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Dog Nipped at Youngest Child

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My family and I recently got a 10 month old brittany. We have had him for 4 weeks now. Just the other day he made an aggressive lunge toward my 4 year old and caught her right above the eye. He just scrapped her skin but it was alarming. Now tonight she was petting him and he nipped at her face again. I'm not quite sure how to go about correcting the behavior. My wife does not trust him any longer and I now feel the same way.

He has been perfect up to know. I hate to see us get rid of him. He is turning into a hunting machine and has been great with the other 2 kids. They are ages 10 and 8. But is it only time until he turns on them?

One other thing, he follows me around the house. EVERYWHERE! I know he sees me as pack leader and in the field it shows. He follows my every command.

Any ideas? Can anybody help? My wife is ready to give him his walking papers.

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As much as I love dogs, especially a good hunting dog, I love my child more. If it was just one time, I might have let it go as maybe something the youngster did, but if he did it again, he's trying to assert his pack position over your 4 year old, which he can't do. I know how hard it is to get rid of a dog, as I had to get rid of two recently due to a move and my first born coming. One of which was a black lab that showed excellent hunting potential. He had two grandparents that were national champions as well as his father was a 2 year running SD state Pheasant hunting Champion. Blood lines? Definitely. Drive? More than I have ever seen in a dog. Needless to say it was very hard giving the dog up. But, In the interest of the child, my recommendation would be to look for a no kill shelter, or looking for a friend that has older children around. Especially if the dog is showing aggressive behavior towards your 4 year old. I wouldn't want to find out what he's going to do next to her. for the time being, if he does it again, make sure you let him know that his behavior is uncalled for and that you correct him for it. Also, he should show some signs, sometimes subtle signs that he's about to strike, and if he's showing those signs, correct him before he has a chance to get to her. Also, keep him under a close eye while she's around until you can find a better home for him or find a solution. This goes without saying, but you can get a new Brittany, but you can't replace your 4 year old. Also, I would check into where you got the pup and see if any other dogs have aggressive behavior. If not, see if you can get any behavior classes for him, or get a refund of some kind. Also, is he neutered? If not, that might help with the aggressive behavior. IMO, it just might be a matter of time before you have to pay an expensive hospital bill. Plus, what if you have company and he bites your company?

We have neighbors that had a Golden retriever that was very aggressive. He was bad enough that whenever they went on vacation, they had a 2x6 that they had his food and water bowls on to side in and out of a kennel to feed and water him so he wouldn't bite anyone. It was bad enough that he had a part of the kennel torn apart where he could almost get out, and my dad and I would go over to feed/water him and one would bring a handgun in case he got out. He was never abused, he was just an overly aggressive dog. They couldn't have company over, and rarely went on vacation due to the possibility of him getting out. He also chewed completely through an oak door. I don't want your dog to get to that stage.

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You have only had this dog for a month and it has aggressively lunged at your child causing a scrape and then you allowed it to happen again? Hunting machine or not it would be very apparent to me what would happen to him. My children would never be put at harms way for a dog. It has a socialization problem the way it sounds. As you can see in my avatar we socialize our pups from the very beginning. Bubba was the first one to hold the pups and was right next to the mother as she was whelping that litter. He's also 4. Call the breeder, DEMAND a full refund, and have the dog destroyed. Aggressive behavior can be broke but it is a gamble and usually not worth the money. Why was this dog so old when you picked it up?

CW

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Thanks for the reply. Before you jump and slap my hand, lets set something straight. We did not place the child in harms way to see if it would happen again. We don't use our children as decoys. The dog, myself, and my 10 year old were petting him on the floor when she came over to pet him too. My wife and I are on the same page as you folks.

I have asked the previous breeder/owner about getting a refund and getting the dog back to him. He can then decide how he wants to address the issue.

I can honestly say this will be the last dog I get.

Thanks again. No need to scold here. We feel bad enough about it already.

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Sorry if you took it the wrong way, but that dog would have been put down, or on the breeders doorstep within the hour it snapped at my kid. I'll ask again what was the reason for such a late pick up of this pup? Is he a washout?

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don't get me wrong either. I'm not trying to scold or slap your hand or anything like that. Also not implying you put your kid in harms way intentionally. If it was interpretated that way, I apologize. But, I don't think the pup should be in that situation. I will do just about anything for a dog, and love them with all my heart. But, if one was to show aggressive behavior towards my child, and if it were to bite, I would.... My intention isn't to scold you, just give you some options to think about. By all means, don't let one dog stop you from getting another dog. Just be cautious with the next one. Bring the kids along and see how the dog you want reacts with them. But, my recommendation is to get the dog out of the house before anything else happens to your little girl.

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He is trained to sit, come, stay, laydown, heel, whoa, fetch, kennel and I may forgot a few others. He sits when told and stays when told.

Not sure what brought this on. It has been a picnic for the last 4 weeks. It all started yesterday with a chew toy. I took it from him cause he growled at the four year old when she walked by him while he was going to town on it. I put it in my pocket. She was standing by me and he jumped at her. Not sure if he thought she had it or what.

Having a dog sucks! My 10 year old boy is bonded big time. I knew I should have never let that dog into the house.

Here is the answer to your question:

The dog was raised by a family, not a breeder. The gentleman had the mother who had a litter of 8. He kept two from the litter and worked with them on hunting and obedience training. He decided to keep the smaller female, my dog's sister and the mother. Three dogs in the house was too much, so he said. There were NO kids in the house. Just him and his wife.

I sometimes wonder if I'm not to blame. The dog has bonded to me in a huge way and sees me as the leader. He does ALL I say and works well for me. I'm not trying to make excuses for the action. Just trying to sort it out in my mind.

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How did you react towards the dog immediatly after he went after your daughter? Was the incident in your post the first or second time he did it? Punishment should have been swift, severe and immediate. I have seen dogs where they never do it again, and I have seen dogs that can NEVER be trusted. The very second he growled at your child, you should have put him on his back, discipline him soundly,and let him know that that kind of behavior is not acceptable. Does he also do it around his food?

If you don't want to get rid of him, make him a outside kennel dog and control his access to the kids. At this point, he becomes more of a hunting "tool," than a family pet. If that is not an option, I would get a new dog. They are not all this way.

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I'm not trying to make excuses and his exit is high on the list. We are just trying to wrap our heads around it and understand more about it. He is now kenneled most of the day when we are not around.

I have spoken with a number of trainers who I work with and have contact with. They all agree this behavior is correctable. He is trying to establish his place in the pecking order.

The reaction was swift. He is a soft dog when it comes to discipline.

One other note is that he is not neutered and I have been told that this process will remove most of the aggressive behavior. I need to say, he is not aggressive like the word implies. He is not a pitbull and does not have those characteristics. He is a young dog and has NEVER done this before. He has been given free rule of the house and I can now see this was a mistake. We, like most, forget he is a DOG.

I should add that this started when he was working on a rawhide at the in-laws house. My four year took it away and gave it to a poodle. Not a good move. He did nothing then. The next day he found another at OUR home and when he growled at her, as she walked by, I took it away and had it in my pocket. He was sniff'in all over me cause I had it in my pocket. She was standing next to me when he jumped at her.

Thanks for the help. I will let you all know what happens.

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I'm far from an expert, but it seems to me the children need to be trained a bit too. Especially young ones that don't understand that dogs can be dangerous. Kids can't be stealing stuff from the dog, jumping on them, etc. Dogs react badly sometimes.

From what I've read, you've caught it early enough to correct the dog with training to hopefully prevent any future issues.

By the way, if you haven't already, there are a lot of dog training books on the market. I recently bought one for myself since I'm looking to buy myself a Golden Retriever in the near future. So far I've learned a lot that my family never knew when we "trained" our dogs in the past.

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I hate to give up on a dog - one that is so well trained. However, I might have the same reaction if it happened in my home. BUT...

Take the dog and put the dog on its back - growl show teeth. Make sure that the dog knows you are the leader. Obviously this dog thinks it is second in command. Then grabs its muzzle and get your child to growl (watch and protect). Do this everyday for a week. Also, have your child feed the dog (under your supervision - by hand - or give and take away food).

If you must get rid of the dog - find a suitable place for it to stay, but for the dogs sake continue to train it so it will not happen again in a new home.

How does the dog react to your son?

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Neutering will not gaurentee anything. I have known aggressive neutered dogs.

Dont give up on dogs because of one bad apple. There are so MANY out there that are absolutely wonderful with a family.

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"I'm not trying to make excuses and his exit is high on the list. We are just trying to wrap our heads around it and understand more about it. He is now kenneled most of the day when we are not around."

EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD DO - DON'T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS.

"I have spoken with a number of trainers who I work with and have contact with. They all agree this behavior is correctable. He is trying to establish his place in the pecking order."

SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME WITH MY BRITT PUP WHEN HE WAS THE SAME AGE. HE WAS TIRED AND NOT FEELING GOOD AFTER HUNTING/TRAINING ALL DAY. LOTS OF ACTIVITY AROUND HIM AND HE WAS TRYING TO GET SOME REST. NO EXCUSE. HE WAS DISCIPLINED APPROPRIATELY AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT.

"The reaction was swift. He is a soft dog when it comes to discipline."

PERFECT - ONE GOOD TRICK IS TO ROLL THE PUP OVER ON HIS BACK INTO A SUBMISSIVE POSITION AND LET HIM KNOW THAT SORT OF BEHAVIOUR WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, NO MATTER WHAT!

"One other note is that he is not neutered and I have been told that this process will remove most of the aggressive behavior. I need to say, he is not aggressive like the word implies. He is not a pitbull and does not have those characteristics. He is a young dog and has NEVER done this before. He has been given free rule of the house and I can now see this was a mistake. We, like most, forget he is a DOG."

DON'T BE TOO CRITICAL OF LETTING YOUR PUP HAVE FREE RANGE OF THE HOUSE. I REALLY CAN'T SEE THAT PLAYING ANY PART IN HOW YOUR PUP REACTED THE WAY HE DID THE EVENING IN QUESTION.

"I should add that this started when he was working on a rawhide at the in-laws house. My four year took it away and gave it to a poodle. Not a good move. He did nothing then. The next day he found another at OUR home and when he growled at her, as she walked by, I took it away and had it in my pocket. He was sniff'in all over me cause I had it in my pocket. She was standing next to me when he jumped at her."

NO MATTER WHAT CAUSED THIS TO HAPPENED THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THAT SORT OF BEHAVIOUR. WHEN DEALT WITH QUICKLY AND PROPERLY YOUR BRITT PUP WILL UNDERSTAND HIS PLACE REGARDING ALL HUMAN BEINGS. NOT JUST YOUR FAMILY PACK ORDER.

The American Brittany breed of dog is one of the most friendly, socialable and family oriented breed of dogs you can find. My pup turned out to be a great dog. I too almost jumped to conclusions regarding his future with my family.

I did the same thing you are doing and applied the new found knowledge regarding puppies and how they grow both mentally, physically and socially. I am glad I did as my Britt has turned out to be one heck of good friend. Not just to me, but to all that come to know him. Good luck with your pup and I'm sure all will work out just fine.

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Quote:

He is now kenneled most of the day when we are not around.

They all agree this behavior is correctable. He is trying to establish his place in the pecking order.

One other note is that he is not neutered and I have been told that this process will remove most of the aggressive behavior. I need to say, he is not aggressive like the word implies. He is not a pitbull and does not have those characteristics.

We, like most, forget he is a DOG.


Good move on kenneling him for the time being. As far as his behavior being correctable, I agree, but there will always be the trust issue and the doubt in the back of your mind as to weather or not he will do it again. As far as him not being neutered, I would do that either way if you plan on keeping him or not, that way he doesn't do what he did to someone else's 4 year old. Also, not scolding, but pit bull or not, breed doesn't matter. Like I said in an earlier post, my neighbor had a Golden Retriever that was the most aggressive dog I have ever seen. Not your typical aggressive breed, but every breed has a bad apple. A dog doesn't have to be a pit to be mean. One of the most protective dogs I have ever seen was actually a lab. aggression can be, and is, a part of every breed. And Yes, we must remember that he IS a DOG, and he was trying to determine pack order, but to me, and most everyone else, the child is #1 over the dog. Every time. The dog I live with wouldn't make it to tomorrow if she snapped at my child. just my 2 cents

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I forgot to mention that neutering you male pup is always a good thing for both him and for the breed in general. He is at a good age to have that done. Leave breeding resposibilities to the experts.

I also forgot to mention that the earlier comment about getting the young child involved with the pup is a good idea too. Also, make sure you introduce the pup to as many children and adults as possible to strengthen and build good social skills. It already appears you have your pup on his way to being obedient and civilized.

Keep an eye on the pup at all times while he is growing, maturing, developing and he will regain your family's trust. I dealt with the trust issue several weeks after this happened with my pup and youngest.

Just for the record I subscribe to the idea that "one mean dog, in this world which we live, is one mean dog too many." Specially trained military/police guard dogs being handled by professionals would be the only exception to the rule in my book.

I hope my experience and input helps - best of luck!

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Could it be he's not acting out in a pack mentality? All this 'pack' this and "pack" that. The dog could just be wanting his chew bone back... and not establishing any "pack" or pecking order. Sounds more like it was more reactionary than a dog growling for no reason or establishing dominance.

Not a lot different than one kid taking away another kids toy... usually that results in a punch thrown or a bite on the arm...

I was bit a couple times by our family beagle growning up... usually due to messing around with her food or antagonizing her. I was in that 5-6 year old range when I can remember a couple of good bites. That was almost expected back in the 60's. She never would growl or attack one of us kids except for the food deal, or if we really full on teased her. She lived to be old and so have I! grin.gif I also learned to just let her be at suppertime.

With that said, my dogs ALL learn from an early age that there is no growling or snapping or defending of food. My youngest could put his face in their food dish and I wouldn't worry about it. But this dog has learned one set of rules from the original owner and is now learning another set from a new owner (with kids). He has only had 4 weeks to assimilate to the new family and it's expectations...

Sounds like some family obedience classes are in order. In these he needs to be handled by your wife and kids. He already is listening to you. In the interim, some very vigil watch on the dog and the kids and keep on top of any indications of aggression. Take away all the dog's chew treats and toys... they are not necassary in his every day life. If you feel the need to give him a chew bone, do so in his closed crate only, or out in the garage with you only... do not give him possessions in the house. Keep all activities with him and the family in a calm state. ie: you and 1 child at a time petting him on the floor. When you are eating your dinner or any food, in his crate he goes. etc. etc.

Keep an eye on him and let us know how it goes. This doesn't sound like an overly aggressive "mean" dog. But if he begins to show any unwarranted aggression... well there can only be one outcome.

Good Luck!

Ken

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Quote:

He is not a pitbull and does not have those characteristics.


In defense of the "Pitbull", I have owned them for going on 30 years. My sons (26 and 25 in age) who no longer live with me grew up around these animals and they had many friends over and there was never an incident, not even a snarl which in it self is amazing as it seems all little boys love to tease dogs.

I could go on and on but this is about your dog and not breeds of dogs.

An old trick they used to do at the humane society to test a dogs temperment was to take a stick with a maniquins hand attached and place it near the animal when it was feeding.

If the dog snapped, snareled or growled it was in need of socializing and obedient trainning.

All dogs need to get out and socialize and I would recomend an off leash park. My wife or I take our dog almost everyday. The dogs love it and so will you.

I feel you have gotten some great advice and tips from the posters here. You had enough courage to come on and ask for help, now take your new found knowledge and put it into practise. Someday you will be sharing it with others.

Good Luck...

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Our pup was pretty mouthy, but we dont have kids. I dont think your pup has a problem at that age, he's just doing what puppies do. My advice - get off the floor and dont get down to his level Pups that age still have those sharp teeth and getting nipped is no fun. Evaluate the way you approach your puppy and ensure that you are being dominant, even during play. Puppies are cute but they can be monsters. There are some great obedience training classes - total recall in Hugo - get the wife and daughter involved in puppy kindergarten classes. Trainers can help explain behaviors and teach people how to assert their places in the pack.

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My 3 year old Brittany bit a 15 year old kid last winter.

The kid was part of a group of black dressed Goth kids from

the section 8 housing project down the block. He was in my driveway so I didn't see what exactly happened, but a police report was made and I was very concerned about my insurance and the future of my two dogs. After two car break ins and a set of golf clubs stolen out of the garage,

I would have bit the kid myself that night. But society

doesn't take my view. So I have one strike against me in the eyes of the law, justified or not. Nipping at the face of my child, now that is another matter. Sorry for your problem. Time heals all wounds.

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MN...I also have a young brittany that started out pretty nippy. Whenever we were on the floor with him he would think it was ok to bite. The first thing I would do is make sure I am always higher than he is such as sitting on a couch and not allowing him up there. This will show him that he is not as high as you. The second thing is dont feel bad about spanking hard. A love tap spank in my opinion is not going to teach a dog. Make sure you are getting your point through to him with a swift hard smack to the butt otherwise hes gonna think it might be a game.

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