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Old 12-05-2013, 11:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Dog Bites within family

So I have had my GSD since he was 5wks old, he is currently 2 1/2 yrs old.
There has been a change in the household, I have asix month old baby (youngest of 3) and my husband and I have filed for divorce. With that being said, my GSD has been acting out lately. He was typically an outside dog and would come in every once in awhile when my husband was home. Since he moved I have been keeping him inside and he was doing great for the first couple months.

However for about a month he has destroyed everything in site. He has not been neutered.

Last night he was eating a snack in the kitchen and my 6 yr. old jumped in his face. He snapped at her and caught her lip. I took her to the hospital and she is ok.

I know she instigated the attack and it was her fault. I have had the respect his space conversation several times. Well she finally gets it. He has never done anything like this when he was eating before I have trained him that if a child walks up and sticks their hand in his bowl he stops eating and backs up. I routinely test him with this as well. Like I said I have 4 children all under 6yrs old and to have a GSD he needs to know they will frequently invade his space. Like I said he has NEVER acted out like this before.

However I am torn between keeping him and re-homing him. Yes he needs more exercise. I know. Any thoughts?
He is really protective of our family and to rehome him is a big risk because of new people. Unless he is sent to my moms, who he loves.
I'm new here please be gentle.
Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It just sounds like you need more management with the dog. He had a yard before and space and that helped make up the lack of time spent draining his energy actively on the part of his owners.

Now that he doesn't have that outside space that energy still needs some place to go. Sounds like it has been going into destroying your stuff. If I were you I'd get a crate. Feed him in the crate so that your kids can't screw with him while he is eating or chewing on a chew toy, keep him in the crate unless you are watching him directly. Make sure you are making an effort to supply him with routine and high intensity exercise if you can't invest time in less intensive exercise (and it sounds like you can't your hands are already pretty full.)

I'm glad you didn't over react and put the dog down or something like that.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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dont really have anything else to add to the good advice above but single mom with 4 kids under 6 yrs old AND a german shepherd???! you might have a harder job then the president of the united states! thats some serious work.
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baillif View Post
It just sounds like you need more management with the dog. He had a yard before and space and that helped make up the lack of time spent draining his energy actively on the part of his owners.

Now that he doesn't have that outside space that energy still needs some place to go. Sounds like it has been going into destroying your stuff. If I were you I'd get a crate. Feed him in the crate so that your kids can't screw with him while he is eating or chewing on a chew toy, keep him in the crate unless you are watching him directly. Make sure you are making an effort to supply him with routine and high intensity exercise if you can't invest time in less intensive exercise (and it sounds like you can't your hands are already pretty full.)

I'm glad you didn't over react and put the dog down or something like that.
I agree with Baillif on all points, I have three children as well and when our dogs are eating or snacking the dogs are put away so they can't mess with them.

I always handle their food while they are eating but I still don't want my kids near them.

I really would look into him going to your mom's because this might just be more then you can handle at this point, as a mother of three young kids I myself know how overwhelming and stressful it is to be able to manage it all. I also understand that finding at least an hour to excercise the dog is very hard when you have young children. So perhaps you'd be better off in the long run..

Hope all works out for you

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Old 12-05-2013, 02:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with the crate when you are not watching him .

A big however here - fixing the problem by never letting them together when he is eating is a recipe for disaster. Kids are always walking around with food , dropping food and toys..and considering 6 is your oldest it will e a long while before they can be trusted to always do the right thing around a dog .

My kids are 7 , 5 , and 2. I teach them as well all the good dog interaction rules..but they are kids. My 7 year old also knows the rules of crossing the street but I don;t trust her to go it alone and always get it right just yet due to her age. Know what I mean?

If your dog did this , there is a chance he will do it again , and it could be a lot worse next time. The fact that he is transitioning from being an outside dog to an inside dog IMO means the same as bringing a new dog into the house. Back to Training 101 , always crated when unsupervised for months until freedom is earned.

I have my kids feed my 3 large dogs. I teach them ( supervised ) the exchange method ( give a higher value item when asking for a food item or toy back ) when the dog is eating or playing with a toy . Because even if I vow to feed my dog in his crate , there will be a day when a toddler or young child has a cookie or toy ..so I chose to supervise and also do heavy training as my insurance policy. 7 years no issues for us.

In other words , if the dog can't e trusted around kids and food or toys , it is not safe or fair to you to expect you to always be " on" .

In summary I would say you either need the help and a program from a good trainer , or give the dog to your mom. My 1st choice would be trainer since I am assuming your mom will have your kids or other grandkids around from time to time as well.

So sorry you are going through all this , I know the last thing you probably needed was to have conflict with your family dog :/ Keep us posted and good luck.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah you have to sorta make the decision about whether or not to rehome based on whether or not you are able to meet the dogs needs or not realistically. Glad nobodys made a huge deal about the bite yet though.

Growing up I got bit just how it goes. I grew up with a little mini poodle type dog that was older than I was. It was a great dog, not aggressive in the least not pushy, but I remember one time I was running in the back yard and he caught sight of me and decided to run me down and bit to do it. Just got the clothes but freaked me out at that age. He never did it again.

Had a beagle when I was a bit older and she climbed up behind me on the back of the couch when I was eating a sandwich and I didnt realize she was there. She made a flying grab for it and caught part of my lip with it. Bled sure, but was fine.

And as for the Malinois or Shepherds. I don't think its possible to raise one from a young age without bleeding, unless you take some pretty drastic steps. You just have to manage and teach them. It is pretty much a given if you live with dogs at some point you are getting bit. You can live in fear of it or you can embrace it like this guy.

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Old 12-05-2013, 02:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I want to agree with people here. Raising 3 kids, all young is a full time job, maybe even a job and a half. So first I want to commend you for even taking it on with a dog. I raised just 2 and wanted to pull my hair out half the time..lol. Try the things suggested and keep a really close eye on him and the interaction with the kids. if things dont look good and
your mom can take your dog and loves him that may be the best thing for him and you right now. It may give you some extra time for yourself (about 5 mins ). When your stressed the kids and the dog gets stressed. I know bites can be accidental, but even accidental bites to the face are not good. Sometimes we have to make hard choices even though it sucks.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Four children under 6 yrs, and a divorce. Who has time for a dog, let alone a GSD?
I think you should rehome your dog. I would not want to be in your household and would probably act out too. Sorry for your situation, but I think simplifying your life will help you focus on your children and uncertain future.
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Old 12-05-2013, 02:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This can be done but wow its alot of work and commitment and you must get some help. Dog walker and or friends that could help to exercise dog or watch kids so you can have some quality time with your dog. This could be win/win for both you and the dog. Some time away from kids getting fresh air and exercise for the both of you.

If no help is possible you have a tough decision to make.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Four children under 6 yrs, and a divorce. Who has time for a dog, let alone a GSD?
I think you should rehome your dog. I would not want to be in your household and would probably act out too. Sorry for your situation, but I think simplifying your life will help you focus on your children and uncertain future.
I totally agree. I have three kids. If I were to go through a divorce Id probably give my dogs to my dad just because I know that with working, three young kids, and two dogs would be a disservice to everyone because SOMEONE is going to need time from me all the time. Whether its kid #1, #2, #3, dog, court, work... Something is going to suffer. Good luck. I'm so sorry for your situation. Could your (ex)husband take him instead of your mom? He'd probably have more time to train the dog.

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