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Biting Problem With Dog

December 31st, 2005, 08:16 PM
I have a 4 year old Pit/Lab mix that I have love since we got him from a shelter at the age of 2 month old. In just the past year we have had 3 incidents where he has bit/nipped people in the butts while their backs were turned. There was no provication on the human part. These are people that he does not see often but has played with and given treat by. I am a nervous wreck with this. I at all times watch my dog around people that he is not used to and if I feel uneasy I will place him in another section of the house before anything happens (food, water and toys included since he didn't do anything wrong).

Tomorrow I have to tell my cousin that his 7 year old son got nipped on the butt for no reason. I grabbed the dog by the face...yelled no and then moved him to an isolated part of the house. It has now been a half an hour and I am ready to let him out for a while. I am at my last straw with this problem. I don't want to have to find a new home for my dog...we love him to much. But I can't have an 80lb dog biting people. I also have a 1 1/2 year old niece that visits often and I worry about her.

Any suggestions are worth listening to.

December 31st, 2005, 08:34 PM
I think you really have too look at what has changed in the last year in your babies , pets , the lack of a loved one , moved house ect . the dog should not start this out of the blue for no reason.....just my opinion i'm no expert........keep updating , i'm interested as i also have a pit\lab.

December 31st, 2005, 08:48 PM
Nothing has changed in my household. He is also gettin worst with begging/stealing food at dinner time and jumping on people. I can work on/deal with the 2 lesser problems...but the biting is upsetting the family. We love him so much and don't want to have to find him a new home...that would be more traumatic for him and us.

Lucky Rescue
December 31st, 2005, 08:51 PM
Agree with wdawson. Your dog never did this, and now he is. There must be a reason, although you may not know what it is. If I were you, I would contact a behaviorist to come to your home and observe your dog in action.

These nips - are they done aggressively, is he growling? I had a greyhound foster who nipped me on the leg when he was excited, and although it really hurt, in no way was it aggressive.

I don't want to have to find a new home for my dog..

If you, who have had him since he was 8 weeks old and love him are considering giving him up, do you think a stranger is going to want an 80lb, 4 yr old dog who bites? That is not an option.

December 31st, 2005, 09:35 PM
There was no sign of aggression or growling tonight. He was standing next to my cousin and just bit him in the butt. This child didn't run, yell, or do anything to the dog. I witnessed this myself...I was 3 feet away. The dog is being kept under strict supervision until my little cousin turns in for the night.

The part about finding him another home....I can't see that happening. I could not live with not knowing how he was doing or if he was being cared for the way we would. That is why I said it would be to traumatic for all of us including the dog. I just don't want to see the extreme happen. The laws are getting really strict in NY state about aggressive dogs...I fear that they would make me put him down if there was ever a claim against him. That would be the most devastating day of our lives. Just as devastating of him hurting someone worst than he ever has before.

He is such a social and people person dog most of the time...It breaks my heart when I have to put him away from everyone when we have company that he isn't really familiar with. But for both people and dog safety I have to do this when it seems necessary.

December 31st, 2005, 09:55 PM
Do you think he's doing this to get the people he's nipped attention? Is it an invititation to play, for treats or "hey, don't ignore me - I'm here? Is he growling before hand? I would put him on leash, set up a nipping situation and if he does nip, then a huge correction (a good yank on the leash and a loud NO). If he nips after this then perhaps he needs some obedience training.

January 1st, 2006, 01:53 AM
The increase of begging, stealing, and jumping makes me think he is trying to be alpha--or at least higher in the pack than some people. Are the people he bites often smaller than he is, like kids? Is he obedience trained? And is he neutered?


January 1st, 2006, 08:20 AM
I had a standard poodle that use to do this. She would nip people in the butt as they walked by. She was just trying to be the Alpha I guess. She did this to adults but on one occasion bit my daughter's friend so it can escalate. Please be careful with the children.
Recently one of my goldens began showing signs of aggression with me and other people. I became very nervous when people came over which didn't help the situation as she could sense this.
I decided to have her thyroid tested and she was diagnosed as being hypothyroid. I also enrolled her in obedience training. It took six weeks of medication to begin to see a difference in her personality. The obedience training taught her that she no longer had to take care of me and that I was in charge, not her.
From my research on hypothyroidism dogs often develop it around 4 years old and most people don't realize their dogs have it. A simple blood test is all that is needed to diagnose it and the medication is very inexpensive.

January 1st, 2006, 02:08 PM
I want to thank everyone for their ideas and suggestions.

I do believe it is not an aggression issue (no growling). He may be just trying to get the attention of the "target" in the worst way. Only once I would call it aggression...he was watching this girl all night and I could tell. I tried to keep him away from her and distracted...but he was given a 2 second opportunity and took it. He knew what kind of person she was and didn't trust her...even though she never did anything to him.

Even though he has gotten a clean bill of health just a few weeks ago, I will keep in mind about the hypothyroid possibility.

New Year's Resolution will household will teach him that he is the dog and will not pounce on people when they enter the house, steal our food from our plates when our back is turned...and will behave with people. We did do basic obedience training when he was 1...but it is our fault that it was not reinforced continuously. He can only learn from what we teach/allow him.

I will update in a few weeks with any results. I just love my big mutt so much! Now I have to do what is best for all of us and him...reinforce training.

Thank you all and Happy New Year !