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As a family we have always been Labrador lovers and had labradors of our own. About two years ago some people who live in a house behind my parents house got a Lab pup.

This morning Mum went up to the village and was walking back down the lane from the village when she heard this now two year old lab come running down the lane behind her, it bit her on the arm but thankfully not badly. This is the second time this has happened to Mum.

She went and told the owner and pointed out that this was the second time this had happened, his reponse being 'I shall shoot the dog' expecting it to scare Mum and her to be sympathetic and tell him not to do that.

Mum and I talked about this and as I said to her if it was Corrie that had bitten someone (which thankfully he never has) I would have no hesitation in getting him put down as I would be terrified that he would do it again.

I was just wondering what your thoughts were and how you would tackle the situation.

Sam
 

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Hi Sam

First of all, I'm so sorry to hear about your mum and hope she is ok.

This is quite a difficult one to answer. I think what you have to look at as well is the behaviour of the owners. We all know that well loved, well trained dogs seldom bite except under severe provocation. For a lab to run up to your mum, who was innocently walking along and to bite her for no reason whatsoever is most out of character for a lab I feel. It makes me wonder how the owners are treating this lab. The comment as well "I will shoot the dog" rather than 'have him put to sleep" seems a little strange.

Obviously, if Smudge did ever bite someone badly, especially a child, I would have no choice in the matter and of course would have to make the correct decision. I hope though that with the upbringing we are trying to give him, that this will not be a choice we have to make.

Once again, so sorry to hear about your mum's experience.

All the best,
Nic
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Fortunately, I've never been bitten. It's a tricky one and would depend a lot on the circumstances. If one of my dogs bit someone totally unprovoked then, yes, I would consider taking some action, maybe not destroying initially, but certainly radical action (using a muzzle for example, making sure my land/garden were escape proof). However, if they did it in defence of their home or mistress then good for them. Things are bit different here in France and most large dogs are kept for defence/hunting purposes. Neither of mine are aggressive in any way off the lead, on is sometimes a different matter but then I can control them. Regardless, I have signs by my house on the gate clearly warning people that there are dogs and my doorbell is in the wall outside the gate. If they ignore the sign, they enter at their own risk. MIne are more likely to lick them to death than do anything else.
 

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Hi Sam

I think that my 1st reaction to the dog that bit your Mum was - why did he do it? Was it an excitable bite? A play bite? Or a vicious intended bite.....?

I personally do not think that any dog it a born biter, its the way that dogs are brought up that makes them bite or not bite. So, is the owner more to blame than the dog?

My Izzie was handed back to the rescue centre when she was 1st re-homed because she had apparently bitten someone, 4 different times - when we were asked to rehome her both James and I were a little wary obviously, but having smothered her with love etc she has never so much as growled at us - is this because she is well treated, or because she was provoked previously into biting - who knows??

If on the other hand, had we seen evidence of her biting then we would obviously take precautions - if she was vicious out on walks but never in the home, then I would possibly think about muzzling her - I wouls certainly not put her down.

I would try everything before making a decision to put her down - it would not be my 1st thought to be honest. I would firstly want to know what triggered the attacks, because like I said before I dont think that any dog is a natural biter.

Not sure if I have answered your questions at all - its just my opinion!

Sarah
 

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Hi Sam
Sorry to hear about your mum, and hope she's feelin better.

Firstly I'd say that all dogs have the potential to bite, whether a dog will bite or not depends on the situation and the level of arousal or perceived threat.

Could this be a case of a poorly brought up dog, running after your mum, grabbing her arm? - have the owners ever taught bite inhibition, stopped playbiting? - they may even encourage this type of behaviour thinking that their dog can act as a guard dog too. :roll: :x

To be honest dogs don't run after people to attack them, it is a form of defence when they feel threatened. When you say your mum's not been bitten badly, how bad is that. If a dog means to bite it can inflict serious damage. In addition, dogs rarely bite without giving some warning signs. Was there any barking, growling? - how did the lab appear? - was it standing very upright, hackles up, tail erect, staring at her, did it lunge forward at her?
If this has happened before, what was the attack like then?

Although it's difficult to say without more info, one thing that does seem obvious is that the owners appear less than responsible. It may be worth reporting it to the dog warden so they can get all the info and decide what action to take.

The DDA applies to all dogs in the UK not just the listed 'dangerous' breeds.

regards
Jenny
 

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Hi Sam

Sorry to hear about your mum, and hope she isnt traumatised by the whole event.

We used to own a cross bred collie-spaniel, and one day out of the blue, it bit me for no apparent reason, and a day or two later it bit my husband on the hand which is where it bit me, by the way , ... after the second incident we didnt hesitate in taking him to the vet and having him put to sleep.

I do totally agree that if a dog strikes in this way, even once dont hesitate in taking it to the vet, as you never know who or what it may bite next time, no matter how much it is loved.

Luckily I didnt suffer that much and neither did my husband



Colette
 
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Its been really interesting reading your comments - thank you :D

Mother is fine apart from a few bruises and bumps on her arm - luckily the dogs teeth didn't puncture the skin and I don't think it did last time either. All she did was walk back from the village down the lane past the houses minding her own business to the gate into their own back garden.

What gets me is if people let their dogs out in their own garden, why they don't make their garden dog proof so it can't escape. My back garden is dog proof and the only time Corrie is out in the front garden is if I am gardening and I am always with him then.

The lane is a very busy lane as lots of drivers use it as a short cut out of the village. If I was the owner I would be too worried that a car would hit it, god forbid and also that one day it might end up biting a child never mind my mother. When I stay at my parents I often walk up the lane to the village or down it to the fields with Corrie and he is always on the lead.

Jenny I suggested to my mother that she reported the dog but she won't as she doesn't want to cause trouble in the village which I can understand.

Sarah I quite agree with your comments about the owners and the way dogs are brought up. Some owners can be so irresponsible. Won't tell you what my Mother thinks of the dogs owner :lol:

Once again thank you for your replies.

Sam
 

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hi sam.... i havent been bitin by a dog thankfully

sorry to hear about your mum glad she is ok though and no seriuos damage done to her..


i have had this discussion with my hubby also about what if our dogs bit someone us having children aswell..

if our dogs ever bite a child we would not hesitate to take her to the vet and have her put to sleep
but on the other hand if a child was provoking my dogs and they got bit then im sorry but that is the childs fault and depending on the damage depends on what we do with our dogs..

every dog can bite if they want no matter what breed..

charlie is a cavalier as you all know and he was a rescue dog with very bad owners beat him left him outside you name it he was very badly mistreated.. we have had him for 5yrs now
we took him on and have warned everyone what he was like he was only aggresive towards men he has calmed down loads but still growls and goes for other men if they come to our house or walk past..lol.. does occasional snap at the milkman and postman but they laugh him off now..


if im out on my own with brandy she is very protective of me which i feel is a good thing.. i was pregnant with one of my kids and went down the beach a man approached me and brandy must of sensed my panic and was at my side growling her head off but all the man wanted was a lighter...lol.. but i still praised her loads after all she was only protecting me


i suppose at the end of the day it depends on the situation and the harm caused

but i do agree its down to the owners on how they bring up there dogs
 

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Cozwaz, sorry to hear about the incident with your mum and I hope she is feeling better. What I can say is I'm a bit shocked to her about all these stories of putting dogs down so easily, especially such a docile breed like a labrador. I would understand if it was a vicious breed by nature like a pitbull or rottweiler, but a lab?? I agree 100% with lablover regarding to investigate in what circunstances the dog did that, and I can assure that small breeds can be more vicious and dangerous than a lab. I don't know if there is a law in UK to reinforce this kind of measure, but I think that putting a dog to sleep without any behavioral investigation is just cruel, very cruel. Regards,


Labrazil.
 

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when i was about 14 i was on holiday with mum and dad at a caravan park. the owner had an alsation which was a rescue dog. as soon as he saw me he grabbed my arm and just held on to it untill his owner got him away. luckily i had been brought up with dogs and knew not to pull away or struggle. it wasnt so much a bite but a strong hold.
it turned out that i looked very much like one of his former owners who had badly mistreated him. we took no action because of the circumstances.
by the end of the holiday we had developed a healthy respect for each other.
we went back the following year and allthough he was wary of me at first showed no more aggression towards me. by the end of that holiday he was happily letting me take him for a walk or play with him.
 

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I have to say that I 100% agree with Labrazil here - I think that all too often dogs are put to sleep far, far too quickly.

There is a huge difference between a dog biting someone and a dog savaging someone - a child perhaps. What provoked the dog to bite in the 1st place, I would have thought that would be the most important question....

If one of my dogs ever bit anyone (and apparently Izzie has) then I would first of all question why, I would then pay as much as it took for behaviour specialists to assess them - if all else failed then I would muzzle the dog on the walk IF and only IF this was the only course of action that I could take to ensure that my dogs did not hurt anyone. I would certainly not rush them to the vets to be put to sleep - thats ridiculous!!

Like Clair said, if someone was annoying my dogs and in retaliation they nipped then its the persons fault not my dogs, they cant shout back like humans can and if the only way of stopping someone pestering them ould be to give a warning bite then so be it.

In my line of work, I occasionaly get a warning bite if a dog does not want to get into the water and we want him to :wink: we have to persuade him/her in - very often they will turn and grab our arm as if to say - 'sod off I dont want to get in just yet!' its because of this we have a very healthy respect for these animals and know which ones are going to object to swimming and which arent.

But my point is, I would never refuse to swim the dog because he was warning me off - and I would never, ever say to his owner this dog is vicious he should be put down - its ridiculous to even think that!!!

Anyway, I am wafffling now - all I am saying is this - I feel that dogs are too easily put own these days for a quick nip - like I said savaging is different but people are very quick to make this decision, I know that I would not make a decision quickly at all to destroy my dogs.

One question - Collette, how badly were you bitten by your dog before deciding to put him down?

Sarah
 

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Having a dog pts because of biting is a difficult and heart wrenching decision for anyone to make, and should not be taken lightly without some thought and looking at what is causing the behaviour.

Dogs bite for so many different reasons, that, as others have said, you need to look at why. The circumstances and severity of the bite should also be taken into account. Equally, there are other possible outcomes that do not result in the dog being pts – it may be possible to rehome a dog where the cause of the biting will not be present– ie – a home without children, with knowledgeable owners etc.

Any dog can bite, it is a normal canine behaviour. Dogs do not think like humans, they do not know right from wrong, they are amoral. The problem with biting is that its mouth is the only thing a dog can use, and even though it may appear that they do it out of the blue, they rarely bite without a reason. We may not know what the reason is, we may not recognise the body language that the dog is giving off letting us know that they are uncomfortable with what is going on. They may have been told off for growling or barking in the past, so they do not use these warning signs first.
There may be a medical reason or the dog may be in pain, this is often the case when a dog bites out of the blue. If a dog bites for no apparent reason, the first step should really be to take them to the vet and have them checked out physically for any health related cause.

The immediate reaction to have a dog pts following a bite reminds me of the story of the dog that bit a child and was rushed to the vet to be pts. Only after it had been pts was the stub of a pencil found shoved down its ear.

I would have no hesitation in having dog pts if that was the best and only option, but each case should be investigated first, and euthanasia should not be an automatic reaction.

Sam – as awful as this was for your mum, it does sound like a case of bad owners rather than bad dog.
Shoot the owners not the dog would be my reply to that particular owner.
I can understand your mum’s reluctance to contact the dog warden, particularly in a small village, but can she not do so anonymously. She doesn’t even need to tell them she was bitten, just that the dog is constantly getting out and wandering loose. I didn’t realise from your first post that the dog gets out regularly – it could see the village as it’s domain (rather than just the garden) and be getting territorial.
Even more serious is that a loose dog can cause an accident, potentially risking life.
Another of my pet hates is people who do not keep their dogs secure and it should warrant a visit by the dog warden at least. The only other practical suggestion I can offer is to get her to carry a stick / umbrella and / or a water pistol if she’s out walking.

Regards
Jenny
 
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Thanks everyone.

Apparently at the time the owner was bringing the dog out to his car OFF the lead. I must admit if I lived on this particular lane and I would keep the dog on a lead, as I have said before its a very busy lane.

The sad thing is that we have always had labs, Mum and Dad had to have their old Lab Prince put to sleep last year at the age of 13. I hope that it doesn't put off them getting another dog again.

Thanks again everyone for your comments, much appreciated.

Sam
 

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Hi
I have been bittin by a staffordshire bull terrier. Extremely painful. When i used to own a american staff it used to get in fights with local dogs in the park etc. In this particular fight i was trying to break them apart, when the owner told the staff to bite me. It bit my arm and clamped it there for about 5 seconds. In result i have 5 scars on my arm, it is people like him that are giving staffs bad names, he gets it to attack ppl etc. I didnt get the dog put down, im love staffies aswell as labradors. However the owner was fined by the police on a assult charge. I think dogs are born good n its how there brought up, like kids
Alex
 

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I`ve been bitten recently by my own Westie :? , she gets worked up when the phone rings and I was sheperding her and CJ into the kitchen (to be able to answer it!), she lunged forward and caught me on the knee, very painful believe me, but I don`t think she meant it, she`s a strong willed dog always has been and does`nt like being made to do things.

I agree with others here there`s always a reason for a dog biting I think, seems to me that the one that bit your mum was`nt actually trying to attack her, not that that crosses one`s mind with a dog coming at you like a train!.

I remember my mother telling me years ago about a Staffie they owned at the (I was fostered and not with the family at the time) time, she bit one of the boys, mother went to leather her for it and found blood running down the dogs leg, asking Nick what he`d done to her he said "I prickled her with the scissoors"! no surprise she bit him then huh?!!

Seems to me its the owners that need sorting out more than the dog does, you can bet if the animal gets injured by a car or something its owners will play merry h*ll!!, so I`d agree with others here and try to get your mum to report the animals behaviour annonymously, specially as this is`nt the first time its happened with the same dog.

Hope your mum is feeling better soon, can imagine she`s a bit shaken up by the experience
 

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Your poor mum i bet her heart rate goes up every time she goes out now ! But i have to agree thet i would try to report the dog anonamously.As a mother of 3 young kids i would be worried next time it could be a child and that would be alot more serious especially as my lab is face height of one of mine ! If that happened and it was one of my children and i then found out it had happened before i would go loopy and i would shoot the owner and the dog! Having said that i completely appreciate how awkward it is for your mum i dont envy her position but i definately think there is little option.Hope it gets sorted out for her.
 

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Hi Sam

I am sorry to hear about your mum, I hope she is OK, such experiences can leave someone quite shaken.

When you say bite, did the dog show any other signs of aggression or other strange behaviour? Even the dullest dog will bite in the wrong circumstances which as with humans retaliating verbally (or even physically) in an argument, will differ for every dog.

I worked in boarding kennels for a number of years, and can count on one hand the number of times I was bitten, and more often than not the dogs were known to be temperamental and exhibited warning behaviour beforehand.

With the exception of one dog, all these were small breeds such as terriers and daschunds; the other was a very nasty savaging by an Aslation on a kennel maid who KNEW the dog was aggressive (we had been boarding him for years) but wanted to show how clever she was by taming him. 8O :lol: Sad thing was, left to his own devices and handled from a distance, the dog was fine, and therefore knowing these boundaries and the circumstances the dog was not put to sleep.

In relation to the owners comments, difficult to comment without knowing them, however, some people will respond to criticism with sarcasm, and this could well be all it is, many people say things in the heat of the moment, that they have plenty of time to regret afterwards.

Most of us become protective when our kids / pets come under fire, even when we know that either we / the offspring are at fault.

With regards to putting a dog to sleep, I would want much more information on the extent of the damage, why it happened, the signs of aggression shown by the dog; to someone caught unawares, a pull / grab with the mouth, which Hally will do quite often with me, means she wants a cuddle / stroke, but is no way a sign of aggression. Yet I have seen people nervous around pets assess a sniff or even putting their mouth near any part of their anatomy as a personal attack / afront.

God forbid that any dog badly harms a child, then it is likely the decision would be removed from the owners hands anyway, but in other instances I would want to have knowledge of all the facts before making any decision, something which should never be made in the immediate aftermath of most incidents.

Sue
 

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I don't think the dog needs to be put to sleep and agree with everything that sue has said , but i do think the owner needs a warning to keep better control of their pet before it does go too far ,then we have a person harmed and a dog euthanised because of an ignorant owner !
 

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I've been bitten twice. Once by an alsation belonging to some gypsies and once whilst posting lealflets through a door. )Yes I know, why on earth did I put my fingers through the letterbox? It was one of those tricky letter boxes lol).
It was only a small dog which presumably had to jump to get my fingers....but nonetheless it hurt and bled quite badly.
The weird thing about that situation was the dog didn't even bark - I didn't even know it was there until I felt the pain!
 
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