Tosca bit my son last night.
If you read my post a few down, we did have one issue when Colton was 2 months old. He is now 9 months. Tosca had growled at him when he invaded her space while she was resting. I posted how the only other times Tosca has growled is when food was involved (rawhide situation) or again, when she was resting. I had intended to get a behavorist or someone involved, and this is partly where I failed. We had had no more incidences since then, and since I knew that Tosca had only shown aggression when with food/resting, we obviously had Colton avoid interacting with her in those situations.
The rest of the time, we were cautious, but did let them interact. Never completely alone, but when we were in the room together, they would be playing around (usually independently). Colton would occasionally try to grab at/pet Tosca, and we'd just help him do it, or redirect him, but Tosca never showed any aggression toward him doing this. Sadly, we let our guard down.
Fast forward to last night…
Tosca and Colton were playing around in the kitchen/living room. We have kind of an open concept, where the two rooms run together. I was in the living room, Colton was crawling back and forth, and Tosca was independently going back and forth as well, but the two weren't really interacting. All of a sudden I heard a snarl in the kitchen, and saw Colton bend over, crying. Of course, I freaked out, and went to Colton, expecting him to be scared, but Ok. When I picked him up, I saw Tosca had bitten his cheek. I woke up my husband, and we examined the injuries.
He had bruising on his right cheek, and 2 puncture wounds. The bleeding stopped, as did his crying, after a couple of minutes, but the wounds looked pretty deep. I called the peditrician, and took him in to be looked at. They prescribed and antibiotic as a precaution, and did decide to stitch up the wounds. He didn't NEED the stitches, but we did it to help minimize scaring on his face. Colton took it like a champ, but I was a mess. Today, Colton is fine, playing around and happy...but obviously we need to see where to go now.
When the incident happened, we were both so much in shock, neither of us really did anything with Tosca. As you can read last time, my husband my husband got angry, this time I think he was just sad...in shock and not knowing what to do. We both knew we couldn't exactly do anything so far after it happened, so from Tosca's point of view, we pretty much just ignored her behavior.
Now we don't know what to do. Even though I didn't see EXACTLY what happened, I am 100% sure Colton did something to provoke her...either startled her, grabbed her tail, or something. I just wish I knew exactly what set Tosca off. There wasn't food anywhere in the area, and she was not having her space invaded. Yet, Colton obviously made her feel uneasy about something, and the thing that scared me was there was no warning growl this time, just the snarl/bite.
The shred of good news is that once Tosca bit, she didn't keep going. She backed off immediately, did not shake her head or try to keep going at him, and showed no further agression to me or my husband. That is what is so weird too, as soon as it was over, Tosca acted like nothing happened.
I feel horrible...I feel awful for not seeing EXACTLY what happened, even though I was in the area, I should have been watching them closer. I also feel like a failure for getting comfortable and not following through with a behaviorist after the incident a few months ago. It just seemed we had identified the triggers (food, resting) and we never pictured Tosca acting agressively while just going about her normal day and playing.
So...now we have a big decision to make...do we try to rehome Tosca, or still try to work things out with our family, obviously with BIG and immediate changes. This is where I need advice...
*If we do decide to go the route of rehoming her, will BRAT help us out, now that she has a bite on her record? I refuse to take her to a shelter, and I really do think she could have a happy life in a home with adults who understand basenjis and don't have any other kids or pets in the home. Other than this, she is a great dog, and has never shown agression to adults.
*Since I am in WI, I also considered calling the Basenji Club of Southeast WI...do you think they would be any help?
*If we do decide to rehome, is there any other resources we can use? Like I said, I refuse to just take her to a shelter. We got her from a shelter in Dubuque, Iowa, so I have no breeder information on her.
Our other option is to still try to work things out with her...does this seem possible? My husband has looked online for things we can do to divide up our living room to have one area for Tosca, and another for Colton. That way they'd each have their own space and yet not be together. I'd be willing to try, but I don't know if this would work long term or not. Basically, we'd have to come up with some plan to keep them apart. Sometimes it would be easy, when DH and I are downstairs working out, doing our own thing, etc, we'd just bring Tocsa and the other one would be with Colton. Other times we'd have to get more creative, like the idea above.
Another thing we would have to do (for real this time) is consult a behaviorist. I have some questions about this...
*Would a behaviorst be willing to help us, or would he/she suggest immediate rehoming?
*If we were to work with someone, do you think we could ever get to the point where we could have the 2 around each other again?
Any positive advice and input would be greatly appreciate. I know I screwed up big time in a lot of areas (not following through with the behaviorist, letting my guard down, etc) so I am not looking for criticism, but some positive advice on how to handle the situation now. I at a loss, and I know our decision will not be made overnight...right now we are just going day by day until we figure out the right thing to do for everyone. I'd love to try to keep Tosca in the family, but I'm not sure it's the right thing or not...I need to look at all the options and try to do the right thing.
Thank you for any positive input/thoughts you can give me to help deal with this. I should add that I do not believe for a second Tosca's bite was a result of a physical matter. We are going to the vet (as required by law from all dog bites), but I really think Colton just did something to provoke her. She has been acting totally normal since the incident, we have just obviously been keeping the two of them apart.
This is so hard, and I am hoping I can get some help and support here, which ever route we decide to take. :(