DD has allergies to our dog...and he's a biter!

ajc9June 6, 2012

Hello all!

I need some advice...

My daughter is 20 months old. Our dog is 5 years old....

He is a daisy dog...a small breed. I don't trust him around our little one as he has had several episodes of biting strangers and has also bitten her hand twice! Very scary. They are the best of playmates at times, but I am always watching them which is exhausting. Dd also has allergies and I'm a neat freak about it around the house...I know she has allergies to our dog for sure.

What do I do? I feel like we need to give him up, but how? I feel so guilty...I don't know how we would even begin to know how to find a home for him. He is a faithful wonderful lap dog...just terrible with strangers and kids....he would be a great fit for an older couple perhaps....?

Lastly, he has been through intense training several times! He used to be my boss' dog and hubby and I 'rescued' him thinking he would grow out of his naughtiness. Not so, unfortunately...

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This is going to sound harsh but your first responsibility is to your daughter not the dog. Forget the allergies! You say you don't leave them alone yet he's already bitten her twice, how you can possibly allow the dog to stay in the same house under those circumstances?

I understand that you have a bond with it but the first time it lashed out at a stranger you should have sought help from a trainer to get it properly socialized. As it is you've been taking a huge risk allowing it around your baby and/or being sued. It's unfortunate it's not properly socialized too because it will be harder to place it as a result, not impossible but certainly more difficult.

I had a dog once that was teased through a fence and became a biter. It wasn't her fault but for the safety of my daughter and family I too had to find her a more suitable environment. The alternative was her biting someone, us getting sued and the dog being put down. It was many years ago before we knew as much as we do now about training but still because children are involved, I would not trust the dog around kids, trained or not.

You need to put your personal feelings aside, call some of the adoption programs in your area and find away to get her into a more suitable home and the sooner you do that, the better for everyone involved, even the dog.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 8:27PM
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No...not harsh at all...thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I should have titled...he's a biter and left the allergies out...I'm forever rushing to type these days...;). Although the allergies are so frustrating as well...but the biting is the #1 problem, of course.

Im not worried about my feelings..like feeling as though I'll miss our pup...I guess I just feel irresponsible in the first place that we took on the challenge of trying to remedy his behavior. He went through a month (yes!) of doggie boot camp with an awesome trainer...without results. My husband and I adopted him before kids...and now here we are trying to come up with a plan.

I get what u r saying...how could I allow them to be under the same roof? I didn't explain that the majority of each week, he is at 'gramma and grandpa's house' until we figure this out. Sorry, I left that piece of info out. Of course, I put my little one's safety first for sure. When the dog is here...which he stayed the night last night...we keep them apart. We live in a large home and he sleeps most of the time and is outside a lot. Nonetheless, there are times they are both in the same room. As mentioned, he is getting better...but I never leave them alone...

Anyway, i need to look up programs in our area. I've obviously never done this before...not sure how to go about doing it...

Thanks again for sharing your advice...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 9:11PM
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So, go find yourself a place that rescues dogs, give them a nice donatin and the dog. When your daughter gets a bit bigger try again WITH A FOSTER DOG. In the mean time you might want to teach yourself about dog ownership and how our human emotions and behavior can negatively impact them and create unwanted canine behavioral issues. Chalk this up to lesson learned. Your daughter might be allergic now, as was my friends daughter, she refused to give up and we treated her with one benadryl tablet when she started rubbing her eyes, now she is the owner fo two dogs, she grew out of the allergies in one year. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 10:12PM
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it's late so i won't go into a lot of detail but i will say this...BE HONEST! whoever you turn the dog over to, you MUST divulge that he has a bite history. maybe they weren't "serious" bites (which to me is redundant...EVERY bite is a serious bite) but, they were bites, nonetheless. this will be a tough situation for you as many rescues will not take a dog with a bite history and if you turn it over to a shelter, he will very likely be put to sleep.

i wish you luck.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Hi, I agree with others that you can't have a dog who bites children in the home with your daughter, it's just too risky. What about the grandparents, would they be willing to adopt your little dog? In my experience the percentage of dogs that bite out of aggression is very low, and often it is fear that makes them do it. He's obviously very afraid of strangers and children and he needs to be with someone who will gradually socialise him properly so that he can get over that fear and learn to trust people. small dogs especially can find kids quite intimidating because kids are drawn to them but don't realise they are being too loud or overbearing or crowding a small dog and making them feel panicky.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 2:22AM
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Thanks, all, for your replies and encouragement!

Yes...he surely bites out of fear. He's so little and I think feels inferior in many situations.

Cool idea about a foster dog. Dd looooves dogs. Trust me, I DO know about dog ownership...I understand how 'our emotions can negatively impact our pets.' We've gone through training...have been sooo patient with him. I think something happened to him when he was tiny therefore causing him to be this way? As mentioned, we 'rescued' him in the first place...he was 2 at the time.

Oh yes....I will be soooo honest to whoever decides to take on this challenge! That would be horrible if I wouldn't say anything. I will tell them his whole history! As far as my parents taking him? Well,my dad loves him...my mom does too...but she doesn't want the responsibility. We always had dogs growing up...but they r older now and she feels that the days of caring for a dog are in the past. Ahhhh....we will have a family talk again soon, I'm sure.

For now...I will research some shelters. I know of an awesome one about 30 minutes from here...they have a super high adoption rate. He would freak out, though, as he is also not great with other dogs. Did I mention that? Ugh. I would loooove to just randomly meet someone and they could come over to our house for him instead! Dropping him off at an adoption center sounds dramatic and sad to be honest...you know what I mean?

Thanks again for listening! I'm rambling a bit!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:44AM
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"Dropping him off at an adoption center sounds dramatic and sad to be honest...you know what I mean? "

I think if it ends with him finding a loving home I think it's worth it though. Most shelters do a good job of matching a dog with a new owner to make sure they are compatible but if you meet someone in the street, they may have the best intentions in the world but they won't necessarily have the patience or skills to turn his behaviour around so I think unless it's someone you know who can take this commitment on then the shelters can do a very good job of this.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:18AM
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Ajc9, I'm relieved to see that you are open to the commentary and understand how truly important it is to remove the dog from the house in a more permanent situation. While the idea of the grandparents may seem the most ideal, I suggest that you not consider that an option. Babies grow and their favorite place to go is Grandma & Grandpa's house. When that happens, you'll basically be right back at square one with a small child in the presence of a biter.
As far as finding some adoption alternatives in your area, the site I've linked to below would be a good place to start. It has links and contact information for a large majority of the adoption services throughout the country.

I do hope for a good outcome for both you and the dog. It may take some real tenacity to see it through, but don't give up, there are resources for this too I'm sure, maybe even offering to help financially for more training may help a service be more willing to take it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Petfinder.com

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 8:11AM
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Trancegemeni...Good advice about the shelters being the experts on finding a suitable home vs me. Ugh...it's just sad and I do want him to be happy! I've never been tough enough to handle seeing dogs in a cage...barking. That is what I picture and I feel like he'll just freak out and feel abandoned. BUT, as you said, the outcome would hopefully be a good one.

Lukkiirish...so true...her favorite place IS gramma and grandpa's. My mom mentioned that so it really isn't ideal. It wasn't a big deal last year because my mom was still working full time. She's retiring this year so the wee one and I will be going over there a lot more! Cool..I will check out your link!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 1:35PM
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Where there is a will there is a way. But it sounds as though you had already made up your mind and were just looking for validation.

I agree that your first responsibility is to your child. However, that in no way excuses your responsibility to your dog. Dumping him at a shelter is not going to help him find a home. You are labeling him as a biter and no responsible shelter is going to adopt out a biter. But you must be honest. If you really have this dog's best interest in mind you should find a suitable home for him. As a last resort find a rescue willing to work with him. But if you do, that will probably mean a perfectly adoptable dog will die in a shelter because there wasn't room for it. So, really, if this dog is as troubled and dangerous as you make out then maybe you should just have him euthanized and end his suffering now.

I'm sorry, I know I sound rude. But I constantly see people getting rid of long time pets when it becomes a hassle to take care of them plus children. It isn't fair to the pets and it is really irresponsible of the parents.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Since you said "He went through a month (yes!) of doggie boot camp with an awesome trainer" ---- I would call the trainer and see if he/she can help you find a home. This person should know the dog pretty well. Above post is right, most places will not adopt out a know biter.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 7:41PM
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AJC9 you could also try rehoming him through your vet. Most vets are happy to help with this sort of thing so it might be worth giving them a call or paying them a visit to see if they will help.

When I suggested the grandparents taking him I didn't mean they should take him and allow his behaviour to go on, I think he just needs someone who will work with him on his fears and socialisation but I just think with the op being busy with a young baby, she's probably not in the best position to do that right now but the grandparents could and when the baby is a bit older he may be able to go back if he has some positive intervention and learns to overcome his fears.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 12:18AM
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Sophie Wheeler

There's a lot of pie in the sky thinking happening here. No reputable rescue will knowingly accept a biter. It's a HUGE liability to them. They cannot risk the lawsuit and put all of their other hard work in jeopardy. And lieing about his nature would be even worse, as if you could find someone to take him, he would be taking the place of a sweeter nature more adoptable animal. With the training that this animal has had to try to overcome the issue, and that not succeeding, and with you not willing to keep him in the home, the next step isn't a shelter or a rescue. It's euthanasia. And you owe it to the animal to be there with him and comfort him while it happens.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:29AM
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A reputable rescue would have the dog evaluated before making any decisions or before suggesting euthanasia.
Yes, there are dogs that are habitual biters but this dog may be a biter simply because of it's environment and no one here knows how he will react in a new home setting and with different owners.

I have a dog that sometimes goes into a high anxiety state and in the past has bitten my son and once nipped at my DIL and GD. In DS's case, my dog thought he was hurting GD because she was screaming with glee while being whirled around. When he nipped at my GD, she was running toward his food bowl.
I've learned that my dog's behavior is not uncommon for his breed and making adjustments in my home, along with giving him an outlet for his energy, has made a huge difference in his responses to certain situations.

Hopefully, the OP's dog just needs the right home and handler.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 4:15PM
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Your trainer was likely using compulsion methods on the dog and make his issues worse. Any time I see 'doggie boot camp' I know there's trouble ahead. Next time you consider adding a pet to your home, plan to be engaged in the training and ensure that it is positive training. Also training is not 'one time' it's 'lifetime'. Every day practice as part of structure and routine. Your dogs - just like your children - are learning every time there is an interaction.

Until you return the dog to a shelter or rescue group, at least ensure you are managing the dog and child to keep both safe. Use baby gates or a playpen to keep them separated. He needs a safe place away from the unpredictable movements and scary sounds of a toddler.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 7:00AM
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I strongly disagree with the comments saying euthanasia is the only recourse and an agency is at risk if they take the dog. That's pretty presumptuous considering all the agencies there are available, some of which deal specifically with special needs such as this. And there is nothing wrong with trying everything possible to save the dog instead of just giving up and moving on to the last resort. If that's "pie in the sky thinking" so be it, at least we are not one to say, this isn't worth dealing with so kill the dog instead which is basically what another poster is saying.

Certainly, a different environment and training method should be tried before just giving up on the animal altogether. The OP has also made it pretty clear that they are willing to do whatever is needed to rehome the dog. Having THAT attitude helped me to find a reasonable solution when I had the issue to contend with and I'm sure it will with the OP as well.

I also think that since it's been made pretty clear that the OP is willing to do whatever is needed to rehome the dog, positive suggestions and commentary would be a lot more helpful under the circumstances.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 2:02PM
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Thanks, lukkiirish;). Yes, negativity, not appreciated! I wouldn't have posted if I were irresponsible, that is for sure! I sooo appreciate all of your thoughts and suggestions and will post again when we come up with a plan. My parents are awesome and love having him for now. He's no problem for them...he's never bitten them...or dh and I.

Anyway...I'm sure this summer we will have a chance to take a deep breath and find the best of situation for everyone...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Oh please, you fit the perfect profile of someone who is just tired of taking care of a dog now that you have a child. When you make a commitment to a pet then fail to follow through, while trying to blame it on the dog's behavior you're going to get negative comments.

From your very first post:

'They are the best of playmates at times, but I am always watching them which is exhausting. Dd also has allergies and I'm a neat freak about it around the house...I know she has allergies to our dog for sure.'

You're tired of watching the dog to make sure he doesn't bite your child. Why you wouldn't keep them separated when you say the dog has bitten her hand several times seems ridiculous and almost unbelievable. And 'you know' she has allergies to your dog 'for sure'. I guess you wouldn't have to be such a neat freak about the allergies if you dump the dog. But then in another post you indicate having a foster dog sounds like a good idea because your child just loves dogs... so is she allergic or not? Maybe she's just allergic to your dog, the one you don't want anymore.

I hope your parents keep the dog and provide it with a good home. I hope you don't get another pet until you understand they are not disposable.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 9:57PM
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