My dog has bitten my two children when provoked, looking for advice re: rehoming

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My dog has bitten my two children when provoked, looking for advice re: rehoming

This is a discussion on My dog has bitten my two children when provoked, looking for advice re: rehoming within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; My dog is a dachshund/beagle mix, around 25 pounds. My dog bit my one son over a year ago, I did not observe it, but ...

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Old 03-13-2019, 12:07 AM
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Unhappy My dog has bitten my two children when provoked, looking for advice re: rehoming

My dog is a dachshund/beagle mix, around 25 pounds.

My dog bit my one son over a year ago, I did not observe it, but my wife said it occurred by the dog's food bowl. More recently, my youngest son was bitten by our dog while my wife was preparing dinner. What I think happened with the second occurrence was that he was petting the dog, but most likely grabbed or pinched the dog, causing her to react aggressively and bite him.

We have had the dog for about 5.5 years now, we got her from a local shelter when she was about 1 year old. She has never exhibited any sort of aggressive behavior towards people, aside from the two bites, has always been friendly to visitors, and has gotten along with any dog she has been around.

I believe that the the issue occurred due to my children provoking the dog, the first would have occurred when my one son was between the ages of two and three. The second bite happened to my son who is about 1.5 years old. I will acknowledge that perhaps these problems could be addressed by keeping a closer eye on the kids when they are near the dog, but my wife and I have already decided that we will need to get rid of the dog. It is nearly impossible to keep an eye on both kids all the time and we can't risk another incident.

I am finding that any rescue shelter will not take her in, and I get it, they have limited resources and lots of other dogs without bite histories that need homes. And I am being told that any shelter that will take her in, will probably euthanize her.

I believe that she would be a great fit in a home where she wouldn't have little kid's bothering her. She has never been outwardly aggressive towards anyone, I would like to believe that she is still adoptable.

She is currently in a 10 day quarantine, and I am trying to find her a suitable home. Does it seem reasonable that she would do well in an environment where she will not have little kids bothering/messing with her? What are some good options, given the circumstances, for finding her a home? I will certainly disclose both bites, as I do not want such a thing to happen again. I am struggling with how to proceed.
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Old 03-13-2019, 12:24 AM
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Why not just teach the children to be gentle and respectful? If you punch me and I punch you back, I am not the problem, you are. It sounds like the children are the issue, not the dog. Obviously Iím not suggesting you rehome your children, but teaching gentleness isnít hard and 18 months is absolutely old enough to learn. And you are correct, the dog will almost certainly be put down if you surrender her. Does she deserve to die for reacting to pain?

Also, have you taken her to the vet? There is a chance she is more sensitive right now due to a medical issue. Perhaps she is reacting more strongly to contact that she usually would be able to brush off due to a medical issue causing her pain. A quick vet visit may remedy the whole situation.




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Old 03-13-2019, 01:00 AM
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I agree with you 100% and my wife and I are working on teaching our younger son to be more gentle. I would personally consider working with the kids and their behavior with the dog, but that is going to be a very tough sell to my wife at this point. I am not trying to make her the bad guy here, she is just scared that something could happen again. The dog is currently at the vet and will be for 9 more days, I can certainly contact them ask if they think something could be causing her pain or discomfort.

And no, she certainly does not deserve to die and I am trying to do whatever I can to prevent that. It is tough, it certainly seems to be a fixable situation, given the circumstances of the bites. But, I know several people in our family will not want the dog back in our house, regardless of what the cause was. This is why I thinking that finding her a new home may be the best option, I just don't know the best way to go about it.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:10 AM
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I feel your pain in the area of family not understanding. My family is full of animal lovers but my in laws are not so much that way. We have a lot of pets including a large dog and I know if something happened they would not understand. They have in fact strongly suggested I should declaw my cats (a very cruel practice) to prevent them from being able to ever scratch my son.

Perhaps if you focus on explaining to your wife how unfair it would be to kill the dog for her crimes, and how likely she is to be put down with a bite history.


As a mother I understand how frustrating it is to try to keep an eye on a hundred things at once and I donít blame her for feeling like she canít always be on guard. Is it possible to come up with a system for the craziest times? For example, it seems like kids are always doing something crazy when Iím trying to cook. So in your situation I might get in the habit of simply putting the dog away before I start meal prep, and not letting her out again until the Mel cleanup is over. Giving your wife the freedom to crate the dog during stressful times, and encouraging her that you will start actively teaching the kids to be gentle may be all she needs. You may also be able to find s local trainer to evaluate your situation and help you identify triggers and solutions. You might be surprised how workable it can be.


Obviously as parents our human kids are precious to us and we would do literally anything for their safety. I understand why removing the dog seems like the best idea at first. After all, the kids have to be safe! But I would encourage you to consider the long term benefits not just to the dog but to the children if you keep the dog. How you handle this could impact how they handle conflict in relationships in the future, as well as how the interact with animals for the rest of their lives. I know itís a daunting task but I hope you will try


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Old 03-13-2019, 01:21 AM
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Thank you for your input and advice, it has definitely given me some things to think about. The place we adopted the dog from gave me the number of a behaviorist, I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they say.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:45 AM
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There are a lot of ways you can apprehend or approach this problem, but I think the safest ways are to prevent him from having the opportunity to bite again which is to restrict the dog's movements by limiting it's interactions with strangers or people that you think the dog might target. The second way is to manage his behavior which is training. A dog professional or a bit of research on how to tame your dog would greatly help you in training the dog.
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:58 PM
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Sounds like resource guarding. Very hard with small kids around.

Very sorry to hear about your situation with your dog. Very hard situation. It will be hard no matter what the outcome is.

First off, I would really, really like to commend you on how you are viewing the situation with your dog and kids. Seems you understand the dynamics of the unfortunate bites. I really appreciate when people can see WHY a bite happens, and not just label a dog as bad or aggressive. Thank you.

Whereas I am so concerned with how easy people rehome dogs these days, I totally understand your wife's fear of your toddlers getting bit again. Toddlers are completely unpredictable in so many ways. You can (and absolutely should) teach your children to respect animals and about animal safety, but toddlers are toddlers. Period. Your lil one at 1 1/2 years old has a ways to go before he can really learn impulse control and be very predictable around dogs.

It sounds like your dog may have some resource guarding (RG) issues. One of my dogs came to us at 3 months with this issue. We work with her all the time on this and she is doing so much better. But not "cured" esp when she is tired.

She at least warns me very clearly with growling (thank heavens!!) when she is feeling RG threatened, and I listen!!! Then I go trade her for something higher value. Can be very stressful and time consuming. And I know I have to be very patient and understanding as I "de-stress" her in these moments!!

But----- we do watch her interactions with our other dogs concerning food and some other items. I don't have children but I would not be comfortable leaving her unattended right now with small kids bc of the RG issues. All it could take for her or a dog like her is for her to just think a lil child is wanting to take her food or special toy away.

So, basically I understand your dilemma.

We use lots of baby gates in our home to separate our 3 dogs, esp when we are doing treats or playing with toys with our dogs. Separating constantly is a royal pain in the butt, and it gets old, esp when I am needing to do things around the house or I am tired. I do it vigilantly, but my sig other is not as highly focus on this as I am, so I do worry about a slip up and then a bad dog interaction. This could be similar to what you guys might have to do with your kids and your dog... if you keep your dog. Very stressful. Not trying to scare you, just being honest and giving you the heads up since I have experience with needing to separate on a regular basis. No fun.

Maybe bring in a behaviorist in home for an initial consultation. Be completely upfront and honest about your entire situation, including your wife's feelings. See what the behaviorist thinks. Ask them about resource guarding.

If the behaviorist and your wife feel strongly about rehoming your dog, then I agree with you 100% about finding a great home for her--- with no kids!! Just be sure to disclose all so the new owners won't have any bad surprises.

And FYI-- I am betting she is very adoptable. My other dog, shy fearful Gracie, was returned 4 times to shelter before we adopted her. She would not still be here if she had ended up in a family with lil kids... if you get what I am saying. But we absolutely love her.

Just takes finding the right person for your dog. Will your wife allow you time to find the right home if you have to end up rehoming her? I really hope so.

Keep us updated please.

PS. Sorry so long. I just feel for you guys and want to give you some insight.

Last edited by AthenaLove; 03-13-2019 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:18 PM
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A few thoughts:

1. For a shelter to think that she would not be adoptable because other dogs WITHOUT bite history are waiting as well just seems a little overstated given her breed. She is a smaller breed mix, which means that her actual bites are not potentially fatal. So, while they may have several pit mixes who have never bitten, potential adopters will consider the size and damage potential of the dog as well.
2. NO dog bite on a child is okay. But I wanted to make sure you were absolutely sure that the dog "bit" both children- were there marks? Or did she possibly mouth both of them, letting them know that she was annoyed? Or did you actually witness both incidents?
3. I do think crating while not being able to watch them is okay, or having her outside etc. When my children were very little, I had to do this with my golden retriever- not because she would bite, but because she easily knocked them over (without meaning to). So as long as I was unable to supervise, I separated the kids from her. This only lasted for a couple of years until the kids were old enough to manage being around her. Dogs' lives are well into the teens, so as you can imagine, most of my golden's life has been spent NOT being separated from them, and it's been great

I hope you have gotten some ideas from a behaviorist... it would be ideal if you could keep her, but you do have to be protective parents to your children first. If it's not possible to keep them safe with her living with you, I understand why you would want to rehome her.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny5679 View Post
Thank you for your input and advice, it has definitely given me some things to think about. The place we adopted the dog from gave me the number of a behaviorist, I'll give them a call tomorrow and see what they say.
Hi again. I was wondering if you have any updates to share? Did you get a chance to talk with the behaviorist? If so, what did they say about your situation?

Hope to hear from you. Wishing you all the best in your hard situation.
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Old 03-20-2019, 10:19 PM
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Not saying you're like this, since I have no idea what rules you have in your home for your kids and the dog, but a lot of people just expect their dog to have to deal with being poked, provoked, climbed on, shoved or crawled over, etc, and they don't teach their children to respect the dog as a being that has feelings and one that needs its own space.

I was at a home once where the kid kept irritating the dog and the dog tried to get away. Finally the dog growled and snapped...and the home owner went over and smacked the dog and forced it to the ground and yelled at it. The dog was punished and abused for no fault of its own. If you rehome your dog its the same type of thing. The dog loses the only family it knows. And for what? By your own admission the kids provoked the dog.

In contrast this family that adopted one of my fosters was exceptional in stressing to their kids that the dog would be given his own space. His own "me time". That if he went in his crate that was his safe place to be alone and they weren't to disturb him in his crate. If only every person treated animals with that type of consideration.

This doesn't sound like a problem that isn't fixable. Is the dog part of your family? Or is the dog a pet? If the dog is a pet, then rehoming is probably best for all involved. If your dog is family then do what you need to do (behaviorist, training for both kids and dog) to keep your family happy and whole. And in the process your kids will grow up knowing how to respect, love and care for other living beings.

Last edited by DogFaming; 03-20-2019 at 10:22 PM.
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