Biting a Child: Can Dog Be Re-Trained?

I have a 1-year-old Rottweiler and he is an inbreed. I also have 3-year-old and 5-year-old children. My 3-year-old was letting the dog lick and love on her. She went to give him a hug and he snapped; he bit her on the face, and he left bite marks.

My question is, is there any hope for his behavior to change? My husband thinks training will solve this problem. I am not so sure. He seems to take to 1 person (my husband). He has never taken to our children or me, but he knows I feed him. I have called trainers; they seem to think he can’t be helped. I would love any advice you could give!

You are very right to be concerned, and here is why. Your dog was not necessarily being loving with your daughter; such licking and kissing sometimes is a sign that he is exhibiting dominance over her. When she tried to hug him (he perceived it as a dominant action on her part), he asserted his dominance by biting. This biting was an inappropriate response to what should be perceived by a normal dog as a non-threatening action. That is one possible explanation. The other is even less pleasant: he may have been frightened momentarily by her arms around him, and in fear, he bit her.

NO dog should ever bite his family’s child! The fact that the dog has not taken to you or your children is also a bad sign. As he matures, these personality traits will only intensify. Can it be trained out? If it was a dominance thing, possibly he could learn that he is not at the top of the hierarchy, for now anyway. But his nature may tell him otherwise, and so he will try every now and then to assert himself as he matures. Will it be your child next time or another child? Will it be a simple bite or a more serious attack? There is no way to predict his reactions to innocent actions by children or by you, or by your friends.

If the bite was the result of fear, and you have a fear-biter on your hands, there is no way that this can be trained out. Fear-biters NEVER can be reliably and successfully re-trained. That is an accepted fact in the experience of professional dog trainers and behaviorists.

In my view, since this dog is only one year old, and the person he attacked was a small child in his own household, what you have seen is only the tip of the iceberg. A Rottweiler is a large and very powerful dog. He can NEVER be trusted with children again, not in your family, not in any neighborhood. Giving him away won’t work because you cannot guarantee that there will never be children in his environment; adults as well can be at risk. He has bitten once, I can assure you that he will do it again. In my opinion there can be no excusing, no forgiveness, no re-training for a dog that has bitten a child.

When to say when? NOW is when, and there is only one way to deal with this problem: this dog should be euthanized. Please do not delay. You will be doing your family a great favor and saving yourselves some serious heartache.

In a nutshell, if you want to keep your child safe from the dogs’ aggressive nature, then it is better to train the latter with basic manners and the aforementioned points are some of the best ones you can start with because once pets start getting training, they learn to behave in a civil manner in the house. You can visit any online article about such matters and click for more info on the required link that is given at the end.

Kris is our in-house writer with a lot of experience under her belt. She loves to provide her insight about the market trends and her predictions about market trends are often on point.