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Discussion Starter #1
We've had our dog since she was 4 months old and historically she has been very sweet and affectionate. Only barking at strangers that knock on the door.

In January of this year we moved to Hawaii and left her to stay with family until we could move her out with us. She was very familiar with our family, who is actually renting our house so she didn't have to move. The reports were that he was happy as a clam as she had a lot of kids to keep her busy and give her attention.

Just last week I picked her up at the airport, she had been away from us almost 3 months. She did really well on the flight and despite the general confusion seemed her normal self.

Before we left she seemed very interested and yet not aggressive in the slightest to our infant. Last night however when he was near her she growled at him.

Tonight she was playing in the yard for hours with about 4 kids with no incident. When the kids were in the house getting water she nipped one (she was kind of backed into a corner). The kids weren't even paying attention to her.

An hour later the baby is on the floor near her and while crawling apparently too close to her she bit him. He has a scrape and two puncture wounds on his head. Our Dr. has told us how to treat it and to bring him in the morning if there is any sign of infection.

I'm at a loss at what to do with our dog now and where I went wrong. Since its been less than a week I am wondering if I put her back into a normal routine too quickly - meaning too many people around (new people) stressing her out perhaps.

Additionally she had been crated her whole life and we don't have room for the crate here so she sleeps on a bed in our room.

We are considering sending her back home as the immediate family we left her with loved her to death and was sad to send her off. It is very hard to get over the fact that she bit the baby and even if this is our fault someway I don't think we'll every be comfortable with her being around the baby or neighborhood kids anymore.

She had to have extensive health testing done to be transported to Hawaii and avoid quarantine so I am hesitant to rule out any health issues.

This just happened and we are very emotional and confused on what to do next. This dog has been a member of our family and we love her to death.

Thanks for reading
 

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I think you expected too much too soon with this dog. Yes she was your family dog for years but she has been gone for 3 months and in those 3 months, you got a new home, the baby got mobile etc. You all have had 3 months to adjust to your new home, she has had less than a week after going through all the medical testing and then a plan ride. You should have treated her like a new dog coming into your home. THough she appeared fine after the plane ride add to that, new home, new smells, new creatures, new bed etc. SHe was likely stressed, you don't know how the family members watching her treated her. Over all perhaps well but if they routinely grabbed things away, or the kids were too rough etc that would make things more difficult in the transition back to you guys.

As for not trusting her with the baby. You never should have trusted her in the first place. I assume you had her playing outside with the kids you werenot right there. WHen she nipped one inside were you in the room with her and the kids? YOu said she was backed into a corner, how does this happen if the kids were just getting a drink? Where were you when baby was crawling near the dog? Were you in the room but sitting on the couch, or were you on the floor introducing and monitoring the 2 together?

You need to step back a bit and forget that this is the family pet for all those years, and go back to treatiing her like a new dog in the family. MOre quiet time, a designated space (doesn't have to be a crate but a space that is her;s that she can get to easily that the kids will respect and stay away from including the baby), and SUPERVISION! of ALL interactions between children and dog. They should not be left alone together, and when it comes to little babies that means being right there on the floor with them, ideally holding the stroking the dog while allowing it to get used to the smell, the sight, the sound etc of this little human.
 

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Your dog is STRESSED and needs to be kept separated from the kids. Please bring in a behaviorist to help you deal with this and keep children AWAY from the dog!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
By backed into a corner w/ the kids: She was in the kitchen with 1 way in 1 way out - then the kids come into get water and her exit is blocked, that's when she nipped. The baby was in the bedroom on the floor near where she sleeps. I realize that is a big no no.

Really I just made the mistake of treating her as I always have without regard for her stress level / need for transition time.

The baby is fine this morning, the wounds do not look infected.

We also talked to the neighbors and she was whining yesterday when we were out during the day. Not barking, but whining which she's never done (to my knowledge). So she is clearly stressed.

I really have to shoulder the blame here -- anymore suggestions would be appreciated. I am going to look into a behaviorist.

Thanks for the feedback
 

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Based on what little I've read here, I would recommend sending her back with family, because she doesn't have bite inhibition. If she growls and the baby doesn't heed, the dog will bite... And when the baby gets in the dog's face, there will be no time.... and possibly a bloody, punctured nose. You may be able to forgive that, but the kids' family may not....
 

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I certainly wouldn't let her play unattended with children- but that's every dog. Kids are everything that set off dogs- quick, loud and unpredictable. Basically, you set her up to fail, and she did.

Let her relax for 2 weeks. Do not let the kids interact with her. Find a positive behaviorist to help you. Then get into a routine of exercise and training.

I really don't think this is a dangerous dog, just a stressed and confused animal. But she is an animal, you must supervise her with children, always. My dog is so calm he's practically comatose and missing half his teeth, but if I can't be right there watching, he isn't allowed near my niece.
 

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This is my biggest pet peeve.... Stressed dog + a herd of loud kids = dog bite , dog gets blamed I am from the school that it's not dogs that need bite inhibition it's KIDS who need DOG inhibition & need to be taught manners around dogs.

*sigh* I long for the days when if a dog bit a kid the kid dog into trouble for provoking the dog "I told you to leave the dog alone.... See what happened ...." at least that is what I always got told.
 

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I certainly wouldn't let her play unattended with children- but that's every dog. Kids are everything that set off dogs- quick, loud and unpredictable. Basically, you set her up to fail, and she did.

Let her relax for 2 weeks. Do not let the kids interact with her. Find a positive behaviorist to help you. Then get into a routine of exercise and training.

I really don't think this is a dangerous dog, just a stressed and confused animal. But she is an animal, you must supervise her with children, always. My dog is so calm he's practically comatose and missing half his teeth, but if I can't be right there watching, he isn't allowed near my niece.
I agree with this wholeheartedly, and wish more people would heed this advice. Our dogs love kids, but I am right there with them the whole time. When kids or parents ask me if my dog bites, I tell them ALL dogs bite. (Mine have incredibly soft mouths b/c of this forum, and their bite inhibition is stellar) My husband has started saying the same thing.
 

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I also wish ppl would learn that inhibition should not be totally resting on the dog or the dogs owner either it also should be the responsibility of the parents to teach kids that dogs are not toys & do have teeth & can bite.

I always say my dog bites when approached by parents/kids that way im covered of they do lol... That's IF I get asked, half the time they just come running out of no where & ambush us & the parents are like "well, your dog's friendly, right?" .... Headdesk.
 

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I would never leave my puppy unsupervised around children, she's never bitten a child but just because she hasn't so far doesn't mean that she won't one day. Heck I wouldn't leave my cats unsupervised around my niece or nephew because they can be a bit skittish around children. I think the issue here is your dog has been away from you for 3 months and everything will be different especially when it comes to your child. 6 month old babies are hitting milestones which your dog hasn't been around to see. I mean is your dog used to babies?

When I introduced my puppy to my niece and nephew I had a hold of her the whole time and barring that I had a gentle but firm hold of her collar at all times. I got to the childrens level (my partner gently stopped the children from touching the puppy) and let my puppy sniff the kids and once I was sure Tori was ok we slowly let the children pet her. When I take Tori for a walk and children come up to her (they don't always ask before trying to pet) I immediately bend down (Tori is a small breed) hook my fingers through her collar or hold her lead short and watch her body language, at the first sign of her jumping up or flash of teeth (she has never shown her teeth to a child) I gently but quickly pull her back to me. I think I would always supervise your dog around any children but before that slowly re-introduce your dog to them being vigilant the whole time. You are aware that your dog is stressed so give it some time to acclimatise away from children and then re-introduce.
 

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*sigh* I long for the days when if a dog bit a kid the kid dog into trouble for provoking the dog "I told you to leave the dog alone.... See what happened ...." at least that is what I always got told.
Put-em in a room whichever one comes out you keep. But I also got a kick in the butt for bothering the dog.
 

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Based on what little I've read here, I would recommend sending her back with family, because she doesn't have bite inhibition. If she growls and the baby doesn't heed, the dog will bite... And when the baby gets in the dog's face, there will be no time.... and possibly a bloody, punctured nose. You may be able to forgive that, but the kids' family may not....
Not sure how you can say she doesn't have bite inhibition when the bite to the baby did not cause significant damage???? What I am guessing is that this is a dog who has been through an incredible amount of unfamiliar stuff in the past little while. Stress goes up a lot faster than it goes down. Every new challenge creates an additional adrenaline dump. So it looks something like this:
Dog is below threshold. Something scary happens and the adrenaline level shoots up to a 7 out of 10 Because dog is still under threshold, nothing external happens and you may not notice. Dog starts to recover and adrenaline is down to 4 out of 10. Another event happens that causes a dump. Because the dog is already at 4, if the level shoots up 7 points again the dog is now at 11 (which would be over threshold) and a bite occurs, even though the event didn't appear that scary, by itself. For some dogs things are constantly stressing them, and they have no chance to get back to a relaxed state, because small stressors keep occuring. These dog become like those very nervous people who explode in your face when you make a small wellmeaning suggestion. Their reaction to you may not have anything to do with your actions, but may be the result of a stressful relationship at home or even the patrolman who wrote them a big ticket for running a red light this morning.
Now this dog was given to new people (even though in the same home). She then has an extensive vet exam, is sent on a long (how many hours?) airplane flight. Was she in cargo? Then a new home (with known people) but the baby is no longer a baby - he's ranging on the border of toddler, and known children and new children. This is not to justify the behavior or say it's safe. It's simply an explanation on what might be going on chemically. You still need to keep the dog away from the children, supervise the situations VERY carefully and consult a professional who can actually meet your dog, your family and observe what is going on. My advice is very general and not aimed at this particular situation (where I can't see the dog and have very limited and incomplete information)
 

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I also wish ppl would learn that inhibition should not be totally resting on the dog or the dogs owner either it also should be the responsibility of the parents to teach kids that dogs are not toys & do have teeth & can bite.

I always say my dog bites when approached by parents/kids that way im covered of they do lol... That's IF I get asked, half the time they just come running out of no where & ambush us & the parents are like "well, your dog's friendly, right?" .... Headdesk.
Not only are you NOT covered by informing people that your dogs bite, you may be admitting liability if they do.
 

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@PAwzk9 re: Bite Inhibition.... keep reading the OP description:

"An hour later the baby is on the floor near her and while crawling apparently too close to her she bit him. He has a scrape and two puncture wounds on his head. Our Dr. has told us how to treat it and to bring him in the morning if there is any sign of infection."

She DID break the skin, she does NOT have reliable bite inhibition. The mix of this dog with young children is ... another ... accident waiting to happen.
 

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Hanksimon, the bite described is actually minor in comparison to what the dog COULD have done. Had the dog not had SOME inhibition the child would be severely injured or dead (I gaurantee you a dane could easily kill a 6 month old with one bite). I do worry that the first bite broke skin, but two puncture wounds and a scrape is a hell of a lot better than 50 some odd stitches in the face (what my daughter recieved from a single bite to the face from a slightly smaller breed). Also take into consideration the skin of an infant is thinner and much more easily broken, the same bite to an older child or adult may have resulted in bruises and scrapes only.

Ian Dunbars bite scale:

An assessment of the severity of biting problems based on an objective evaluation of wound pathology

Level 1.

Obnoxious or aggressive behavior but no skin-contact by teeth.

Level 2.

Skin-contact by teeth but no skin-puncture. However, may be skin nicks (less than one tenth of an inch deep) and slight bleeding caused by forward or lateral movement of teeth against skin, but no vertical punctures.

Level 3.

One to four punctures from a single bite with no puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. Maybe lacerations in a single direction, caused by victim pulling hand away, owner pulling dog away, or gravity (little dog jumps, bites and drops to floor).

Level 4.

One to four punctures from a single bite with at least one puncture deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth. May also have deep bruising around the wound (dog held on for N seconds and bore down) or lacerations in both directions (dog held on and shook its head from side to side).

Level 5.

Multiple-bite incident with at least two Level 4 bites or multiple-attack incident with at least one Level 4 bite in each.

Level 6.

Victim dead.

The above list concerns unpleasant behavior and so, to add perspective:





Levels 1

and 2 comprise well over 99% of dog incidents. The dog is certainly not dangerous and more likely to be fearful, rambunctious, or out of control. Wonderful prognosis. Quickly resolve the problem with basic training (control) — especially oodles of Classical Conditioning, numerous repetitive Retreat n' Treat, Come/Sit/Food Reward and Back-up/Approach/Food Reward sequences, progressive desensitization handling exercises, plus numerous bite-inhibition exercises and games. Hand feed only until resolved; do NOT waste potential food rewards by feeding from a bowl.

Level 3:

Prognosis is fair to good, provided that you have owner compliance. However, treatment is both time-consuming and not without danger. Rigorous bite-inhibition exercises are essential.

Levels 4:

The dog has insufficient bite inhibition and is very dangerous. Prognosis is poor because of the difficulty and danger of trying to teach bite inhibition to an adult hard-biting dog and because absolute owner-compliance is rare. Only work with the dog in exceptional circumstances, e.g., the owner is a dog professional and has sworn 100% compliance. Make sure the owner signs a form in triplicate stating that they understand and take full responsibility that: 1. The dog is a Level 4 biter and is likely to cause an equivalent amount of damage WHEN it bites again (which it most probably will) and should therefore, be confined to the home at all times and only allowed contact with adult owners. 2. Whenever, children or guests visit the house, the dog should be confined to a single locked-room or roofed, chain-link run with the only keys kept on a chain around the neck of each adult owner (to prevent children or guests entering the dog's confinement area.) 3. The dog is muzzled before leaving the house and only leaves the house for visits to a veterinary clinic. 4. The incidents have all been reported to the relevant authorities — animal control or police. Give the owners one copy, keep one copy for your files and give one copy to the dog's veterinarian.

Level 5

and 6: The dog is extremely dangerous and mutilates. The dog is simply not safe around people. I recommend euthanasia because the quality of life is so poor for dogs that have to live out their lives in solitary confinement.
 

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I'm not suggested anything drastic be done to the dog, and I agree with Dunbar's Bite scale (that was one of his areas of research). However, in this situation, I think they need to re-home the dog temporarily, until it is bite-proofed.

I don't have the mutilation experience, but my nephew's 15 yo Australian Shepherd bit their 3 yo in the face, requiring emergency room and stitches - more blood and scary - no scarring. But they put the dog to sleep. It was the child's fault, although she isn't responsible - she got in the old dog's face, like she does with their puppy, he growled, she didn't back off, and he bit her. Like you said, things could've been worse, but they were bad enough... My nephew is working on Bite Inhibition with the puppy...
 

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I don't know about rehoming but for sure give the dog some kid free space and ALWAYS SUPERVISE YOUR DOG WITH KIDS. The second you think there's an issue, remove the kid from the dog's space then move the dog from the area. Take her for some long walks, spend some time with her and let her settle in too. Nobody explained to her what was happening with the big move and staying with relatives.
 

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I hope you heed the warnings of the very dog educated people here. Your dog needs the help of a professional. Or you could very well be on your way to something more serious,like a life altering injury or death to a small child. This isn't going to be a quick fix and should NOT be taken lightly. The dog needs to never ever be alone with children and until you can get this issue resolved she shouldn't be around kids at all. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you really will listen to some of the members here who have lots of experience. You can't explain to a 6month old baby don't crawl here or there and since you are the parent it is up to you to ensure that you do all you can to keep the baby safe which means take the dog out of the picture maybe for a short time or maybe forever.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I appreciate all of the feedback provided, we ultimately choose to euthanize our pet for the safety of our children. It was a very difficult decision for us to make, but we were so scared by the possibilities of what could happen we felt we didn't have a choice.

Thanks again for all of your input
 

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@PAwzk9 re: Bite Inhibition.... keep reading the OP description:

"An hour later the baby is on the floor near her and while crawling apparently too close to her she bit him. He has a scrape and two puncture wounds on his head. Our Dr. has told us how to treat it and to bring him in the morning if there is any sign of infection."

She DID break the skin, she does NOT have reliable bite inhibition. The mix of this dog with young children is ... another ... accident waiting to happen.
Yes. I missed the two puncture part. But apparently it didn't even warrant a trip to the doctor or emergency room. I would guess maybe a level two or level three bite. That doesn't mean that the situation is not critical and in need of immediate intervention. It just means that the dog didn't do the amount of damage it would have been possible to do. And, if the situation isn't remedied and the dog's needs aren't met, chances are bites will become more severe.
 
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