Our Dog Is Biting

Updated on August 05, 2015
O.L. asks from Long Beach, CA
12 answers

I'm wondering if anyone's gone through the difficult process of finding a new home for a pet? Our dog has been going through nipping at the kids. I'm wondering if anyone's been through this and if so, at what point did you make the decision to find a new home for him/her?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers


answers from Milwaukee on

There is a BIG difference between biting (aggression) and nipping (behavior, usually driven in part by the breeds characteristics & children's actions). So, before you think about whether or not you should or need to rehome a dog, more needs to be taken into consideration.

What is the age of your dog? If under the age of one, this is a behavior that comes with immaturity, & should be dealt with by proper training.

What is the breed of dog? Herding breeds (shepherds & collies) will naturally nip in order to put kids where they want them (treating the kids like a "flock" they need to keep in order). It is best to consult with someone who has experience with herding breeds if this is what the dog is doing.

What behavior are the kids engaging in? If they are loud, active, & raising their hands, or holding high-drive objects (toys, treats), that can naturally drive a dog to nip at their hands in a form of play. It can get out of hand, especially if there are objects the dog wants that the kids are holding & not giving. This behavior requires training both the dog & the kids, to eliminate the behavior, & prevent it from reemerging.

If, in contrast, the dog is assuming a guarding position, with head lowered, whale eye (showing the whites of the eye), growling or standing fur prior to "nipping", then that is a fear/protective behavior on the part of the dog that can become aggressive if not trained properly, and this may not be the right dog for your family.

The safety of your children is important, & I would never advise any family to keep a dog that was putting that in jeopardy. However, based on your post, it is not possible to say "give the dog away" or "a little training will take care of this".

If you have more information to offer, I'd be happy to give more concrete advice. Feel free to message me privately if you'd like as well. T.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

BITING or NIPPING?? For me there is a difference.

To be honest, I've never had to re-home a dog.

How old is the dog?
What is the breed of the dog?
What have the children been taught?
Has the dog been with a trainer?

As an owner? You need to train the dog and the kids. If this JUST started? There is something going on. Take your dog to the vet and see if there are any health issues.

Then find a trainer!!

Train your kids on how to treat a dog. If they are petting and the dog growls? They need to stop. They also need to pay attention to the dogs queues.

Why did I ask the questions above?

Biting vs Niping -
Biting is leaving imprints or blood - breaking of the skin.
Niping is a scratch or no breaking of the skin.

Age - if the dog is older - there is pain that he can't tell you about. So when someone touches that area - it hurts!! He doesn't have words to say OUCH - so he nips.

If the dog is young? Still needs to be trained.

If you have a Border Collie or a breed that was meant to be out on the fields herding sheep, cattle, etc? it NIPS at the sheep/cattle to keep them in line or where he needs them to go.

Our neighbor has a Border Collie - the kids start running? She runs too - and jumps at them and "nips" when they go beyond the point they are supposed to and starts to cut them off and push them back to where they need to be with her barking, jumping and "niping".

Children - some children aren't taught to look for queues on dogs. Ears pulled back, shaking, stance, etc. so they keep on petting not realizing they are hurting the dog. The dog nips to stop the action.

PLEASE find out if your dog has a health problem, invest in a trainer and train your kids too!!


5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

There is a huge difference between nipping and biting and if you haven't worked with training your kids and the dog then it really isn't fair to the dog to get rid of them.

Nipping in puppies is playing, nipping in herding dogs is an instinct meant to guide, nipping in adult dogs is a warning to go away.

I just want to add if you are at some point where you are too overwhelmed to properly care for the dog, which means training your kids and the dog, then you should rehome the dog but don't say you are doing it because they are nipping, admit it isn't the dogs fault.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

We committed to taking our nippy Border Collie mix (herding instinct!) to training classes before we decided to do anything else. It worked like a charm, and she's not nipped since.

I wouldn't look at rehoming her until you've taken her to a good 8-week training class with a professional dog trainer and behaviorist (not at the petfood store). First and foremost, you need to determine if her behavior is herding/instinctive, aggressive, or anxiety. The professional can help you with that, and help you to determine the best course of action to help your dog learn deference and obedience.

Best of luck.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

we haven't had to rehome a dog, fortunately, but i did have to do it with one of my cats after we brought our first baby home. peed on the carpet relentlessly, and i just couldn't have it with a crawler.
we were lucky in that i canvassed my acquaintances relentlessly and found a cat-girl who took her, and gave her a great home with the 4 she already had, and loved her to pieces. you can't always get that lucky. if i had not been able to find someone like her, i would have had to have her euthanized. it would have broken my heart, but in the event that we absolutely did not feel we could accommodate her habits (and we couldn't- we were hard-working young parents renting an apartment, no money for animal psychologists even if there had been such a thing 30 years ago), there was no way we would have abandoned her to the vagaries of a shelter, where she would almost certainly have been put down without loving arms around her.
there's little information about your situation. is the dog a puppy? are the kids instigating? has she been well-trained? is it playful or menacing?
if you've really worked hard at correcting this and have absolutely decided that you can't keep this particular dog, it's on you to find a really good home for her, and that means no craigs list or shelter. it means rattling the cage of all your friends and family, being diligent in checking the home out (ie do THEY have the resources to work with this dog where you don't) and full disclosure so you're not just passing on a dangerous dog to a clueless new family.
if you have an irredeemable rogue on your hands, you may have to euthanize. i sure hope it doesn't come to that.
:( khairete

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Before you re-home the dog talk to an attorney. You may still be liable for any injuries or deaths resulting from the dog.
If this dog bites someone you could be sued for medical bills, loss of income etc. If the dog kills someone you could be liable for funeral expenses and be sued for the loss of life.

I had a dog who was usually very sweet but would trigger on the garbage men and attack my other dogs and once knocked down my grandson and growled at his throat. I had to put her down, she was only about a year old. I was heartbroken but it had to be done. I couldn't risk her hurting anyone.

Don't feel guilty, I know easier said than done, it's not your fault. This behavior is often caused by irresponsible breeders. They breed parent to puppy or siblings to get a certain look and sometimes these dogs end up with a recessive gene for aggression. Even if you have a mixed breed dog this recessive gene can still be present generations later.
It's better to put the dog down than take the risk of it hurting someone.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I know this is not what you wanted to read.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

How old is your dog?
Find a trainer to work with your dog!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Not with a dog but a cat. Cat would pee on my son's bed when we brought a new baby home. Nothing worked - tried everything the vets suggested. He obviously wasn't happy (just seemed off) and so my husband searched for a place that would place him. It's hard to find one - there was only one in our area. So it wasn't too hard for me once I knew he would be ok.

If the pet was hurting my kids would be different I suspect. Is it nipping or full out aggressively biting? I agree there's a difference. Most of my friends had pups that at some point nipped. I would try all the things suggested below - more training, teaching kids what behaviors to avoid if that's the cause, etc. Only when I would feel I'd exhausted what I could reasonably do would I put the word out (friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, at the vets, etc.).

Good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

You don't give the age of the dog or breed. Also, is this a new behavior or has it been ongoing and it's gotten worse? I would start with a visit to the vet to rule out any physical problems.

If you are still convinced rehoming the dog is best, contact dog rescues in your area. Be 100% honest about the dog and what's been happening in your home and see what your options are.

It's an awful situation to be in. Best of luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I had to say good bye to a puppy some years back because it was a biter.My husband found a man who liked that. It probably grew up to be a junkyard dog.If you want to keep it, our dog now, when it was a puppy did the nipping and chewy stuff (three years old at this writing). Maybe some would tell me to not do this, but I would just hold his mouth shut a second after he did it and tell him no. And then replace it with a chewy bone or something. He is very hyper at times, but doesn't seem to nip or bite.It's the nature of puppies. Most of the time. Every now and then you get the makings of a junkyard dog.



answers from Louisville on

Everything Tara said. :)


answers from Chicago on

If you haven't had a trainer come work with your family and dog together, then you haven't tried everything. The majority of dog issues like this can be solved with a trainer and consistent training. It's almost impossible to find a new home for a dog that is biting.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions