I won't watch dog that bit me anymore

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I won't watch dog that bit me anymore

This is a discussion on I won't watch dog that bit me anymore within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; We've had a long term friendship. I don't feel the friendship is in danger. We've traded off on watching each other's dogs for three years. ...

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Old 04-23-2018, 01:07 PM
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I won't watch dog that bit me anymore

We've had a long term friendship. I don't feel the friendship is in danger.

We've traded off on watching each other's dogs for three years. Their dog is a mixed breed white ball of fluff, who I will call "Fluffy." Fluffy is about 8 years old and has a history of biting people. He has bitten members of their family three times that I know about. He has bitten two vets, three groomers, and been banned from two grooming salons, and one PetSmart store.

Despite all of this, he had never bitten me, until his last visit. I mistakenly thought it won't happen because I know how to treat dogs and I know what triggers Fluffy's fear and aggression responses. Well, he proved me wrong when he bit me. A week later, the bites are still not fully healed.

When his family returned from their vacation, I told them that he had bitten me - they were very apologetic - and, that because of this, I can no longer watch him when they go out of town, and I no longer want them to watch my dog because it wouldn't be fair.

They aren't happy about my decision. I also feel bad. It was just once; but, the dog has a history of biting, and biting experienced dog handlers, vets and groomers.

I'm stressed about my decision, and wondering... what else can, or should I do.
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:18 PM
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I can understand why they feel disappointed but they have no right to take it out on you when even professionals are refusing to work with their dog with a bite history. I’m a dog professional and I’ve been bitten many times and had to work with dogs I’m uncomfortable with, but I wouldn’t take care of a dog that I’m uncomfortable with as a favor, even with my professional experience. I wouldn’t want that extra stress in my life after a full day at work. Don’t feel obligated to sacrifice your personal safety for a favor.

Are they working with a trainer at all?

Is there a clear pattern of what causes the dog to bite- resource guarding, handling certain body parts, etc? Or does it seem more random?
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:49 PM
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No, they are not working with a trainer. They have never worked with a trainer. They've had this dog for about 7 years. It is the first dog they have ever had. I have suggested they get training.

Their dog, "Fluffy," always bites out of stress or fear. He does not have a resource guarding issue. In my case, he bit me when he was trying to squiggle his way out the door, I put my hand down reaching for his collar so that I could open the door, and he bit me - viciously. He did not calm down afterwards, or say, "Sorry." He curled up into a snarling ball - kind of like an armadillo - where he remained until I could convince him I was not going to harm him despite the blood gushing from my wounds. I walked him to a crate, where he went willingly, and closed him in so that I could tend my wounds.

In my view, this is not right. His family needs to get training.

In fact, my current Westie (unlike my prior Westie), once showed signs of aggression when he was still less than a year old. My reaction unlike my friends was to seek professional training. We completed three courses together, got certified and approved for hospital visits, and then enrolled in two agility training classes. After which, we stopped the classes; but, not the interactions. My point being that we trained away his fears and desensitized him to new and unusual experiences. He's now an animal that I trust completely and he's never bitten anyone (I recognize that even good dogs can bite in unusual circumstances).

I'm just upset that this happened and that my friends don't take active steps to help their dog be safe and secure. Yes, I've told them; but, I'm not going to keep telling them.

I don't trust their dog not to bite. So, he's not welcome in my home anymore.

Last edited by Westie Lover; 04-23-2018 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:15 PM
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TBH, in this country he would have been reported and put down. He sounds so scared, the poor little fella.

And no, I don't think you should feel bad. His owners know he bites people. They are the ones putting the dog and other people in this danger. So don't feel guilty about it.
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Old 04-23-2018, 04:36 PM
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Yeah, the thought crossed my mind; but, I'm not going to report it. You'd think that the PetSmart, or the groomers, or the vets, you'd think that reporting it would be obligatory. I don't know how this small dog is still alive; but, ultimately, the decision is up to his family unless someone forces it.

I think most dogs can be rehabilitated; but, they don't rehabilitate themselves. It's up to the owners.

The dog looks harmless, in part because he is so timid. But, it is the fear of everything that makes him dangerous. And, I knew this. I was wrong. I thought I knew him well enough, and he me that he wouldn't turn that sudden. It's partly my fault; but, that doesn't change the fact that you can't have a dog that bites unpredictably, suddenly, without warning.

If he were my dog, I'd probably try to train and socialize him - Well, I would have a long time ago. I don't know what I would do now.
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Old 04-24-2018, 01:46 PM
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You have the right not to watch or be alone with a dog you're afraid of that has bitten you. You don't have to feel guilty about that decision. It may affect your friendship, or not. Your friends should train their dog and get help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.

In my state vets won't report a dog or animal they're treating who bites because they see many sick and wounded animals who are in pain, stressed and frightened, often have to be separated from their owners and are often hurt during treatment or confined so may bite uncharacteristically.

My last dog would bite at the vets but was friendly to people in every situation other than the exam room. He developed a severe phobia after years of me taking him to the vets for nail trims. Too many bad experiences bring restrained and traumatized by well meaning vet techs. He went from being good and friendly to snarling and snapping. Made the end of his life very difficult.
However I warned all the staff that he needed a muzzle and put it on him myself before I let anyone touch him. The only two vets he actually bit were the two arrogant ones who refused to listen to me or him and insisted on restraining and examining and drawing blood from a 75 pound growling, snarling snapping lunging Akita pitbull mix that I was trying to hold myself. I told them repeatedly that he was stressed and afraid and I didn't think I could hold him myself and he was petrified while I tried to hold his mouth shut. Both vets refused to wait for a muzzle that fit properly. He got one vet in front of me, the vet said you and he both warned me many times so this was completely my fault. The other vet took him away to the back. I told her bad idea. She ignored me then came back angry that he freaked out without me and bit her.
Some dogs have deep ingrained fears at vets or groomers. Responsible owners warn staff and muzzle them and try to train them. Or at least sedate them for necessary medical work.
My last dog was friendly and well behaved in all other situations and didn't bite people normally. Only when terrified and restrained for vets and nail trims. Never bit any of my friends.
It's a shame your friends can't see a problem from being banned from multiple places.
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:03 PM
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You have no reason to fell guilty about refusing to care for the dog anymore.
It’s a pity the owners won’t take it to a trainer. Many dogs gain confidence with classes and come out of the timid zone.
In the issueof reporting it.... You should. I know you don’t want to. But you need assurance the vaccination are up to date. It might also be the wake up call they need to DO SOMETHING. I’ll add, what if the next target is a little kid? The guilt isn’t worth it. Since the dog is small, a home quarantine may be offered.
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