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3 Bumps

Who to blame? What would you do?

So I have a dog, a beagle. He's very sweet, friendly and eager to please most of the time. We adopted him last April from the local animal shelter, and before I brought him home, I seriously touched this dog just about everywhere, manhandling him to make sure he could handle my 3yo DS. Until today, they were a perfect match. My son could lay on him, poke him, pull his tail, and the beagle would tolerate it.

Then, my son climbed onto the couch where the dog was sleeping, and barely touched him. He must've startled him awake. The dog bit my son, fortunately only getting hair in his mouth. He didn't release him until I moved toward him. (I was sitting on the floor about 4 feet away, facing the other direction when it first happened, but I heard it.)

My son was terrified. He wasn't hurt, but he was very frightened by the event. I'm not sure I want to keep a dog who will bite my kid. My son is usually very careful around animals, but he's never had a reason to fear our beagle. What would you do? Would you keep the dog, or try to find another home for him?


Asked by Anonymous at 4:04 PM on Jan. 21, 2011 in Pets

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • This happened to me when I was a kid- I leaned over our partially blind dog while she was sleeping on the couch- I startled her, and she bit me. Not enough to break the skin, but enough to scare me. We kept the dog. She got directed off the furniture and to sleep in places where I was not going to bother her. I got a lesson in giving animals their space and not startling them. I do think there is a difference between a reflex action like this and an aggressive act. I probably would not be rehoming the dog, but I would be laying down some new ground rules with both your ds and the dog to ensure that this 'startle' reaction doesn't happen again.

    Answer by Freela at 4:16 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • You said the dog was asleep when this happened. You need to teach your child not to bother the sleeping dog, or when the dog is eating either. JMO

    Answer by louise2 at 4:10 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • It won't be the last time that your ds will startle him. I would never be able to forgive myself if my son was injured by a dog who had already had a close call. Do what you feel is right. You'll make a sound decision.


    Answer by jen2774161 at 4:08 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • I my dog ever even attempted to bite either of my children, he would be gone.

    Answer by Syphon at 4:08 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • How old is the dog? Sometimes as dogs age they get less tolerant.

    Answer by MrsMWF at 4:08 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • Hmmm... I would say I would train the dog and my child. I have a cat who has gotten older and snippy. The rules are that the kids do not ever touch Psymon when he is sleeping. If they need him to move they get me. With a dog this is a little easier because you can train the dog to sleep in better suited places such as pet beds and kennels. Don't leave them alone together and see how it goes. Also consider an in home trainer to help guide you through. I would not get rid of the dog yet. It sounds like it was not a vicious act but a reaction that needs to be redirected.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 4:08 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • I would really hate to see you give up your family pet over that. I had to learn lessons with both cats and dogs as I grew- learning their temperaments and what was ok with us was not always ok with them. I was bitten, but I learned. I never feared my pets for very long- I simply learned to not sneak up on them wearing my Halloween mask and costume in the dark!

    Your son need to have it explained to him that dogs are not people and don't understand everything we do- and sometime that makes them frightened.

    Answer by meandrphoto at 4:14 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • Personally I would find him another home.  There is a chance that he would never bite him again period but in reality who wants to take that chance?


    Answer by MrsHouston47302 at 4:08 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • I would teach your child how to handle the dog.. Per your words "My son could lay on him, poke him, pull his tail, and the beagle would tolerate it. "... This is not how to "be nice" to a pet.. At 3, he is old enough to understand that this is not how you "play"..

    Answer by midnightmoma at 5:00 PM on Jan. 21, 2011

  • Midnightmoma, while I did say that he could, I did not say that he DOES. I ensured that my son at two years old would be able to do whatever he wanted to the dog, and he would tolerate it. My son is very gentle with the dog and with both of my cats. More often than not his interaction with all of our animals is a careful hug. My cats are much less tolerant of him and while one will take hugs, the other is shy and runs away. I work at the animal shelter we adopted the dog from. My son has been around animals his entire life, and is very careful not to be too rough with them Occasionally when he was younger, my son would hold onto the dog's tail. I have pictures of them sleeping together, my son's head on the dog's stomach. In this instance all he did was lean toward the sleeping dog. He may have brushed the dogs foot. We'll have new rules for both DS and dog re: letting sleeping dogs lie, but not on the couch.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 5:18 PM on Jan. 21, 2011