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Categories: Dog Bites

Q. I have a problem with a friend's dog and I don't know what to do about it. I am wondering if you could give me advice or direction on what to do.
Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have a problem with a friend's dog and I don't know what to do about it. I am wondering if you could give me advice or direction on what to do.

This may be a little long, so I apologize now if it is. I have been with my boyfriend for almost three years and have known him for five. His family has a Springer Spaniel. I have never liked that dog. The first time I walked through that door, his dog showed his teeth and growled the whole time. Nobody did anything. He greets me at the door now but I can't touch him, his toys, or sit on the couch when he is in the room. Sitting next to my boyfriend, or anyone else, is also out of the question as far as the dog is concerned. He came from an abused past. When they got him at the age of 3 (shortly before I met the family) he bit everybody in the family, even drawing blood. Why they kept him is beyond me. I have been bitten three times, just by walking by, and snapped/lunged at several times. I would tell myself "If I get snapped at today, I'll smack him" but when it happens, I'm too shaken up and scared to even want to attempt that. The family doesn't punish or correct the dog when he displays aggressive behavior. They yell "Lay down!" or "No!" but ten minutes later, the dog is being petted and let on the couch. I don't think they realize how dominant or aggressive this dog really is. If he wants a treat, all he has to do is bark at somebody or put his legs up on them. They think it's cute when he does this. I don't. This summer, I said hi to the dog as I walked by and he snapped at me. What did my boyfriend's sister do? She asked if the DOG was okay. Didn't say a WORD about me. Didn't say ANYTHING to correct the dog. In fact, she tried to comfort him. My boyfriend is starting to wonder why I don't go over to his house anymore. NO ONE corrects the dog. NO ONE defends me from the dog except my boyfriend, but all he does is yell at him and is done with it. What do I do? They aren't doing anything about this dog's problems and they have had him for six years! None of them have put him on his back because "he doesn't like it."

Note: I can not "alpha roll" this dog no matter how many people tell me I should do this. I am only 5' tall with a small body structure. The dog weighs a little less than half of what I weigh. If I "alpha roll" this dog, I will get bit and will more than likely end up in the hospital. I love my boyfriend and I love his family, I really do. But I am so tired of the dog and nobody dealing with the problem. Is there anything I could do? It's not just my safety I'm worried about, it's anybody that doesn't know the dog that decides to pet him when they walk by the house (they don't have a fence and they don't tie the dog up when he's outside). I am hoping that someone can give me an answer on what to do. I hope to hear back from you.

Sincerely,
Bea

A. We get a lot of emails from people about neighbors’ dogs, friends’ dogs and family members’ dogs. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about this except direct them to our website and hope they wake up! (if for no other reason than the fact that their dog is a legal risk, they could be sued if this dog harms someone)

Show them our section on dominant dogs and dog bites. WARNING: it’s graphic!

We don’t recommend alpha rolls anyway, They are dangerous and unnecessary. I’d suggest watching this video.

I personally would refuse to visit anyone (no matter who much I liked them) if they allow their dog to behave like this and I was at risk of being bitten, it’s ridiculous. I can help with dog training problems, but this is a people problem.

Cindy Rhodes
  
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