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Canine Behavior/our aggressive dog

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Question
Bently is a german shepherd/saint bernard mix. He is 11 months old. This issue started several months ago and is now out of control. Bentley started 'snapping' at children. Now he snaps at adults as well. Yesterday, he actually bit me and drew blood. The neighbor kid knocked on my door for my son and as I was talking to him Bentley tried to rush past me. This being the same kid that he snapped at a few days prior. I grabbed him by the collar and when I did I received 3 puncture marks on the hand. My 7 year old son is afraid to walk past him. My wife on the other hand, loves him and is his best friend. She thinks that this is a minor issure and most of the time wont speak to me about it. There are  never any consequence for his actions from her because he rarely does it in front of her and when he does she simply 'has a talk' with him. Im on my last leg with this. I dont feel that she is going to take the time and effort to really fix this problem and I dont think that I can. He growls and shows teeth and will slowly move towards me while doing this when I try and tell him no or put him in isolation. I need to know when its time to get rid of the dog. And how do I make my wife understand the severity of the situation? Losing him would be like cutting off her right arm. Thanks for any feedback.

Answer
Whitney  Thank you for writing in.

You have a very serious issue which MUST be addressed.  If you have not researched the dog bite laws in your state you need to so so immediately.  Georgia is a "one bite law" state white means that if Bentley bites someone and the bite is reported  your dog will be labeled a vicious or dangerous dog.  It is quite possible that Bentley will be confiscated and euthanized.  Since Bentley's first bite on you caused several punctures and drew blood, this tells that as he becomes a more experienced biter the bites will become worse.  

Since your family has knowledge that Bentley has a propensity to bite, this increases your personal Liability for any further bites he inflicts.  Your liability could be significant monetarily.  You could even face criminal charges


Since your son's.friend observed what he did, and since there is something on the Internet for anyone who does their research, there can be no denying that you knew about Bentley's bitimg.

Your wife needs to seriously cease denying the truth about Bentley's behavior.  I STRONGLY recommend that you see.a professional dog trainer Well-versed in working with dogs such as Bentley and/or see.a.veterinary behaviorist at once.  Please.do immediate research on dog bite law in Georgia with your partner so that you are both aware of the legal ramifications of owning such a dog and so your partner can recognize how serious is this issue.  Last but not least, I would be very concerned about anyone who.comes into your home or to your door regarding their safety.  Keep Bentley securely in another room away from any visitors.  My take on this, based on what you've written, is that Bentley is quite a large dog who can inflict serious damage on someone if he so chooses.  Please don't allow that to happen.

Madeline  

Canine Behavior

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Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.

Expertise

I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.

Experience

Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Organizations
Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Publications
Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Everydayhealth.com Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Education/Credentials
Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at www.ny-njDogTrainer.com under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

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