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Old 02-24-2014, 05:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My GS bit my daughter, time to put down

We have had our female german shepherd for 5 years, named bella. She is well trained in the usual commands, and even goes to the bathroom where we want in her kennel. She has always been an indoor dog, except for exercise or if we're away for hours we leave her in our fenced in yard. In terms of her personality she often does not want to be touched or petted except by my wife. My wife spent most of the time with her the first couple years we had her, and bella is her baby. Bella in general does not want to have much to do with me or my daughter, she just prefers to not be bothered.

The other day, Bella was sitting on the ground and Abby put her face close to Bella's face, saying she loved her. Bella then proceeded to bite Abby on the nose, causing a large cut, a puncture, internal bleeding and bruising. Bella had never bit anyone before, but Abby did know that she shouldn't be in Bella's face.

At this point, since Bella bit our daughter after being in our family 5 years, I think we have to have her put down. She is so anxious and skittish as it is, and I would not trust her in being around other people or kids. We don't have any behavioral specialists near our small town, even if we did have the time and ability to put in multiple hours trying to cure her anxieties. This is obviously a very difficult decision, especially for my wife. Not sure what I'm looking for in posting this....but feel free to respond with any thoughts.

Last edited by donkeyturtle; 02-24-2014 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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According to I think it was Bill Campbell, this is one of the main causes of dog bites -- people, especially kids, putting their faces in dogs faces.

I don't know what to tell you. Your daughter knew she shouldn't do this. She will forever remember why especially when her action led to the behavior that causes the dogs death. Really sad situation all around. I'm sorry. That's all I got.
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can't say my reaction would be much different given similar circumstances. However, instead of putting her down, maybe find someone that has experience with the breed to give her a good home and let her live out her years vs. putting her down.

You say you have had her 5 years, how old is she? 5 I presume?
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This must be difficult for you. I have found females GSDs are much more aloof and like their independence compared to males and we have to respect this. You don't say how old your daughter is. I wonder if everything is good with Bella medically wise? Sometimes if a dog is sick their personality changes. At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for everyone - Bella, your daughter, your wife, you etc, if you decide not to keep Bella, rather than euthanzing her you could contact your local German Shepherd group and ask if they could rehome her to perhaps an older person with no children.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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my prayers are with you and your entire family.i hope peace finds you.i would take my time following thru with any options until you have time to explore what happened.
again my prayers are sent to you and your entire family.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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you can not put the responsibility for a child doing what innocent children do --- " don't know what to tell you. Your daughter knew she shouldn't do this. She will forever remember why especially when her action led to the behavior that causes the dogs death. "
Not the child's action , how wrong to blame the victim"

This was a dog with known anti social behaviour . "She is so anxious and skittish as it is, and I would not trust her in being around other people or kids" But you did .

just a terrible situation. I hope and prey that your daughter is okay .
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We don't know that this was a child though. We do not know how old the person that was bitten is.

Is this someone who lives with you? And, how old is she. If she is 1 or 2 or 3, yeah, I think I agree with your position. If your daughter is from a previous marriage and is 16 or 21, usually lives with her mother, or is away at college, and hasn't had much contact with this dog -- doesn't live there, then I think it is harder for you, because you would be asking your wife to put down her dog, because of something that your daughter did, that probably wasn't a smart move.

If she is an older child, ie. teen or an adult, and does not live with you, then I think you need to understand that while your dog bit, she bit once, caused pain and a wound, but did not maul the daughter. I know it is still awful, especially in the face, but the dog is not crazy, uncontrollable, unpredictable. Maybe she can be safely managed by the person who loves her most -- your wife.

Rehoming a dog that will bite someone like this, is really a question. If your daughter is a child -- aged 10 or under, either work with the dog and an experienced trainer, or take the dog to the vet and have her put down. I think the latter makes more sense, but would be very hard to do.

Sorry you are going through this. Having a dog for 5 years, it would be devastating. Probably moreso for the wife.

BTW, it is the my daughter, not our daughter that makes me think that maybe the daughter is a little older and not the wife's daughter.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Consider her having her professionally evaluated. Perhaps she can be carefully, properly placed. I agree with Carmen that this is what children do. It's not 'bad', just appropriately childish. For this reason the safety of children (including friends & neighborhood scamps) s/b TOP PRIORITY in acquiring, keeping & managing dogs.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I grew up with dogs, including GS, I was bitten by dog when I was about 6 years old. Dog was friendly never attacked anyone and I think I try to hug it. Bit me in the face and reality is dog and kid cannot be left alone especially when dogs are skittish. I have golden retriever that is 11 years and GS that is 14 months. I am never at ease around kids, especially younger than 8 years as I know that they do not know how dogs behave and they treat dog in a human way. As I don’t know details, it is hard to make a blame, but I would really had difficult time to make such a decision, as I would way if this was isolated incident or perhaps, this is more behavioral case. My golden is wonderful dog with kids and always was, but I have seen her growl at my son’s friend younger brother who was about two years (lucky I was around to spot and prevent any incidents), kid was not doing mach but looking at the dog and waving hands in front of it (about 2-3 feet away), so something set my extremely friendly do to react. I gave general rule and I do tell kids this is not a toy, I do not want you to play with dogs without adult present, also, I stress do not hug dogs and do not pet dog on their head. I know am paranoid when kids are around but it is so easy to get dog, especially GS, to misunderstood play for threatening situation (dominant behavior).
I am so sorry that your daughter got hurt, hopefully it will heal and there will be no physical or emotional scars (I still have a bit of scar on my cheek), you do have to make sure that she will have save environment. Before you make decision about putting your dog down, perhaps explore other options such as evaluation if dog is aggressive and maybe potential for putting dog for adoption. Good luck with decisions.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:12 PM   #10 (permalink)
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it doesn't matter how old the child is --

Management .

If you keep an animal with behavioural problems you have to protect that dog from harm , and others from harm , by managing the dog .
All this could have been prevented had the dog been put away while the daughter was visiting - "Bella in general does not want to have much to do with me or my daughter" -- then keep every one safe and crate her while you have the visitor . Dogs with problems require vigilance all the time. For their sake .
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