Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 3 year old black lab mix and earlier today, he bit an 8 yr old child that came over to play with my children. The child happened to be chasing my two daughters, in a playful manner, around the house with a plastic baseball bat pretending he was a super-hero. I didn't pay much attention to it at the time because my dog hasn't really been aggressive in the past, but in hindsight, I should have not allowed the child to run around the house with a Wiffle Ball bat. I witnessed the entire thing: as the child ran by my black lab with the wiffle ball bat raised in the air, chasing my 6 and 8 year old daughters, my dog suddenly snapped and caught the child in the upper arm (in the tricept area). The child fell to the ground screaming and wasn't bleeding but had visible bite marks where my dog had snapped at him. To make matters worse, his parent witnessed it too and I was struggling on how to handle the situation. On one hand, I was upset with my dog because I've never seen this happen before. On the other hand, I sort-of understand why he did it: he saw someone chasing his family members around the house with a bat. I apologized to the childs mother a few times and made sure the child was OK as he is a very nice kid that we have over frequently. But I'm struggling with what his parents think. He comes over to play often and I'm worried that his parents won't trust their kids around our dog. So I'm wondering if I should put my dog through training or what I should do. He's a pretty good dog most of the time, however, we do have issues with him jumping up on people when we have guests over, not coming when hes called, and other minor issues but now I'm nervous about him snapping around the neighborhood kids. Does anyone Have any ideas or feedback?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,207 Posts
Is this the first time your dog has ever shown any aggressive behavior towards children or other people? Has he ever had any negative reactions to your children or others running in the house? If this is the first and only time I think this is more of an isolated incident. This isn't a problem like say, resource guarding where the dog bit a child who touched his bowl or toys, or a dog that didn't tolerate a child petting him and snapped. It very much sounds like your dog perceived this game as an attack on the children in the family and intervened to protect them.

The fact your dog didn't draw blood also tells me that he has good control of his bite pressure, and he was in fact controlling himself. A large dog who was really aggressive or wanted to do damage could rip a child's arm up. So while this is a difficult problem and it's not good or acceptable your dog bit the child, it's totally understandable. Consulting a trainer would be a good idea, but other than basic obedience issues you mentioned, the only thing you would be training the dog to do is...I suppose not going after running children. Personally I wouldn't want to train a protective instinct out of a dog during situations that are or strongly look like threat to bodily harm (he's a child but he *Was* technically chasing your kids with a bat), but if you feel that's safest, then you should pursue it. Just make sure it's a positive reinforcement trainer and not one that uses any aversive techniques like shock or choke collars.

In terms of the child and his parents, I think you should talk to them about this and make sure they won't well, sue you or try to take other legal action against you and your dog. Since he didn't even break the skin I think that might take a great deal of wind out of any case, but still you should be careful. Right now I think you should keep the dog in a crate, another room or outside (if the weather is ok and you're inside) when this child comes over. This would make both him and his parents more comfortable, if they are still comfortable coming to your house. I would also have a discussion with both them and the boy, that the dog just reacted out of desire to protect the girls, but you want to make sure they're all feeling ok about the situation, and of course feel sorry it happened.

Let us know what happens and good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
The term "bite" in a negative aggressive association has been used too broadly in my opinion to encompass any time a dogs mouth makes contact with a human. Dog's mouths are like their hands, some want to grab on to you like a child wants to latch on to you.

A dog "bite" to me is a break of the skin. If the dog's intention was aggressive, there would be blood and broken skin. You have a dog that was being protective of a perceived threat of a family member and had good bite inhibition.

Now I am not saying that you do not need to work with your dog and the behavior should not be addressed, but I have had to talk many people off the ledge when they overreact to an "aggressive" bite when sometimes it is just their way of being playful or physically intervening in a situation.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top