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Old 08-30-2010, 01:12 AM
anastacia129 anastacia129 is offline
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Default Dog biting family

I am so glad I found this forum. I am in need of some good advice.

I adopted a stray pup in June. We believe she is a beagle mix, but I am not certain. I have 2 children, 3&11. The dog (clementine) started exibiting crazy behavior right off the bat.

-biting at our hands
-sudden barking fits with growling, lunging and snapping.
-chasing down the kids and biting them on the back, side and bum.

In the beginnig I did some reading on the internet and I believed she had fear aggression. I tried to get the kids on board with being more gentle around her, not doing any sudden movements and basically my family was walking on eggshells. I took some tips from Ceasar about how to be "alpha" and believe she does get that I am in charge. She is crate trained and housebroken. She has made great progress as far as her sudden outbursts go. My 3 yr old can now jump on the bed with her on it and she does not react. When she does go into a fit, I just do not react and try to let her anxiety come down naturally.

11 days ago we had an incident. I was trying to get a towel away from her and she was pulling. My 3 yr old was quick to grab and try to help me, and when the dog went to "regrip" the towel ended up biting his finger. It was accidental, I don't believe she bit him on purpose. it was small, but deep, and fearing he needed stitches, took him to urgent care. They reported it, and they took the dog for 10 days.

I knew this was going to be a huge set-back. I also have had many moments where I know this dog is not right for us. I am a single mom and I have no resources ($$$$) to hire a trained professional to help me. I am an animal lover, I don't want to give up on her, but things are different now that she is bigger. My son is terrified of her.

She has alot of aggression toward my 11 yr old daughter. She is biting us all on the hands at least once a day, however not breaking the skin. Her barking fits seem to happen for no reason. The worst is when I enter my daughter's room. The dog will come in and start barking at me, lunging, biting, showing teeth (tail is up)...the constant barking and biting has me at my wit's end.

The only thing that keeps me from dropping her at a rescue is the fact that she can be such a loving dog, and has made some good progress. She is good with the cats, and for the most part, even tempered 85% of the time. It's these sudden, horrific outbursts.

Please help me make the right decision.

Last edited by anastacia129; 08-30-2010 at 01:37 AM. Reason: added pic
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:38 AM
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Kat09Tails Kat09Tails is offline
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No child should have to fear the family dog. You need to either separate your kids from this dog AT ALL TIMES or get rid of the dog. Reality is sometimes separating a dog from a family member isn't reasonable or what you signed up for when you took this dog in and there is no shame in that.

Also, please understand the reality of things. Your dog is a confirmed aggressor at people and has bitten a child. No rescue will adopt this dog out for liability reasons. I personally would seek a sanctuary or euthanize.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:46 AM
anastacia129 anastacia129 is offline
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I know, the only reason I bailed her out of doggy jail is b/c I knew they would put her down if I didn't. This is definatley not what I expected. I already keep her in the crate if I am not able to supervise her for even a second with the kids. I even keep her on a leash in the home at times. I just don't want to feel like I am giving up, and need to feel supported in my decision.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:56 AM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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How old is she? She does not look predominantly Beagle.

Are the barking/nipping outbursts playful or truly aggressive? Biting hands and such can just be a really rude puppy who hasn't been taught bite inhibition. What does she do if you yelp loudly when she nips? What does she do if you make growly noises? And/or turn your back to her and ignore her? Some puppies need SUPER clear boundaries with mouthing or they will get "aggressive" about it. Don't reward her with positive OR negative reinforcement (which includes pushing her away, which she probably sees as you playing with her). If she's super worked up, take her away (by leashing her) and give her a time-out for a minute. Get a toy and teach her appropriate play behaviors, use treats to teach her to release and be polite. Use soft treats in your closed hand to teach her to be gentle, and that the only way she gets the treat is if she leaves your hand alone. Make sure you take her on long walks, work on obedience commands using only praise and rewards (no harsh corrections, no physical force... that just creates a pushy and fearful dog), and let her run and exercise every day to get out pent up energy. It also sounds like she would benefit greatly from socializing with other dogs, as they teach each other good bite inhibition. I would crate train her and keep her in there to sleep and when you can't closely supervise her with your kids.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:28 AM
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I rescued to rottweilers from a terrible situation many years ago when my daughter was very young. One of the rotties bit Tj as we were picking them up the day we got them. They were very timid and aggressive and I feared we had made a terrible mistake, but I couldn't bare the thought of leaving them in the situation they were in.

Long story short.... I had to keep the dogs away from my child for nearly a year because I didn't trust them and was fearful they'd bite her. It was hard because she always wanted to play with them and I just couldn't take the chance. We slowly integrated her with them with supervision of course during that year.

We did not have money to hire a trainer and did not have all day long to work with them because we both worked full time jobs. We kennel trained them and loved them and praised their good behavior and rewarded them often. It was a long process, but in the end.... it was the best decision we could have made. They turned out to be the best dogs I have ever had. They became very trustworthy loyal pets for our family and I am so glad I gave them a chance.

I'm not saying that is what you need to do, only you know what is right for your family. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide.
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:40 AM
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Are you sure it's actually aggression and not rough play? Our puppy has bit me hard enough to bleed on the back of my leg, my ankle, my arm, and my knee. On my dad he'd done his hand. On mom a finger. On my brother it was his nipple, arm, and foot. All of this was in play, he is a spazzy puppy who doesn't see that he can't play with us like he would with another dog...and dogs have much tougher skin. Over the last two weeks we have worked on teaching bite inhibition and he's WAY better. When he does try to play with his mouth he is clearly mouthing, not biting, there is no bleeding. Occasionally outside his crazy will come back and he'll jump up and try to grab hands and clothes (that's how he bit my dad's hand, since he's on leash he can't run around and have zoomies so he starts going after us) but it's still better. Every time he tries biting we remove our hands, if he goes after something else we walk away (luckily we can walk away from him when he's on the couch and he can't jump off to get us but you could say, have a gate and step over it leaving him behind). We wait 10 seconds or so and come back, he'll usually tries three more times or so and then decides it's no fun.


I don't know if this is what your dog is doing or if he's truly being aggressive. I'd need to see it and even then I'm no professional. The biting hands and chasing kids sounds playful, not sure about the barking and lunging, that could go either way.

It does not sound like he should be put down or anything like that, but he may not be great for your family with young kids. oh and don't listen to anything Caesar says, he's not a nice trainer and doesn't have a very good understanding of dogs (from what I've seen).
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:12 AM
mjb mjb is offline
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Yes, we had such a hard time with Spanky as a puppy. I wasn't sure if he was playing or aggressive, but I know all the kids, ours and the neighborhood kids, were afraid to be around him.

I had a behaviorist come in who put me at ease right away when he assured me that it was play. It was still not pleasant, though, but it was nice to hear a professional say that he was one of the least aggressive puppies he had been around....just a spitfire when his spazzy playtime kicked in.

I have no advice for you, because I would be cautious if it is aggression. I just know that I had a hard time telling the difference.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:31 PM
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you need to find in-person help, not a message board on the internet. somebody needs to come in and see your dog in action before they can advise you on what's going on. this sounds very much to me like it could be rough, rude play. but it could also be something more dangerous.

i really encourage you, before you make any serious decisions, to have someone evaluate her.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:54 PM
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I agree with Elegy that it would helpful to have your pup evaluated.

I will say that I thought my puppy was an evil little you-know-what when he was a couple of months old. It really seemed like my efforts to get him to stop just ramped up the little shark even more! I seriously told everyone I knew never to get a puppy if they had little kids. (He ended up with amazing bite inhibition.)

This is a great resource: Teaching Bite Inhibition | Dog Star Daily
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:10 PM
anastacia129 anastacia129 is offline
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Thanks for all of the advice. She is about 4 1/2 months old now. When she is growling and lunging, she has a fixed stare and when I growl or snapp back at her, it makes her even more crazy. It's weird b/c nearly all of this activity happens when I enter my daughter's room, which ironically, is where she has all of her "accidents". She is also far more aggressive toward my daughter if she is not the one holding the leash. Is it possible this is some kind of territorial thing? Is she fighting my daughter for rank? i don't really know alot about dogs. My dad was a Brittany breeder for years and I have never seen this type of issue with them. My dad tells me to use the "grab the snout and slap your hand technique" but that makes her even more peeved. I will try to get a good video of her tonite and post it here if anyone would like to take a look at it. I live about an hour outside of a major city so I guess I will start looking for someone who could come out and give a reccomendation.
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