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Oh I have a serious predicament on my hands here. Last night my little girl was nipped by our dog. The story goes like this I get up to go to the restroom and Hazel follows me like always and notices the dog in her room (her dad was in the living room, she was not unsupervised with the dog). Well our 18 month old little girl LOVES the dogs and gets very excited around them and doesn't understand yet that she is being rough with them. So Im in the restroom and I hear this playful squeeling so i yell out "Hazel leave him alone." next thing i know she is screaming and crying. When i come back to the livingroom her dad has her laying on the couch examining her face and when i come over i notice a cut on her chin and welted teeth marks down the side of her face. My fiance said that he could have sworn that she just fell into the dog, but the marks on her face say that she got in his face and he was putting her in her place. Now the predicament is what do i do with the dog? If he wanted to hurt her then he very easily could have. He is a really big dog and a gentle giant who in his 13 years of life has never shown any sort of aggression and i am positive he was provoked by Hazel. Normally he just runs from her and will hide somewhere, that is why i don't allow her to play with him, but apparently her dad doesn't see things the way i do and didn't make her get away from the dog. Anyway Now i'm torn between rehoming the dog I have had since he was 10 weeks old and keeping him and teaching him and hazel new rules and boundaries. I don't think she is in any kind of iminent danger, but if he had it in him to snap at her once what is to say that he won't do it again and the situation could be very different next time.
Yikes! Tough situation Brinny. I am by no means an expert at animal behavior, but I will share our situation from a couple years ago. We had a border collie, whom was getting on in his life and became somewhat territorial and in turn agressive. We were all sitting in the famly room one day hanging out and my then six year old twins were playing and Gus did not like it apparently. He proceeded to pretty much rip the nose off of my sons face. Thankfully they were able to stitch it all back together and thanks to a wonderful plastic surgeon the scarring is barely noticable, etc. However, in the mean time, animal control was called by the hospital and came and took our big guy. He was quarantined for a couple of weeks and all kinds of things checked for his behavior. (like rabies and such) We were devistated and constantly asking how something we love so much could hurt someone we love so much. In the end, we had to put him down. The vet told us it was "common" for senior dogs to get aggressive as they get older, etc. and my husband and I decided we did not want to take the risk of Gus being in the house with the kids..... we just could not trust them all together and no shelther would take him because of his bite history. We did have a friend that kept him for a few days to try it out, but he attacked one of their neighbors, bit another's child in the face and got really aggressive with anyone whom walked by. It just ended up not being a positive thing for our poor furrbaby. So after a couple more weeks, we all decided it was best to put him down.
I am so sorry you are in this situation. It is extremely tough to determine an outcome. It feels like a lose/lose situation when you are in it. I would say definitely talk to your vet and get some tips on the different possibilities.
So sorry to hear what you had to go through with your pup as well.Our dog didn't harm hazel enough to even give her stitches. I think he was just trying to correct her behavior like dogs do with other dogs when they are acting up. I know that he knew he had done something horribly wrong too because my fiance said afterward he had very slowly walked from the room. Ever since he was a pup if he had gotten in trouble or knew he was in trouble he tiptoed at a glacial speed as if trying to get away un noticed. I just can't believe my Yogi the one and only dog i have ever been able to trust has done this. He has always been the calm sluggish type. playful but not really exciteable. Even the repairing of his most gruesome injuries din't make him lash out.. I was there he didn't have a pain killer when the vet stuck his fingers nuckle deep into his deeply cut flesh to clean the wounds.
That being said I am not niaeve to the power and unpredictibility of a dog. I know first hand how much dammage a dog can do. When i was about 10 years old my cousins, brothers, sisters and I were out playing in the sprinkler. Well it was my turn to turn off the hose and when i reached down to turn the water off my uncles chow chow lunged out from under the house and locked ahold of my left arm. It took around 400 stitches and a very good surgeon to put it back together. I can remember on the ride to the hospital asking my mom if she though i was going to have to have stitches and all she could say was " I don't know what they will ahve to do Honey." Little did i realise at the time that she thought that i was going to loose my arm, but they managed to save it. To this day I have noticeable scars all around my left forearm as a daily reminder that you must be careful around animals. It didn't stop me from loving dogs, but it did force me to have a profound respect for their power and unpredictability. I think after having talked with my fiance and mom about the situation we are going to try and re-home him with someone who doesn't have young children around. I hate to see him go, but re-homing him is much better than what will have to happen if he snaps again.
That is a tough call Brinny, but I wouldn't say that you have to make a rash decision now. Obviously something occurred that scared you and probably scarred Hazel. Use this as a platform to educate Hazel about the dangers of playing too rough with the dog or about respecting the dog's boundaries. Keep an eye on them when they are in the same room together. If you don't notice any other abnormal or aggressive behavior, then it may have been an act of defense by the dog and not an act of aggression. If you notice any other odd behavior or aggressive behavior, then you may have to make the tough decision to re-home him. Let us know what you decide to do...I know it is a tough choice, but one that may have to be made.
I totally agreem MommyRN4. I do still allow them in the same room and they were outside together all day yesterday. We have been working on her manners around the dogs since she was little, adn while she is getting better she is still an excitable toddler. Not to mention that our family is still growing and this will be an ongoing issue most likely for the rest on my dogs life. He most definitely was just warning her. He did break her skin in a couple of places. not enough for stitches, but definitely enough to need cleaned up. We have still decided to stick with our decision to rehome him. He will be 13 next month and while i love my big boy i have noticed a decrease in his happiness and quality of life since my daughter has been mobile. He doesn't want to be around her because she scares him and as hard as i try i can't get her to be calm and easy around him. She is just too excited. So as a result he will hide and spend most of his day sleeping. I just can't help but think that not only is it in my daughters best interest for him to have a new home, but it is in his best interest also. I think he would be happier somewhere where there isn't an excitable child scaring him and provoking him. somewhere he wants to be a part of the family instead of in hiding. He has always been my best buddy and i don't want him to go, but i have to put my love for him aside and do what is best for him as well. I put an ad up on craigslist for him and i found a man who lives on a farm (i know such a cliche) who is interested in him. He has teenage daughters and another middle aged dog. My big guy would be able to roam around with the other dog and have companionship with the new family. He likes that Yogi is an older dog and sounds like he could give him a nice last few years. I really hope it will be a good fit for my Yogi. As much as i don't want to let him go, it's the right thing to do for him.
Brinny - I totally relate to your situation. We had my husband's older Black Lab when our first came along. He was the sweetest dog ever and so gentle but my loud and unpredictable baby just threw him for a loop. He growled and snapped a few times and spent all his time hiding from the baby. We knew it wasn't a good situation for either our son or the dog. My husband's parents live on a bit of property and had another Black Lab. They took him in for the last few years of his life. He was able to be so much more free and happy with them than if he had stayed with us. You are doing the right thing. Hugs.