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Old 03/17/09, 09:39 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Dog has bit twice now

So over the weekend my dog mix/mutt bit my friend in the hand when he reached down to see what he was chewing on.

This is the second time this has happened now, the first was about a year ago when my wife tried to get a catnip toy out of his mouth. I talked to a trainer after that and got him neutered. We have been working with him since then about aggression when he has something he shouldn't have. He doesn't do it with food and seemed to be better with everything. This just happened so quick.

I am really not sure what to do at the moment. My first thought is to have him put to sleep. I let my wife make the decision the first time since it was her that was the one bitten. But this time I am not seeing any options, the dog had a second chance and did it again. Of course she still doesn't want to put him down. I really don't want to either, but I also don't want anyone else getting hurt.

I guess I am just looking for any advice or experince you guys might have had with this.
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Old 03/17/09, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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I'm not sure I would keep a dog that bites. . . that said, how hard are these bites? Warning nips? Or bruising/blood? If real bites, I'd put him down. If these "bites" warning nips because he's protecting his food (and to a dog a chew is food), I'd get very aggressive with him so that he understands you are top dog. Don't let him on the furniture, he ONLY eats after the humans have eaten, come into the kitchen after he's had enough food and run him off it and put it up. And if a lip curls, or he gets that "I'm going to bite you" stillness, make yourself big and scary and throw him in his crate. If he actually bites, beat him within an inch of his life. He wants to get physical, get physical.
Both bites have been because someone went for something in his mouth, and he feels he ranks the human. Both my dogs will allow me, my husband, and the babies to take anything, including a bone, from their mouths. I wouldn't recommend a relative stranger try it, but my dogs know their place.
This didn't happen quick. The dog is aggressive. Period. If you aren't willing to make yourselves rank him, or don't have the experience, there are too many good dogs out there to waste your time with one that WILL hurt someone if you don't get a handle on it. It's been a year you have allowed this dog to outrank humans, and it will continue to get worse until you settle it.

If your friend did not react appropriately, ie grab the dog by the face, flip it on it's back and put a hand around it's throat, HARD, i'm going to say ya'll probably don't have the experience to be messing with this animal.

Last edited by tinah; 03/17/09 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 03/17/09, 11:34 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Western Washington
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What kind of bite? Did it break skin? How well does the dog know the friend? Did the dog warn before biting? How big is the dog? Would it come into contact with kids or elderly? What are your local laws for a viscious dog?
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Old 03/17/09, 12:24 PM
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Is your dog current on rabies vaccinations? I mean from the vet so you have proof, not just one you've given him yourself. If your friend has to get treatment and says it's due to a dog bite, be prepared for an investigation, and you'll be paying all the medical expenses.

Don't mean to scare you but you have to protect your family. I had a fear-biter at one time and watched him like a hawk around people. He died of old age.

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Old 03/17/09, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern California
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Originally Posted by Pink_Carnation View Post
What kind of bite? Did it break skin? How well does the dog know the friend? Did the dog warn before biting? How big is the dog? Would it come into contact with kids or elderly? What are your local laws for a viscious dog?

Myself... I would not keep a biter, under any circumstances. But then, if the dog did not know this person... I don't know. *sigh*
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Old 03/17/09, 12:37 PM
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I wonder if the dog bite because a person who isn't the dogs family took something from it's mouth? This to me is not a good idea. The only person to do anything with my dog is me or my hubby. I think the friend really should not be doing this. But biting needs to be stopped. Give the dog a chance and try to figure out what is going on with it. protecting food and chewies is normal but not always good, Mine are told to drop it and they do. Try to take it and all bets are off. I know how they are trained and do nor let anyone try to take anything. Good luck.
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Old 03/17/09, 01:06 PM
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We had the exact same issue with a foster dog. We could take back food and toys that we gave him, but if he found (stole) something on his own, he would bite if you tried to take it away.

Basically, this dog got what I call the "Near Death Experience" when he tried to bite. I grabbed him around the throat and held him on his back until he stopped struggling. I had to do it twice, and the second time he really thought he was going to die, but after that he was cured. He did sulk for a day or so, but we took him to boot camp and he is a changed dog. Fortunately he was young enough to still be impressionable.

This dog had come from a household where he was allowed to rule the roost, and he just needed some proper perspective. Like Tinah says, your dog should not be allowed on the furniture, should not be allowed to walk through doorways before you, should not have access to any food or toys unless they come from your hand. He needs boot camp. The "Nothing In Life Is Free" (google it) method can work wonders for dominant dogs, but you have to be firm, consistent, and confident. If you're not willing to get tough with this dog immediately, or if you are afraid of him, he will probably continue to bite people because he's got you buffaloed. In that case, putting him down is probably the only option unless you can find an experienced, confident owner for him. You can't really re-home a dog like that in good conscience, because the average dog owner can't handle a dominant, aggressive dog.
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Old 03/17/09, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Pink_Carnation View Post
What kind of bite? Did it break skin? How well does the dog know the friend? Did the dog warn before biting? How big is the dog? Would it come into contact with kids or elderly? What are your local laws for a viscious dog?
The friend was bad.. the wifes was worse. Both puncture and bleeding. Wife needed 3 stiches. There was no warning this time and he is about 60 pounds so not tiny.

They dog is dominant, he doesn't pull it with me, but apparently everyone else is fair game. I have pretty much come to the desicion we can't keep him. And other than full disclosure about his problems I don't see myself letting someone else take him in.

I just have to make the hard choice and put him down. Like someone was saying, my friends and family are more important to me.
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Old 03/17/09, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Michigan's thumb
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I don't think anyone other than family should be taking something out of a dog's mouth. But, from what you said about biting your wife, and that he doesn't seem to respect other members of the family, only you, you had better have him put down. It's not easy, but you have to be able to trust the family dog.
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Old 03/17/09, 03:22 PM
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I have no tolerance for biting with dogs that have been here a while. I do rescue and biting out of fear when they are new, I tolerate if they are put into a situation that may warrant it (for instance, picking up, cornering, etc) and if it happens I work towards making the dog secure enough that it will not bite if put in that situation and keep it away from people except for socialization with me being in full control of the dog until it can be trusted. I have successfully turned around a basket case- but it took 2 yrs as I took it at her pace because of her temperment. Now she actually likes to be pet and likes strangers. I am about to the point where I will consider rehoming her in the future when just a few months ago I was ready to put her down because she shied from any human touch and would bite if pushed beyond her comfort level. If I did not have a place to keep her away from people until it was worked through I would have euthanized her.
Biting unwarranted I have 0 tolerance for....for instance I had a sheltie that I watched walk up to my son and bite him in the face when my son was just lying across the chair on his belly talking to me. The bite required stiches and the dog was left on the porch in a crate and animal control called to come get it while I took my son to the hospital. That said if the dog is biting all humans for taking something from thier mouth, the dog is wrong. The dog only sees you as alpha. Unless you have a place you can contain the dog and are willing to put forth the time and effort required to socialize and retrain the dog- put it down. Do not rehome it. Your asking for a lawsuit if the dog bites someone else.
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Old 03/17/09, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rose2005 View Post
Wise decision, and I'm sorry its one you have had to make.

Its not easy, but you have to think about what may happen the next time, and what could have happened this time.


We had to put a dog down for escalating aggression awhile back, and it is so very hard. You get a little puppy, train him well and give him everything a dog needs and you love him, he's part of the family... then he turns out to not be a very good pet at all and you've no other recourse than to send him on his way.

I applaud you for not trying to rehome him, though... it's hard, but you do what you have to.
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Old 03/17/09, 05:41 PM
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I would have him put is a sad thing but at 60lb. and stitches needed he is a danger. I would not consider full disclosure enough to give him a new home.
Give Blood it saves lives.
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Old 03/17/09, 05:50 PM
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You have made the right descion!!

I would never have a dog that was a people biter! I can deal with dog agression, but in our house the only get one chance! I have 2 little girls (3 years & almost 2) I don not want to have to worry! It is not like the kids and the dogs are always playing around unsupervised but I like having dogs that the kids can play with, I have 2 dogs and I can take food, treats, toys or anythingelse out of their mouths! I want them to be a used to it as possible to not have to worry.

As much a pets are part ofthe family, the people of the family always come first!
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Old 03/18/09, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Richmond, BC, Canada
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You made the right choice.

For the record, the only problem with really giving it to them for growling over food is the source of the aggression.

If the dog is dominant and saying "I own this, it's mine" then you can dominate it out of them.

If the dog is really trying to protect his food, this is fear-based and if you are violent with them it will just magnify the problem.
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Old 03/18/09, 07:40 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Northeast PA
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Based on what you have described the dog is guarding high value items. To the dog, this is a normal and accepable behavior unless he is taught otherwise. His behavior probably relates to a lack of respect....however an absolute diagnosis of why cannot be done without observing body language. There is a slight chance he is defending out of fear and his body language will clear up that issue.

One thing to remember, when a dog is aggressive it does NOT know it is unacceptable behavior until taught. So one bite and then no intervention to correct behavior isn't going to fix anything. Neutering does make the alpha male less determined to be pack leader but neutering without extensive behavior modification isn't going to do much to correct the problem.

It makes me sad to hear about this dog as it sounds like management and training may fix the problem. On the other hand....some dogs are just genetically very alpha and they are a challenge for their entire life. They will fit in to a particular home but the average pet owner does not have the ability to deal with them. There are very few really bad dogs but there are thousands that are either misunderstood or placed in homes that are not up to the challenge of that dog's particular temperament. No one is at fault but the dog must die anyway.

So many rescue people blame the home when dogs fail however it is unfair to expect that every pet owner is going to be an expert dog trainer. Of course many people blame the dog for a failure and that is just as bad as blaming the home. When dogs do not get the training and managemet they need to fit into human society....they automatically behave like dogs. When one dog tries to take a high value item from another dog one of two things will happen. The dog will submit because the dog taking the item is higher in rank...or the dog will fight to keep the item because he is higher in rank than the one trying to take the item. If a dog sees himself fitting into the human pack at any level but the bottom....he will be aggressive towards those that he feels superior to when they step out of line. Stepping out of line could be pushing him off the couch, trying to take food or a high value item, giving a collar correction...or any action that the dog sees as trying to move up in rank.

I would suspect that the dog has never been taught where he fits into the human pack and he is defending his doggy right to keep what is his based on his perception of where he is in the pack hierarchy.

Of course I do not advocate keeping a dog if the family is not capable of correcting and managing behaviors that could be dangerous. There is no way that I could support putting children and the general public at risk. Euthanasia may be the right thing for this dog and only the owners know how much they are willing and capable of doing to fix the situation.

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made. ~~M.Facklam
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Old 03/18/09, 07:42 PM
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im sorry but i would say bye bye doggy
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