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Thread: My GSD attacked a child Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-14-2014 12:25 AM
FullyCompletely You should have full control of your dog at all times. He is smart, he has no respect for strangers (Why should he?). Ask strangers to keep their distance (no petting or playing). A GSD is loyal to its people, not to random people. Work on training your dog to focus on you and ignore people. Other people will become fixtures in the environment. You should be able to eventually ask for him to switch his attention away from anything and to focus on you. Then you can be a leader and provide guidance for your dog, you can divert his attention before he gets himself in trouble

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01-30-2014 11:50 PM
martincho Well, you got a lot of good advise. I hope you will act on it.

Frankly, my advise would be that you give the dog to someone who will be far more responsible, understands the responsibility of owning such a dog and will not do stuff like get on the phone while the dog is off-leash on the street.

Get a fish tank.

Sorry for being harsh. There's zero excuse in my book for putting children in danger like that. It's beyond insane. I don't know where you live, but it could also be criminal.

And, of course, this is also how otherwise good dogs end up getting killed. A clueless owner does everything wrong and the dog and a kid pay for it.

I don't think anyone in this thread took this tone with you. Let me be the ass who does. You need to consider whether or not you are or can become qualified to have a dog like this. This is the kind of ownership that gives entire breeds a bad reputation. It causes those of us who are responsible GSD owners all kinds of problems.

Don't get piranha's, they bite.
01-24-2014 06:51 AM
debbiebrown it sounds to me more like prey drive. not that it is exceptable to go biting kids or running people. more training is definitely needed, more self control etc. true, that no training is 100% in the right situation, but certainly evaluating and setting the dog up in appropriate training will help.
01-22-2014 09:55 PM
lindadrusilla I keep my dog on a leash at all times except in an enclosed area. Kids are a no-no, cos he hates them (i think) after some children chased us and threw stones!

If he sees a tiny human within sight of 10 metres, he'd start growling.

And yes, all attention to be on dog and surrounding when out together. If u have to have your phone, use a handsfree.

I'm writing on my cell now cos we're in the tennis courts playing tug of war...




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01-22-2014 08:29 PM
selzer
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstrotz View Post
Regarding the situation where the kid picked up the stick and was bitten, the bite truly appeared to be accidental. The facts don't indicate that the dog lunged at the kid... just that the dog wanted the stick at the same time the kid took the stick. The dog does not KNOW this stranger and likely had an adult picked up the stick, uninvited, the dog would have accidentally bitten the adult stranger as well--- an accidental bite, not an intentional bite on the hand.

The advice given that the dog needs training is good advice. The dog should be trained that human hands on his toys should be LEFT ALONE until the human hand releases the toy and gives the OK, TAKE IT command.

Regarding the lunging kid, who appeared to be LUNGING at the dog's owner, it is obvious that this dog was protecting his owner from a lunging human being. The dog had NO DIRECTION from its human because its human was on the phone. Had the human been paying attention, the human would have assessed the situation
and given the DOWN or LEAVE IT command, or simply moved the dog (on leash) out of the kid's way. I do not fault the dog and I would not label this dog as being aggressive.

This dog is loyal to its owner which is a quality to be admired.
However, its human needs to be attentive to the environment.

Let's face it, most kids today are more ill-behaved than wild dogs.
There are natural protective instincts, that some dogs have to some extent. I am not sure that was what was happening here.

In fact, for a fifteen month old puppy to be protective of its owner with no protection training to that extent, would be kind of surprising.

I think it is far more likely for a dog to have been startled by the child and not knowing what to do he chose fight over flight. Which gives the owner information about his dog. This dog will be more likely to fight than to flee.

If a dog is leashed, they aren't stupid and know that the leash will prevent them from fleeing, so they are much more likely to fight or at least act like they are willing to fight -- barking, lunging, growling, general reaction. This dog however was not leashed, and still chose fight over flight, which is a point in the story that gives me pause.

As for the stick incident, the owner made a mention about the possessiveness the dog seems to have. It could have been an accident, but if the game was to bring the stick back until the owner picks it up and throws it again, and the kid picked it up, the dog chose to act differently because of who picked up his stick. I agree if a strange adult did the same thing, the dog would have probably acted the same way. Whether he meant to bite the child or just grab the stick is still a question though.

We do expect a lot from dogs though. I mean, like, we expect them to card everybody before they decide how to react to them. A dog may treat infants different than toddlers different than little kids different than older children. But a dog may not define adult human the same way we humans do. A 12 year old running at them may be the same as a 35 year old running at them.

OP, your dog is young. With continued socialization and training, your dog should be able to have joggers or skaters run toward you without reacting, but it doesn't happen in a vacuum and it doesn't happen over night. It takes training and maturation and experiences with direction from you.
01-22-2014 08:05 PM
Saphire
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstrotz View Post
[B]0l
Let's face it, most kids today are more ill-behaved than wild dogs.
Really?
01-22-2014 07:50 PM
rjstrotz Regarding the situation where the kid picked up the stick and was bitten, the bite truly appeared to be accidental. The facts don't indicate that the dog lunged at the kid... just that the dog wanted the stick at the same time the kid took the stick. The dog does not KNOW this stranger and likely had an adult picked up the stick, uninvited, the dog would have accidentally bitten the adult stranger as well--- an accidental bite, not an intentional bite on the hand.

The advice given that the dog needs training is good advice. The dog should be trained that human hands on his toys should be LEFT ALONE until the human hand releases the toy and gives the OK, TAKE IT command.

Regarding the lunging kid, who appeared to be LUNGING at the dog's owner, it is obvious that this dog was protecting his owner from a lunging human being. The dog had NO DIRECTION from its human because its human was on the phone. Had the human been paying attention, the human would have assessed the situation
and given the DOWN or LEAVE IT command, or simply moved the dog (on leash) out of the kid's way. I do not fault the dog and I would not label this dog as being aggressive.

This dog is loyal to its owner which is a quality to be admired.
However, its human needs to be attentive to the environment.

Let's face it, most kids today are more ill-behaved than wild dogs.
01-22-2014 07:47 PM
Cassidy's Mom
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Winners View Post
No cell phones while walking the dog. I think you need to pay attention to the dog.
Absolutely, and this is something you can start doing immediately, while you look for an experienced trainer. Whenever I'm out in public with my dogs, I'm looking at the dog, even if I'm talking to someone. I may glance at the person from time to time, but my attention is on my dog. On leash, with no other people around or at least at a safe distance, it's fine to talk on your cell phone. But off leash in an area without clear lines of sight in all directions - not worth the risk.
01-22-2014 07:07 PM
selzer
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer11 View Post
all i see in this thread are excuses for the dog. young, accidentally biting hand while going for stick, dog was startled by kid yelling, etc.

there really should be no excuses for biting a kid. ultimately its the owners fault for not recognizing the faults of the dog. if the dog growls and is possessive of toys, how the heck do you even allow a kid to get close enough to reach down to grab the stick? that part doesnt add up.

even if a kid was running and yelling, you shouldnt have your dog off leash if you cant recall it or put it in an emergency down.

everyone here has a different theory for why the dog bit. my theory is that the dog was resource guarding. dogs are good at targeting. i fling my ball on a rope around at 100 mph and my dog never misses and bites my hand. tough to think the dog couldnt grab on to any other part of a stick other than the kids hand. all these different theories just goes to prove that you need to find a really good trainer who has dealt with german shepherds before. its impossible to tell you why the dog did what he did without being there.
Once upon a time, about 65 years ago, my dad knew a German Shepherd in the neighborhood. Yes, even when I was a kid, it was not abnormal for dogs to be tied outside, and children of the neighborhood would come up to them and pet them. GSDs must've been different back then, because this was TYPICAL.

Anyway. He knew this dog in the neighborhood and he liked to play with it. He would throw the stick, and the dog loved the stick and loved for my dad to throw the stick for him. It was a good long stick, and my dad was playing hard with the dog.

My dad at one point went to throw the stick and then put it behind his back. He was seven years old, little Half-hungarian kid. Probably the size of my niece Analisa. Did I mention that the stick was a long stick? Well, the dog had taken off, and not seeing the stick turned back and saw the stick and lunged for it.

I suppose, you can probably see how my dad's head was in the path of GSD teeth.

Now that dog was not in the wrong. And my dad would be the first to say so. The dog immediately let go. It did prevent my father from owning a GSD until my mother put her foot down and I gave them Cujo.

Your dogs may never miss when they go to tug on something, but lots of people's dogs do miss and get finger/hand sometimes. Are we to assume that those dogs have bad eye-sight, or poor eye-hand coordination, or that they intend to nail their owners some of the time?

There are a lot of different types of bites and aggression. There is fear and reactive bites. Dogs who lack confidence do bite too often. There are herding bites, when a dog tries to herd children or others away from their person, puppies, or kid -- not usually painful, but certainly not something we want to encourage. There are other types of bites. The bites that bother me the most, are those that puncture, bruise, are coupled with multiple bites or attempts in an incident, bites that target the throat or head instead of extremities.

I think it is important to look at every incident openly and honestly, so that you can determine the best course of action for your dog. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances where you should have been more present, more careful. Sometimes the dog is just going for the stick.

If the OP said, the dog went for the kid 3 days ago, and now went for another kid again, I would be more concerned. But the first incident was a lifetime ago for this dog. 8 months to 15 months is forever in maturation, etc.

My guess is that the owner played with the puppy really hard, the puppy got into the stick stuff, and got the kids hand. The owner seems to feel that the dog was resource guarding the stick moreso than just missing and grabbing it. And, not being there, I think we could take his word for that. He definitely felt that the game was dangerous and at that point cut it out. So it isn't the owner making excuses for the pup. I think the pup was in a high play mode with a stick, and might have make a mistake, whether it was in aiming for the wrong part of the stick or in guarding this stick that they were playing with, who knows. I wouldn't condemn a puppy on what happens in a moment of extreme play.

A fifteen month old dog can bite through a coat, if he wanted to. I guess I am not ready to hang the pup.
01-22-2014 06:43 PM
selzer Kids run and scream.

We socialize puppies to children we feel confident will control themselves and listen to instructions. This is important so that impressionable puppies do not have a really negative encounter with children when they are still very impressionable -- good socialization in this period is really, really good; bad socialization in this period is awful.

When a kid comes flying out of the blue at a young dog, yet a puppy, but adolescent, it can spook a dog, or it can make a dog who does have some guarding or protection instincts, under-developed and not trained, make a mistake.

I am with Jax and Middleofnowhere on this.

Your dog is a youngster, it needs for you to get out there and get training, under the supervision of a competent trainer, and probably the best bet in group classes that are cheaper than one on one training, so that you can continue to go over a period of months, possibly many months.

It is impossible to socialize a dog to every possible scenario. We hit the main ones, and a dog that has plenty of experiences to fall back on AND has had his confidence in himself built by good training, and his confidence in you as a leader, the dog will be unlikely to react terribly in such a situation.

We ARE talking about children here, yes. There is a reason that children get bitten more often. They run and scream. They stand yay-high and stare into dogs' eyes. They do not wait to ask permission to approach and pet dogs they do not know. They are unpredictable a lot of the time. They are fascinated by dogs, and they do not always make proper adult decisions. We do need to protect children.

We do need to keep our dogs on lead in public places until we have perfect confidence in them and in us -- that doesn't happen overnight. Dogs have to mature. Dogs have to have a strong bond where they listen to us regardless to the distractions or the location.

Don't text while driving.
Don't talk on the phone, while the dog is in a public place, where children might just run up to him.

I would have to see what happened to this winter coat before deciding whether or not the dog needs to be muzzled in public. If a GSD, even a large GSD pup wants to hurt someone, a winter coat isn't going to stop it. I don't like the behavior. But I am not sure that the dog is attacking so much as it needs a muzzle. If the owner pays attention, keeps the dog on leash, and starts regularly training the dog with a trainer, it will probably not be necessary.
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