Our Schnauzer bit someone today

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Our Schnauzer bit someone today

Post by Andyshea » 04 Dec 2019, 13:21

I am absolutely shattered. Our 3 year old mini bit another dog owner when he was out walking today. He has a tendency at times to not like men wearing heavy work boots or high viz clothing and will bark at them and dance around them while doing so.

Today he was walking by a man who was not wearing heavy boots or high viz clothing and lunged at him, biting the back of his leg and breaking the skin! He is such a loving little dog and we are absolutely shocked and scared at what has happened.

Both him and his older brother (six) can get quite barky towards other dogs when on lead and near our home, but this is the first time that thee has been this sort of aggression in his behaviour.

Any ideas? We just don't know what to do!

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Re: Our Schnauzer bit someone today

Post by Oscar 12345 » 04 Dec 2019, 15:00

How awful for everyone involved. First I would say take a day or two off walking your dogs, play some games in the garden and try to chill out so you can properly think through what you do next. Clearly a bite is a serious incident (hope the guy was ok and isn't going to take it any further). It is important to recognise that this incident was most likely brought about by fear, your dog seems to be suspicious and scared of men, maybe wanting to protect you or the other dog. It might be that there were some things that led up to his level of anxiety, seeing dogs, barking... something that triggered a higher level of stress than normal. It might be worth just thinking about what else went on on the walk before this happened. The barking and dancing around something is giving all the warnings that they know of for whatever it is to go away.... clearly your boy thought he needed to step up from the warning for some reason. Having said all that, there are things you can and must do having realised that your dog is reacting in this way because he is scared. Because this is a serious incident I would involve a recommended trainer that understands reactivity and is trained in force free methods for dealing with it. There is a site on facebook called Reactive Dogs UK that have a recommended list of trainers that can do this. I really would recommend you do this, they will help you so much and put together a plan to help calm your dog(s) around the things that give them anxiety. In the short term my pointers would be to walk the your dogs separately for the time being if this means that they are more calm (if you can). A trainer will want to see how your dogs act individually and how they behave together. Walking them individually means you can concentrate on keeping them safe and calm. Try to calmly avoid anything that leads to your dog(s) being uncalm like barking, pulling, lunging etc. That might mean crossing the road if you see a lone man, turning round and going in other directions. Use treats (good ones) when they see something that might be making them excited to keep their focus on you. "Look at me" is a great tool for keeping focus as is treat sprinkling on the ground. There are lots of things you can do. The files on the facebook group I mentioned give a much more in-depth look at how to cope with reactivity and maintain distance between your dog(s) and those things scary to them. Distance is your friend as is focus on you. This is such an upsetting experience I am sure but hopefully with the right help and some hard work you can turn this round. Again just as a tip, take some time away from walking outside just to get your head straight.
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Re: Our Schnauzer bit someone today

Post by Andyshea » 04 Dec 2019, 15:12

Thanks for your reply Oscar. The gentleman seemed ok afterwards, if understandably annoyed.

Our older schnauzer doesn't seem bothered at all, although once the younger dog starts barking he does join in, we've always put it down to the pack mentality.

We are definitely going to take advice from a professional and will have a look at the Facebook group you mentioned. The youngest will also be wearing a muzzle until we can get to the bottom of what has happened.as I mentioned earlier though, he is such a little softie, we are really upset that we might have failed him and that he thinks that this was the way he had to react.

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Re: Our Schnauzer bit someone today

Post by zeta1454 » 04 Dec 2019, 16:30

Hi Andy, you are certainly doing the right thing in looking for professional guidance. Do make sure to check out any behaviourist before committing to working with them on your mini's biting episode / reaction with dogs on lead etc. You do need someone with experience and knowledge and preferably a member of a professional organisation such as the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors:


You may need a vet referral also and I would suggest a vet check for your mini in any event as there is always the possibility of an underlying health issue causing unexpected/ uncharacteristic reactions in dogs. Even just being in pain (which could result from any one of many different causes) can lead to a dog reacting more "aggressively" than s/he should. The muzzle in public places is a good precaution and, until the issue is resolved, you could perhaps look to see if there are any dog park/ play fields near your home which you could hire for 30 minutes or an hour to allow both your dogs a chance to run and play without other dogs or people around and would not need a muzzle to be used. There are an increasing number of these places and we have found them great for dogs to just let off steam or potter around with no worries about other distractions or challenges.
Let us know how you get on and hope you can resolve the issue soon :-)
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Re: Our Schnauzer bit someone today

Post by AmandaN » 05 Dec 2019, 18:44

As a non practising behaviourist I'd second that - get support from a member of the APBC. Nearly all agression is caused by fear so definitely get some professional (properly qualified help). The APBC and all reputable training and behaviour organisations are now under the umbrella organisation http://www.abtcouncil.org.uk/ which is recognised by defra. Don't be tempted to use anyone else!

You will definitely need a vet referral as behaviourists must only work on veterinary referral as there could be other underlying issues that are causing behaviour that obviously need to be ruled out first.

In the meantime don't panic, keep your boy on the lead in public until you have behaviourist support and remember he's still your same loving little dog he just needs a bit of help from a professional.
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