For 40+ years we've helped over 300,000 dog trainers just like you!

Learn more about Leerburg

$6.99 Flat Rate Shipping

Learn more
Ask Cindy Our Newsletter Free Catalog
Leerburg Articles Dog Training Q&A Archive Kids Bitten By Dogs

Kids Bitten By Dogs

Kids Bitten By Dogs

Have a question you can't find the answer to?
Check out our Leerburg Questions and Answers
with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.

The sad effect of a dog attack of a child
Related Articles:


I am experiencing a problem that I do not know what to do about. I have a 2 year old yellow lab. He’s big, just about 100 lbs. The problem is that within the last 6 months he seems to have gotten more aggressive. He will growl with his hair on end if he sees someone he doesn’t know. A couple of months ago, my son, who is 7 years old, had a couple of friends over, one of the boys bent over to pet my dog, he didn’t know that my dog had a bone near him, my dog growled and lunged at him, biting him between the chest and the belly, leaving a bite the size of a pinky nail. ( My dog is up to date on all his shots ) I attributed his behavior to protecting his bone and thought it to be a “one off” situation. That was until this past weekend. My 7 year old son went to put his head on him and lay on him a little, something he’s always done or been able to do. The dog growled and lunged a him, biting him in his right ear. He left about 4 teeth marks, all breaking the skin and one was a bit deep, which almost needed stitches. My whole family loves this dog especially my 7 year old, even now. ( He cried when I said that I might have to get rid of him ) As I said, he is 2 years old and has NOT been fixed. Is this my problem to his newly aggressive behavior? He is not aggressive with other dogs. He plays and wrestles with them. A friend of mine even brought over her chocolate lab puppy recently and when the two of them were wrestling, the puppy drew blood when he bit my dog with his sharp puppy teeth, my dog never got angry or raised his aggression. Can getting him fixed and maybe some proper training curb this new aggressive behavior? I do not want to wait until the next time when it could be even more serious.

I thank you for any help you could suggest.


Ed's Answer to kids being bite by dog:

You have a serious situation here. For this to work you are going to have to make changes in the way you live with your dog. If you are prepared to do this then it will work. If not, well you had better have damn good insurance.

Here are the main points:

1- Your dog has become a dominant dog. This happens with maturity at 10 to 24 months of age.
2- There are many factors to dominance
3- Dogs are PACK ANIMALS and you don’t understand pack drive. It's much more complicated than the average pet owner thinks it is.
4- You need the DVD I just finished titled DEALING WITH DOMINAT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS
5- I don’t know what level of obedience training your dog has but if its not very good then Basic Obedience is part of the solution.

Here is some reading material:

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there

You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack leader . This is the protocol we use in our home when we raise a puppy for ourselves. It is also the part of the protocol we use to solving behavioral problems such as dominance and/or house breaking problems.

I recommend that you visit my web site and read a training article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

The reason I wrote this article was to help people understand how to motivate their dogs in training. Most people either use the wrong kind of correction or over correct dogs in training. I am not a fan of “force training” (although I most defiantly believe that every dog needs to go through a correction phase). By exploring corrections in training you will become a better dog trainer.

Read the article I wrote titled PREVENTING DOG BITES IN CHILDREN - You can find the list of 300 or so training article I have written.

For the sake of your kids and their friends I hope you step to the line here and make the changes.

Hound that is Aggressive to Children:

Dear Sir,

First I want to say how insightful your web sight was for me. I wanted to ask you a question reguarding my hound dog. She is just over a year old and I am having a few concerns. My boyfriend and I got her when she was eight weeks old from the animal shelter. She barks at any other animal or person that passes by half the time whith her hair raised up. Whith some people she is fine at first then she takes off barking in a mean way and her hair raised up. She has given a few waring nips at our kids but never bit them. But last night my two year old was laying on the bed next our dog and she let out a bark and then bit my daughter hear. She left two teeth marks that drew blood. When I went to correct her she snarled at me. I was wondering with your exsperiance you thought that she will do this again and worse. We also have an akita mix male who is almost three and he has such a mello temperment but when the two are playing the hound dog gets mean with him.

Lately when they play she gets mad and gets rough with him. Please sir if you have any insight or sugestions let me know. I want to keep our dog but I do not want my children to be at risk. Between the two of us we have four kids in age from 6-1.

Thank you for you time.

Answer to aggressive Hound:

These kinds of emails care me because they foreshadow a disaster waiting to happen with children.

You have a dominant dog and you don’t seem to know it/ You need to educate yourself and take the steps to change the way you live with this dog before it attacks your children – which WILL HAPPEN IF YOU CONTNUE AS YOU ARE!!!

Read the article I wrote on PREVENTING DOG BITES IN CHILDREN. You can find these if you go to the list of training articles and scroll down.

I will guarantee you that this dog is not obedience trained. My Basic Obedience DVD will teach you how to do this. You must train it. While training is part f the solution its not all of the solution.

This dog also need work on it’s pack behavior – specifically rank drive. You will never solve the problem unless you address this issue. If you care to learn its covered in detail in my DVD DEALING WITH A DOMINANT DOG.

Here is some reading material:

I would start by recommending you read an article I recently wrote which explains my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some ideas from this.

You should read the article I wrote on GROUND WORK TO BECOMING A PACK LEADER.


My name is Angela and I need some advice on dealing with an aggressive dog.

Here's the story. My brother (27) bought a German Shepard puppy 4+ years ago. Labor Day weekend 2001. The puppy was 4 weeks old when they brought him home. Phillip (my brother) kept the puppy at first in the home, then after their son was born, he went outside in the back yard. Phillip then decides to go into the military. When he goes off to boot camp, he asks my mom to take care of him. My mom, is not a big dog person. She has only ever had small dogs - Chihuahuas and such. But, because Phillip didn't have a place for the dog, she built him a pen in the back yard and said she would take care of him until he could get him back. Well, my mom made an honest effort to learn how to deal with a big dog. She took him to two different types of obedience classes but he was really just too much dog for her. He would bark and act aggressive toward strangers when she would take him for walks. She says he really doesn't like anyone but her. He has bitten my daughter on the hand when she tried to pet him in the presence of my mom and me. He now growls at me if I approach his pen when I visit my mom. She really can't do anything with him and is afraid to take him on walks. Basically, he now lives his life in this pen isolated. Phillip just got out of flight school and has taken a job in our home town beginning in May. They (his family) have found a house and will be moving in shortly. But, he still does not want the dog. My mom thought surely he would take him then, but he said no. Now my mother does not know what to do with the dog. The worse part about this is that my brother does not want my mother to give the dog away. He says he will occasionally come over and play with him - but he never does. My concern is that this dog is going to continue to have aggressive problems if he continues to live in isolation. My mother wants me to help her, but I don't know what to do with the dog. I have spoken with a rescue organization, and they think he will probably have to be put down. My mother is very against this and says if that ends up being their recommendation, he will live the rest of his life with her, in the pen.

Please advice on how I can best help my mom in this situation, before it gets worse and someone, or her, gets hurt.
Thank you.


Ed's Comments:

Your brother is an irresponsible DUMB ASS!!!

I have a two year old lab mix that I picked up from an adoption shelter when she was six weeks old. She has been the greatest family dog we could ask for. She weighs about 55 pounds and thinks that she only weighs 10. She loves to lay on your lap even though she is way too big for it. There is one problem though, with other people she is very timid. One day she won't bark at anyone who comes to our house and other times she scares our guests. Lately she has been fine with adults, but with small children she really scares us. We have a six year old daughter that she has never shown any sign of aggression towards. She is great with her. We have a son on the way and I am nervous that she will react the same to him as she does other children. Why would a dog be such a love to us and some times to other adults, but turn on small children? What should we do? I am really concerned about this because we don't want to put her down. She has too big of a place in our family, but I fear that may be the only option.

Hi. My wife and I became a blended family on 11/15/03. We have four girls in the house, my two being 13 and 15. We also have two dogs, mine a Westie and hers a part Chow and around 100 lbs.

The Chow is one of the most spoiled dogs I've ever seen and it's taken me since our wedding to instill some respect in him. Before our wedding and when it was just my wife and her two girls, the dog ruled the house. Getting food off the counter, insisting on being at the dinner table and when ever the frig was opened, it was like he saw this as his dinner bell. This dog felt like as long as you were breathing you were there to do something for him. We have helped with this by removing him from anywhere that someone is eating or preparing food. Something else he does that I'll note for whatever benefit is that he loves to get used tampons out of the can if he can and he eats them.

My concern is with his aggression. Recently, he has lunged at my two girls when they were unwittingly moving to pick up food from him. He did this to my 13 year old when she came upon him with some food trash on the floor. He bit at her and tore her pants with his teeth or claws. A week ago, he was on the deck where he likes to be when I'm grilling. He has found that he likes to lick the bristled grill brush. My 15 year old went out onto the deck and reached for his collar and he lunched at her biting her finger and putting two gashes in her thigh either from his teeth or claws.

I have discussed this with my wife and we have agreed to try to help him address this if we can but if we can't she agrees that we have to get rid of him. We have a lot of kids in our house and I'm scared that at any moment he could attack one of them if involving some type of food. I'll be honest in saying that I've never liked this dog because he's so labor intensive. I've often said that merging the four girls has been relatively easy but the chow has been difficult. He has been better with what we've done and respects me or fears me (I’ve had to be physical with him on a few occasions). He does mind me and not my wife. I've had lots of dogs in my life and have had some good ones and loved them. This dog just was so incredibly spoiled and completely ruled the house. Any advice? Thanks.

I have a huge problem & I desperately need guidance. My aunt's dog has shown several aggressive tendencies including but not limited to lunging at people, teeth bared, growling, nipping people for normal human behavior (i.e. hugging, kissing, coming into a room or house). Last weekend he lunged at my 2 year old son who was walking past. To be fare my son had run into the room suddenly but the dog had no reason to attack. My aunt's dog trainer told her I need to "dog proof' my child however I don’t think my aunt paints a very accurate picture of her dog to others. In her mind his "protectiveness" is "cute" & she has done nothing to dissuade his behavior. She refuses to acknowledge a problem with her dog or keep him away from other people (including my son).

My son has been around animals since conception & is quite comfortable around dogs. He even knows to hold his hand out in a fist before approaching a new dog. He has never tried to pull the dog's (my aunt's) tail, ears, jump on him or basically threaten, harass him in any way. My aunt seems to think the problem is with everyone else rather then her dog. She's blamed what people are wearing (apparently the dog has a problem with knit hats having come from a kennel where the staff wore them), hugging, kissing, walking to fast, & when all else fails she blames other people saying "the dog reacts to you". The dog "reacted" to my simply walking into a room by sitting up & growling at me. I’m not sure what to do as my aunt seems unwilling to change the dog’s behavior or be honest about his behavior with trainers. (essentially she tries to justify his actions by faulting other people). Do you have any suggestions for my auntlher doglhis trainer? Do you have any suggestions for me (mother of a 2 year old)? My tactic right now is to all together stop seeing her if she insists on having the dog running around loose, is this ok? Do you suggest calling the local Humane Society to come by & evaluate? The dog is a belgian malamut if it helps. Thanks!

My husband and I have a female miniature schnauzer, Lily, that is almost 2 years old. She has been through Puppy Obedience class and adult obedience class. She has been socialized with other dogs and gets along with them fine. We do not have children. The problem that we see happening is Lily's aggressiveness towards children. We leash her when children are around and slowly introduce Lily to the child. We give her "time-outs." She barks and even growls while showing her teeth. We fully understand that this is a characteristic of her breed. However, we would like some help on what to do with her. We plan on having children in the next year and a half and would love for Lily to remain a part of our family. Thank you.

I'm having a dilemma with my sister she has a 10 month old pit bull that has taken on the hobby of biting. He's bitten my niece to where it's punctured the skin and bruised, same with my nephew and in fact it was by his eye from what I've been told my nephew should've gotten a stitch or two but wasn't taken to the hospital or Dr. You can be sitting there doing nothing and he will come up and nip you. Then the kids were in the backyard and a friend was in the back and the pit bull lunged at the boy and bit him on the side of his stomach, the kid needed 20 stitches. The day the dog was supposed to be done with quarantine they had him at the vet and the woman was weighing the dog and the dog lunged for her and got her in the stomach. I walked in the house with my son who is 5 yrs old my sister had him but the dog somehow got my son's arm and bit him, it didn't puncture but did bruise. The Dr. wanted me to call the police on him.I didn't

My sister was saying she was going to get the dog fixed and then get him into dog training. She did fix the dog but nothing as far as training. Now this dog has been around me and my children before with no problems just out of the blue this past Saturday the dog went behind my 9yr old daughter and bit her in the butt. I had to take her to the hospital where she had to get stitches. Since this is the 3rd bite reported the nurses said that it's time the doggie goes for a long night's sleep. My sister is furious at me saying I'm not being open minded about this that the dog didn't mean to bite my daughter. Yes it was dumb of me to even think of bringing my children over there with my sister not even doing anything about the dog. He doesn't have a crate, he has free roam of the house and sleeps on the couch with whoever happens to be sleeping there that night. Should this dog be put down or can he really be trained? Thank you.

Thanks Ed!!! After I emailed you I found out that another 9 yr boy went into my sister's house following my nephew and the dog attacked him causing him to get 28 stitches in the chest. I did join your forum and have read so much from there and your site!!! I called the health dept and asked what is going to be done about it, he told me because my sister has done everything that the city has asked of her with the vicious dog act, they have to have the Kenosha City Attorney take a look at what has happened. I told him that is stupid, my sister is being irresponsible when it comes to the dog, it would be different if she was training the dog but heck she has an autistic child she doesn't even work with. I have to call back on the 10th. It's ashamed that my sister is that mad at me that she is no longer talking to me. O'well l'll put my energy else where!!! I have a German Shorthaired Pointer that is 8 yrs old and he's a wonderful dog, it's good to know that I have been doing things right with him. The breeder helped me quite a bit. My oldest daughter is looking to become a K9 trainer and I told her to go to your website she would learn A LOT. Thanks again for emailing me and for having a great website!!!

I will give you just the facts: 11-year old cream pure-bred Chow. Never had an aggression problem. Socialized him a LOT when he was small so he got used to a variety of different people (kids, older people, etc.). Two weeks ago, my son had a bunch of his friends over (all 14 years old). My dog (Oliver) looks like a big stuffed animal, so a lot of these kids like to pet him. He usually does not mind, but after while he wants to be left alone. I told these kids 5 times -- leave the dog alone now, that is enough. Sure enough, he went after this one kid and got him pretty good in the neck. Two weeks later, at home, my 14 year old son was petting Oliver. Oliver gets HIM right in the nose. Don I t know what to do -- can you help???

I am emailing you to seek your professional opinion, on my dog's behavior with my baby. The dog gets hyper whenever you try and pick the baby up or play with him. It appears that he is extremely jealous! He has nipped at the baby on more than one occasion. If the baby is lying down and no one is touching him, the dog is fine. Mr. Frawley, I do not want to get rid of my dog. He is a good pet. I am running out of options and need some advice on what to do. I trust your opinion. What can I do to stop this behavior? I do not want to keep putting him away in his crate every time that I play with the baby. Please advise. Thanks in advance. My dog is a Shepherd from Czech. He is 2 1/2 years old.

Thanks for your site. I've used your videos and advice from your website to train my dog. He is an 11 month old doberman. He is obedience trained and well socialized. I will let you know that he is train on and off leash and recalls 100%. My 4 year old daughter was bit on the head by my dog while she was pulling on the dog's hind leg. My wife was in the next room so she did not see what happened, I was not home. The wounds my daughter received were not bad. She has a few minor scratches on her scalp. I know that my daughter was not exhibiting proper behavior towards the dog but his reactions do not seem rite for the offense. At about 8 months he also bit a 10 year old boy in the same manor. Again I was not home and my wife did not see the incident. Is this dog displaying a very bad temperament? My children have laid with him on the floor, given him hugs, and played outside with him. I did not feel he would react that way with my daughter. I am not sure which path to follow. Any advice would be well appreciated.


I am fostering a GSD for a local rescue. She is only 7 months and very sweet. She has no training or manners at all but the worst problem right now is that she is barking and biting lightly on our daughters arm and when my 2 year old walks around the house, she is right there running with her put nipping the whole time. I recently had her on the couch with me petting her, and when my daughter came in the room she stood up and barked and carried on. At other times she goes up to my daughter and licks her to death. So what do you think is going on? Thanks so much.

I'm hoping you can help me or steer me in the right direction regarding my dog. I have an 8 month old cockapoo (CoCo). She is normally very submissive. She usually goes down to the ground for anyone or any other animal that approaches. She generally has a friendly, playful attitude. The problem is her increasing aggression towards my 10 year old son (& me on 1 occasion). She has no problem if you take away her food or her toys. However, she becomes extremely vicious if we try to take away an item she is not supposed to have (eg. she will try to take socks from the laundry room any chance she gets). We normally just shake her box of treats and offer a treat if she will trade it for the item she has. That works fine. One time I was babysitting and didn't have the treats handy. She had taken a nerf toy. When I tried to retrieve it, she began snarling and shaking her head side to side to bite me if my hand went near her mouth. It eventually escalated to the point where she jumped up and bit my knee when I finally took it from her. Immediately afterward, she went down on the ground and waited for me to tell her she could get up.

Yesterday, we had people over for the holiday. My son was sitting on the floor by her. She was going after someone's soda and my son was trying to pull her back, when she turned on him and viciously snarled and scratched his chest (it may have been with her teeth - it happened pretty fast). I jumped up and yelled NO and pulled her off him. She immediately stopped and was again complacent. I just don't want this to escalate any further. Is there anything specific we can do or do we need to see a trainer? I appreciate any advice you can give.

I have a 13 month old male mastiff. He has been around children of various ages every day since we got him. I spent many hours in obedience classes and in private classes and would consider him well trained. We were in the process of getting his CGC Certificate. We were doing agility (just for the fun and the experience - he is obviously too big and slow) He has been well socialized and we take him everywhere. He has never been aggressive with anything or anyone. Anyone can take his food/toys right out of his mouth. I have never had any concerns. He is just a big mountain of loveable mush. Until the other day.

My 18 month old granddaughter (who has lived with us/him his whole life) fell next to him while he was lying on the floor. He immediately began snarling and growling. (It was the first time we had even heard him growl.) My husband and I immediately headed over to them - while I was telling him to settle. He seemed not to hear. By the time we got there he had gone from growling next to her to pinning her to the ground in a totally ferocious, snarling growl. His mouth was only an inch or two from her face. The baby was not the least bit afraid and so did not move. I truly feel had she moved or struggled he would have bitten her. I grabbed him by the collar and hauled him up in the air as high as I could while my husband grabbed the baby by the legs and pulled her out from under him.

As I pulled the dog up he turned and tried to bite me. I let go as he was so heavy. Anyway he turned towards me and began advancing with the same snarly, teeth showing, growl. He just kept advancing and I kept walking slowly backwards while still talking to him. As I said before he seemed not to hear. He didn't seem to know who I even was. (I am the one who had done all the training) But what I really noticed were his eyes. They just seemed vacant somehow. Anyway when I could not go back any farther and he was still advancing - I panicked and grabbed a large coffee cup and slammed him on the nose as hard as I could.

The change in the dog was instant. His eyes came back into focus. His tongue came out. His tail started to wag and he just trotted off and got a drink like nothing had happened. I almost wondered if I had imagined the entire thing because it was so out of character. For now we are keeping the dog crated/gated away from everyone while we decide what to do. We have decided we can't keep him. Kids come first. Our vet thinks we should put him down. He thinks he possibly may have Rage Syndrome. Our trainer says more training or a household with no kids. We are confused. I don't want to destroy him needlessly, but don't want to pass on a dangerous dog to someone else. Any thoughts? We truly love this dog and don't want to make a responsible decision. Thanks.

I have a 7 month old german sheperd bitch whose previous owner abused her, I have three children ages 10, 5, and 2, she doesn’t seem to take with my two youngest, how do I make her love and respect my children?, please help we all love sheba to bits and don’t want her to be uprooted to a different owner, thank you.


I live in England, I am 32 years old and live with my husband. We have a 9 year old son. A year ago this month we bought a jack russel terrior, (sparrow) whom we love very much. We trained him at home following advice from internet and lots of books. For the most part he is obedient, but lately after turning 12 months old he's started to show signs of aggression. He hasn't been neutered, as we were wanting to breed him, but now we've ditched the breeding idea, the person we were going to breed him with had a beautiful jack russel bitch, but unfortunately she was in a road accident recently.

He shows plenty of submission i.e. lays on his back when we approach him if he's chewed something, and hides away when he's in trouble, he even urinates sometimes while in the down position when we say down. The worst of it though is he growls constantly now at our son, sometimes at me, on rare occasion at my husband, but ALWAYS at our 9 year old son. example: the dog will be layed on the floor sleeping, our son enters the room, says hi to the dog goes to stroke him and the dog growls and goes behind the chair glowling. Other times, our son will go to play with him or grab a dog toy to play with him and the dog shows his teeth, also if the dog has gone off into a corner or behind a chair growling, and we go to scold him he shows his teeth at us and growls, if we go to grab him he goes to bite!! It’s as upsetting as the rest of the time or when our son is out he's so friendly and loveable.

We are going to have him neutered and are hoping for at least a small change in regarding this aggression. He's also started barking constantly when outside, and seems to hate all the neighborhood cats! when told to stop barking he'll only stop if we bring him in and scold him.

He jumps constantly on any visitors, but not aggressively, he urinates with exciment and wags his tail whilst jumping up. When we knock him down it’s as if we're not here, he just carries on until he's taken to another room. But it's the growling towards our son I'm most concerned with I don't want to have to destroy the dog or take him to an animal shelter. I want him to Love and respect us all, not just certain people.

We've tried letting our son give him his meal and hod his lead tightly while on walks, and when our son calls him back to the lead when out on walks the dog does come back, our son can get him to sit, give paw etc, but sure enough towards the middle and end of the day the growling starts. When we wake in the morning after he's been out and greeted myself and my husband, he'll go to the closed door of our sons room and constantly wine and paw at he door until he gets up, then he lays in a submissive position and wants fussing, so that’s why we can't understand the behavior latter on in the day.

The dog does sleep in our room but only ant the foot of the bed on the floor on a dog rug. He was only allowed in our room when he was 4 months old AFTER he'd slept in the kitchen without wining, he's fully house trained and doesn't urinate anywhere in the house or ant other toilet actions for that matter. He doesn't mount any people or objects only other dogs male and female! He is fed only after we have all eaten and cleared up and although he does sit on the sofa he mainly keeps to the floor and we scold bad behavior and reward good behavior with treats. He recently had a fight with another dog which was pretty scary, but no injuries and was over very quickly. Have you any ideas where we might be going wrong? And do you think us neutering him will help even now that he's 12 months old?


Hello Ed,

I have a 4 year old male Chow-border collie mix (about 70-80 lbs now). We got him from an animal shelter and were told he was 8 weeks (although he seemed a bit big for 8 weeks), had his first shots and was neutered (he still had stitches when we got him). The shelter originally told us he was a chow-black lab mix which they assumed because he has black spots on his tongue and he is "black." It became apparent soon after that he was no retriever so after much research we came to the conclusion he was chow-border collie mix because he looked much like a border collie (both as a pup and adult) and the personality matched almost identically to the border collie description. We did research early on about proper "to-do's" and "not to-do's" with chows and border collies and made efforts to train him accordingly (but never beating or anything abusive).

He's grown up to be a very playful, nurturing, loving, very affectionate and very obedient dog. He's also been very easy to train, does well with strangers, other animals and especially loves children. Once we started expanding our 'hobby farm' (he was 1 yr old) he started chasing everything (seemingly a game - if the "chasee" stopped, he stopped chasing) so we trained him to use that energy to 'round them up' or to stop chasing if we say so - commands which he has obeyed ever since. 

We have 3 kids - ages 10, 8 and 2 which he LOVES to play with and many animals which he is totally comfortable around.  He shows no aggression to any of them and allows them to play, run, lay on him and is totally at ease (one of our cats regularly naps ON the dog). I believe he very much knows his place in our family 'pack' ... if he even so much as tries to sneak a 'sniff' of the two year old (which is NEVER left alone with him) all I have to do is LOOK at him in a certain way and he moves away. He doesn't go in or out of anywhere unless we say it's OK, he doesn't eat until I say he can start, and if distracted by something 'big' I can easily get him under control or back to me. So I think he's pretty well trained that way. 

That said, of course I wouldn't be writing if I didn't have an issue ...recently we were gone on vacation and he growled at a friend of ours (who he knows well) who came to feed him and the other animals - however, the friend was pushing him away from the cat's food which the dog was trying to get into (he likes to 'sample' the other animals' food if he can get at it). The week after we got back he was eating the cracked corn we put out for the ducks on our pond and my daughter (age 8) grabbed his jaw to pull him away...he of course snapped at her, not hard enough to break skin but enough so that when she pulled her had away it left a light scratch (which faded within a couple hours). Well I immediately scolded him (and he immediately laid on the ground submissively) and of course scolded my daughter since she knows not to do that.  That same week the kids went back to school and he always gets a little more 'ancy' when this happens I suspect because he doesn't get to play and run around as much.  That week I started walking him more and did some "refresher training" and he seemed back to his old self within a couple weeks or less.  

The only other times he's shown aggression are 1.) if you try to get him in a vehicle (he will resist and if pushed or lifted to get in will growl and snap even at me)...or 2.) if other animals try to get at food he's eating. Like I said, otherwise he's very obedient, loving, affectionate, affection seeking dog, always keeping an eye out for the kids (one of the the only time he barks is if he knows he kids are outside, he is tied up and can't see them - he is anxiety ridden until they are playing within his sight).   

That all said, although all seems back to normal again, I do worry about these recent incidents. They seem to be a 'normal' dog response to food being taken away but with that aggressive breed in him I want to be careful not to make assumptions. So, wanting to get your advice as to whether or not it makes sense for us to keep the dog, or at least what we need to know/do should we keep the dog (which we'd prefer since we all love him). My fear is that he's getting less patient as he's getting older and more likely to snap or bite or have an incident happen? Is that normal for an aging chow mix breed? Should I be worried or am I over-reacting? He has always loved kids, and seems to just be in heaven around them, however I would hate for someone to ever get bit if one time he's had a lapse of patience.

Thanks for your insight....Amy


The issues you are having now, are not a matter of obedience training but pack structure. If you have ruled out a physical problem for the growling and snapping and he checks out to be fine, then you need to become more of a leader for this dog at all times. I would also hesitate to have a child or non family member interact with any dog around food or something (like the cracked corn) that is perceived as food.

Most dogs become more confident as they get older, and will push the limits of the pack structure to see if they can move up in rank.

We are just releasing a video called Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet. You can read the web page to see what it covers. I might also suggest DEALING WITH DOMINANT AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS  this will show the proper techniques for managing and correcting aggression in your dog.

I hope this helps.

I recently came across your website and really appreciated the answers you were giving people.

I have a question I'd like your opinion on. I have a 15 month old daughter, and about 1 month ago, we got a 7 week old Lab/Catahoon (not sure of the spelling) mix from a shelter. For the first 3 weeks everything was fine. He got along great with my daughter. Recently he started nipping at my husband and I, but never at my daughter. A few days ago, he started running toward my daughter, knocking her down, then peeing on her. He's done this numerous times in the past few days. What would be your suggestions to curbing this problem? Thank you so much for your help?

Dog Bite:

On 03/02/1984 I was 6 years old when the neighbor’s dog bit me. I was in the owner’s house, watching TV, the dog was sitting in front of me, I kind of had to look around the dog to see the cartoons. My name was mentioned in a conversation between Neighbor and my mom so I turned my head to look at them. That was when the dog jumped at me.

In picture 1 you can see how I couldn’t close my eye all the way—this was because my eyelid had been torn off and was hanging next to my nose.  After being re-attached, it was a little too short. Pictures 2 and 3 were me sitting on the couch at home after coming home from the hospital. Picture 4 is after the stitches were removed from the tear in my face; puncture wounds all healed pretty well. Picture 5 depicts a better-healed scar.

I had plastic surgery twice to remove the scar, my eyelid is still a little different than the other one—not noticeable to the average person but very aggravating to anyone putting make-up on me! The physical scar under my eye has been totally removed but it was very painful and frightening as I was still rather young when the surgeries occurred and when they do surgery right under your eye, they can’t allow you to be put under as they need your eye to stay open... scary to say the least.

The emotional trauma was enormous. The taunting from other children about my messed-up face, cruel and painful. The subsequent surgeries were terrorizing. 

This dog had bitten another child in the neighborhood not too long before me, in the face as well. The owners said it wouldn’t happen again and the dog was allowed to live. Then, my mom and I went over to Neighbor’s house for a visit, they talked while I watched TV.

Dog-weary mother of 2 girls who aren’t even allowed to LOOK at a dog

Dog Bite Dog Bite
Dog Bite Dog Bite
Dog Bite  

Ed's Response:

Thank you for sending this. I will add it to the article I wrote on Kids and dogs. People need to see how important it is to control the environment their dogs are allowed to be in,

Too many are just stupid pet owners who live in denial of their dogs aggressive problems.

Ed Frawley

Dog Bite:


I recently stumbled upon your website, I see that you are always on the look out for pictures of bites, so here u go.

Well on 03/03/10 @ about 4:30 my son (7 years old) was playing outside with his friend like he always does. A neighbor let her dog outside while she checked the mail. Well my sons friend (7 year old boy) barked at the dog but then the dog came running and growling after them so the boys were scared and made a run for it but the dog was faster and jumped up and bite my son on his back. The lady heard him screaming so she turned and quickly got her dog and put him away, her dog is a Shepard/lab mix 2 1/2 year old by the way. The owner also said that he has never done this before and he always plays with kids and she didn't know what happened, she kind of blamed it on the other kid for barking... I blame it on her because where I live there is a leash law and she clearly didn't follow it... Luckily the bite was not too deep but it did get a little infected and we had to put him on stronger antibiotics,  but my son is a little messed up over it mentally.

My question is; Is it normal behavior for a so called friendly dog to do this? To me this is not normal and the dog should have never done this but I'm not an expert...

Thank you,

Dog Bite Dog Bite
Dog Bite Dog Bite

Ed's Response:

I wrote an article on my website about preventing dog bits in children. While it doesn’t deal with this exact issue, every dog owner who has a dog around children may want to read it.

In your case there is a degree of responsibility that you need to accept with supervising your children and his friends. While I was not there, taunting a dog is not a smart thing to do. Your son paid the price for his friend's misbehavior.

So should this dog have done this? NO. Should the other boy have taunted the dog? NO.

In addition, turning and running probably triggered this dog to chase and bite. The odds are had the kids stood their ground and faced the dog he would have run up and barked. The owner would have heard this and come and got her dog under control. That may have been difficult for kids to do but had anyone ever told them how to deal with a dog they would have known to stand still with their hands crossed in front and tucked under their arms. If they get knocked down, they should lay on their stomach and cover their head with their arms and not scream.

The bottom line is almost all dog bites are preventable. In this case your son was lucky it was not worse. This neighbor should never have this dog off leash. Not ever and not for any reason.

Dog Bite:


I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for some material in training my dog not to bite. We have a 7 month old male shitzu/ Yorkie mix that is showing signs of aggression towards my 6 year old son. He has bit my son twice to the point of drawing blood. We had a trainer come out and work with the two of them to try and repair the bond. It seemed she worked more with training my son than with the dog. She taught my son not to stare him in the eye and not to be ground level with the dog and to stand tall. The first time he bit my son was a couple of months ago. I was holding him and my son reached in to pet him and he bit his hand puncturing it and drawing blood. Last night he bit my son again in the face. He took one of my son’s toys and when he reached down to get it the dog lunged at my son’s face growling and snarling and bit him and held on until l I swatted him. Luckily he only weighs about 6lbs and didn’t do much damage… I have been researching Yorkie pet rescues today for placement. But I am wondering if he is fixable at this point and can be trained to be a loving dog with my son. He is fine with myself, my husband and our 9 year old daughter. He is currently being crate trained. And when out of the crate we keep him on the leash in the house at our sides while the kids are home until he can be trusted. He bit my son yesterday while on the leash. We planned on having him neutered this month. I’d hate to give him away if there is some hope for him but then again I would never forgive myself if he seriously injured my son or another child for that matter. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.


Dog Bite

Ed's Response:


Most self described professional trainers don’t understand dog aggression and dominance. I can’t tell you how often I get emails like yours.

The fact is this dog is the way he is because of how you have lived with him. I don’t mean this in a negative way – most people just don’t understand how important this is with SOME (not all) dogs. Yours happens to be the kind of temperament that needs very specific rules and it needs to understand the consequences of not following the rules. It’s no different than raising a child.

You need to change the way you live with your dog. Run it through a pack structure program – this is details in the DVD I produced titled Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Dog.

You should also get the DVD titled Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs. I would also have this dog wear a dominant dog collar when on leash - how to use it is explained in the dominant dog DVD and on my web site.

This can be fixed if you make the decision to educate yourself and your family.

Ed Frawley

20% off Select Ed Frawley and Forrest Micke DVDs, streams, and courses good through Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT