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I tend to agree. But the most important thing is never, ever put your dog in a situation in which they could attack. The dog that did so much damage probably did not know the difference between a human and a deer, or a squirrel for that matter.
 

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Is it common for dogs to not know the difference b/w humans & wild life or b/w children & adults?

My crew clearly distinguishes b/w humans & other animals. They're also exceptionally reliable with people, & at their absolute best with children including infants, toddlers, grade school kids or adolescents.

As extraordinary, outstanding, brilliant, good & wonderful as they are (or were), I never considered their people skills to be vanishingly rare.

When my daughter was growing up, kids rolled through the house & yard 24/7. MyTribe varied from liking the kids to adoring them. All of them (cats included) were absolutely tolerant of kids regardless of how rough, noisy & hyper the kids got. Child friendly was a HUGE prerequisite to joining the family.

A neighbor's 4yo once let herself into my fenced yard, closing the gate behind her. She then walked into my attached kennel & again closed the gate. She went through both dog doors, across my small porch & into the house where she apparently wandered about for 2+hrs. Her panicked father was ready to call the police, but they looked around a final time & found her in the kennel surrounded by my 4 grinning monsters (2 Sibes, 2 Irish Wolfhounds).

Sheeesh...Her dad actually told me it was a damned shame my dogs let her in the house without doing anything. Like what? Take her down??? Have her for lunch? Show the 4yo what rootin tootin tough hombres they were?

My extended family has always come in & out without knocking. Most of em have keys. I mildly discourage guarding behavior b/c too often innocent people get hurt & nice dogs die. As steady & reliable as they are, nobody will cross em just b/c they're big & look serious.

I like it that way. Realistically I'm almost as safe & my dogs are considerably safer than if they were guard/protection dogs.
 

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I can honestly say that if that was to happen in my house the result would be the same. With the exception of my mother who all my dogs know, no one can just walk into my house. If they do they are gauranteed at least one bite if not more. Especially if I am in the house. They cannot tell an adult from a child. And come **** or high water my dogs would NOT be destroyed.

I knew better way before the age of nine, not to enter a house that had a dog with out someone from that family being with me.
 

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I was a little stunned by the news that the dogs had been put down too. But I read the article again and this sentence makes me think about it more:

Quote: One of the boys who lived at the Cash house tried to stop the dog, Jakob said.
It sounds like one of the owner kids was there, so the boy who got bitten wasnt alone 'intruding' in the house. There is a lot we dont know, it is possible that the boy was invited in.

To me, this is similar (in this one aspect) to the Congo case. If my dog attacked someone when I was standing there (as in the Congo case) and didnt respond to me, I dont know if I could live with that dog. I think I would feel the same way if the dog didnt respond to my kids.

My dogs have always seemed to know the difference between 'puppies' and grownups. And I wouldnt have a dog who couldnt tolerate my children's friends in the house. Agression with strangers is one thing, with know people is another.
 

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Like you, my GSD is very friendly toward extended family and some of the neighbors. But if one of the neighbors kids, or a stranger walked into my house I hate to think what might happen.

How horrible, and I feel sorry for the poor kid. Nonetheless, I tend to agree with Selzer. German Shepherds are protective, and always will be.

I suspect the purpose of your post was to bragg about how wonderful your dogs are, which is fine. However, terms like extraordinary, wonderful, brilliant, outstanding and good do little to address the issue at hand.

It is fairly obvious you just wanted an opportunity to criticize the GSD breed.
 

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Originally Posted By: longhairshepmom...
The owners obviously already knew "something" about the dogs, to even have that rule. And they should have done more then simply tell the kids to stay out, to fullfill their role as supervising adults that have dangerous animals near children.
I disagree with you assumption that the owners knew something about the dogs, IMHO it's just as likely that the owners could have been taking precautionary measures to avoid problems.

My sister always had multiple dogs, Great Danes, Collies, GSDs, the majority had obedience titles. When her kids were growing up, none of the dogs had any problems with the neighborhood kids. But she still had a rule that none of her children's friends could come in the house when the dogs were out. PERIOD!!! No exceptions.
 

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The problem that I am having is that there are SO many details that are left out.

Some things that stand out to me,

1) the kid was invited onto the property, he was not intruding at all IMO

2) one of the kids that LIVED there was obvisouly with the boy and tried to stop the dog, so that makes me think he was then INVITED into the house or to the door or something...either way, the dog went after the child and pushed past someone to get to the child.

3) I dont think the owners did enough IMO and I do think that they might have thought something could happen. DO I know for certain? Nope, wasnt there and I dont know them..however I dont see inviting a child over to your house, saying to not go inside cause of the dog and then not do anything to keep it from something from happening.

If they even THOUGHT that this could happen then they should of had the dog some place where him and the kids wouldnt come into contact

It wasnt the dogs fault...and it was NOT the childs fault, he wasnt intruding, he was invited...heck he was the the boy that LIVED there.

But sorry, im with the crowd of people who thinks the dog should have been put down, if he can do it once like this to someone who is invited over there, then he can do it again to someone else who is invited over there and next time it might be more sever.

Quote: But she still had a rule that none of her children's friends could come in the house when the dogs were out
This to me is also different, the key words im picking out are when the dogs were out...makes me lean towards thinking that she was always supervising or took whatever precations she felt was needed when kids were there and might come in the house.

Thats just what I get from it though.


For me, its as simple as this..it defeats the purpose of saying to not go inside the house and then someone that lives there invites someone into the house and then this happens. If they knew the dog was capable of this then MORE could have been done to prevent it instead of just saying 'oh dont go inside ok?'
 

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Timber, you're mistaken. 2 of my current dogs are GSDs. They're terrific...overall easier than Sibes (much more biddable). They were both bred & raised to be very, very reliable with people. In my situation that's important. I live in a congested, high crime urban area. Dogs that are appropriately aggressive in other environments can become too protective, territorial or suspicious in such a busy, hectic neighborhood.

People can certainly choose & raise dogs that are more protective, but their responsibilities also increase.

The wonderful awesome terrific stuff was intended tongue in cheek, ie we all think our kids/dogs are the ultimate greatest. In my experience, most dogs distinguish b/w humans & other animals, dogs & other animals, domestic & wild creatures, children & adults, healthy & infirm. Perhaps my experiences have been too narrow & that's atypical which is why I asked.
 

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Quote:The problem that I am having is that there are SO many details that are left out.
I agree. It's frustrating how much has been left unanswered. Why were both dogs PTS? Was the boy known to the family? Did he frequently play there? Was he a friend of the owner's child? Had he previously interacted with the dog? Was there anything in the dogs' past behavior that hinted at trouble? What triggered the attack?

The boy is probably telling the truth about being bitten as he put his shoes on. That would explain the face bite. (Although face bites are notoriously common with young children). The extent of the injuries could also be due to his youth. The delicate skin of children & elderly people is more easily torn. Fortunately, (if such a word can be used in this context!), children often heal remarkably well. With a bit of luck, & medical ingenuity, he might have very little permanent scarring.

It's a damned shame for the dogs' their owners & the boy. There are no winners in this one. Unless gross negligence can be shown I hope the child's family does not elect to sue. Apparently some things were done badly but it's a classic case of 'hind sight is 20-20'.
 

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If I am mistaken, I apologize, but I don't think you mnetioned GSD's in your original reply.


As for the last paragraph, yes, we all think veryhighly of our dogs. I will tell you I do a bit of rescue work, and there is only one large breed dog I ever met, that I would trust 100 percent around children.

It only takes one incident for bad things to happen.
 

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I also think that anyone on this board who would put a dog down because it is dangerous or because of what might happen, they might as well go get their dogs euthanized today. Yep, even RubyTuesday.

Our dogs are dangerous. Have you looked closely at the size of their teeth and mouths. They CAN kill a nine year old child or a three year old child. Any one of them.

There are those of you who will rightly proclaim that your dog is good with kids and would never. But that doesn't mean that he can't. Under the right set of circumstances any one of our dogs may deliver a serious bite to someone who is not committing a crime.

My parents' dog Cujo was recently diagnosed with epilepsy. He had some major siezures. After the first one he was so disoriented and scared that he growled at my Mother. My mother is the one with the special bond with him. He also tried to attack Pippy. They had to put Pippy downstairs until he was right again. They had no warning that the dog was going to have a seizure. If my sister's babies were over, he may have attacked one. Should we put him down?

There are a bunch of other reasons a dog might attack. A dog may bite if he is startled or injured. He may bite if he has a serious noise problem (like fireworks or thunder). He may bite if he feels his person or his people's property needs to be protected.

All of our dogs are dangerous. It is up to us to keep our animals and children safe.

Most good dogs who are familiar with babies will not attack babies up to a certain age. So I am not surprised the four year old was not attacked. A nine year old does not have a puppy-license though.

If the people who lived there's child, was there at the time of the attack, why is there a question about whether the child was inside or outside? In this case, it sounds like the owners were plain scared of the powerful (or dangerous if you like) dogs they owned and the possibilities and decided to put them both down.

If the dog actually stopped after only one bite, the dog was not really a red-zone dog. He made a spit decision that cost him his life. The chances are, the owner's child did not read the situation and give the dog a command quick enough. You cannot expect a kid to be able to do this. It sounds like the dog did stop when the kid did try to stop him if there was only one bite.

If there was six or seven bites, I agree, that dog got to go (PTS). If there was one serious bite, I do not know.

Only if both dogs were involved though, should both dogs have been PTS. That is my opinion.
 

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Timber, I mentioned the breeds in my post b/c they weren't GSDs & this is a GSD board. I wanted to avoid mistaken assumptions. I wasn't implying anything good or bad about particular breeds.

Sam, my 9yo GSD, is exceptionally good with others, including dogs, people & parrots. However, I acquired her as an adult, & after my own child was grown, so I no longer have kidlings rolling through 24/7. My GSD pup is a pup (born in Dec). It's impossible to ascribe adult behavior to a young pup. He appears to have an excellent temperament, but it's neither honest nor wise to assume a kid safe pup will be the same as an adult.

IF, Allah forbid, he isn't, that will have to be managed, which won't be difficult b/c there are no longer kids in residence. To a near certainty it could be managed without euthanasia.

I avoid judging those who have made the agonizing decision to have their dog(s) PTS. It's impossible to know their dogs or their situation. I firmly believe it s/b the last choice, not the 1st. Risks s/b identified, acknowledged, minimized & managed. They can't be eliminated.

That is as true of dogs as anything, one difference being that <u>family</u> dogs represent a miniscule risk. Back yard dogs are not 'family dogs'. Sadly, 'back yard dogs' represent most of the danger without being distinguished from those who truly are family members.

This appears to be one of those rare cases that involved actual family dogs. The lack of information is frustrating in part b/c I'd like to understand & learn from it if possible. You're absolutely right. My dogs could also prove to be risky someday. A part of my responsibility towards them is to anticipate as much as possible, then utilize diligence, prevention & avoidance as needed.

My American Bulldog came with dominance aggression issues. Spanky was an (indirect) *inheritance*, not a plan. She was trustworthy with her 1st owner's grandkids, but I haven't yet *assumed* that's still the case. Perhaps I'll never feel comfortable in that assumption. She's aggressed at my daughter, myself, the cats & the muttchkins. Her issues with me (& my daughter) are almost fully resolved. She's largely cat re-habbed. The matter with the muttchkins still needs 'fixing' but I'm fairly confident it can be done.

Euthanasia was never considered. Spanky can be aggressive, triggers easily & doesn't readily quit, but nothing suggests that she's vicious. She's damned smart, learns FAST, trains easily, is loving, fun & funny. As a dog, however flawed, Spanky is (considerably) better than I am as a human. While her behavior issues can't be ignored, having her PTS would be a crime.

Good trainers/bahavioralists often state that very few dogs need to be PTS. Most can be re-habbed &/or managed. Sadly, following a serious injury, the possibility of ruinous litigation arises. Having the dog(s) PTS probably helps the owner(s) legal situation. Again, I'm not judging. Financial ruin, or becoming uninsurable, makes it impossible for most people to keep large dogs. The poor dogs would simply wind up PTS after the family was impoverished rather than before.

IMO, large scale education is needed. People, including dog lovers, too often poorly understand canine actions, language & motives. How often are fearful dogs proudly touted as *protective*? How often are dogs' fears considered a reasonable excuse for bad behavior? How often do people *assume* dogs are naturally good with children & safe with all family/friends? How often are people surprised that their sweet puppy is a very different adult? How many people don't know that dogs also go through infant, toddler, adolescent, teenage, young adult, mature adult & geriatric behavioral stages? How many don't realize hormones impact both their dogs & surrounding dogs way beyond simple lust? How many people never grasp that their dog(s) won't necessarily want what humans want? How many don't know that canine respect doesn't automatically follow doggie love?

Unfortunately, the dog who's the subject of this thread is probably going to be simplistically labeled 'vicious' & quickly forgotten by all but his family & victim. What complex dynamics were at work, prior to & during, the attack? What is his extended history with family, friends & neighbors? Why were the injuries so extensive? Was it a single bite? Were there previous warning signs, either subtle or blatant? What was the role of the 2nd dog & why was s/he also PTS?

How quickly should dogs be PTS? How often is the decision driven by lawyers & litigation rather than community welfare? How can we better anticipate developing situations with our dogs?

Answers to these questions could help us better understand dogs in general, including those we love & live with.
 

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I would think these people were under a lot of pressure from their community, or even in their own minds, as to what was the right thing to do .... for everyone's peace of mind.

Maybe they wanted the decision to be their's, rather than it be court directed. They may even have considered (with so much media attention) there was a definite possibility that someone may poison or otherwise cause harm to their dogs.

I believe they made the right decision, as at least one dog, (despite any percieved provocation) has caused serious injury. It should, however, be noted that 100 stitches in a facial injury reconstruction is not always a significant number (in comparative terms) as, to preserve facial expression, many small stitches are needed relative to many other repairs, so they soon add up - not that I am in any way dismissing this injury.

If there is any issue concerning dog agression, a secure containment system is a prerequisite when you are going to entertain or invite other otherwise welcome visitors. I do not know why both dogs were PTS unless there was an equal risk with the other dog.

It is a very sad situation and I wish it had never arisen for all concerned.
 

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Originally Posted By: tibvixie101they euthanized both dogs? Did the other dog have anything to do with the attack?

Im sorry but i have to disagree here, if the blood was in the house, then the kid was in the house. Sounds to me like the adults clearly forwarned the children to play outside only. Yes the dog should not have bit the child, but like others have posted before, at what point to dogs learn to bite only a certain age group? they dont! So if the child intruded on the dogs space, then i dont see why they were PTS.

like really, how many dogs are their in shelters and rescues that have bites on their cards? not many i know, but they do exist and can be reabilitated. this case is just a mess.
So, are you volunteering to "rehabilitate" the next German shepherd that bites a kid?

Sorry, but you just hit a nerve here. There's always a public outcry about a dog with a bite history "not getting a chance" because "somebody" can "rehabilitate" him/her. But, when the rubber hits the road, that "somebody" is in reality "somebody else." I never see hands raised to say, "Don't euthanize that dog because I will take him and rehabilitate him and accept the liability and the risk of losing my homeowners insurance!"
 

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Quote:It should, however, be noted that 100 stitches in a facial injury reconstruction is not always a significant number (in comparative terms) as, to preserve facial expression, many small stitches are needed relative to many other repairs, so they soon add up
That's an excellent piece of info. This rather sketchy story has many missing details. It's impossible to know if the extent of the injuries, was in part just bad luck, or due to the 'savagery' of the attack. IMO, it's impossible to condemn the actions of the owner or the victim with so little known. This is true of that poor dog as well.

I love large, powerful dogs, but even minor mishaps with them can have serious consequences.
 

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Susan, I am a little suprised at your response. Tomorrow morning I am getting a rescue dog that is described as aggressive and possibly bitten. She is actually coming from a rescue group you are aware of. A three year old female German Shepherd, described as OK toward other dogs, but aggressive toward humans.

Frankly, dealing with rescue if the dog is initially aggressive and even bites me, we will work through that.

This dog never bit a kid, but was described as aggressive. In my case I have raised my hand and will try and do my best. Would I do the same thing if a dog bit a kid, you bet.

I am really disappointed concerning your response because I firmly believe most dogs can be re-habbed.
 

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Timber,

I agree that most dogs can be rehabbed, if their owners are willing to invest the time, effort and money to do so.

However, if rescue groups took in all of the dogs that need rehabilitation for aggression issues, there would be no room for the dogs that don't have those issues. So, it leads to a situation where the "bad boys" are getting out of the pound and the "good boys" are being put down. That hardly seems fair.

In addition, there are few people who are truly equipped to properly rehabilitate an aggressive dog. Just look at the Aggression forum on this board. It's fraught with people who believe that you can just slap a shock collar on the dog and zap it when it's misbehaving. IMHO, that doesn't rehab the dog.

The other problem is the liability for the rescue organization. If the rescue group places a dog with a known bite history into a home, and someone gets hurt, the liability will come back onto the rescue group. I can't put my group at risk for that.

That being said, I never trust a shelter worker or the information on an owner-surrender form to label a dog "aggressive." To me, that word means very little. I tell them to describe to me the behavior and we will determine whether we want to take the dog. Often times, the behavior is barrier frustration or herding behavior and not aggression. However, once in foster care, if the dog exhibits a willingness to bite a human, we do not adopt it out.

In addition, in the time it takes to "rehab" one nutcase, there are four behaviorally stable dogs dying as result. Isn't the greater good served by saving four dogs that have a greater probability of being a joy to their family than one rehabbed aggressive dog that will continually be a source of vigilance and stress for its family?

We try to have one or two "project dogs" in our program at any given time, but we draw the line at biters. Dogs that are pathologically shy, undersocialized dogs, dogs on death's door from emaciation, etc., are far too plentiful, and stand the greater chance of being adoptable at the end of their rehabilitation.

The fact is that many people who have failed their dog by not providing proper foundation training and has ended up with a dog that injures a person thinks that they can salve their conscience by giving the dog to a rescue organization, insteading of stepping up to the plate and either rehabbing the dog themselves or being with their pet as it dies from a lethal injection. I can't begin to tell you how many e-mails we receive with the phrase, "he just needs a home that doesn't have ...."

When all of the great, sweet, well-behaved dogs are being adopted from the shelters and no longer need our foster space, THEN we will look at our business model to see if we want to go into the rehabilitation business.
 

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With as many dogs as I've owned I don't believe I have had any that I had to fear for a child's safety in walking into my home under any circumstances. Of course I'm not going to put it to the test so I guess you can say most of this is just my opinion.

Personally I would judge a dog that bit a baby or child a lot harsher than if it bit an adult. And the type of bite would influence my decision on the dog. A one snap no mark, one bite that inflected some damage (broken skin/ small amount of blood), vrs. a major bite vrs. multiple bites are quite different to me.

And to the point of working with aggressive dogs, I agree with Susan when it comes to a major concern on insurance issues and if a person wanting to rehab such a dog can do so without putting other people in any danger.
 

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What many people don't THINK about is this..

Even if THEY are willing to take on that aggressive dog, a dog with a bite history, to try and rehabilitate him...even IF they are willing to take a bite in order to save the dog. Even IF they think its worth is despite many other dogs that have never shown aggression are being put to sleep and a few could be rescued in the time it takes to rehab an aggressive one, do they realize that they don't only put themself at risk??

I could never live with myself if I volunteered to take on this aggressive dog and rehab it, only for it to somehow get into a situation where it hurts someone else seriously. It only takes a split second. Someone could walk in (family / friends) a door could be left open a second to long. No matter how careful, there are no guarantees you won't slip up one time. And that one time might be all it takes.

And what about that rehabbed dog being placed? Who's to know if the stress of yet another home won't one day set that dog off again? Or some memory? Some distant association?

What if that dog then looses it and causes serious harm or death?

SURE , that can happen with any dogs, one could say. But sorry, the chances with an already aggressive dog with bite history are far, far higher.

Rescuers of such dogs might be noble. But they do not only risk their health and life in doing so, sorry. They risk the health and life of ANYONE that might come into contact with that dog throughout its lifetime.

Again, any dog can turn. But the chances with one that already has at one point, are far higher. And I wouldn't want that on my conscience. Its one thing to risk myself, but I refuse to risk some innocent other.

Its the cold hard truth, but there are FAR to many sweet tempered dogs being put to sleep every single day, to take on the bite cases. I know its not fair, it is sad, instead. And hopefully one day through lobbying and change, we won't have those numbers of dogs needing rescue, and we can put all our energy in the few that do. Incl. the ones that need really serious rehab.

But even then, a dog with aggression issues and bite history is imho to big of a risk, to anyone around it at any time of its life.

just imho.
 

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Susan, needles to say I appreciate your response.

Just a few notes. So many of the dogs I meet that are labelled as aggressive might be a bit defensive, but are hardly violent. I always thought that once I got involved with a rescue group, there would be some leeway if they had an aggressive dog. But I am finding they lean heavily toward the shy ones.

Can I properly rehab an aggressive rescue dog. I think so, but have absolutely no idea, but as mentioned above my group has tended to over state how aggressive these dogs really are.

As for liability, I have no idea; opps I do After working for the US Treasury for 33 years, there are ways such as incorporating your efforts on behalf of the dogs, to avoid personal responsibility.

"If my foster bites me, I will continue to work with the dog. And would never hold my rescue group responsible.

I wouild never describe any dog "as a nut case". A bit idealistic, but until I have a bad experience with a dog you refer to as a nut case, I will continue to ask for the so called biters.

I do agree with you that there are tons of dogs in shelters that are gentle, nice and hopefully adoptable. My last rescue, Sheba, was so gentle I could never understand why she ended up with our rescue group. She has been adopted into what I think is a wonderfull situation.

As for going into the rehab business, my hunch is so many of the dogs labelled as violent, are not.

Being a novice,perhaps I will change my mind, but for now I am happy to accept a dog that some say is violent.
 
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