1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Gave my Boxer Boy away today

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by SpartanBoxer, Apr 22, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. SpartanBoxer

    SpartanBoxer Boxer Booster

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm fortunate enough to have family that could take him. Left him with my 2 younger brothers. It's really quiet/weird around my home now, I already want to go back and get him. He's also not great around other dogs and they don't have a fenced yard so that situation gives me some stress as well.

    The issue was that he lashed out at my 11 month old son, bruising his cheek but not breaking the skin. He did the same thing to an 8 year old around Xmas time. We just couldn't bear the stress of the situation... constant monitoring, nervousness, etc.

    Are we over-reacting? IDK, getting a Trainer/Behavior specialist seemed like a lot of time/money that we just don't have a lot of.

    I don't believe he'd do serious harm to him, he did stay with his litter 7 weeks and has bite inhibition. But the whole situation was just too stressful and it's an awfully severe gamble. We are hoping to move into a bigger home this summer and contemplating inviting him back into the family... thoughts?
     
  2. Jinnytee

    Jinnytee Super Boxer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Messages:
    451
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh, I do sympathise with you, what an awful situation to be in.

    When you say " Lashed out" I assume you mean snapped at and bit ??

    It is hard to say what I would do in your shoes without knowing all the details. You don't say how old your dog is. Is he just a puppy, and could this have been puppy high jink where the bite was not intentional ? Did your guy give warning signs that he was not comfortable .... or did he bite out of the blue, totally unpredictably ?
    If your guy bit at the children with no provocation, then I would be very concerned, and I would probably feel as you do, not able to trust him, and look to re-home in a house without children. If the bite came at the end of a period of the dog being bothered by the children, when he finally had had enough .... then that would be different and I would work on training the children, more so than the dog .... and being pro-active as an owner to prevent those situations.

    I personally was not one of those people who let my children crawl around and sleep on my dogs , no matter how tolerant the dogs were.... you know, like all the cute photos and videos on the internet .... I just felt it was putting both the children and the dog in a vulnerable position. Until my kids were about 18/20 months, walking and old enough to understand the basic concept that you respect the dogs own space, the dogs were not in the same room if my babies were crawling and playing on the floor.


    I had a Golden Retriever, the gentlest of gentle dogs you could ever hope to meet and my children grew up with him from babies. When Sam was 7 he bit an 8 year old boy on his cheek, not serious, but it broke the skin. It was not witnessed by anybody and the boy denied that he had done anything at all to provoke it ..... but I knew without a shadow of doubt that there was no way that Sam would have bit without good reason. Fortunately the boy's parents also felt their son was not being entirely truthful ( maybe he had a history of being mean to animals, who knows ). Sam lived to age 14 and this was the ONLY blot on his copybook. I didn't lose my trust in Sam, I lost my trust in assuming all children would be kind and gentle.

    I think you know your own dog best, and you must do whatever feels right for your whole family. Your children's safety must come first, if this is genuinely an aggression issue. If you are unable to trust your dog, then he is not going to have as fulfilled a life as he ought either. As you are having mixed feelings, I do feel that you should consult a behaviorist, or else you are liable to always question if you did the right thing. Also, if your boy is still a puppy, then one option would be to let him live with your brothers, with you very much still involved with him, while he matures and your 10 month gets old enough to be able to re-introduce him back to the family.

    Hope that you are able to resolve this to get peace of mind.

    Jinny
     
  3. SpartanBoxer

    SpartanBoxer Boxer Booster

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jinny, well said, thanks. Today is the first day I woke up w/out him here and it's a very empty feeling.

    My Boxer is 6 years old (one in my sig w/bday in 08).

    You assessed the situation well on limited info. We were at the in-laws when it happened. A smaller home. I think my Boxer was very tired at the time. My 11 month old was crawling around and the Boxer moved a couple times to avoid him (we always say good boy when he does this). Finally he moved into a spot where he was somewhat cornered, the baby crawled over by him again and that's when he lashed out. Yes, by lashed out I mean he growled and lunged at him, bit him in the cheek but didn't break the skin. It left a bruise on his cheek. I wasn't in the room at the time it was just my Wife and MIL and it freaked them out to say the least.

    I agree with your philosophy about not engaging them in the same room until 18-20 months when you can train the CHILD on how to act around the dog. There isn't much hope with an 11 month old.. he just do what he do ;)

    However, I cannot really employ that strategy right now. We live on the bottom floor of a 2 story flat in the city, and we are a bit cramped for space. Don't really have the luxury of constantly putting them in separate spaces.

    We are currently house hunting and entertaining the idea of bringing my Boxer buddy back into the home when we have more space... but still wrestling with the idea.
     
  4. Jinnytee

    Jinnytee Super Boxer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Messages:
    451
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh, now I really feel your pain .... you must feel so torn, and I can imagine how empty your home must be without your boxer buddy. Your poor boy must have felt as bad as the humans over what happened. I truly do not think he meant any harm ... he just ran out of options. He made it clear that he was not happy with being approached and still no-one intervened to help him, so he did what he would do to a nuisance puppy who was crossing the boundaries . As always, when something like this happens, its usually us humans at fault for not reading the warning signals properly and intervening. I am not passing judgement on your wife and MIL in the least ... I have had kids and I know how quickly these things happen. Also, when you have a dog, who is part of the family, and is a tolerant, well balanced guy, its easy to be complacent.

    I may have misled you a little. I didn't keep my dogs and young kids separate all the time ..... they were often together, but I would watch them like a hawk .... which usually meant watching the baby / toddler, as in my experience the dog would be happy to stay put and chill on his bed, while the baby will not ! I just made sure that my young kids did not crawl up to the dogs ... which was hard work as crawling kids can move really fast :) ... but even very young children eventually learn to leave the dog at peace, much as you would teach to not go near a hot oven or heater. If I couldn't keep watch 100 %, then the dog would go into the kitchen with a baby- gate whilst the baby crawled around. Its a good opportunity to give a chew treat or bone to the dog - which you wouldn't want to do with a baby around, recipe for disaster - and it makes the dog more than happy to be put into the kitchen. Of course there was still plenty of interaction between the dogs and the children, you want them to have a bond - but it would be controlled, with me on the floor with them, ensuring gentle pats, rather than ear pulling - and always with an open door for an escape route whenever the dog had had enough.

    If it were me, I would definitely give your boy another chance. he has been part of your family for many years, and he must be feeling pretty confused now. You now know his limitations- he doesn't like to be cornered by a small noisy human who isn't always gentle ... who would. If it is really not going to work to keep a close eye on them and put him in another area whenever you can't ( and this would only really need to be for the next 6 months or so ) .... then I would let him board at your brothers with lots of supervised visits in your home, with your baby too, with a view to welcoming him back as soon as you can.

    Obviously it will take a little while to put this incident behind you, and feel comfortable about having him around your baby ...... but your boy doesn't sound like he is the problem here, just an unfortunate set of circumstances. Of course, I am no expert ... and there are a few people on here, who ARE experts with behavioral issues ... so hopefully someone else will chime in and give you some more advice.

    Jinny
     
  5. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    13,762
    Likes Received:
    590
    I totally agree with Jinny! Your boxer deserves another chance. He gave you lots of signs that he wasn't comfortable, but you allowed the baby to keep going after him. I think your boxer showed great bite inhibition by not biting the child.

    You just need to make sure that your boxer always has an escape route. He needs a safe place that he can go and the baby can't follow.

    Good luck!
     
  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,472
    Likes Received:
    18
    What a good boy he was! He did everything he could NOT to have to take action and even when left with what he felt was no option showed great bite inhibition by not breaking skin. Unfortunately, if future circumstances like this cannot be prevented given the living situation, the dog will likely be put in this position again and feel the need to escalate his behavior. Next time the recipient might not be so lucky.

    My first recommendation would be to implement some environmental management measures in the home. Using baby gates, a schedule of crate and rotate (or playpen and rotate!), and providing a safe zone for the dog that is off limits to the baby would be my first measure. However, given the description of your home it sounds like physically managing the dog and baby will be difficult and impractical. In my experience, if measures are difficult and/or impractical for owners then they don't get implemented or get implemented haphazardly. Unfortunately, this is an instance where you can't afford to have your management measures fail. It sounds like you made the right call in rehoming him.

    I would recommend placing the dog in a different home with no children or with older children who are capable and willing to take direction and respect the dog's space and can be taught to recognize the distance increasing signals that the dog gives.

    If, like you said, you might someday bring the dog back into your home, I would recommend some simple counterconditioning and desensitization work with respect to children of all ages. You mentioned he also reacted negatively to an 8 year old child at Christmas (probably another high-stress occasion) so his impression of children might not be that positive. To change his emotional response to children to a positive one, pair the presence of children with good things for him. During your visits to your brothers' home, have your child run and play as usual (don't have him interact with the dog) and feed your dog lovely food treats every time he notices or looks at your child. If you go on walks with him or take him to the park, reward him well whenever there are children about.

    I would also recommend you and your wife--and even your MIL read On Talking Terms With Dogs (2nd Edition) by Turid Rugaas. It is a great little book about the way that dogs communicate through body language. It's less than 100 pages, is an easy read, and is packed full of info with pictures of dog body language. Armed with the information in the book, you will be better able to judge if your dog is comfortable enough around your child to consider bringing him back into the home. Knowing what to look for and how to recognize signs of discomfort in your dog will allow you to step in sooner and diffuse any conflict before it gets to the point that the dog thinks he needs to do something drastic. Knowing that you and your wife have educated yourself and are able to recognize the signs that things might be escalating will help lower the stress that you and your wife might feel about having the dog around the baby too.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page