights. Fiance is very concerned how she will act around kids, since we don’t have any and none of our friends do, it is hard to predict her behavior. Fiance decided, though, that if she does bite a child, she must go down. I am a bit uneasy about that black and white decision, but I have read stories about dogs disfiguring children’s faces and bodies and it scares me to death.
I am so sorry you are going through this! I wish you the best and if you decide to go with the trainer, I hope it all turns out well!
Post # 14
I’m sorry you are in this hard situation. Pets are part of the family and this must be a hard decision 🙁 My old boss had a dog that she and her husband had rescued from a high kill shelter. She was very possessive and protective of her owners. They had a baby and the first day they brought the baby home the dog was leaping into the air and snapping at her. So they had to give her away (I dont remember if they gave her away or put her down)the day they brought the baby home which made it a kind of bittersweet day…No matter what actions you take you are wise to be handling the situation now instead of when you have kids. It would be so much harder then.
Post # 15
I am glad you are going to get a trainer. From the situation it sounded like a defensive bite and NOT an attack bit. I have grown up and trained dogs for most of my life. Watch lots of Dog Whisperer. He has lots of good advice on what to do. I would consider muzzling her in public and at social events. I also advice that you have a talk with your cousin and perhaps at a later point with the muzzle on re-introduce the dog to them. It sounds like to me (like you said above) your dog was overwhelmed and not socialized with children (which probably caused the bite). And I also agree that you have to be upfront with her bite history when you put her up for adoption even if that means she ends up put down.
Post # 16
I do love me some Cesar Milan…:) I used a lot of his techniques when it came to training our pup and it’s worked wonders. I got his book for Christmas last year and read it from start to finish in a day. We started implimenting the “pack leader” routines in our daily schedule, but have waivered a bit when we moved in with my FI’s parents and they refuse to follow our rules. I’m moving this week though, so the routine will be back in swing shortly, plus the trainer (when he gets back with me), so I’m hoping everything turns out positively!
Thanks for all of the advice and comments. It’s reassuring to know that we’re making a good decision. 🙂
Here’s a picture of Hazel, in case anyone was wondering what she looked like: