dog bite/scratch child - adoption advice

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dog bite/scratch child - adoption advice

This is a discussion on dog bite/scratch child - adoption advice within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi, I'm Jonathan - new member - We were looking at a 3 year old border collie/Labrador cross male, not yet desexed with a view ...

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Old 07-23-2019, 06:55 AM
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Exclamation dog bite/scratch child - adoption advice

Hi,
I'm Jonathan - new member -
We were looking at a 3 year old border collie/Labrador cross male, not yet desexed with a view to adoption as the family was moving out of area and could not take it with them. Another bigger dog, in the same household (but their sisters I think) , Ridgeback I think (have photo) leapt at my 10 year old son without warning and caused two big cuts to his face requiring 10 stitches in total. This dog was sadly destroyed - I understood it had been a loyal family pet up till that point and with no problems around their children. Surprisingly, two days down the track, my son is still wanting us to adopt the Border Collie/Lab cross. Beautiful dog from our short interaction with-it and we would love to adopt it, but we obviously nervous about going forward with this. Any help/advice you could give would be appreciated. Thankyou, Jonathan.
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Old 07-23-2019, 07:32 AM
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Well... I would get a red flag from the fact that one of the dogs in the household already showed a tremendous degree of aggression.

Dogs are hardly ever innately aggressive. Whatever happened to the dog that bit your son happened in the same context where the other dog was also living. If it was socialization, training, abuse.... *something* in that environment made that dog into a ticking time bomb that went off when your boy triggered it.

As an aside, it's also very unlikely that the attack was "without warning". There's a much better chance that the dog was warning you but you didn't see the warning signs because of being unfamiliar with dog body language.

What I would recommend is to get the dog tested before you make a decision. Shelters have special tests that they use to evaluate the dog for suitability for various environments. It would be a very good idea for you to contact a shelter and get them to evaluate the dog with a such a test and give you their opinion. One of the things that they test for is predisposition for aggression and this is information you will definitely want to have.

Good luck. I hope everything works out.
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Old 07-23-2019, 08:08 AM
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Oh.... and don't take the owner's word for anything. A LOT of people have no idea what they are doing and/or what their dogs are really like.

For example, a couple of weeks ago we were walking in a wooded area where dogs are allowed to walk off leash. An approaching woman's dog fixated on my dog and charged him from at least 10m away. Her dog was a lab so one of the least likely dogs out there to be innately aggressive.

My dog is somewhat anxious of larger dogs at the best of times and usually keeps his distance. When this hulk of a thing was bearing down on him he freaked out, yelped and ran away, which just made things worse because the larger dog tried to catch him. I called my dog and he came straight to me and hid between my legs while the woman roped in her dog and put him on a leash.

Then she said (here is comes), "HE NEVER DOES THIS".

BULLHUCKY!

That dog's body language was stiff and fixated from the moment he spotted us. I spotted it a mile away and it was the first time I had ever seen that dog. The owner didn't spot it at all and had no idea what happened.....

My point here is that owners sometimes lack the skills to neutrally evaluate their own dog. These same owners are usually the ones who make mistakes with training and/or socialization that causes unwanted behaviours such as anxiety and aggression. My guess, based on your son's injury is that the owners of the border collie are the LAST people you should listen to right now.

BTW, I googled the test I was referring to in my previous post. The most common one is called SAFER (Safety Assessment For Evaluation Rehoming). Most, if not all, shelters will be familiar with this test and will be a position to help you.
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Last edited by dogslife; 07-23-2019 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 07-24-2019, 05:31 AM
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Thanks for the reply Dogslife. Useful advice. We will proceed with caution!
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