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Hi there! My husband and I have Vizslas, 1 female thats 7 years old and a male that is 2.5 years old.
9 months ago our son was born and both our dogs have not had a problem with him. They lick his face, lay next to him and hover near his high chair when he eats waiting for him to hand them bits of his snacks.
THE PROBLEM: Early last week our male growled at my son when he crawled near him, my son crawling over to him is not anything out of the ordinary, but this time he growled at him. I ran over grabbed my son and told my male no we don't growl at the baby.
Well, yesterday he was sleeping in the sun by the back door and my son was looking out the window and pulled him self up, lost his balance a fell back on my male vizsla and this time he bit my son without any warning leaving a large gash above my sons left eye. We rushed him to urgent care and lucky my son didn't need stitches.
Ever since our male bit our son we have been on edge. I refuse to put me son on the floor to play and I myself am scared to be near him.
Any advice on how to handle the situation and make sure it doesn't happen again is very much appreciated!
We would hate to give up our male, but if we can't find a way to make sure it doesn't happen again we will have no choice!
 

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First I'm very sorry this happened to your baby.
Next is you need to make sure your young son is protected. Anytime I put the baby down to crawl, I would crate the dog first in a separate room, so he couldn't crawl up to the crate.
Has your dog been around a lot of young kids, or is this new to him?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!
our dog has been around a number of young children and babies since we got him. Before our son was born we crated him until he was fully house trained. Do you think it would be smart to bring back the crate as learning/teaching tool for our young Dog? We have also tossed around the idea of bringing in a obedience trainer.
Has your dog ever suggested aggression of any kind toward your child?
 

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Your sons safety has to be your first priority.
So the question you need to been asking yourself "Can I keep my son safe, while still providing a good home for this dog? "
The crate would not be a learning/teaching tool, it would be used so your son could safely play on the floor. But you don't want the majority of your dogs life to be spent in the crate. So you would need to be able to balance your time with your son, and the dog also getting attention separately.
While its always good for a dog to learn obedience, your issue is more complicated.

Has your dog ever suggested aggression of any kind toward your child?
While one of my dogs can be aggressive, he has never been given the opportunity to be loose with a baby.
 

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Likely your dog was startled since it was sleeping. The previous incident I can't really explain. I would do a quick vet check to make sure that your V doesn't have any illness you aren't aware of. He could be hurting and be on edge.

Other than that, all of what TexasRed mentioned was spot on.
 

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I agree you have a good percentage of dogs that will not bite while awake, can bite when startled while sleeping.
The growl was to let the baby know to back off. The dog has no way of knowing that a baby cannot read the body language, and vocal (growl) noise he is saying. Its hard for us grownups to sometimes read a dogs body language before a growl/bite, a child doesn't stand a chance reading it. Its up to the adults in the household to keep all dog and kid interactions safe. If we fail, kids get bitten, and dogs get put down. Your dog may, or may not be okay with your son as he gets older. There is just no way to see into the future.
You either work out a plan where both can live happy, and safely, or talk to one of your local vizsla rescues.
 

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We live with our granddaughters in our house. The dogs live downstairs behind two child gates and only get to interact with the girls when we are right there supervising.
Bailey growled at our 2 year old when she crawled into his crate.
I just never trust my dogs with young children even though I think I know them well, an animal is still that.

Keep them separated as much as possible at this age is my only real suggestion.

You'll all live through this and one day your son will be able to be a dog trainer because you started him out very young understanding dogs.

Safety first, last and always. Good luck.
Rod
 

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oh my, this is just terrible! Yes, V'sare very sensitive and don't like surprises, but this one is a bit out there. If it were me and I saw this, I would have given a correction that would leave a very lasting impression.

You need to keep your human baby safe, of course, but you also need to reintroduce them to each other in a far more successful way, supervising both. The sooner you can do that, the sooner both babies (and you!) will feel more confident in their overall ability to coexist. Just remember to supervise and make sure the outcome is positive, and if there's even a hint of anxiety or aggression from V, to offer either support or correction, respectively. But, the longer you wait, the longer you reinforce the least interaction for both of them.
 

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Gingerling said:
If it were me and I saw this, I would have given a correction that would leave a very lasting impression.
As difficult as it is, and primal instinct is to severely correct the dog, the outcome of a severe correction in this instance is highly likely to be inverse to what is desired. i.e. an escalation of aggressive/defensive behavior.

When a dog is in a defensive or aggressive mode (and the two are very similar in potential bite response) escalating with more aggression generally results in a higher anxiety, higher response in a future event. It is most important to understand the dog needs his space, just as the child needs a safe place to play. I understand the desire to have the dog and child be buddies, but not all dogs like small children, and as a living, thinking being they have that right. I cringe when I see Facebook pictures of tiny babies on top of the dog, while others Ooh and aww isn't that cute... I see a potential train wreck. It only takes an instant and ANY dog can bite under the right circumstances. This is not the dog's fault.

If you are afraid of your dog, the best thing is to find him a new home. Your understandable anxiety will only exacerbate the issue. That anxiety is picked up by the dog, which makes him more on edge and unsure. That combination can not lead to a better behavioral outcome. The sooner the better, for you, the baby and the dog.

Good luck,
Ken

PS - If this post links to sales outlets it will be removed by author.
 

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Just to add a few thoughts to what other people have said-

I would suggest parallel living with the dog and kid. What I mean by this is both the dogs and kid have their separate daily activities and routines and they do not cross over. A big part of this is not encouraging the kid to interact with the dog. (and starting early with talking about appropriate behavior around dogs) Don't discourage a dog from being interested/sniffing the kid if they are together (you don't want to have the dog draw a negative view response to the kid). If the dog comes and sniffs a hand, praise the dog and then redirect to something else such as a toy or game.

If you encourage child/dog interactions early, the child is likely to be magnetized to the dog and want to always to go towards it. That can be real detrimental, as the dog will always know that this little unpredictable human without impulse control is always coming for it.

I've seen way too many photos online where kids are posed or draped over a dog for that "cute photo". The dog is obviously super stressed (lip licking, whale eyes, looking away, drawn face, rigid body posture).

If you are going to make this work, (with one or both dogs), you need to make sure they have safe areas in each room (or entire rooms/areas) where they are safe from the child. This may mean getting a movable fence/pack'n'play and placing the kid in there for play time.
 

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What's missing in the discussion is just how vital it is to teach "bite inhibition" aka having a soft mouth to young puppies. This means getting ones hands inside a puppy's mouth a great deal in the early weeks and months, and reinforcing bite inhibition as time goes by. This is a vital safety issue and a part of "training" that is very often overlooked.

Bill
 

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This is just my thoughts.
You can teach a pup bite inhibition, or not to bite, but under some situations that's all going to go out the window. If it worked every time, all the time, we would never have a problem with dog bites.
I'm not saying don't teach it. I'm saying don't count on it working in every situation.
 

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TexasRed said:
This is just my thoughts.
You can teach a pup bite inhibition, or not to bite, but under some situations that's all going to go out the window. If it worked every time, all the time, we would never have a problem with dog bites.
I'm not saying don't teach it. I'm saying don't count on it working in every situation.
Teaching "not to bite" is not the same as teaching bite inhibition (aka teaching for a soft mouth). They are in fact polar opposites in training methods. The first uses strong corrections to discourage a puppy from putting its mouth on people. The second recognizes that puppies "mouthing"people is normal puppy behavior, and seeks to mold that behavior over time to develop a soft mouth.

When the "not bite" approach fails fails, it can fail very badly. The bite inhibition (soft mouth) method rarely fails, as it is not an "all or nothing" style of training.

Very few people teach bite inhibition. Many teach (attempt to teach) a zero mouthing/biting regimen to puppies. The results of this latter choice can be catastrophic as these dogs are not trained to have a soft mouth. It really is a big deal, and major difference.

Bill
 

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I think you missed the whole point.
 

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TexasRed said:
I think you missed the whole point.
I don't believe so. I think you are conflating two very different training methods, one being "bite stopping" (for lack of a better term), which uses strong corrections to STOP puppy "mouthing" behaviors, and the other being training for "bite inhibition."

I think you are suggesting that both can fail. And implicit in that is the idea that the chances of them failing are approximately equal. This just is not so.

The "bite stopping" method has an extremely high failure rate. And when it goes bad, and a dog snaps, the results can be catastrophic. Such dogs have really not been "trained."

There is no comparison with dogs/ puppies that have been actively trained in bite inhibition over time. Such dogs are trained to have a soft mouth. This is the sort of training that does not fail in a moment where the dog snaps. They are two very different approaches. One is very risky, the other is the closest thing to a guarantee a dog will not bite.

Big difference.

Bill
 

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This is the sort of training that does not fail in a moment where the dog snaps
This is where I respectfully disagree with you.
I think you are misleading puppy owners into believing that as a dog it will never bite to the point that it puncher the skin, because its had this type of training. To many other things come into play when a dog bites, and some dogs are more prone to bite than others.
 

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TexasRed said:
This is the sort of training that does not fail in a moment where the dog snaps
This is where I respectfully disagree with you.
I think you are misleading puppy owners into believing that as a dog it will never bite to the point that it puncher the skin, because its had this type of training. To many other things come into play when a dog bites, and some dogs are more prone to bite than others.
Respectfully, you are misinformed about this. Active bite inhibition training is the very best sort of assurance a dog owner has to ensure its dog is safe. I find it unfortunate that a forum moderator would attempt to mislead owners of new puppies to believe otherwise.

Leaving things to a dog's individual inclinations, as in they a "prone" to biting (or not), is a very dangerous strategy.

All puppies benefit from active bite inhibition training. Leaving things to a dog's natural inclinations is very (very) risky and unwise.

Bill
 

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I'm a little confused on what you are saying about bite inhibition. While I agree with you that it's important to teach a dog to have a soft mouth around people, I'm not making the connection between how that would prevent a dog from ever biting in any situation. Both of my dogs have a soft mouth and I can put my hand in their mouth while they are eating, chewing on a toy or even wrestling. My girl Penny has a fear of men - when a man comes into the room her first instinct is to bark and run away and she will go to the farthest corner she can find and cower because she is afraid. If a man were to push the limits and trap her in that corner and try to pet her, I can almost guarantee that she's going to bite at him as a last resort to protect herself. In that situation she would be so terrified that her fight instinct would kick in and even though she has a soft mouth, it wouldn't prevent a bite. On a day to day basis I have no fear that she is aggressive and when approached correctly she will interact with men, but I know her triggers and I never put her in a situation to fail.

In the end a dog is an animal with animal instincts and you will never train those instincts out of a dog. The key is to set your dog up for success and keep them safe as well as everyone around them.
 
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