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Discussion Starter #1
Something very disappointing happened to me yesterday, and I could use some candid advice.


I have two GSD's. Lanee, my 7 year old female, and Rogan, my 4 year old male. Both are spayed/neutered. Lanee tends to be very laid back, chill, not really a people person, but will sit and observe when I have guests over. Rogan tends to be very hyper generally, always "on the go", but is very friendly and warms up to most people very quickly.


Our next door neighbor has a 10 year old pit-mix that is the sweetest dog you could ever know. However, that particular dog does not like other dogs. It has on one occasion bit Lanee in the snout. Both Lanee and Rogan have had negative interactions at the fence with this dog, and I do my best, as does my neighbor, to avoid being outside at the same time. For the most part, everything works out just fine. However, every time my neighbor comes outside, she's usually on the phone. Both of my GSD's, especially my male, get very riled up in the house when he hears my neighbors voice, wanting to go outside, knowing the other dog is there.


So yesterday, my neighbors were all over for a social visit in the backyard. Lanee and Rogan were outside. Rogan went up to the aforementioned neighbor, jumped up on her, and nipped her in the arm with his front teeth. It did break her skin. She left and went to urgent care. No stiches needed. I took care of all the expenses as of today, and that matter has been put to bed between us. Thankfully my neighbor is very understanding and caring. Life moves on.


Needless to say I am deeply troubled by Rogan's behavior. That was totally unacceptable. The moment he nipped her, I immediately corrected him by saying, "no bite", and he immediately laid down and cowered. He looked confused and clearly knew he did something wrong. I immediately took him in the house. Lanee followed along without incident.


Rogan has never displayed this type of aggressive behavior to a single soul. I have contractors come in the house, random people sometimes, and he will at most just follow them around, watching what they do. Some of them he warms right up to and falls into their laps wanting to cuddle. So this event yesterday has me trying to make certain I know what happened and what to do.


So, please be blunt, and tell me what I should be thinking of, doing, preventing, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You know now he will bite. Put him away when people come over. I'd recommend you put them both away when people come over, but with out a doubt, him.

I'm wondering though if his association of the neighbor and the dog he doesn't like was the trigger. Putting them in their crates when people are over doesn't solve the problem.
 
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Get the dog under control so you get to make the decisions and not he. Work on obedience and impulse control in all areas of his life. If you need help, hire a private trainer to come to the house. In the meantime, if he has a problem with hearing the neighbor, calmly put him in his crate or call him to you for some obedience work to stop this nonsense. Outside I would put him on a prong so you have control in unexpected situations prior to your neighbor being outside. Stay calm to avoid more hype.
Hats off for taking responsibility though!
Keep us posted. Curious what others have to say.
 

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Happening again compounds it though. You want blunt, if it was something you could solve, it wouldn't have happened. I don't mean that to be insulting at all, thats how I look at it with myself and my own dogs. When anyone comes over, both of mine are out or kenneled.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fair points from you both. I will be working on doing exactly that.
 

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You should be thinking of your Home Owners Insurance, even if the neighbor isn't making a claim. Here's why:

Many states allow a contract provision creating a "duty to report" even if there's no claim -- failure to report makes the policy subject to rescission (retroactive cancellation ) in those states if it would be a "material change in risk," and a bite history surely is one. The insurers argue they wouldn't have underwritten the policy at all had they known. They use this argument to rescind the policy after any major claim -- like a fire that has nothing to do with the dog -- arguing there wouldn't be a policy in place at all had they known about the real risk. They treat failure to tell them about a dog's bite history as essentially a fraudulent omission in the policy application (and you effectively reapply every time you renew, so not telling them of "material changes" is essentially the same as lying to them in the renewal process, from their perspective).

I would read the policy fine print carefully about your duty to report, and find out from your state insurance commissioner's office if your state allows rescission, and what your duty is as an insured.

Most HOI companies will not insure dogs with bite histories. They either exclude the dogs (forcing you to buy a separate dog bite policy), or they deny coverage.
 

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There are times where you should put your boy away, but in times where their dog or neighbor are out you should keep a leash on him and manage him more than usual. And maybe sometimes not let your boy play with the neighbors dog so he learn that he doesnt get to play with them everytime they are out. Hope this helps.
 

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My 2 cents in red

I'm wondering though if his association of the neighbor and the dog he doesn't like was the trigger.

Of course. But it not an excuse Putting them in their crates when people are over doesn't solve the problem.
But it will save another bite. He bit and won't forget. Your liability is high now; you have a 'known biter'
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My 2 cents in red

Right I get that and that's a fine course of action, one I will do. That being said, I want to identify why he reacted that way and fix the problem.


The irony to me in this is both are rescues: Lanee came from a home where she was abused. It took a couple years of solid daily training with her to get her to where she's aloof, but laid back, and not aggressive in the least. Rogan is the total opposite: came from a home where the owner died, and is normally very well behaved and very social. So this is unexpected behavior on his part.
 

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Right I get that and that's a fine course of action, one I will do. That being said, I want to identify why he reacted that way and fix the problem.


The irony to me in this is both are rescues: Lanee came from a home where she was abused. It took a couple years of solid daily training with her to get her to where she's aloof, but laid back, and not aggressive in the least. Rogan is the total opposite: came from a home where the owner died, and is normally very well behaved and very social. So this is unexpected behavior on his part.
The first thing I usually guess, and I'm just guessing, he wasn't as comfortable and social with others as you may have thought and it escalated to this.
 

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I want to identify why he reacted that way and fix the problem.

Rogan is the total opposite: came from a home where the owner died, and is normally very well behaved and very social. So this is unexpected behavior on his part.
(Glad you asked for honest, blunt advice) I personally wouldn't care what he thought; he took matters in his own 'hands' because he could, he had the slack to do it.
The fact that he evidently has been socialized points to being spoiled and you not being alert on his earlier cues? I mean this in a respectful way.
I would never trust him again in any company but this is probably easy to get under control with training (don't give him an inch anymore) and management (crating, kenneling). Also keep an eye on your other dog as she has seen this bite. You don't know what goes on the hard drive.
 

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Right I get that and that's a fine course of action, one I will do. That being said, I want to identify why he reacted that way and fix the problem.
Well, this is an odd position for me to take, but it really doesn't matter why he bit your neighbor --- and don't minimize it, call it what it is --- he bit her. I'd follow the advice from previous posters and crate him whenever people are over. Solves the problem and addresses your liability.

I can sympathize, I lived with a biter for 10 years. He trotted out of the womb that way and his first reaction to anything/anyone remotely questionable was to nail it/them, or try to, especially children. Solution? He always went into the playroom (his crate) with a treat, a toy and classical music playing whenever anyone came over. Problem solved.

Aly
 

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You can''t fix the problem. He's bitten someone. What if you think you've undid the problem and he bites again? That would be a huge problem. Not worth the risk. Just put him away when people are on your property.
 

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I would also think simply putting the dogs in the house while having neighbors over for a "social" event would obviously stop what happened .....I'm curious though you say the dog's generally hyper-always on the go and very friendly... is it possible this "nip"--jumping up etc. was just excitement over a crowd of people in "his" back yard....I've been around dogs that react that way when they're happy and excited--they get "nippy".....180 degrees from aggression....only you really "know" what you feel you saw....Was it real aggression ? That's not going to change the neighbors trip to the emergency room....I've got that.....but.....it WOULD change how I'd plan for and handle various types of situations....with the dog in the future.
 
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I agree with the others. I am one of several responsible for getting a dog seized by AC. I told the owner before the 2nd incident (me being bitten unprovoked was the first reported), that she can and should do training with a reputable trainer but the first thing she needs to do is make sure her dog does not have access to people, and in this case, other dogs ............

Well she did not listen. The behavior escalated. Dog is gone and I don't feel a bit guilty.

You can and should put the dog up. Like the others said.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Alright. So be it. Crates it will be.


I do have a special someone who will be coming into town in a couple weeks and will be living with me for a time. That person has never met Lanee or Rogan. So how should I approach that for success?
 

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I think you are right @ Waffle Iron - the neighbor and the sound of her voice are have become one of triggers for his defensive aggression.It's pretty well an ingrained 'thing' now and I agree with keeping him separated from any guests.Even if he's out among your friends and family he's comfortable with and he hears the neighbor or the dog,he could get frustrated and nip whomever is nearby to alleviate his stress.I'd be afraid to chance it.You and your dog will both feel less stressed if he's somewhere safe and separate.
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Well one silver lining is we're preparing to move to Florida at the end of the month. Neighbor and the dog will be in the pages of history soon.
 

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Well one silver lining is we're preparing to move to Florida at the end of the month. Neighbor and the dog will be in the pages of history soon.
While this may be true, your dog still bit someone unprovoked, so it seems, and you know about it. So the proposed corrections still apply. Don't take it lightly, bites have a way of getting more severe as time progresses.
 
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