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Old 07-18-2012, 10:05 AM
Location: Upstate, SC
19 posts, read 45,848 times
Reputation: 32


Now what? My 3 year old Male White German Shepherd, Shep, ran out and bite my lawn man on his way to the truck this morning (to go for GS day camp and training). Usually in control, he noticed a person on our property about 50 feet away and charged him. The lawn guy, Tom, is terrified of dogs and tried to hide behind the tree for shelter. Shep was ignoring his command to come back or heal, and was focused on Tom. Even though the interaction was brief, Shep bit tom in the leg. The bite is not deep, and the clothing was not ripped. He did break the skin and bled a wee bit. Shep quickly came back to us after the interaction. I was almost inclined to believe that Shep just wanted to see what Tom was doing, without the intention to bite. But Tom was trying to avoid Shep by hiding behind the tree and Shep's nudge, turned into a bite.

This is the first time that we have had our dog bite. Because our shepherd is so protective, I was afraid and aware this could happen. They go for regular day camp and training, but Shep has always been the more aggressive dog. He is also the more skittish dog to new sounds and people he senses are not 'dog people'.

I was just as startled as Tom over the matter, and this has completely ruined our day. Tom left to go home and clean out the wound and take a picture, but returned after 20 minutes. There are no stitches warranted, and he didn't want to go to the hospital.

I also called my Lawyer to see if this is a litigation issue, possibly brewing in our litigious world, and awaiting to hear back.

Has this happened to any of you? How would you rectify this? Our dog is smart, and has been a jewel to us. But I realized the issue and am a realist. What would you do if in the same situation.

We have had a very good relationship with our lawn man for over 2 years, and seem to be on more friendly or personal terms, but you never know what motivates others.

Our dogs go to a day camp that specializes in German Shepherds, but I have escalated this and have scheduled Shep to have an evaluation with the K-9 director. Any other insight or ideas are welcomed. All their shots and records are current.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Elio73; 07-18-2012 at 11:24 AM..

Old 07-18-2012, 10:46 AM
1,286 posts, read 2,970,240 times
Reputation: 2277
Sounds like you are doing the right thing by stepping up the training. Have no other advice other than to keep the dog secured any time there's a chance someone may be entering your yard.
Old 07-18-2012, 10:49 AM
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,223,996 times
Reputation: 9611
With continued training you may have better control, but the simple answer is leash your dog on the way to your truck. He was defending his territory. Next time, it could be someone not so understanding, or the bite may require a trip to the hospital and they will report it. For the safety of all concerned, leash your dog.
Old 07-18-2012, 12:01 PM
Location: Durm
5,875 posts, read 8,836,161 times
Reputation: 6617
Oh how scary. It's great that you want to get that evaluation with the director.

Like the others said - absolutely leash him on your property - you've just learned that no recall is 100%. It's especially critical to keep him leashed now that he's bitten someone, should the lawn guy report it to animal control.

I knew someone whose dog nipped a child - I don't remember the circumstances at all - but the family reported it and she had to quarantine her dog for quite some time. She was able to do this at a kennel rather than the shelter but it wasn't fun. The child was ok, fortunately.
Old 07-18-2012, 12:33 PM
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,712 posts, read 10,171,009 times
Reputation: 8548
None of my dogs has ever bitten anyone but My brother and his wife had a large Shar pei, Buster. When they were having the roof replaced on the house and my sister in law was home alone she was out in the yard with Buster at her side and one of the roofers came over and reached either to give her something or take something from her and Buster lunged up and bit him. He offered to take the guy to a doctor but he refused...we think he was here working illegally . The bite never got reported and Buster was doing his job guarding his family.
Old 07-18-2012, 12:36 PM
18,852 posts, read 31,694,472 times
Reputation: 26111
One, he needs to go to the hospital, he should have a shot of anti-biotics to prevent infection, or at least go to his doctor. Two, your dog should have been secured, ANYTIME, anyone is around, unless you are right there, your dog needs to be on tie down. Three, step up the training.

You are lucky this was not a kid, with an attorney for a Father...your dog would be sitting at the shelter now...on death row.

Last edited by jasper12; 07-18-2012 at 12:37 PM.. Reason: edit
Old 07-18-2012, 01:12 PM
Location: Upstate, SC
19 posts, read 45,848 times
Reputation: 32
Thanks everyone.

After taking my Vitamin V (Valium), and wrapping my head around this crazy incident, I realize that Shep must be on a leash at all times. We have a 2 acre lawn, and I thought that was adequate space for him to run and roam. I wouldn't ever leave him alone without supervision.

The more I think about this situation, the more I wondered if Shep thought Tom was playing, since he tried to hide behind a tree. Like I said earlier, the interaction was brief. My trainer asked if he jumped or lunged at Tom, but he didn't. If Tom wasn't afraid of dogs, I think the whole situation would have been different. I think dogs, especially GSD's sense fear and other things we may not.

If any of you have dogs or GSD's, how do you get them to recall. I think GSD's are different then any other breed we have ever had. Yes they are smart, but their protection instinct even scares me at times.

I realize you cant go by 'would of, should of, could of' and this is what it is. I appreciate any continued insight, opinion and prevention.
Old 07-18-2012, 03:46 PM
4,919 posts, read 19,844,589 times
Reputation: 6215
Grab your homeowners insurance policy and read the clause about dog bites. here's why, that clause may require that you report all bites from your dog while on your property to the insurance ciompany when it happens so they can start to protect you from a claim and to protect their money from ahving to be paid out in the event a claim is filed. Usually if you fail to do this and the clause is upheld, they can deny any claim and you personally become responsible which could mean Tom gets your house and cars. There have been news reports of people failing to notify their insurance company and having the insurance company decline to interveen in helping with any legal actions because you breeched the contract.
Old 07-18-2012, 06:28 PM
Location: West Virginia
12,432 posts, read 31,476,724 times
Reputation: 8135
Quite blaming Tom! In both post you blame him for being afraid of dogs! I myself can see why hes afraid! You should ALWAYS have Control! You know your dog was a bitter ALL the more reason You should keep him on leash & Muzzled!
Old 07-18-2012, 06:57 PM
Location: Pa
20,310 posts, read 19,453,761 times
Reputation: 6523
Originally Posted by Katie1 View Post
Quite blaming Tom! In both post you blame him for being afraid of dogs! I myself can see why hes afraid! You should ALWAYS have Control! You know your dog was a bitter ALL the more reason You should keep him on leash & Muzzled!
Well said. Well trained and disiplined dogs are under control and obey commands. The owner should know their animal intimately. My dogs will drop to the seated even if they are in a full run. That is control, that is disipline.
To blame the victim because your dog bit them is weak. "shep thought he was playing." NO Shep was out of control and bit a man who didn't want to play with Shep.
Leash the animal at all times. It can not be trusted at this point.
I don't know your trainer or who does the teaching. Either he missed something or the dog owner did.
I can't imagine one of my dogs ever ignoring an order.
Shep might need a shock collar.
The thing Shep does not need is someone making excuses for his very bad behavior.
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