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Greyhound Bite


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Guest Dahlia102109

I'm heartbroken to write this...our 7 year old grey girl who we have had for 4 years bit my husband on the nose. He had to have emergency surgery and over hundreds of stitches. It was a serious bite. He was petting her while she was awake on our bed while it happened. We are in complete shock as we have always pet her, cuddled her, allowed her on our furniture, she lays on top of us and has always loved her pets and been nothing but the sweetest girl to her family. We do not pet her when she is sleeping. We had the vet give her a complete exam and he said she is as healthy as ever. She has never shown aggression toward us, has never shown behaviors of sleep space. We have our first baby on the way, expecting this summer. We are torn with what to do. For now she is not allowed on any furniture. But it makes me so nervous to have had her this long and for her to do this so out of the blue with no medical issues. She is my first "baby", I have loved her to death but now I am nervous to be around her after seeing my husband's nose get bit off. Any advice would be very helpful. I am trying to not sit in a state of depression or anxiety over this as I am pregnant and worried it is bad for the baby- so please be nice as you comment! Thank you!

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Please contact your adoption group to return this dog. It's my opinion that neither your dog nor your family will ever be relaxed around each other, feeding into a cycle of distrust. With a new baby on the way I do not think this is a case where you can start training her.

 

The hospital will have to report and it's likely that animal control will pay a visit to your home. Have all vaccination records handy. They may allow you to home quarantine your dog. It would be better to get the dog immediately to your adoption group for it's own protection.

 

A local family's greyhound barely bit a child visiting their home. Fortunately I had a good relationship with animal control. They were willing to let me transport the dog back to the adoption kennel. He ended up in a good home with no kids and a very experienced new owner.

Edited by macoduck

 

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As I see it you have only two options: decide you will never trust the dog and return her to the adoption agency, or get an experienced trainer/behaviorist in to look at the situation. It is, in my opinion, extremely unlikely for an entirely healthy dog to suddenly "bite with no warning", especially as serious of a bite as that, so either she is not entirely healthy, or she has given warnings in the past that you did not know how to read. If it's the second case, and someone can teach you how to read the dog, then you might feel better about her staying with you. Or not, and your husband's opinions on this have to be taken into consideration as well. I hope that you can resolve this in the best way for you and the dog, whatever you decide that is.

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I agree with contacting your adoption group as soon as possible. If you aren't in the same area where you adopted her, there are many groups around who can help you. What you do going forward depends a lot on you and your husband. This was a serious incident, no question, but you need to decide if you will be able to rebuild your trust in your dog, and if you are will to make that committment at this time. It can be done if you want it to be.

 

Ask your group if they have a recommendation for a qualified, positive-reinforcement only dog trainer in your area. Interview a couple of them and see who connects with you and your issue and your dog the best and see what they they have to say regarding what happened and what they suggest. You can also enroll in a positive-reinforcement only obedience training class to start the rebuilding process.

 

FWIW, It would be *very* unusual for a dog bite to come entirely out of the blue. Very, very few dogs are actually aggressive to the point of biting with no previous signs and symptoms. Most dog bites are the result of either pain, or fear and anxiety. You appear to have ruled out any pain or medical reasons (have your dog's thyroid levels been tested?). It's possible that your husband caused a momentary, startled (extremely), pain response. It's also possible that since you and your household are experiencing stress over the coming baby, your dog would be too. Changes in the set-up of the house, lots of new people over for baby-related things, your and your husband's stress over getting ready for this big change in your lives - all of these things can contribute to the stress of your dog. And then something that she's tolerated just fine for four years sudenly becomes intolerable for her.

 

It's time for a conversation about what you want and how much you're willing to put into this relationship. It's OK if you think you don't want to move forward with her. It will be hard to return her (or not), but it may be the best thing for all of you at this point.

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Please contact your adoption group to return this dog. It's my opinion that neither your dog nor your family will ever be relaxed around each other, feeding into a cycle of distrust. With a new baby on the way I do not think this is a case where you can start training her.

 

The hospital will have to report and it's likely that animal control will pay a visit to your home. Have all vaccination records handy. They may allow you to home quarantine your dog. It would be better to get the dog immediately to your adoption group for it's own protection.

 

A local family's greyhound barely bit a child visiting their home. Fortunately I had a good relationship with animal control. They were willing to let me transport the dog back to the adoption kennel. He ended up in a good home with no kids and a very experienced new owner.

 

I agree. You're already overwhelmed and afraid. Talk to your group and return her.

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As someone with a hound who has bitten twice, it's a very heart wrenching time. In our case, I knew that Rocket was startled from sleep each time. One of the people he bit was me, and I was ready to get him out of the house. It took a day or two for me to calm down about it and realize that he bit me because he was in fact, startled from sleep. Is it possible your dog was sleeping on your husband and was startled? (Not trying to have you find an excuse, but take a realistic look at what really happened.)

 

The second time that he bit someone, it was a woman who cleaned for us and had also been his dogsitter on several occasions. She knew as soon as she reached toward him that she made a mistake and startled him from sleep. His eyes were open but he was sound asleep when she touched him and he defended himself. In that case, Animal Control showed up because she had to have stitches. He worked his charm on the AC Officer, and she completely understood what happened. We had to home quarantine him for 2 weeks - no walks, no outings in public, period. If we had walked and she saw him, she would have confiscated him on the spot. We adhered to the quarantine completely.

 

Hopefully you are able to make the best decision for your household and the hound. Good luck. There is no shame in returning a hound to a group if the situation can't be worked out. It is better for your family and the hound if that's the decision that you come to, even though it is one of that hardest decisions you will ever make in your life. .

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I'm on the side of "return the dog ASAP and reevaluate after the baby and a few years. Here in Texas if your own dog bites you it is up to the doctor to make the call on if AC has to come out but given the sevnerity of the bite they probably will. Hugs to you and your husband and hope the girlie hound finds the right home. :grouphug

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I don't know about about the law over there but I can't imagine that the bite came out of the blue. There has to be a reason - my first impression is that she was somehow hurt. One of mine used to snap in direction of the face to warn someone off who disturbed his boundaries - mostly when he was hurt.

I took him because his previous owner, also pregnant feared he would bite her or the child. Please be careful, talk to your husband and decide together but be true with one another.

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You can't be certain there is no medical issue, despite what your vet said. The only time my beloved boy almost bit me was when he had a neck issue which had been completely missed by our regular vet and was later found by a greyhound vet.

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I'm sorry that you're all going through this situation. Sadly, I agree with macoduck's post #2 and others with similar recommendations.

 

Since you are pregnant, returning your Greyhound back to your "Greyhound only" adoption group ASAP is the safest thing you could do for all concerned. They could rehome your girl to a quiet, adult only household with Greyhound experience, plus a requirement to never allow her on humans' furniture, and to ensure her undisturbed personal resting space.

 

Being able to focus freely on a child until after the child starts grade school would be a safer option. Thereafter, perhaps consider a child-friendly breed suited to your child's personality, and set them up for success by keeping humans on human furniture, and a dog on dog beds on floor level. Many Greyhound groups will not adopt to families with young children because in a nutshell, a toddler or small child's brain has not developed/matured enough to control their natural behavior around large dogs. Many Greyhounds are not used to being around children, especially in restricted indoor spaces. As a side note: Infants/babies should never be placed on same/floor level with any dog of any breed.

 

Re: Greysmom's mention of "positive-reinforcement only" training: this means positive reward based training only (no punishment whatsoever). That can be helpful for some dogs and their family; however, considering the extent of your husband's injury and that you're expecting a baby, I would be hesitant to suggest that route for your situation. I was severely bitten by our family dog (different large breed) at age 5 (not my fault, nor the dog's fault), and have seen many dog bites since then. The wrong trainer (outdated dominate methods) can destroy a dog's successful chance at life.

 

I would encourage you to contact the Lexus Project ASAP for a quick chat (before Animal Control reaches out to you) for your hound's best interest: http://www.thelexusproject.org/content/origin-lexus-project

 

Good luck.

Edited by 3greytjoys
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I am sorry this has happened to your family; I agree. Return the dog. You will never be happy with a dog you don't trust.

 

Doesn't matter WHY it happened at this point.

 

And waiting until your child is five or six until you get another dog.

 

Best wishes.


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Please contact your adoption group to return this dog. It's my opinion that neither your dog nor your family will ever be relaxed around each other, feeding into a cycle of distrust. With a new baby on the way I do not think this is a case where you can start training her.

 

The hospital will have to report and it's likely that animal control will pay a visit to your home. Have all vaccination records handy. They may allow you to home quarantine your dog. It would be better to get the dog immediately to your adoption group for it's own protection.

 

A local family's greyhound barely bit a child visiting their home. Fortunately I had a good relationship with animal control. They were willing to let me transport the dog back to the adoption kennel. He ended up in a good home with no kids and a very experienced new owner.

Sad as it is I rather agree with this. As I see it there is only 2 possibilities. 1) that there was some kind of a trigger the hound perceived and that may or may not ever happen again or 2) there is something wrong with the poor hound-not the hounds fault. I did have 1 hound(a big male named Minny) that would attack without provocation completely out of the blue. He did go for my face one day but I managed to jerk my head down and he merely cut the skin on my hard head but yes there was blood running down my head though fortunately it was minor since my hard head prevented any soft tissue damage. He had to wear a muzzle 24/7 and ultimately crossed over from what was diagnosed as brain cancer. It was just a sickness with him. The real him that was 99.99% of the time was loving and exceedingly compassionate and emphathetic. I owe him A LOT and will always have a special place in my heart for him. He was there for me at one of the worse times of my life when I needed him. I did not have children though so it was no problem for me to have him in my pack. But he was actually returned from his first home for biting people and would not have been a good fit for a home with a child.Also like macoduck pointed out there is no telling what the Animal Control might do-they can be very extreme. So you do have to consider how to best protect your girl in the aftermath of this.

 

So sorry this happened. I know that Minny DID NOT REALIZE what had happened after he would have one of his incidents of biting/aggression. He knew something 'bad' had happened but he was confused and you could easily see and tell that he had no memory of what had happened. I am sure your girl would never KNOWINGLY hurt you; but sometimes things happen to them and they react as dogs do-by biting. So please don't think she has 'turned' on you-she hasn't. She's just a dog who unfortunately has some serious baggage. Its sad actually. I'm sure she loves both you and your husband as you do her but clearly the poor girl has some kind of an issue. She herself would not want to be put in a position where she might harm you or anyone-especially your child. Things will work out because you are proceeding with love. Thats really the best thing IMO. What is the most loving thing that can be done for all concerned? Love can and will still be a win-win for everyone.

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You can't be certain there is no medical issue, despite what your vet said. The only time my beloved boy almost bit me was when he had a neck issue which had been completely missed by our regular vet and was later found by a greyhound vet.

So very true. Minny ultimately died from brain cancer. He passed all vet exams for years. The only 'off' thing was his out of the blue attacks. Looking back it now appears his behavior was the result of a slowly growing brain cancer that didn't present any other symptoms.

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You can't be certain there is no medical issue, despite what your vet said. The only time my beloved boy almost bit me was when he had a neck issue which had been completely missed by our regular vet and was later found by a greyhound vet.

I agree with this and the comment above about otherwise possible missed warnings. But given her age and the amount of time that you've had her, I suspect you would have experienced a bite sooner if missed warnings were the only factor so I do wonder about underlying pain or medical issues.

 

Having said that, the only thing I'll add to what's already been said is about bite inhibition specifically. Even if you could identify triggers and do training to modify her response or manage to prevent putting her in a situation where she would be likely to bite, it's much more difficult (if not impossible) to alter a dog's level of bite inhibition, meaning when the dog is provoked, how serious is the bite. Some dogs will only snap, meaning skin isn't broken all the way up to much more serious bites where the dogs bites and holds and shakes to even causing death. You provided limited information, but it sounds like you are describing a fairly serious bite so my concern would be having a dog capable of doing that amount of damage to an adult around a very small child. You can't 100% ensure the dog won't be triggered around your child at some point so imo the safest thing is to have a dog that has good bite inhibition in addition to being very tolerant of children, which is not what you have now.

 

I'm very sorry. This must be heartwrenching for you. I hope you can make a decision that brings you peace.

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I'm really very sorry you're going through this and I know it is heart wrenching.

 

I have to agree with others to return her to the adoption group at this point. To me, it almost doesn't matter why this happened - give the details to the adoption group and let them sort it out. If it were just the two of you, I think a case could be made for an animal behaviorist, further medical test, etc. - but there will be a newborn involved soon.

 

Perhaps you can ask the adoption group to put you in contact with the next adopters so you can visit and keep in touch? You obviously love your girl and I cannot imagine having to give up one of mine, so I know it's heart breaking. But if this happens again, you might be facing a situation where she'd get confiscated (depending on the laws in your state) and I have a feeling you'd never fully trust her around your child.

Again, very sorry this happened.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry to hear this, how frightening and distressing for you all.

 

Tend to agree that there could be a hidden medical issue (brain-wise) that would explain such a random and violent bite. Would the group really be able to rehome her after this incident?

 

It's very sad and shocking when something like this happens.

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Just to add a note of realism here, the likelihood of this dog being rehomed by her adoption group is unlikely. She has caused a serious injury to the owner's face for an unknown reason. The group would have to reveal this information or be liable for great damages if there's a reccurrance. Who's standing in line to adopt a "vicious" dog who doesn't know her history? Adoption groups today are struggling to find liability coverage without any claims. Unless some gracious person steps forward, and they rarely do, this dog is likely to be euthanized ... so that the group can continue to help all those dogs who haven't bitten anyone.

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I totally disagree "CountryPaws."

 

I would take the dog in a heartbeat.

 

There is really very little chance this was just "out of the blue."

 

Those of us who have had dogs all of our lives and do not have children would not be put off by the dog biting a person once. Maybe I'm stupid? But I am confident I know how NOT to get bitten. I also hate to say it, but this message strikes me that it might not even be real. People do occasionally show up here just to stir the pot. You notice she hasn't been back?


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I totally disagree "CountryPaws."

 

I would take the dog in a heartbeat.

 

There is really very little chance this was just "out of the blue."

 

Those of us who have had dogs all of our lives and do not have children would not be put off by the dog biting a person once. Maybe I'm stupid? But I am confident I know how NOT to get bitten. I also hate to say it, but this message strikes me that it might not even be real. People do occasionally show up here just to stir the pot. You notice she hasn't been back?

 

 

I agree with Susan. I would take this dog in too, if it was the right time... I can only have two at a time, and I have two right now... or I would take her myself... I also know how not to get bitten... and even if I got bitten, which I've been twice, that would not deter me... when I lose one, and the time to add another has come, I always come here and ask for any needing homes, or for bounces... If there are none at that time, I go to my rescue and ask for any bounces... any non-kid and non-cat friendly... bites don't put me off.. my current girl, who is 13 y/o was returned twice, once for catching a poodle in a dog run, and once for growling/biting a young boy... I adopted her 6 yrs ago, and she has been the light of my life... she is 13 now and won't be around much longer... when she goes, and when I'm ready to add another, I will be looking for those bounces with a history, as it doesn't deter me... it takes confidence...

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I totally disagree "CountryPaws."

 

I would take the dog in a heartbeat.

 

There is really very little chance this was just "out of the blue."

 

Those of us who have had dogs all of our lives and do not have children would not be put off by the dog biting a person once. Maybe I'm stupid? But I am confident I know how NOT to get bitten. I also hate to say it, but this message strikes me that it might not even be real. People do occasionally show up here just to stir the pot. You notice she hasn't been back?

Very well put! I agree wholeheartedly.

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Some people being willing to take on a dog with a serious bite history doesn't invalidate Country Paws' point about the liability issues it presents to the adoption group. And it does present a serious liability issue. No one can control other people 100% of the time. The danger is the amount of potential damage done if the dog were provoked in the future. Doesn't mean there aren't groups who wouldn't do it, but we can't really say in this case since we know nothing about the group in question and very little about the bite itself.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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I can only say that in a perfect world there would always be someone to take the dog who bites someone in the face and causes thousands of dollars in medical bills. In Pennsylvania the dog who bites a human is actually required to be euthanized and the brain sent to Harrisburg for analysis.

 

That said, even if someone will take this dog, does the adoption group want to risk a lawsuit for a second bite? That's the risk they take. Picture a lawyer in a $1 million lawsuit asking the adoption group president, "Do you mean that this dog bit someone in the face and caused terrible injuries and you still placed her again with a family?"

 

I heard from a major adoption group recently that they have had their insurance cancelled in the last week or two and they don't know where to turn, even though they've never had a claim. I am trying to help them find some other insurers. My insurer is considering cancelling their dog event insurance. Never had a claim in 11 years. This is a huge ethical dilemma for adoption groups. While all of them would like to take the greyhound back and find a wonderful home for her and make flowers bloom and make life wonderful for all, they just can't always do that. I know from working with groups on this very issue with numerous dogs from Ohio to New York and Pennsylvania.

 

Lots of people say "Oh I'd love to take this dog in...if my husband wasn't sick or my kids were older or I had a fenced yard or my cousin Tara was available to babysit or my house were bigger or my Maisy wasn't so old." (Sorry, no points if you don't actually adopt the dog.) But the fate of these biting dogs is often the same. When push comes to shove, it's hard to rehome them. What's in it for the adoption group besides considerable liability? You may not know that or it may seem harsh to you, but few adoption group presidents (people who actually face this issue) would disagree with me that this is a very difficult issue. That's why we own two greyhounds who caused very serious facebite injuries from two different regional adoption groups. None of this is speculation, just a bit of reality that folks need to know.

 

Same is often true with greyhounds on Craigs list or in shelters. Lots of people wring their hands and send out dozens of emails to "help this dog," yet most of them cannot seem to help transport, can't foster, and can't get the dog into a legitimate adoption group. I am so grateful for the folks who actually are willing to help pull these dogs from shelters, transport them, and take them in, as we do. And these dogs haven't even bitten anyone.

 

Just saying...

Edited by countrypaws
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"In Pennsylvania the dog who bites a human is actually required to be euthanized and the brain sent to Harrisburg for analysis."

 

Just to be clear this is NOT the law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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