Today my dog bit my daughter's friend. What do I do now?
I want to thank you, Ed and Michael for all the valuable services you provide to dog owners everywhere. I used the information and advice you have on your website plus the discussion boards to obedience train my dog. Nothing special, just a well behaved dog at home and in the park. Today something very sad and terrible happened. I did something very stupid that both me and my dog will regret for the rest of our days together. I want to share it with you and ask a question. I am hoping that if you can share this question with others, they might not make the same stupid mistake.
I have a two year old, medium sized dog. She is obedience trained and good natured. She has never shown dominance issues nor aggresiveness in anyway. I have three children and they all romp and play with the dog. The girls take her balls and chew toys to play fetch or just play in general with our dog. She is great with them. Sometimes they have friends over and the dog loves company. I have never done any type of protection training with the dog, she is exclusively a family pet.
Unfortunately, today the dog bit an 11 year old friend of my daughter. The worst part is, I didn't see what happened. I was in the other room. What the girl told me was that she was crawling on the floor with the dog petting her when the dog turned and bit her in the face. In other words, they were playing. The injury was minor, the girl's top lip was split open.
I don't even know if maybe my dog just turned around quickly and they banged heads, but the girl says she was bit. I have to take this as a dog bite, especially because what if the dog did bite her? I also know the child quite well and she would never tease the dog or hurt the dog (not intentionally).
I have read the advice about never leaving a dog and child together without supervision, but I honestly thought this was for other dogs, not my big hearted, good natured dog. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! This applies to all dogs!
My question is: what do I do now? I obviously can't let children play with my dog because even with supervision, I can't move fast enough to impede a bite when the child is rolling on the ground with the dog. Can they play fetch with her? My children? Other children? I don't don't want to put the dog away everytime we have a vist, or is this what I should do? I feel terrible for the girl that was bit, but I also feel bad for my dog.
Since you didn’t actually see what happened the best advice I can give is to NEVER let your dog interact with anyone unless you are present.
I wouldn’t trust ANY dog out of my sight with people crawling around on the floor, there are just too many unknowns. Maybe the girl poked the dog in the eye or accidentally hurt her, who knows? If this girl was crawling around after the dog and the dog wasn’t comfortable with her in her “face” she may have given her a warning bite, much like dogs do to each other. A bite is a bite though and it could not only cost you monetarily but depending on where you live, your dog could be euthanized for biting.
Since there has already been one incident, why risk another? I would not allow your dog to play with or engage with people from outside your family.
If you had seen the incident I could give you more concrete advice. Hopefully this was an isolated incident and you won’t have to deal with any further bites. I would make sure the dog is under control at all times around people who come to visit.