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Question
Posted by: HARRIE | 2008/10/08

PLEASE ADVISE

Our German Shepherd is 8 years old. On Saturday morning we wanted to go out. My husband pulled the car out and Leo went onto the pavement. I got into the car and my husband called Leo to go into the yard. He wouldn' t go in because he wanted to be with me. I got out of the car and shooed him towards the open gate but my husband was standing in the gateway. He bent down to pull Leo into the yard when Leo jumped up and started biting him. I tried to get Leo off him and when I turned to walk away he bit me on the bottom of my legs. He is a very lovable dog and I can' t understand what prompted him to do this. After the episode he was extremely lovable as if to let us know he was sorry for what he did. Everyone advises we put him own but it seems such a drastic step and he is our babes. Please advise. Also what is the best way to get a dog to stop biting?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Dear Harrie

Something must have scared him at that moment and this can be a once off situation. You need to take measures to ensure that he knows both of you are boss. If you had a very well disciplined dog this is unlikely to happen. I would seek the advice of a behaviourist to help you re-inforce your dominance over the dog.

I think putting the dog to sleep at this stage is a bit drastic but you should do as discussed above.

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Our users say:
Posted by: HARRIE | 2008/10/09

Thank you all for your advice. It is reassuring to know that there are people out there that don' t immediately tell me to have him put down. I will indeed look for an animal behaviourist and hopefully resolve the problem.

Reply to HARRIE
Posted by: Acineth | 2008/10/08

The cause could be so many things, its best not to speculate without a proper assessment. I think you should contact an accredited behaviourist, either with the ABC or SABCAP. They will be able to evaluate your entire relationship with the dog, as well as the situation in which the bite occured and give you advise based on all the information. Euthenasing the dog after one incident is extreme, although you do need to find out what triggered it.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: HARRIE | 2008/10/08

Leo hasn' t bitten either of us before this was the first time. He is used to going for walks outside his property and is normally very obedient to come back. We always check up and down the road before we let him out to make sure there is no-one about or no other dogs around. We have a lot of people in and out of the house without a problem. I do have 2 grandchildren 9 and 5 and am worried about them although he has never shown any agression towards them.

Reply to HARRIE
Posted by: felciity | 2008/10/08

Dogs may act with " aggressive"  behaviour if they are in pain. Has he any arthritic conditions that you are aware of. I would be loathe to put down a family pet that has been around for 8 years if he has never shown aggression before?

Reply to felciity
Posted by: Acineth | 2008/10/08

I need a bit more information. Was this the first time Leo has bitten you or your husband? Was it the first time you allowed him out of the yard? If he has bitten you before, under what circumstances was it?

Reply to Acineth

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