My dog has bitten again! Should he be rehomed or not?

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Member Since
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 3:20am PST 
I am looking for some advise please. My name is Susan and I have a 7 year old cocker spaniel named Conker. Please excuse my long winded entery and terrible spelling but im ashuming the more info I can give the better advise I will get.
I have had Conker since he was 4 months old. He came from my local kennel and had had 3 previous owners before me who all returned him for snapping and biting.
As a pup he was an absolute nightmare. However, we persovered with him and created our own 'rule book' (for lack of a better description) to avoid being snapped at. For example, "no bones or large chews as he gets posessive" and "never try to get him out from under the bed regardless of what he has got hold of".
When he was old enough he was neutered and has calmed down as he has gotten older so we have had no bad incidents for years.
However, Ive had a baby and since my little boy has become mobile the dogs temperemant has changed. He has become distructive, had a full blown scrap with the cat seemingly for nothing, he has snapped at numerous people (including a warning snap at my baby who is only 11 months old)and the other day he launched a full blown attack on my mother!
She was trying to get him to come inside as we were getting ready to go to bed so it was late and quite dark, but he wasnt listening. She walked over to him and touched him and he turned round and bit her on her stomach. By itself this could be seen as an accident if he hadnt seen her coming but as she tried to back away he launched at her in what could only be discribed as a full blown attack (like a huge explosion of rage) where she had to literally fight him off. Luckily she was not hurt again.
As this dog has bitten badly in the past (all be it a few years ago) I am certain I can no longer keep him, my little baby is far too precious to take the risk.

My question is this... I know there is a good chance this dog may bite again, especially if he goes to a home that doesnt know to observe the 'rules' and he definatly should not be homed with kids. Given the severity of his latest attack, should rehoming him be ruled out completly? He is my dog and I love him to bits but even I cant trust him. What should I do?
Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 5:17am PST 
In my opinion I would FIRST of all go and get a vet check, bloodwork etc. While it is unlikely at this stage, it is possible that he could have a health problem contributing to the aggression. After that I would find a qualified canine Behaviourist to come out and assess the situation. It is possible the problem is something that could be solved with a little help!

Until then I would keep the dog away from your child at all times.. If your child is in one room, the dog should be kept away with a baby-gate for both of their safety and your peace of mind!

If you feel like you cannot do this and simply cannot keep your dog anymore, I don't see many people being willing to take on a dog with a bite history. If you COULD find someone you would have to be 100% honest about his past. Rescues etc are not likely to take this dog on. Unfortunately it is more than likely that he would be euthanised by any rescue/shelter as he would be too much of a liability.
Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 5:58am PST 
I don't know...a bite to the stomach and her having to fight him off sounds pretty serious to me. Having to raise a child safely and manage and try to train the dog is an awful lot to do.

You have to look at the quality of life for all involved, you, your child and the dog. If the dog can never be walked or have severely limited time to interact with family because of the biting, then that dog's quality of life is not good.

We would all love to see the dog live, but sometimes the quality of life really needs to be looked at.

There are very few people willing to take on a dog like that. Usually, those are people wanting a challenge. I doubt any rescue or shelter would take the dog for adoption. They'd probably euthanize on the spot, and I don't blame them. And if you do go that route, be honest about the dog's history. You wouldn't want anyone else getting hurt.

I wish you the best in whatever you decide. It really comes down to what you honestly feel is best and what you can realistically handle.


Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 6:10am PST 
I agree with the other poster first getting him/her checked by a vet for a health issue. If you can not manage the situation yourself rehoming may not be an option either. I had a Cocker Spaniel 30 years ago and even then,as I was looking for a puppy there were many breeders who would not sell to homes with children because over breeding and irresponsible breeding made them less likely to be good with Children. Aside from working with a behaviorist to help get control of behaviors you have left unfortunately get further out of hand than they should have,and finding ways to manage the situation,the only other option may be euthanasia as sad as it is due to safety issues. I do not recommend that lightly and only if all other options have been tried and failed and don't even like the idea then, I am just being realistic and practical.hugwishes
Trixie Bean!

none so blind as- those that will- not see
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 7:01am PST 
Yeah apaprently the end of my post disappeared! I said at the end that if it were my dog and euthanasia was the only reasonable option, I would want to be the one taking him to the vets to be there with him for the final journey hug

Its a sad situation all around, and sounds like this pup needed a behaviourists help from a young age- but of course many people don't know that option is even there for them. Sanka- you are correct. Quality of life is the most important thing to be looking at, at this stage.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 7:24am PST 
I agree,if euthanasia is the only option then the OP should be there for the dog in the end. Thank-you to both you and Sanka for also seeing it as a sad but practical option. I was almost afraid to suggest it because I know it is a difficult decision and in the eyes of many dogsters a totally unreasonable idea.

Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 7:33am PST 
I agree with the above posters. Your child is too precious to take a chance with. If you feel you are unable to manage the situation and only you can know that then euthanasia might be best. Having someone else take on a dangerous animal is not a good idea.
Marlowe, RN,- CGC

Seize life by- the big stick!
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 7:40am PST 
When I was growing up, I had a Cocker Spaniel with very nearly the same issues. We were her third home by the time she was 6 months home, and in the last home she had started growling and snapping at the small children/toddlers. She was fine with me (I was 9 or 10 when we got her), but always preferred adults and was never very reliable around children or other dogs.

When my 3-yr-old nephew came to visit one time, we weren't careful, and she did 6 stitches worth of damage to his face when he got too close to her food bowl. There was no warning, just 20 lbs of angry dog suddenly attacking.

When our family split up and my mom and I had to move to a non-pet-friendly apartment, we took her to the vet and had her euthanized. We loved her, but couldn't take the chance of her going to a different home and hurting someone. It was a tough decision because we loved her, (and I still wish mom had tried to find a different apartment so we could've kept her), but I do believe it was the right decision. She was just too unstable.

That said, I second the vet check-up just to make sure there isn't a contributing factor, but please NEVER leave the dog in the same room with the baby unsupervised.

Best of luck, and I hope your story turns out differently than mine. frown
Henry Miller

He's a tramp,- but they love- him!
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 8:53am PST 
I used to think that rescues would not take dogs with a bite history, but that is not always true. We have many dogs come through our animal control center that fail miserably on their SAFERS and or that are surrendered for biting (some that are even on a HOLD with the department of health because of a bite) that DO get pulled by rescues.

I don't know where you live, but if you do decide to find Conker a new home, you could start by contacting Abandoned Angles Cocker Spaniel Rescue in NY and offer to do whatever it takes to get him a space with their rescue--whether that means paying for transport, holding him until a foster opens up, paying for training etc... They DO take some dogs with temperament issues. Their mission says:

Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. (dba NY Abandoned Angels Rescue) is dedicated to the rescue and re-homing of cocker spaniels and other dogs in need of loving forever homes. We will not reject any dog due to age or health and accept many dogs who have some temperament and/or medical issues. We rely solely on donations, whether through adoption or simple generosity from the public. Given our limited resources, we give priority to cocker spaniels and other dogs in local kill shelters who are in danger of being destroyed. We accept owner surrenders on a space available basis, and request a surrender fee reflecting whether the dog has been spayed or neutered, is up to date with vaccinations, and has any chronic health problems.

This is the Cocker rescue that I am most familiar with because they are in NY, but I imagine there are many others across the country.

Best of luck to you and your family. hug

Im just a little- guy
Barked: Tue Jan 31, '12 10:37pm PST 

Maybe it's rage syndrome. I have heard of this before. I googled it. It does say cockerel are affected.

I would not feel safe with this dog around. He could hurt your child.
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