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I have not visited the site in a long time and my gsd has since passed, but I didn't know where else to turn for help.

About 3 weeks ago I adopted a Jack Russell/pointer mix. He is sweet and loving and most content when he is curled up next to you. He walks well on leash and I even take him running.

Last night he was laying on the floor, curled up by my feet in the kitchen under the table. My 16 year old daughter came in the room and was talking to me. Without any warning, no growl or bark, he lunged at her from under the table and bit her twice before we could get ahold of him.

I called the Humane Society this morning to return him or have him put to sleep. The lady said that she thought he had become overly protective of me and she suggested that we take him to see Dr Hunthausen an animal behaviorist before making that decision. The Society will pay the bill for his evaluation and training.

I just wanted your opinions.

Thanks.

Krisi
 

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I would also try giving this dog another chance. If he's only been with you for 3 weeks, he's still trying to figure out the ropes. Have him evaluated. And put him on a leash (even in the house) so that you have control of him and can correct him.
 

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Originally Posted By: Lakeguy929Why would you consider having him PTS?
Well if the dog has a true aggression problem, not everyone is willing to deal with it and all aggression problems are not solvable, so, IMHO, passing it off to a shelter to live a life of unknown fate, it would be kinder to PTS. It is also NOT at all easy to find homes for dogs with these types of issues.

I am not saying that it cannot be worked out and I would advise the OP to see an animal behaviorist if he is willing to work on the problem.
 

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You will be doing great things in working with this dog-- but the great news is that you will not be alone. Already the shelter has professionals in mind to guide you. Sure, you yourself will be investing the time and effort into rehabilitating or training him, but, this is what is so super about having the guidance and support of those professionals on your side. I am glad that they will be helping you as you provide what he needs to live in your household. He's a fortunate dog to have you working with him.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I didn't want to have him put to sleep, I didn't even want to return him. I cried until 1am over this dog. I have never had a dog attack one of my kids. My gsd would never have done that in a million years, when the kids were toddlers, they would use him to pull up on and he would nudge them and walk beside them. It was terrifying to see this dog attacking my child. I just didn't think there was another option.

I am very glad to work with him, and I feel better today knowing that there is hope.

My biggest concern honestly is that this attack seemed to come out of the blue. Nothing provoked him. I am concerned still that there could be something wrong with him that can't be fixed with training. But I am more than willing to try. However, I can not put my kids in danger.
 

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Good luck and keep us posted. This board is a great resource.
 

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Rarely, in my experience, do dogs really bite for no reason even when it looks like it to us, so I wouldn't worry too much yet that he's got something wrong with thim.

JRTs are very feisty little dogs and they can have very high prey drives. We've got one we're fostering now that you can literally lift all the way off the floor when he's playing with his tug toy and he will not let go. It could have been something like he thought your daughter's pants legs (or legs) looked inviting and he was going to go do his terrier thing, it could have been a fearful response because scary legs were too near his "den" under the table and he ran out to neutralize the threat, it's hard to say.

In most cases, these things can be fixed if the owner is willing to work on them. The behaviorist should be able to help you pinpoint the reason for the bite and design a training program from there.

Good luck and thanks for giving this guy a chance!
 

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Originally Posted By: KrisiKLast night he was laying on the floor, curled up by my feet in the kitchen under the table. My 16 year old daughter came in the room and was talking to me. Without any warning, no growl or bark, he lunged at her from under the table and bit her twice before we could get ahold of him.
I'm going to be the other side of the fence on this one. This is not behavior that is within the normal spectrum. It would be one thing if he came out from under the table growling and posturing, but he bit ... twice.

I'm sorry, but this is scary. You've had him three weeks, which (IMHO) has given him adequate time and this doesn't seem like a transition issue (which usually, again IMHO, happens within the first two weeks).

Maybe it's a medical issue that Wayne Hunthausen can help with, but do you really want a dog with this kind of issue living in your house? What if it was a visitor with toddlers?
 

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BTW -- Wayne Hunthausen isn't a behaviorist, he's a veterinarian that has a lot of experience with organic causes of aberrant behavior and medical intervention therapies.

I've attended one of his seminars and he's fabulous!
 

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Well one thing is for sure is for saftey sake you have to "manage" this dog very carefully in all situations since it did come out of the blue and you did not see any warning.
 

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Originally Posted By: Susan F
KrisiK said:
Last night he was laying on the floor, curled up by my feet in the kitchen under the table. My 16 year old daughter came in the room and was talking to me. Without any warning, no growl or bark, he lunged at her from under the table and bit her twice before we could get ahold of him.
I'm going to be the other side of the fence on this one. This is not behavior that is within the normal spectrum. It would be one thing if he came out from under the table growling and posturing, but he bit ... twice.


Hmm, I wouldn't consider this behavior very unusual. He was startled in his sleep so he launched out and bit. If he were awake, he could've acted more rational (growl first), but he was half asleep and just reacted. Wouldn't be the first dog who does this.
The initial bite was prob. due to being startled and the second out of fear or frustration. Who knows what happened to him when he was asleep in his cage at the shelter. Alot of people working there aren't very nice to dogs.
I would def. crate him in the future, so he's not going to be disturbed when he's sleeping.
 

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The thing that makes me think she needs an expert to evaluate him before making any irrevocable decisions is that sometimes the behavior as observed/described/interpreted wasn't the behavior from the dog's point of view - no disrespect to the OP
. Since the dog was under the table and she doesn't know him well yet, she may not have seen the whole thing or known what she was seeing if she did.

Very good dog owners can still vary in their experience interpreting animal behavior and I think she's asking for input precisely because she is a caring pet owner but not a behavioral expert.

There have been several posts on this board where interpreted one way the dog was unfixable and definitely should be PTS but after having someone else evaluate the dog, there was more going on and it turned out to be no big deal (for example Sebastian the "aggressive" shepherd in MI recently) who was doing uninhibited play biting and the owners thought he was attacking people.

I have fostered quite a few JRTs and they have their own breed quirks which are different from GSDs so that's got to go into the interpretation too. I don't find the bite-and-run attack from small dogs to be all that uncommon. They seem to favor the preemtive strike sometimes where a GSD would be more inclined to cower back and offer repeated warnings.

It *sounds* to me like this guy got startled, felt cornered, and lashed out. If that's the case, the behavior can be fixed so that he's very good with the family but he may always be at elevated risk of biting strangers. That may or may not be something the owners want to have to manage for. But again, without evaluating the dog, that's just one of many possibilities.
 

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This is one of those dogs I would like to meet. Before getting Timber, my GSD, I inherited a Jack Russell from my ex. He was a bit of a biter, but my kids who were much younger at the time then you daughter could handle him.

I am wondering how severe the bites were, and how your daughter feels about the dog. Also, how old is the dog.

Under no circumstances would I have the dog killed. At the least, place the dog with a rescue group if you decide not to keep it.
 
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