32 answers

Help! My Dog Bit My Son and I'm at a Loss as to What to Do.

Is there anyone out there that is a devoted animal lover?

Here's our deal. We have a shih-tzu just turned 7 january 28th. We've had him sinse he was a pup.
He is house broke, loves to play with toys, will cuddle by your side and watch tv, or on the foot rest of recliner. He sleeps in bed with you and whoever is in bed he is there with them don't matter for how long.

This is the problem.
As good of a dog as he is. We have a soon to be 3 year old. Austin loves the dog. So much he hugs him tight! Sometimes too tight. Gizmo puts up with some but not all.
Friday austin came up behind gizmo to hug him and it must have startled giz cause he whipped around and bit austin on the cheek. Didn't make gashes but welted up and bruised his little face. My husband was bound and determine to take him to paws the next day. It really in essense wasn't gizmos fault but we can't take the chance of him doing more damage. Hubby was determined to take him to paws saturday. I talked him out of it because i didn't find it a proper thing to do on valentines. They said they would try to adopt him out but, as cute as he is i don't think he would be adoptible through them. They'll put him to sleep.
This is not the first time he has biten. And maybe putting him to sleep might be the thing to do. I don't want him biting anyone else. You can't get him groomed with out getting him a knock out shot. I think he's bit just about every groomer here in ne arkansas. Not to mention every memember of our family for one reason or another. He bit my foot cause i accidently stepped on his tail, my daughter for same reason. My hubby cause he was trying to hold him while being groomed. Our son has been nipped and bit a few times. Never really drawing blood but enough that it hurts.
He would be a good dog for an older couple or person without rowdy kids. But the grooming issue is still there. Should i go ahead and put him in paws (paragould animal welfare) they say they'll try to adopt him out if unable they will put down. It's so hard of a decission. I love the dog but i love my kids 100 times more. Would i be doing the right thing?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for alot of good advice. Although i felt lashed out from some people. I do put my child before anything. That is why i am giving up my dog to a home without children an elderly couple that wants a companion to spoil. Gizmo will be very happy there. Thank you so much. I haven't took this lightly at all. I just realize pets have life running through them and when we brought them into our home our rowdy 2 year old wasn't in the picture. Now this has been taken care of i got some good advice. But, putting a muzzle on a shihtzu without a nose is difficult. He's in a better home now. Thanks again

More Answers

Hi J....here's my take. As an animal lover AND owner, we went through a similar situation. I read alot about having animals when you have a child because we had two dogs when my son was born. Basically, you have to teach the child how to be around the animal. The biggest thing is, when they are playing & the child is playing inappropriately, the ANIMAL must be removed from the situation. You can't just put your kid outside, so, unfortunately, the animal must go outside. We would tell my son, "I'm sorry, I know you love the dog, but since you cannot play correctly, the dog must go outside." My son would get very upset...but he is now 10 and he learned very well how to treat animals.

We had a similar situation where one of our dogs bit my son when he was about 2. This particular dog we had had for about 12 years...she was older, not really playful, she usually went to hide from my son once he came around...but one day, I left my son playing in his room, while I gathered laundry. Next thing I know, my son is crying & screaming...I found him and the dog in the hallway. My son had a scratch on his face and kept telling me over and over "I make Lucky mad...I make Lucky mad"...so of course, I freaked out and screamed at the dog & put her outside. I called my husband determined to get rid of her b/c I was NOT going to let the animals bite my child. So, as I cleaned up my son, he revealed to me that "I bite Lucky's ear". OH NO! Well, then I scolded my son. I think if someone bit MY ear...I'd bite them back too. It really was not the dog's fault. In my opinion, the dog had every right to defend itself in that instance. We laid punishment down for my son regarding the animals. He was not allowed to play with them for a week. The dogs stayed outside so that we could enforce that. We gave them food & water out there & made beds for them. In later years, when this dog was very ill & we had to make a decision to have her put to sleep...my son would bring her food & water & pet her & tell her she would be ok & he loved her very much. Kids and animals CAN learn to live together, but it takes patience & rules. Stick to it if you want to keep them both...but you have to be sure to have an area where you can remove the dog to and keep your eyes on them if they are playing together.

3 moms found this helpful

There are other options out there. I don't live in your city but I'm sure there are other places you can take him that will keep him until he is adopted. Maybe you could put an ad in the paper or spread the word to friends and family. Your children should come first no matter what and it seems like that is the case. However, I don't think the dog should be put to sleep without an effort to find someone to adopt him. Dogs bite sometimes...but I don't think they should be put to sleep everytime they bite someone. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi J.. My name is Y. From oklahoma. My mom used to have a dog like yours and she took him to the vet because they couldn't understand why he would snap at people and would bite the groomers as well as my niece and nephew when they'd try to play with him. the vet said these kind of dogs are very sensitive to feeling and their little bodies are tender and they get hurt easily and that is the only way they can let people know they're hurting. to make a long story short, they had to give him to the shelter and he was adopted out that very next day. so they got lucky. good luck in what ever you decide.
about me: I'm a mom of 3 grown children, and i have 1 stepdaughter and 4 grand children that i adore. and great husband. God bless!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,
My parents have a lab. Sweet Sweet dog. They got her when she was three, they didnt have her very long, before they went out of town with the dog to visit their friends, whom had a child about 3 and a dog of their own. Although cocoa (the lab) was good all weekend, she was real nervous, already with a new family and now a new place, with a small kiddo and dog. My friends child tried to hug cocoa bye and was bitten, and drew blood. My dad (a police officer) said had he had his gun he would have shot cocoa himself. Upon returning home my "oldschool" grandma, suggested a mussel. Whenever there were small children my parents put the mussel on her. After years of this training, cocoa whom is 13!, can be in a room with small children without the mussel. of course now she is old, but she was able to do this years ago. As matter of fact, when a small child enters the room, cocoa gets away, either to another room, or her bed. Now I have a ONE year old and although we are careful, cocoa has been trained that if you hurt that baby, you get the mussel. It worked great for my parents because they got to keep the dog that my family had always wanted and has been a great and sweet addition. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.
Have you checked into one of those rescue/adoption organizations that specializes in only specific breeds. I would bet there is a rescue for just shih-tzus. Has he always been aggressive b/c if not his behavior might even be a sign hes sick or hurt in some way that shows no symptoms. Maybe even some training would help him. Turn to a shelter as a last resort b/c it seems to me you would feel guilty if he did have to be put down. So try having him adopted rather through an add or agency but most of all trust your gut, your the mama and only you know what decision you can live with. Good Luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't do the shelter thing. I am a believer that all dogs can be taught proper behaviour even when they have a history of not so great habits. Because your dog is a highly popular breed right now, I highly doubt even if you did put him in a shelter, he wouldn't stay very long. I've just spent the past few months searching shelters throughout the area for a small dog and I know others do the same. You could also try to place him in a rescue http://www.shihtzu-rescue.com/ to ensure he does go to the right home and will not die. Rescues screen families to match the dogs they have.

2 moms found this helpful

From what I gather that your son has played with this dog and nothing happen. He coming from behind must have scared the dog or your son possibly hurt him. This was the natural thing for the dog to do. Of course you do not want the dog to hurt anyone, but to put the dog to sleep is somewhat extreme.
I am sure if you found a good dog trainer, within two or three hours he would be able to show you how to correct this problem. Also it would be great for your son to have the dog for a companion.

God Bless

2 moms found this helpful

Well, first of all, your son should not be allowed to handle the dog on his own. That includes any and all interaction, only because he is still too young to realize he can do damage to the dog...would you want to be squished like that, or get stepped on? If you were the dog, what would you do to defend yourself?

As an owner of a chihuahua, the kings of snappy tempers, we use a pet muzzle. We know how our dog will react in certain situations, and we let others know. We will even muzzle him to go to the vet. It may seem overly cautious, but I'd rather that than to be responsible for someone's medical bill for a dog bite or give him away.

Also, maybe you can try a little obedience training. Just like with a child, if you put the dog in a routine so that they know unprovoked behavior has a consequence, you might find that the dog will actually be happier. The same should go for the people in the house. Sometimes people need a little training too. Everyone should be mindful of the dog, who is handling the dog, etc. to avoid problems before they start. There are some really informative shows on Animal Planet, like "It's Me Or The Dog" that have good tips on situations like this. After all, 99% of the time, it's not the dogs fault.

Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

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