Major Help Needed!
About 2 months ago my husband and I adopted a 1.5 year old female sharpei mix. We had found her thru a woman that pulled our dog, Martha, and her little of puppies from a shelter that was going to euthanize them. We took Martha after she had weaned the puppies. After taking her to the vet, she was evaluated and needed to get into a healthier physical state. IE: put on weight, skin antibiotics, and treatment for a major, major digestive tract infection. So Martha has been in and out of the vet regularly for the past two months. We have a 16 month old daughter who is very active, and Martha is always sweet. About 3 weeks ago, Martha barked and snapped (did not make contact) at our daughter. We seperated them, my back had been turned so I figured maybe Mara had just accidently hurt Martha..well tonight, Mara walked up to Martha sitting in her dog bed and Martha freaked out, barked a lot and snapped at her. Immediately I scooped Mara up and told Martha to "GET OUT OF HERE" I know yelling wasn't the right thing to do but I thought she had actually bitten Mara by the way she was screaming and crying. Once I looked Mara over and saw she didn't have any bite wounds, my husband told me to call the police to send Animal Control to remove Martha. I called up the non-emergency police department number and the woman informed me that Animal Control would not pick up a dog that turned on it's own family and that animal control will tell me to take the dog to the vet. I want to believe that maybe something is underlying with Martha, but how can I take the risk of her actually biting my child? Does anyone have any ideas on what to do? I obviously will call my vet monday, but Martha was just there last week for a follow up and all her results were fine...she hasn't had any formal training since we've been focusing on getting her health up to par... she has become a member of our family in these past two months..but my daughter is my daughter. I can't stand to bring her to the pound. Ugh. Help?!
I'm sorry you're going through this, off the top of my head, here are a few options you have:
1) Contact your local humane society, see if they have any programs to evaluate Martha's agro, and for info on classes (vets may know of these, but most don't or pretend not to)
2) Get in touch with the woman you originally adopted her from, she may take Martha back, and rehome her with a family without small children and/or give you more info on Martha's background as well as other possible resources.
3) Rehome Martha yourself. My dad did this with a dog he adopted from a rescue agency (the dog was younger and required more time, bigger yard/fence then he could provide), he talked with a few families and had the new family write a check payable to the rescue as an additional donation. A month later, the mother called, raving about Daisy, how she sleeps with one of their boys every night and what not. In the end, Daisy got the home she deserved and a family got their first dog.
Again, I am sorry you're going experiencing this. This is one of every pet owner-parent of a young child's nightmares. You don't necessarily have to take her to the pound, remember, you do have options!
I am willing to bet that something is bothering Martha internally. Really if she WANTED to bite you child, she would have. She was warning her to stear clear because she didn't want to be touched (maybe because she wasn't feeling good.) I think if you are willing to work with her seeing a vet and a trainer are the first steps. Also of course keep your child and her separated until you have figured something else.
Dogs can't always tell us what's wrong and you are lucky to have a dog that knows that she needs to warn the child but doesn't actually have to bite her to get her to leave her alone. A lot of dogs bite with no warning and those are the ones to worry about, even if they do it out of fear or pain especially around children.
Hey, how is Martha doing?