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Old 11-06-2012, 11:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Aggression towards my child

We have a full blooded GSD that is about 5 years old. We bought her from a breeder and 9 months later had our first child. She is a very high strung dog but gets plenty of exercise. 99% of the time she is great, listens and responds to commands excellent. There have been 5 or 6 ( in the past 5 years)times where she randomly snaps at my child's hand. She has never broke skin but it leaves a mark and scares the daylights out of my son. About 15 minutes ago she did it again and this is the worst of all. The teeth didn't draw blood but it broke skin and left 2 dark blue bruises dimples on my boys hand and forearm. He does not tease her or anything of the such to provoke this. He pets her gently and thats it. I make sure of it.

I'm now really torn up because I feel like its not safe to keep her anymore. I love this dog and don't want to get rid of her but I don't want to jeapordize my child safety either.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's not a cause to give her up unless you're not able to teach and supervise what's happening.

Family Paws-New parent classes dog and baby Here's great info - please spend the day reading through this site.

For whatever reason, your dog is feeling threatened by your child and you need to intervene.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What exactly is your child doing when she bites his hand? Only petting her? Is he petting her in a particular area when she reacts like that?

What do you do to correct her for this?
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What is happening when these bites occur? For example, is the child just petting the dog when she suddenly snaps? Is he running past her? Is he near her food, crate, or toy? How old is your son?

Personally, I don't like to take risks with dogs and children. I don't have any children, but if I did, the dog would be gone after the first bite. Depending on the situation and the severity of the bite, of course.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm sorry this is happening - without seeing what is going on in person there is no way anyone can say what is the trigger for the snapping, and whether your dog can be reliable around your son or not.

For now I would keep your boy and dog separated, and see if you can find a behaviorist for a consult who may be able to help you out. The way I see it, either the dog does not know his place in the family and is trying to correct your son for what he feels is inappropriate behaviour for an underling, or he is simply unpredictable and a liability.

A behaviorist will be able to observe the family dynamics and determine which issues are at play here.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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My son is 3, almost 4. Whenever they are in the same room together I make sure there are no dog toys or anything around. Her bowl is always put up until I feed her. My boy is usually sitting with her on the floor. She has done it when he pets her head and other times he pets her head with no issues. Just before today innicident, he was petting her head and the Baylee (GSD) started licking his hand and face in what looked like affection, and less than a minute later she snaps at him. Im starting to think she is unstable just from watching her and her reaction to things all these years.

He isn't doing anything to provoke her which is why I'm at a loss. I agree that she feels threatened but I can't figure out why. She acted like this towards me as a puppy when I was training her but hasn't since. That was 4-5 years ago.

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Old 11-06-2012, 02:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I had a male that was badly bred years ago. We'd already started working with a behaviorist (who gave him little hope) and were doing intensive training with him. One night, my then 7 year old daughter came into the room with her hair wet from her bath. He charged her, snarling, etc. Needless to say, the dog wasn't living with us after that.

If you haven't gone through behavioral training, etc. then I'd suggest that. However, you've got to weigh your child's safety against the time that will take. I'd keep your dog completely separated from your child until you can at least get an evaluation of the dog done. This isn't a new problem from the sounds of it. It won't be a quick fix. It probably will only be 'manageable' and not fixable. I hate it when people find themselves in these situations. It's poor breeding, and the people who really pay are the families who have bought these pups.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
I'm sorry this is happening - without seeing what is going on in person there is no way anyone can say what is the trigger for the snapping, and whether your dog can be reliable around your son or not.

For now I would keep your boy and dog separated, and see if you can find a behaviorist for a consult who may be able to help you out. The way I see it, either the dog does not know his place in the family and is trying to correct your son for what he feels is inappropriate behaviour for an underling, or he is simply unpredictable and a liability.

A behaviorist will be able to observe the family dynamics and determine which issues are at play here.
I AGREE with this 100000000000% please consult with a professional ...
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
I'm sorry this is happening - without seeing what is going on in person there is no way anyone can say what is the trigger for the snapping, and whether your dog can be reliable around your son or not.

For now I would keep your boy and dog separated, and see if you can find a behaviorist for a consult who may be able to help you out. The way I see it, either the dog does not know his place in the family and is trying to correct your son for what he feels is inappropriate behaviour for an underling, or he is simply unpredictable and a liability.

A behaviorist will be able to observe the family dynamics and determine which issues are at play here.
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If I'm getting the picture here, your 3 yr old is sitting on the floor with the dog, petting him, SHE is licking his FACE? and then snap, she nails his hand?

I also am sorry your going thru this, and I obviously can't give you an answer of why she's doing what she's doing, but could she just be a "mouthy" dog , doesn't mean harm, but doing it for attention? Probably doesn't realize her own strength?

I know my girl who's 4 yrs old, is a notorious nose nipper get her a little riled up and stick your face in her face, and you may get nipped, not a "I am PO'd nip" but a nip to say, "PAY attention to me, ha ha I nipped your nose"..Make sense? LOL

I agree with finding a behaviorist who can observe and read what's going on, prompting her behavior. I also agree I would keep dog/son away from interacting with each other until you figure out just what's going on
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