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Hi all! I'm new to the forum, seems like a great resource. I adopted a 1 1/2 y.o. collie/german shepherd mix about 2 months ago. He had some anxiety, jumping and generally having no manners. He is a sweet dog who just hasn't had a fair shake in life. From what the shelter workers told us he was surrendered by a family who didn't take the time to train him and left him alone a lot and then were surprised when he acted out by chewing things and generally being a nuisance. We were happy to have him in our family and had him evaluated by a trainer and began an obedience class with him a few weeks after adopting him. Things seemed to be going well. His behavior markedly improved, not perfect, but very hopeful.
Then.
I had begun having my youngest child feed the dog because I read that doing so would help the dog know that the child was above him in the pack order. My son had fed him numerous times, no problems. Also, the dog hadn't shown any signs of food guarding at all. This time, however, was different. My son dropped some of the food onto the floor and squatted down to pick it up. The dog lunged twice at him biting him on the second lunge hard enough on the face to leave four puncture marks, two right under his eye and two near his hair-line. No stitches were necessary but there was some bleeding.

This happened yesterday. I am really struggling with what to do about this. I was ready to deal with his other issues but having a dog in my house who has bitten a child is just not something I'm ready for. We have children in and out of the house all the time and I just won't ever be able to relax. I've gotten a lot of advice ranging all over the place. I'm leaning toward trying to re-home him in a no-child home but I'm not sure how successful that will be given that he has bitten. I'd appreciate any thoughtful and kind advice. This has been so very hard for all of us.
 

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Hmm. How old is your youngest child (the one who got bitten)? That would help with context.

I wouldn't be ready to give up on this dog yet. It doesn't take much of a resource-guarding problem to create the scenario that happened yesterday. I'm my dog's main person and she will drop and leave anything I ask her to. However, when I drop food and she goes for it, I just let her have it. I can't be sure that the rush to the resource won't turn into a confrontation, and nothing productive comes from this kind of confrontation.

So I wonder if your child is too young to manage the feeding task. Dogs are touchy about their food and feeding a dog is inherently risky. Maybe the rule should be that if it's food and it's on the floor it belongs to the dog. Maybe teach the dog a few commands like sit, down and stay and have your child (again, don't know if he's old enough for this) be the Giver of Training Treats. If one falls to the floor, hey! Bonus treat for the dog.

This dog bite was predictable (IMO) and doesn't indicate to me any kind of major temperament flaw. I'm sure it was scary and upsetting and painful. I don't want to dismiss or minimize your concerns. I just think that the situation that provoked the bite could be easily prevented.

ALL THAT SAID: If you do decide to keep the dog (at least for now), go to school! Learn some awesome, productive training techniques from a certified trainer. Or if you want to pull out the big guns, have your pup evaluated by a behaviorist. The opinion of a behaviorist is worth 1000 opinions from random Internet schlubs like me.
 

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Oh, this is awful. I'm so sorry.

I agree that rehoming is the best idea.

If one of our puppies bit our 8 year old son, I'd have to take drastic measures.

Food guarding and bite inhibition not where it should be is tough in a home with a child.

FWIW, if this helps in the future, forget about the pack idea. It's been debunked and is based on faulty research. Also, our kids don't do the feeding part yet unless we are feeding by hand and doing it together through training, etc. because we feel he just isn't mature enough yet.


Hi all! I'm new to the forum, seems like a great resource. I adopted a 1 1/2 y.o. collie/german shepherd mix about 2 months ago. He had some anxiety, jumping and generally having no manners. He is a sweet dog who just hasn't had a fair shake in life. From what the shelter workers told us he was surrendered by a family who didn't take the time to train him and left him alone a lot and then were surprised when he acted out by chewing things and generally being a nuisance. We were happy to have him in our family and had him evaluated by a trainer and began an obedience class with him a few weeks after adopting him. Things seemed to be going well. His behavior markedly improved, not perfect, but very hopeful.
Then.
I had begun having my youngest child feed the dog because I read that doing so would help the dog know that the child was above him in the pack order. My son had fed him numerous times, no problems. Also, the dog hadn't shown any signs of food guarding at all. This time, however, was different. My son dropped some of the food onto the floor and squatted down to pick it up. The dog lunged twice at him biting him on the second lunge hard enough on the face to leave four puncture marks, two right under his eye and two near his hair-line. No stitches were necessary but there was some bleeding.

This happened yesterday. I am really struggling with what to do about this. I was ready to deal with his other issues but having a dog in my house who has bitten a child is just not something I'm ready for. We have children in and out of the house all the time and I just won't ever be able to relax. I've gotten a lot of advice ranging all over the place. I'm leaning toward trying to re-home him in a no-child home but I'm not sure how successful that will be given that he has bitten. I'd appreciate any thoughtful and kind advice. This has been so very hard for all of us.
 

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THis is a tough one and my heart goes out to you !! 6 years ago my border collile ( and best friend ) bit my 18 month old granddaughter. He was asleep curled up at the end of the couch near the hallway, Kalee came out toddling down the hall and fell on top of him, he grabbed her face and bit her very bad. She had stitches in several places on her beautiful face and it required a plastic surgeon to do the work to lesson the possibility of scarring. Even though I knew the bite was reactive to her falling on him I just couldnt take the chance of another incident. Most people told me I should have put him down but I knew he was a good dog inspite of what happened. I called my ex husband ( who loved the dog dearly also ) and he came and got him that day. It broke my heart to let him go but I felt I had to. BTW he was older at the time, almost 8 years old, he loved older kids but was not sure about the little ones. He is now a happy 13 year old dog that lives wayyyyyyy out in the country. I still miss him to this day but I know I did the right thing .Now at age 7 Kalees scars are barely visable but i will never forget that horrible night, THANKGOD she does not seem to remember any of it and is totally unafraid of dogs.

You will come to your decision and when you do you will know in your heart what the right thing is to do.I know what a difficult decision you have before you and I will keep you and you furbaby in my prayers !!!
 

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I feel like this dog was pushed into this bite. Pack theory is long debunked and children should not be anywhere near a dog's food or a dog eating. A small child dropping the food and then leaning over to grab at it while the untrained dog- who hasn't been in the home very long at all- watches, well, it doesn't take a genius to predict a bite in that situation.

If you do decide to keep the dog, and personally I would, DO NOT involve children in his feeding. He should be fed in a different room or in a crate and the child should be kept away from him at feeding times.
 

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Oh, this is awful. I'm so sorry.

I agree that rehoming is the best idea.

If one of our puppies bit our 8 year old son, I'd have to take drastic measures.

Food guarding and bite inhibition not where it should be is tough in a home with a child.

FWIW, if this helps in the future, forget about the pack idea. It's been debunked and is based on faulty research. Also, our kids don't do the feeding part yet unless we are feeding by hand and doing it together through training, etc. because we feel he just isn't mature enough yet.
I dot agree I'm sorry, a dog who has had such s tough time 'giving up' would be another blow to his confidence, you know that food aggression is natural, right? Not just in dogs but in other animals (I work on a horse breeding farm & you should see the pastured brood mares at feeding time & each horse is seperated with feeding stalls!!!) why does thr dog always USB to be thr loser, WHY??? Feed your dog in a crate away from everyone so he can feel like he can have his privacy, if you don't have a crate then feed him in thr master bed room or somewhere quiet & do NOT allow the kids to harass him!

You can also combat resource guarding (RG) when thr dog has a cheeks of fav toy, just walk by & toss a yummy treat at him as he news, that way ppl coming = something great!!

I hate when this happens & ppl want to tie up on the dog, thr best dog I ever had (Izze) was a kid hater & I mean HATER & I spent ten wonderful years with her, she was even the mascot of a public stable during the duration I worked there & it's all about management of the dog, it can be done. Please try to see it from the animals POV, they know not, they just react to their environment.
 

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I know where you're coming from, and I agree with you, too, dragon!!!!


We've trained our dogs to be used to kids (JIC) and when a 2 year old gave Sacha a piece of chicken then took it back, she just laid down. And when our 8yo son accidentally hurt Bob putting on his pectoral collar, the bite inhibition was good enough that it was a snap at the air.

But breaking the skin says to me this dog has some bit inhibition issues....and that's really scary in a home with kids.

It's awful, either way.

To the OP: God bless you and your family as you make the decision!



I dot agree I'm sorry, a dog who has had such s tough time 'giving up' would be another blow to his confidence, you know that food aggression is natural, right? Not just in dogs but in other animals (I work on a horse breeding farm & you should see the pastured brood mares at feeding time & each horse is seperated with feeding stalls!!!) why does thr dog always USB to be thr loser, WHY??? Feed your dog in a crate away from everyone so he can feel like he can have his privacy, if you don't have a crate then feed him in thr master bed room or somewhere quiet & do NOT allow the kids to harass him!

You can also combat resource guarding (RG) when thr dog has a cheeks of fav toy, just walk by & toss a yummy treat at him as he news, that way ppl coming = something great!!

I hate when this happens & ppl want to tie up on the dog, thr best dog I ever had (Izze) was a kid hater & I mean HATER & I spent ten wonderful years with her, she was even the mascot of a public stable during the duration I worked there & it's all about management of the dog, it can be done. Please try to see it from the animals POV, they know not, they just react to their environment.
 

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I agree with this, too.

I feel like this dog was pushed into this bite. Pack theory is long debunked and children should not be anywhere near a dog's food or a dog eating. A small child dropping the food and then leaning over to grab at it while the untrained dog- who hasn't been in the home very long at all- watches, well, it doesn't take a genius to predict a bite in that situation.

If you do decide to keep the dog, and personally I would, DO NOT involve children in his feeding. He should be fed in a different room or in a crate and the child should be kept away from him at feeding times.
 

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I agree with the others that the dog may have been 'set up' to bite the child, but I also don't think that this means the dog should not be rehomed - depends a lot on the age of the child for me. Even without feeding issues and with supervision, this isn't a dog I would trust with a toddler who is unpredictable, has poor balance and motor control. If the kid is 10 - it's another matter entirely. But when the trigger is a child being a child, I don't think it's fair to dog or child to keep them in the same home.
 

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I wouldn't feel comfortable saying re-home or not to re-home, because I am not there & I can't observe the dog & I would feel comfortable saying tO re home him.
 

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Food possession is normal in dogs that haven't been worked with in that respect. I agree with the others, I believe the children should not be part of the feeding from now on. But you can do certain techniques to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

Start with a toy or treat that your dog isn't crazy about, but enjoys playing with from time to time. In your obedience class, have you learned 'leave it' yet? If so, get out the treats when your dog is playing with said toy, and tell him to 'leave it'. If he stops and looks at you, treat him. Continue until he's leaving the toy every time you prompt him to. Then begin moving in while he's chewing on it or playing with it, telling him to 'leave it', and then taking it from him while giving him praise for leaving it. Treat him if he allows it. If he growls or acts defensively, you may be moving too fast, work some more with the regular 'leave it', or find something he likes a little bit less.

Once you feel you can take things from him no problem, try a bland treat. Give him a big Milkbone, for example, but have him 'leave it', and offer him a better, meatier treat if he does. Repeat the same technique until you can take the Milkbone away from him. Then move on to other foods he may like a bit more, but always make sure you treat him with something even better.
The bottom line is you want to teach him that he does NOT need to be protective of his food, because you will always supply plenty of it, ESPECIALLY if he leaves food alone if you tell him to.

My opinion is that you should keep him. Your pup was only acting on instinct, and would have done it to anyone or anything that may have been in that situation. He needs someone who is willing to work with him, and make sure it doesn't happen again. I was also bit in the face by my dad's dog when I was a kid, and I have a scar by my nose to prove it... But the dog was acting on instinct, much like yours, and we worked with him, and he never did it again! I loved that dog until the day he died. :3 And now I'm a professional dog trainer, so clearly it didn't turn me off of dogs!

Good luck to you both!
 

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If you do decide to keep the dog, and personally I would, DO NOT involve children in his feeding. He should be fed in a different room or in a crate and the child should be kept away from him at feeding times.
I don't understand why many owners insist on trying the child/dog feed, handle, train etc thing. Then usually the dog suffers.
 

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Our son is 8, and he's a trigger for our dogs- they get excited and want to play- just by the way he walks and talks and handles his personal possessions. It's unnerving at times how easily excited they are by him.

I don't understand why many owners insist on trying the child/dog feed, handle, train etc thing. Then usually the dog suffers.
 

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Izze my old dog hated kids, she was picked up & dropped as a pup (onto a cushy doormat luckily) by some ladies brat who scooped her up when my back was turned (she was even on a leash, attached to me, as I worked at the stable & we were doing office work) their movements also seemed to unnerve her esp my ex bosses son (which is why we ended up quitting). BUT she was the best dog (to & for me that is... What's what I mean when I say that lol) in the world ... Just don't let your kid near her ;)
 

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I don't understand why many owners insist on trying the child/dog feed, handle, train etc thing. Then usually the dog suffers.
Get them involved in routine and help teach responsibility. I don't have a problem with doing such, if the child is at an appropriate age, but it isn't something that can be done without thought, for sure
 

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Get them involved in routine and help teach responsibility. I don't have a problem with doing such, if the child is at an appropriate age, but it isn't something that can be done without thought, for sure
I understand the program wanted but a couple threads back I believe somebody wanted their dog to take commands from their 4 or 5 yr old child using an e-collar, that is ludicrous and is a possible accident in the making.

I'm not saying it's impossible but when some people read stuff like that and just don't have the type of dog or child that it could work with, Geeze how many older kids want a dog and promise to walk and feed and all dog chores. 2 months later all promises are out the window.

I will end with the fact on DF we read every day about adults that do not have the slightest idea on how to handle their dogs. I'm just sayin'....

I would start responsibility with easy stuff, clean up your room, pick up toys, take out garbage etc not a live creature. Sorry minor vent.
 

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I agree that a dog with aggressive tendencies or guarding issues can be retrained and managed by their owner to live long and fulfilling lives. But, and this is a big but the children live in the house with the dog. Children are naturally fallible and unpredictable and their friends will be coming and going. I personally think that even the most gentle and "bomb-proof" dogs should be supervised with children but there will be the occasional moment out of your control. It is easy to create family rules about the dogs feeding routine to manage and retrain the issue but you can't expect everyone else in the world to act the same way. After an incident like this I would always be afraid that a child visiting the house might drop some of their own food and reach down for it... Personally I would err on the side of caution and rehome the dog with someone without children, it doesnt seem fair to either the dog or the child to have them in a situation that is potentially dangerous.
 
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