Advice on Dog Bite Behaviour

Discussion in 'Akita' started by jessa620, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. jessa620

    jessa620 New Member

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    Advice on Dog Bite

    Hi everyone

    I've posted here a few times before and have always received good advice. While my current situation is not one anyone can tell me how to respond to, I was hoping for some feedback during a difficult time.

    My husband and I adopted an Akita, Sakura, in October 2015. She has anxiety and is reactive to other dogs and nervous around strangers. It takes her a very long time to warm up to people if she even does. She is not good around children. We have taken several classes with her and are working to find a behaviorist (we saw one several times but she had no experience with Akitas and normal breed traits, like indifference to strangers, she thought disturbing so we are looking for a new one). We have not begun medication but our vet strongly suggested it and we were looking into it when she bit me. Basically, we were doing what we could to manage and hopefully help her with her anxiety. We were enrolled in another class that started this week.

    A little more than 2 weeks ago, I came downstairs late to get water around 11 PM. Sakura was laying down in the hallway. I do not remember the event but a security camera picked up audio. I asked her if she wanted to come to bed and then there is just several seconds of her barking. She stopped the attack before my husband got there, no one fought or pulled her off. What is likely, based on my past behavior, is that I crouched down while reaching a hand out for her to sniff not realizing she was asleep and I frightened her. We had learned she startled easily if woken and I would not have gone near if I had realized she was sleeping. I needed to go to the emergency room and had surgery a day later, needing over 200 stitches to my face. They were layered with dissolvable ones so not 200 external stitches.

    I live in the US and the rescue we adopted her from took her 3 days after for a mandatory quarantine. After speaking with the rescue, they agree with my assessment that I unintentionally frightened her. They are willing to give her back to us and our county regulations would most likely not protest given the fact that it was me, not a stranger, and it was "provoked". I miss her so terribly as does my husband. She was so protective of me it is hard to believe this happened. I guess, given the fact that we are planning to have children in the near-ish future, what would you do if you were me? Or anyone's thoughts or experiences? It would be impossible to feel comfortable having her around children at all given that, while all dogs are capable of biting, she has. I just look at her as my family and this is an extremely upsetting situation for us and her. I feel like I failed her.

    Sorry for the length of this post. I appreciate anyone's feedback or advice.
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  3. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    Sorry but if I startled any of my dogs I would not expect to end up with 200 stitches.

    I can’t advise you what to do, but if you are really worried It would be impossible to feel comfortable having her around children at all given that, while all dogs are capable of biting, she has.
    Then I think you have to decide if you are prepared to constantly manage and supervise her around children.
    You have not failed her as you’ve done your best in the two years you have had her, if she hasn’t improved, again it’s a case of if you are prepared to accept she might not improve and if you are prepared to accept her for what she is and learn to live with it.

    Sometimes some dogs just can’t be fixed, especially if it mostly genetic and one also has to think about the dog and their quality of life.
  4. Malka

    Malka Member

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    I agree with @GsdSlave. I think it would be too risky to have children, babies or older, and to keep your dog. Either you want children or you want to spend the rest of your life on edge and watching both dog and children - and keeping the dog shut away from your future family.

    200 stitches in your face, whether dissolvable ones or not 200 external stitches is NOT something I would put up with. OK so none of my dogs has ever really bitten and the only stitches in my face, or anywhere else, were necessitated by falling over a seizing dog while wearing spectacles and smashing my face on a stone floor, and I was within a fraction of losing my eye.

    But that was not caused by a dog bite.

    However, I do not understand how a sleeping dog would not be aware of you approaching it, nor you be aware that the dog was sleeping so deeply that it was not aware of your presence. Did you not talk to the dog as you approached it? Just to make sure that it was aware of your presence?

    My opinion, for what it is worth, is that you have to make a choice between the dog and/or a possible human family. And much as I have always loved my dogs, I know which I would choose firs.

    Sorry if you do not like what I have said, but just looking at the scars on my face in the mirror, which were NOT caused by a dog bite, there is no way I would keep a dog that necessitated 200 facial sutures.
  5. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. You have an awful decision to make, and I don't know whether my own experience will be useful to you.
    In the 1980's I had an otherwise sweet natured dog who began to have bouts of unpredictable aggression, which were solely directed at his father. When he was normal, they were fine together and they would even share a crate at shows, but his rage attacks at home were sudden and completely unprovoked. I tried rehoming him, but he would not settle, I loved him dearly, so I took him back.
    Before long, there was a major incident in the early hours of the morning, and I was bitten on the legs and hands whilst trying to defend the older dog. My trousers were in shreds, and I was really shaken by his total loss of control. My vet had half suspected that there could be a neurological problem, and had said that if there was no improvement, we could book a brain scan at the University, so I took him in the following morning, asking for an emergency appointment. The vet refused. He said that the dog had now become too dangerous, and he talked me into having him put to sleep. He was only 14 months old, and we were both so sad about it, that he didn't even charge me.
    On balance, I do think we came to the right decision, but this is the first time I have ever put this into words, and it still hurts, I still feel I failed him.
  6. jessa620

    jessa620 New Member

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    Thank you for the perspectives, I appreciate you all taking your time. GsdSlave, I think the children piece is the most important here. You are correct, we would have to constantly manage her around them and while we might be prepared for that, a mistake could be disastrous. People aren't perfect and I think I am frightened we would slip up.

    Malka, as I said it was late (for me) and I don't recall specifics. She should have heard me as our stairs are creaky and loud and she was near them. The audio has me speaking to her and from my past behavior, I know I would not have approached if I thought she was sleeping. We always talked to her when walking up to her, even if she was standing, just so she'd know we were coming and not a stranger. The rescue and our vet are both wondering if she had just come out of a seizure. Since we have never seen her have one, I would have been unaware of her epilepsy and taken her open eyes for being awake. The rescue is observing her for epilepsy and are ruling out other medical reasons.

    CaroleC, I am sorry for what happened to you. While I know that was painful to share, I truly appreciate it.
  7. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Jess - whether it was a seizure reaction I do not know. But what I do know, having had a seizure dog [my Pereg in my avatar], coming out of a seizure as she did, should not have made her reactive as she did.

    And unless you are close to your dog, 24/7 as I was, you do not know whether she had had a seizure or not. But even if she had, her reaction was not normal for coming out of a seizure. It just does not sound as if it was seizure behaviour.

    I know what I think I would do under the circumstance, whether you want a human family or not.

    I just have to look in the mirror, and my eye scars are not due to Pereg biting me. I just fell over her while trying to move her head from banging on whatever it was, and fell over her and smashed my face. And my spectacles cut into and tore the side of my eye.

    As I say, I do not really have any advice for you. Just weigh up whether you want a family and peace of mind with your girl and which is most important for your furkid and your possible future family.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, and please understand that whatever you do decide will no doubt be supported by us.

    Take care.
  8. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    Reading through your earlier posts (Quote I learned from the foster family that they were instructed to not have any visitors and the few they had she growled or barked at them.

    Yet (Quote According to the rescue, she is not dog aggressive and loves people.

    I take from that that the rescue was not being honest with you.

    It also seems that this was not the first time she had shown aggression (Quote Recently, she lunged at a small child in a manner that made the child scream (it was unpleasant and scary) and I had to remove her from the situation.

    Akitas are known to be aloof with strangers but lunging/growling is not a trait and not acceptable.
    Yes some are aggressive with strange dogs, mine were but I learned to manage but it’s a different scenario when people/children are involved.

    akitas are prone to thyroid problems, over active thyroid can cause aggression so the rescue should have that checked out.
  9. jessa620

    jessa620 New Member

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    GsdSlave, thanks for the input. I'll email them to make sure they are going to check her thyroid. We do feel we were led to believe Sakura was a different dog but she still managed to worm her way into our hearts. You are correct, her behavior is never acceptable and we were working with a trainer and behaviorist. I just fear at this point, it might just be who she is, genetics like you mentioned previously.

    Malka, thank you for the kind words. It feels like an impossible scenario and I appreciate hearing people's points of view.
  10. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Jess, I do not know know anything about the breed, all I do know, and I am fairly certain that your girl's reaction has no connection to any reaction caused by coming out of a seizure. It just does not happen.

    No, much as I hate to say this, a dog, whether disturbed from sleep or not, that causes so much damage to your face, is not a dog I would want in my home. I have never had a dog who reacts that way if woken suddenly - all the dogs I have ever owned woke up when they hear me go near them.

    Even Pereg would not hit out at me when I disturbed her coming out of a major Grand Mal seizure. Confused yes, but have a go at me? Never.

    Much as you obviously love your girl, I know what I would do. And it would not be passing your dog onto another home in the hope that magic happens.

    My opinion only. I am sorry but as I say, that is my opinion.
  11. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    jessa620 likes this.
    My heart goes out to you as you obviously love her and really tried but sadly love is not always enough.
    Such a shame the rescue was not upfront about her problems,you might not have been in this position, this is one of the reasons many dogs are returned.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  12. Branjo Snow

    Branjo Snow New Member

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    jessa620 likes this.
    This is a horrible experience for anyone to go through, I've no idea what you must be thinking or feeling Jess. But, unless that dog was severely physically abused enough to instill serious traumatic memories prior to you getting her, then it has to be some kind of chemical imbalance.

    The thyroid was the first thing I thought of too GsdSlave, the dog could be severely out of balance. I really really hope it could be that simple.

    Keep us posted and all the luck in the world to you.
  13. Branjo Snow

    Branjo Snow New Member

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    This is a horrible experience for anyone to go through, I've no idea what you must be thinking or feeling Jess. But, unless that dog was severely physically abused enough to instill serious traumatic memories prior to you getting her, then it has to be some kind of chemical imbalance.

    The thyroid was the first thing I thought of too GsdSlave, the dog could be severely out of balance. I really really hope it could be that simple.

    Keep us posted and all the luck in the world to you.
  14. Haley Young

    Haley Young New Member

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    We had a male Akita that we got from a breeder and right from the get go we'd pick him up as a puppy and he'd growl. He wasn't bad until about a year old. A lady hugged him and after that he was aggressive towards people. My older siblings were afraid to come to the house without my dad around and once when everyone was here my mom had put the dog out telling me not to let him in she didn't trust him around the older kids who didn't live with us. But when my dad came home he let him in. My sister was petting him and he was fine one second. The next he's jumped on her and biting her arm. She was ok and didn't even need stitches. After I yelled at him he got right off but still he'd bitten. We talked to the breeder and she said once theyve bitten there isn't much you could do about it. We had to put him down. So seeing that she did that much damage it really doesn't look good. Akitas in my opinion don't do good being rehomed. I could wake my female Akita up Whenever I wanted and she might jump but she never acted aggressive like that even startled. And I agree with everyone else. No kids absolutely.
  15. jessa620

    jessa620 New Member

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    Late response, thank you all for the input. It's been tough to coordinate with the rescue, they are all volunteers and have done a great job given their time constraints. Seems like the consensus is she won't come home to us. We don't know if that means she'll be kept by them or euthanized. We agreed to abide by the rescues recommendation, no matter how difficult. We're still waiting on that but it seems pretty obvious we need to start saying our good bye. It's been a rough few weeks and I greatly appreciate the responses. It's made this journey less lonely.
    For now, I think I say good bye. I'll need a little more time to heal and I cannot express how lucky I am to have found this community. Thank you all.
    Best,
    Jess
  16. Malka

    Malka Member

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    I am so sorry for you Jess but whatever the Rescue do will be in the best interests of your girl. Rescues cannot keep dogs forever, nor can they re-home dogs who have had a bad past. And sometimes euthanasia is the kindest thin for a dog.

    Our hearts are with you so please do not leave Breedia. I, for one, hope that you will find a gentle dog/puppy so you will be able to complete your family without the fear that a new [human] baby would be at risk. :052:
  17. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    Sorry to hear this, but volunteers or not the rescue should at least let you know one way or the other, not leave you in limbo.

    Don’t blame yourself you did the best you could, when the time is right we are here if needed xx
  18. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    I'm so sorry to read this Jess. Personally, I think a kind, gentle death is preferable to a life sentence in a no kill shelter without any hope of a real home. I hope you are healing well. Please don't beat yourself up, we can only try our best for these damaged souls.
    Hope to hear some happier news in due course.
  19. Branjo Snow

    Branjo Snow New Member

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    You have done all you can Jess, and you have been through a hell of an ordeal in the process. Sometimes the hardest thing to do unfortunately is the right thing to do. No one here could or would have done anything different.

    Every dog that we love and lose prepares our heart and home for the next.
  20. Keef

    Keef New Member

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    It's important to note that after a dog bites someone it's very difficult to get insurance. Obviously the children would be in serious danger and imo, it's just one of those difficult moments when it's probably best for the dog to either be adopted by someone with a great deal of experience with Akita's and this type of issue or put her down before she hurts someone more seriously perhaps a child. I feel for you though.

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