Update on dog bite from a year ago :)
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  • J

    Hi everyone!
    I haven't been on much in the last year, but I did want to update on our situation. If you look a few threads down you can see the thread I started a year ago about Tosca biting my 10 mo old on the face. Just thought I'd update…

    Overall we are doing very well. Colton's bite healed right up, and while there is still a small scar on this cheek, you can barely see it. It took a long time for it not to show up in pictures and things, but now I really only notice it in certain lights or when I am right up next to his face.

    He and Tosca are doing ok, too. I never really could get my husband on board with seeing a behaviorist, but so far (knock on wood) things have been ok. For quite awhile we kept them totally apart...Tosca would go outside or down stairs with my husband or I, and they were never really together. Now, though, I'd say it's 50/50. We still NEVER allow them to be unsupervised together, but they do play together with us. And, now that Colton is talking and mobile (he's 22 months already!) we can let them play side by side as long as we are in the same room.

    We haven't even had a growling incident since then, and Tosca does let Colton pet her, feed her, etc. She will let Colton run up to her, and pet her, things like that. So that's all been very good, and I think we've come a long way! I still don't think I'll ever trust them to be alone together, though. DH and I are always in arms reach and watching carefully. Tosca has been very good with other children as well, though I only let them pet her if I'm right there too.

    My only problem that I am looking for advice for is now that Colton is getting older, he does want to play with her more, and doesn't always understand nice touches. He is testing...he will act like he wants to grab her tail or reach around and pick her up. I could see that being something that would possibly make Tosca angry, and rightfully so. He has 2 dogs he is with every day at daycare, and they are easygoing...Colton can fall right on them, poke them, etc and they are super tolerant. Therefore, he doesn't understand he can't do the same thing with Tosca. Any advice on teaching him how to interact appropriately with Tosca? Because of this, I've been extra nervous lately when the two are in the same room, but I'm definitely keeping and eye on them at all times. It's just been more difficult.

    If you've gotten through this all, thanks for reading! Also, thanks to everyone who gave me advice last year. I still have contact information for some of the trainers in case we do decide to go that route in the future, or if things get worse. Just wanted to update everyone...have a great Halloween!

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  • I really truly would talk to the child care about them allowing such behaviors! I would explain in no uncertain terms that their allowing children to do that to THEIR dogs could lead to a child doing it to a less tolerant dog and getting mauled. Be graphic, talk about law suits :)– they'll get the point. Tell them either they must supervise EVERY contact and teach appropriate, or keep your child away from the dogs COMPLETELY.

    For your child, seriously, you need to have your hand on his every time he touches the dog. Every time. You guide his hand in a gentle stroke or touch until it becomes second nature. You remove him the moment he tries to pull the dog's tail or do any other behavior. At 22 mos, your toddler has a nice working brain. Yes, the brain has zero impulse control, which is why you work on building neural pathways of right behavior with guiding each petting. Fortunately, by the time he is 4, he should have it down. I know, it isn't easy. But your dog has already shown a willingness to bite so you have to be vigilant.

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  • Good advice, Debra. Gemma, my basenji mix, is afraid of children. For Thanksgiving this year I will have two 3 yr. old great-grandsons, an 11 yr. old great-granddaughter, a 5 month old great-grandson, and if all goes as is expected, a great-granddaughter to be born around November 5th. My husband, daughter, two granddaughters and both grandsons-in-law have all been repeatedly advised that their eyes and hands must always be on the little ones and Gemma, to be sure there is distance between them. So far, Gemma has made herself scarce, staying out on the porch or in the den when the little ones are down, but you never know - vigilance is the only way to go. Hopefully in time she will become accustomed to them, but we are taking no chances. If a threat ever occurs everyone knows it means Gemma will be locked in a bedroom or leashed out of range.

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  • Supervision is the way to go but I also understand your fear that in an instant something can happen even with you right there. Keep modeling correct touch with Colton. Also, lots of positive reinforcers for Tosca for being touched by Colton. You can hand feed Tosca while Colton is touching her so she associates him being around and touching her with the good thing of being fed. If you are hand feeding while Colton is gently touching her watch for her taking of the food to change as an indication that she is not comfortable with the touch.

    I use a training game with all my dogs called "Grab me, Feed Me". You start with simply grabbing her collar as you grab the collar you feed her. As she learns the game and get comfortable with a collar grab then progress to grabbing scruff, leg, tail whatever is available and feeding her, use high value treats like roast chicken. I show my puppy buyers this game and tell them all to play it because if your dog gets loose, people will grab whatever they can to catch the dog but it also works to help build the expectation that tolerating rough handling is a predictor for food coming. This won't substitute for constant supervision but can help prevent a bite if there is an accidental yank, if you practice lots with her the conditioned response will be to look for payment which I am sure you will happily provide.

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  • "Grab me, Feed me"== great training. Thanks for sharing it.

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  • S

    Teaching any child gentle touches with the family dogs will train the child to be kind to every dog.

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  • Happy to hear it is going much better now!

    I think Colton (my boy is slighly older, 25 months) does not understand he can't jump on, poke, grap your Basenji because (from what I read) he is allowed to do it at the daycare.

    In my opinion, it is never allowed to poke, grab, or jump (etc etc) on/with a dog…
    So maybe you have to talk at the daycare to let them know he cannot do that to those dogs.
    And tell him, explain him why he only can pet them, let them smell his hand, or give a gentle hug.

    My son is now 2 years old and he lives 24 hours a day with my two Basenji males and sometimes some other dogs we have a few days within our pack and from the moment he was born we guided him how he could interact with dogs(we do have very kind Basenji's so he learned that very quickly) and now, since I can remember me he shows respect and doesn't grab a tail or jump on them etc.
    Of course he does someting less nice by accident, fall at them or standing on their feet just like we all do sometimes.
    But the dogs know he doesn't do it on purpose and Ryan always gives them a little kiss at their heads and say sorry. so cute..

    So I think you are doing great, only try to let them teach at the daycare that dogs aren't there as a toy.

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  • I agree all children should be taught to be gentle with animals. And teaching your dog that being grabbed means food is a great idea, but the problem is it may not transfer to other people. I can grab my guy rather roughly pretty much anywhere, and he won't react…...except to play......but if someone else did it, there would be a different result. Even the most tolerant dog may "lose it" if a child manages to cause severe pain. Kids can be (unintentionally or otherwise) cruel. And lie about what they did afterward. Which is why supervision is so important. How to teach them to be gentle? A relative of mine says, "Get a cat. That'll learn 'em!" :)

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  • @eeeefarm:

    I agree all children should be taught to be gentle with animals. And teaching your dog that being grabbed means food is a great idea, but the problem is it may not transfer to other people. I can grab my guy rather roughly pretty much anywhere, and he won't react…...except to play......but if someone else did it, there would be a different result. Even the most tolerant dog may "lose it" if a child manages to cause severe pain. Kids can be (unintentionally or otherwise) cruel. And lie about what they did afterward. Which is why supervision is so important. How to teach them to be gentle? A relative of mine says, "Get a cat. That'll learn 'em!" :)

    I think I know how we teached our son to be so gentle!!! Because of the last words you are saying! get a cat…
    You know, our oldest cat Spaiky is a einzelganger, a lonely boy that can only be handeled by me...
    He learned that to Ryan with a few hits with his paw when he wanted to pet him (he likes kids around him so he never uses his nails with them) Ryan never scared but he just knows, he only can speak to Spaiky to tell him he likes him.... hahaha
    Now I know! Thanks! :D

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