View Full Version : dogs
I have an issue with my stepson's dog...
this dog is a maltese-****zu (sp)... it lives at his house, and he has had it for around 2 yrs. When he first got this dog he was only 2yrs old and was very mean to it... he used to kick it, bite it, throws toys at it and generally mistreat it. His mum used to tell him off but we all know how well 2 yr olds listen if you dont enforce it.
Now 2 yrs on he is alot nicer to his dog, and the dog has no problems with him. but during these 2 yrs this dog has bitten him twice. We have told his mum both times that the dog should be gotten rid of.
The last time the dog bit him was well over 8mths ago, however i now have a very active 9mth old who crawls around the house where this dog is. In the last 3 times we have been there this dog has almost bitten him 3 times. The first time he interrupted the dogs sleep, so i could understand a little bit that time, but was still not happy about it... after all how do u tell a 9mth old to stay away from a sleeping dog.
But the last two times he has not touched the dog, and the last time he was no where near the dog when it flew off the couch and tried to bite him.
I am so worried that this dog will bite him eventually, and being a crawler i am worried it is going to be the face. My stepson's mum wont get rid of the dog even thou by law she has to because it has bitten someone.
Is there anything i can do, or any way i can approach the subject better. The last time we threw the dog outside and have told his mum that ethan will not be coming there unless the dog is kept outside but i know as winter sets in she wont be as willing to keep the dog out all day.
Hi Ethan's Mum
I'm assuming that your son is only there for a few hours at a time? Couldn't they put the dog in another part of the house (even the laundry / bathroom) and shut the door? If they're not prepared to do that, will they keep the dog on a lead so that dog knows whose boss and they can stop the dog if it goes for child? (I once saw this as a suggestion when introducing dogs to new babies - keep the dog on a lead, because it then knows that you are in charge). If they won't do either of these simple things, maybe you need to out your foot down and no visits till your son is walking reliably and can physically deal with an aggressive little dog.
Any dog should be taught that even children are above them in the "pack" pecking order. Kids get bitten when dogs think that they are in a dominant position above the children.
Hope this helps
This is a tough one with arguments for both sides!! I am a vet nurse so hopefully can offer you some advice.
Firstly the dog can't be blamed for his behaviour if he was treated badly to start with. It is up to us as adults to monitor this and not allow it to happen. On saying this though the dog needs to be trained (which can be done) to stop the biting. You will probably find it is simply out of fear, especially as it is a small dog. The trust needs to be built up again and simple things like getting your step son to place down his food bowl(then walk away), offer him treats and let the dog come to him not him go to the dog for a pat. None of this is going to happen overnight though and further obedience training needs to be done for basic demands 'sit', 'stay' so you have some control over the situation.
I would definately make sure the dog is out though when your son is around as it will just see him as another threat. And we all know how hard it is to monitor a 9mo!! :)
Make sure that none of the children go near the dog when he is sleeping or eating as these are the times when the risk is real!
Phew.....seriously I could go on all day so if you want to ask anything else you can send me a private message if you like.
Maybe there could be an option of re-homing the dog. There are plenty of people without children that would be happy to take on a little dog like this.
I agree with all the advice, except this little bit:
.... no visits till your son is walking reliably and can physically deal with an aggressive little dog.
No child can or should have to physically deal with an aggressive dog, even a small dog. If the dog continues to be aggressive without warning, and even after training, then it needs to be separated and kept in control (leash) when kids are around.
As far as training, if I understand correctly it's the dog's turf that your son is invading. With your son only as a visitor it is going to be difficult to establish your son as the dominant. Not impossible, but difficult. So it's important that your stepson and his mum are also reinforced as the dominant and the dog as lowest in the pack. There are lots of websites out there with advice on how to establish dominance over a dog, some basic rules are:
- The dog always gets fed last, never before humans eat.
- It's not allowed up on beds or furniture. It should have it's own dog bed. If absolutely necessary designate one chair as the dog's but no humans sit there.
- Humans always walk through doors before the dog.
- The dog (& humans) need to go through a basic obedience training course. And the dog should be following those commands in the house.
A couple other tips - if a leash is used when the kids are around then it shouldn't be kept tight. A tight leash, restraining the dog, can actually cue the dog that there is something wrong and may make it more aggressive. Instead keep the leash slightly slack so there is no pressure on the dog's neck but be ready to tighten it and reprimand the dog if necessary, and then let the leash be slack again once the dog is back in control (we use a sitting position, my dog knows I'm in control when it's sitting).
Secondly, I think that when you're having controlled interaction between a baby/child and an animal the animal should always have the option to move away if it doesn't want contact anymore. One of our dogs was always nervous around our dd and we've kept this rule. The dog is pretty tolerant, but when she's had enough she knows she can move away and we'll stop Chloe from following her.
Thanks for your comment, and I think you are absolutely right. I guess I was a bit more concerned about the (very) slightly more vulnerable crawling baby as opposed to the slightly more robust toddler :o but you are right and neither risk is acceptable. It doesn't matter how old the child is, the dog/child interaction still needs to be controlled.
Just a slightly off-base question for all you vet type people out there: is there a recommended minimum age that a child should be before you get a dog? I know that many people manage to successfully integrate a baby into a house with a dog, and that's not what I'm worried about. If you haven't had a dog before the kids arrived, should you wait until the kids are a certain age? Just to clarify, I'm not really worried about the dog harassing the child, more the other way around :rolleyes: .
I think you have a tough situation. The dog can't be blamed for it's behaviour and your child certainly isn't at fault either. I agree that obedience training is essential and having separate zones of the house isn't a bad idea either. I think the biggest problem is actually the breed of dog. Those little terriers are terrors. They are snappy and lash out when intimidated which happens often.
Sorry I can't offer any help (just opinions) but if you can avoid the dog being there altogether it is probabley for the best. Like I mentioned they are not a good breed of dog to have around children.
We recently from the pound got a 1.6 year old maltese ****zu x and have found him not to be a problem with our daughter. He play bites but not to the point where he means it to be aggressive.
So in defence of this breed, my daughter hits him, pulls his fur, lays on him, kicks him (she is always diciplined) and he always puts up with it. I cannot imagine this dog retaliating. So i'm not worried about this breed in case anyone does want to get this type of dog.
I'd be more worried about dogs such as german shepards, pit bulls etc...
A dog of ANY breed can be aggressive, unpredictable, and/or vicious. It really depends on the pattern of behaviour set by the dog's first owners.
Dear Ethan's Mum,
It sounds like you are trying hard not to upset anybody, but you have to put your son first and ask that the dog be kept away from your son just while visit.
Could you ever forgive yourself if the dog attacked your son?
Hi, I really feel for you and being a dog lover, him too. I don't think that age matters when getting an animal, just like everyone has said the dog needs to know it's position in the family pack. I've got an 11yo std poodle and he has always been treated as the baby of the family. He was my 16th birthday pressie so has always been my boy. But, as soon as i found out i was pregnant i kept telling him that there was going to be another baby soon. He has always been very possesive of me, but i think he knew something was diffferent even before i told him. "Doggy Intuition". Also being indoor/outdoor dog he saw all of the baby stuff coming into the house. I've nto had any problems with him, he checks kailen when he's in his cot or playing on the floor. Now whenever he walks past kailen reaches out to pat him and he stops for it too. It doesn't matter if kailen grabs his hair, he knows that he's just patting him. Maybe my dog is just used to be involved as part of the family. Where we go, he goes.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.9 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.