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Old 09-14-2014, 05:16 PM
 
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Rehome the dog. Try to contact local rescues or see if there's a GSD rescue in the area. There's no point having to live life on pins and needles hoping an attack doesn't happen again, and it's impossible to monitor dog and baby for the rest of their lives. Some dogs just don't like kids, there's not much you can do.
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:27 PM
 
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OP....Ive thought all day about how heartsick you must be feeling. I think you have a chance to do the right thing for your baby, and your dog. And, thanks goodness you still have that chance. This is a horrific situation, and it will not be easy, no part of it will be. But, if you call upon those folks that you know can help you find the right GSD rescue organization, you can have the best outcome possible. Thank goodness you were sitting right there. Take comfort in that, it will be ok.
You have my sympathy.
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Northeastern U.S.
1,465 posts, read 887,690 times
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Originally Posted by lisette884 View Post
Ok, I have a very heavy heart tonight. My 3 year old GSD attacked my baby and I don't know what to do. My thought is to make her wear a muzzle permanently when the baby is around and work with a vet behaviorist to try to resolve this issue, but I don't know if I can risk it. I don't know if the responsible thing requires rehoming to a no-child home. I'm sure many people would even say I should put her down. Here are facts:

1. Dog has no bite history with people. But we had to do a lot of work on leash reactivity and resource guarding when I got her. She was intensely possessive of her food bowl and toys. Never bit me, or even snapped. But lots of low, tense body language and growling. She's also gotten in a few (less than five) fights with dogs. Only once ever broken another dog's skin and it was a very superficial one-tooth puncture on an ear. However, she requires lots of management. I can tell seconds before she's about to get into a fight because she gets an odd c-type body posture, with her head lowered and sort of looks at the dog (now baby) sideways. Fights are very likely to be triggered by a resource. She's no longer leash reactive, but is not a safe off leash dog. She's no longer remotely possessive of anything when it comes to me or other adults, but is intensely possessive of them in relation to other dogs (so toys are just not ever out around them).

2. When the baby first came, I was vigilant about watching interactions. She hasn't been uncomfortable. She's approached the baby on her own with loose body posture. I'm of course always within arm's reach when they can touch each other, but there have been a couple instances of pets that were too grabby or harsh, and she's always reacted appropriately, licking his hands away, being patient, moving from the situation. We've done a lot of cc/ds games when it comes to her resource guarding to prevent it from being a problem. For example, me holding the baby while she's near a toy, treat, my touching the toy, treat, picking it up, treat, giving it to the baby, treat (and back to her immediately after each one. These were the strategies that worked well with her resource guarding towards me. And they seemed to be working well between her and the baby too. I've only once previously noticed any tense body language when the baby reached for a toy of hers. Her head went down a little, and ears back. But that was months ago, and nothing since.

3. This evening I was eating ice cream, and the baby playing at my feet. I saw the dog walk by, look at my ice cream, the baby started moving toward her, and she went all c-body. I was right there and so grabbed her immediately, but she still went for his head. I'd estimate her teeth made contact two or three times before I pulled her off. Again, no blood, no punctures, just a scared baby, and now a terrified dog. I'll admit I hit the crap out of her, and pulled her by her scruff into the other room. Now it's three hours later and the dog's trembling and won't come near me. I've never hit my dog before. I don't feel particularly guilty about it. I wasn't even really thinking. That said, I know that that sort of violence has only a slim chance of being effective and may even worsen the relationship between her and the baby.

I don't know what to do. Obviously I love my baby. I love my dog too. I love working with her. I'm not terrible with her- she's well trained with titles in obedience and scent work. So I'd categorize myself as an above-average handler. If there's a protocol I can follow that would make her safe to have around my baby, I am willing and capable of following it. But I don't know, even if I get the very best help, whether I can condone any risk at this point.

As far as a gameplan how are these thoughts:

1) Remove all her toys from the room (they're currently lose and available for her to play with whenver. Only have toys out when we are actively working at a session.

2) Stop giving her any tastes of food when I'm eating, and to be extra safe, crate her during mealtimes.

3) When the baby is awake and in the apartment, she needs to be muzzled. No exceptions.

4) Work with a very good trainer specifically on both 1) building the relationship between dog and baby so that dog loves baby 2) working on resource guarding, both in general, and in particular related to the baby.

Thoughts?
I'm a little confused. The heading says that the dog bit the baby; but you specifically say: no blood, no punctures. Did the dog's teeth break the baby's skin or did the dog deliver several warning snaps? If the dog did break the baby's skin, would you call the injury a Bite or a Nip (the latter is a term I'd apply to a very light puncture, that could either look like a bruise or a small shaving cut, not needing stitches).

It seems to me like the dog was warning the baby to back off; if the dog was truly aggressive or vicious, there would have been blood. But I can certainly understand why you would be concerned, and worried about possible future danger to your baby.

I was raised with a dog; who, when I grew past toddler-hood, did occasionally snap at me, never breaking the skin, for trying to touch or pet him. I stopped trying to touch him; the dog never injured me and lived to a reasonable old age (and he did let me pet him in his senior years; possibly because I was older and more careful/less pushy). He didn't have a problem with my walking past his food bowl, though. He wasn't a German Shepherd, though.

Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:27 PM
 
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I'm going to say that all the firsthand anecdotal stories I have about GSDs and my personal experience with iffy dogs tells me that you should rehome your dog. I'm not a great dog trainer - I've always been intimidated in the extreme by things like obedience and agility.

But I've been lucky - I've had almost exclusively bomb-proof dogs throughout my life. Even my "vicious" border collie (now deceased) who had bitten MANY people before coming to live with me was a dog I could trust in almost any situation once he understood that I was in charge. But in order for him to stop biting, he needed a complete change of environment, which I was able to provide and his previous owner was not able to provide. When he came to live with me, he was no longer unsupervised in a large enclosure. He was no longer the alpha of his own pack. He was never put in what for him amounted to a challenging situation. I was in charge, and he was perfectly happy with that - being in charge stressed him out, and that was when he would bite.

I'm going to say that your dog needs a change of environment. She needs a place with no small children.

And just my opinion, but I think GSDs are dogs that like order and structure. Children are not really orderly or structured. When a GSD has not been socialized with small children from an early age, I think the odds of them ever taking to kids are iffy.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:39 AM
 
10,604 posts, read 14,135,279 times
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Originally Posted by JrzDefector View Post
I'm going to say that all the firsthand anecdotal stories I have about GSDs and my personal experience with iffy dogs tells me that you should rehome your dog. I'm not a great dog trainer - I've always been intimidated in the extreme by things like obedience and agility.

But I've been lucky - I've had almost exclusively bomb-proof dogs throughout my life. Even my "vicious" border collie (now deceased) who had bitten MANY people before coming to live with me was a dog I could trust in almost any situation once he understood that I was in charge. But in order for him to stop biting, he needed a complete change of environment, which I was able to provide and his previous owner was not able to provide. When he came to live with me, he was no longer unsupervised in a large enclosure. He was no longer the alpha of his own pack. He was never put in what for him amounted to a challenging situation. I was in charge, and he was perfectly happy with that - being in charge stressed him out, and that was when he would bite.

I'm going to say that your dog needs a change of environment. She needs a place with no small children.

And just my opinion, but I think GSDs are dogs that like order and structure. Children are not really orderly or structured. When a GSD has not been socialized with small children from an early age, I think the odds of them ever taking to kids are iffy.
This is a very insightful post and I really enjoyed reading it.

Truer words were never spoken. A calm well balanced leader-ish dog will never bite or in the very least never bite inappropriately.

If you ever watched Cesar Millan, his old dog Daddy controlled the entire pack of 40 dogs in the yard; by simply "being". It only took a slight glance or body language if THAT. And by control I don't mean bullying but PREVENTING other dogs from acting inappropriately and giving them a "leader" if they needed it. And of course the HUMAN was the actual ultimate leader. But even Cesar often used Daddy going to other people's homes to give insight into other dogs he took on as clients because Daddy was an expert in reading those dogs and helping THEM relax or whatever the issue was. So Cesar would watch Daddy to confirm his suspicions or give a clue about this new dog. In fact he uses lots of other dogs on consultations.

It is stress on a dog to be put into a leadership role that is not natural to them.

You weren't lucky you were good with understanding dogs.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 09-21-2014 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:21 PM
 
13,675 posts, read 13,496,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
This is a very insightful post and I really enjoyed reading it.

Truer words were never spoken. A calm well balanced leader-ish dog will never bite or in the very least never bite inappropriately.

If you ever watched Cesar Millan, his old dog Daddy controlled the entire pack of 40 dogs in the yard; by simply "being". It only took a slight glance or body language if THAT. And by control I don't mean bullying but PREVENTING other dogs from acting inappropriately and giving them a "leader" if they needed it. And of course the HUMAN was the actual ultimate leader. But even Cesar often used Daddy going to other people's homes to give insight into other dogs he took on as clients because Daddy was an expert in reading those dogs and helping THEM relax or whatever the issue was. So Cesar would watch Daddy to confirm his suspicions or give a clue about this new dog. In fact he uses lots of other dogs on consultations.

It is stress on a dog to be put into a leadership role that is not natural to them.

You weren't lucky you were good with understanding dogs.
I may have mischaracterized my old guy. He was a natural alpha - very good at maintaining pack order among the dogs. But when an "unauthorized" human - one he did not accept as a leader - entered his pen, he would get stressed and uncertain and bite if his human was not around to give him clues. With me, I had one other dog who was very submissive - they got along just fine.

It was basically the same problem Jon Katz had with Orson, but my dog bit far more people far more severely (I'm thankful he was never reported). I often wonder how easily other "vicious" dog problems could be solved. Certainly, Orson didn't need to be put down. But I've posted that rant elsewhere on these boards...

But thanks
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