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Dog bite compensation
May 20, 2010 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Our dog just bit his groomer.

My wife just called me to let me know our dog bit his groomer "pretty good" but it didn't sound like she was going to the ER. (He's also bitten me several times; they're quick, single, hard bites that draw blood but don't tear the skin.) The groomer is a sweet lady and told my wife "it comes with the business" but I still feel there's something we should do for her (pain and suffering?). We will call her a little later. What do you suggest we say to her or offer her?
posted by davcoo to Pets & Animals (51 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This is going to sound jerky, but given the litigious nature of some, I wouldn't make this into a bigger deal by offering any compensation. I am sure groomers get bitten and scratched all the time.
posted by amro at 9:57 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


If he's bitten several times, he should be wearing a muzzle when people who aren't you are around. Be sure that he has one in the future and leave it at that.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2010 [19 favorites]


Maybe a sweet, funny-looking card with an apologetic-looking dog on the front that says on the inside
"We're sorry DoggieName bit you today. We would like to thank you for your understanding and for your great work despite the hazards. We will be working with DoggieName to help him learn not to do this in the future.
Thanks again,
Davcoo"
posted by amethysts at 10:07 AM on May 20, 2010


Unlike amro, I disagree that you should avoid making an offer because some people might sue. I think you should find out how she is and find out if she is going to incur any medical cost from this. I think you should offer to pay it (without saying as much, but because your animal was responsible for her injuries, and downstream you were responsible for failing to properly muzzle the dog and warn her of his sensitivity of propensity to bite - and I say this as the owner of a dog who bites). Not because you might want to stave off any litigation, but because it's the right thing to do.

If she hasn't incurred any medical bills, I suggest a nice basket of fruit and nuts. Summer sausage and cheese if you prefer. Hell, get her one of those fruit flower arrangements if you think she'd like it. But an apology for her discomfort and a nice gift to soothe that discomfort would be the right thing to do.

And anyway amro - while this isn't legal advice and shouldn't be taken as such by anyone - under the Federal Rules of Evidence (which only apply in certain circumstances, which may not be your own), a naked offer to pay medical bills is not admissible even when relevant. The policy reason? We WANT people to make these offers, because they're the right thing to do and because it actually AVOID unnecessary litigation when an issue can be handled out of court.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Seriously, muzzle. How is he at the vet?

For short durations an "occlusion muzzle" is good. You can get them in leather or nylon. They're good for portability but they keep the dog's mouth completely closed so he can't pant or drink. So only use when there is little chance of escape and it's not too hot.

For longer durations a basket muzzle is the way to go. We have used one of the plastic Italian muzzles from Morrco.com and found it to be fine. The dog can pant and drink with one of these one. You have to be careful with the sizing though. The site has some sizing aids but you can also email them for advice.
posted by rocketpup at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2010


"We're sorry DoggieName bit you today"

Hell's horses, don't leave a paper trail like that. Apologize, sure, but try not to hand out things that have the potential to be "Exhibit A".
posted by codswallop at 10:13 AM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I imagine groomers regard this the same way vets do: yeah, it's a weird situation for a dog, they get stressed out, it happens. Note on file: muzzle from now on. (Or, as my vet calls it, "Time to put on your party hat!") Certainly call and follow up and make sure she's okay, and ask if she wants you to practice-muzzle the dog at home or if she's used to it (my vet tech is so fast with the party hat from practice that you barely see it happen and the dog doesn't even know until it's done).
posted by Lyn Never at 10:14 AM on May 20, 2010


You have a dog this size that bites people, including its owner?

He's also bitten me several times; they're quick, single, hard bites that draw blood but don't tear the skin.

Get your dog (and yourselves) to a good dog behaviorist, ASAP, muzzle that dog when not on your own property, and put it into a secure area when people come to visit you. That dog is a life-destroying law suit waiting to happen.

What if it escapes your yard and gives a small child a "quick, single, hard bite...that draws blood?"

If this were my dog, I would give it its favorite treat, take it for a car ride, and then have it put down humanely in my arms at the vet. There is simply no excuse for a human aggressive dog, of any size, of any breed.
posted by Seppaku at 10:33 AM on May 20, 2010 [22 favorites]


He's also bitten me several times; they're quick, single, hard bites that draw blood but don't tear the skin.

After you apologize to the groomer, sign your dog and yourself up for obedience training. You've let him bite you; why wouldn't he bite others?
posted by Carol Anne at 10:34 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Offer to pay medical bills, muzzle the dog from now on and start going to a trainer who can deal with aggressive dogs. You may not think your dog is aggressive, but biting people when freaked out counts as aggression.
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:37 AM on May 20, 2010


I have to agree with Seppaku. Our dogs are smaller than yours but I still wouldn't hesitate to put one of them down if they were biting people, especially me or my husband. This is a disaster in the making.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on May 20, 2010


Having worked as a shampoo girl for a groomer I agree that it's a risk that comes with the territory. However that does not make it acceptable for you to take your dog, who has a known propensity to bite, to the groomer without advising them and having him muzzled during that time. At the *very* least you should have advised them that your dog has bitten others during times of stress so they could be aware and take precautions.

I never once had issue with getting bitten until one of our client's said "oh, that's awful. He has done that to me but I never dreamed he'd do that to someone else." Oh, REALLY??
posted by FlamingBore at 10:54 AM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seconding Seppaku and desjardins. In New York, your dog is considered to have known vicious propensities because you knew it bit. The state's highest court ruled "that the owner of a domestic animal who either knows or should have known of that animal's vicious propensities will be held liable for the harm the animal causes as a result of those propensities. Vicious propensities include the propensity to do any act that might endanger the safety of the persons and property of others in a given situation." ... The state's highest court has ruled that a jury is entitled to consider any evidence of a dangerous propensity, and that a prior bite is only one such type of evidence...

Not only did it bite someone, you knew the dog bit. I see no reason why you think you're not completely responsible. What if it, as Seppaku mentions, bites some small child? Are you OK with that kid having scars for life on maybe even their face (due to their height)? And footing the medical bills?

If your dog bites, fix the problem or get rid of the problem.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:56 AM on May 20, 2010


I used to wash dogs at a grooming shop that my neighbor owns. The girls who did the actual grooming were snapped at/bitten on a pretty regular basis (as was I, though not nearly as frequently). Grooming can be very stressful for dogs, so it comes with the territory. Hence, biters were all well known and subsequently muzzled. Clients whose dogs were problematic regularly left tips, baked cookies, etc., as thanks.

However, if your dog is biting you hard enough to draw blood, then you have a real problem. You need to seek out a trainer/behaviorist ASAP.
posted by camneely at 11:13 AM on May 20, 2010


I disagree with those that are saying that your dog should be killed because of this. We don't know enough about the situations that caused the bites to make that final a decision.

please don't do that...get a good trainer, get a muzzle, and don't put anything on paper about the bite...
posted by HuronBob at 11:28 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


AskMe is amazing, but it doesn't do dogs or dog bites very well. A bite at the groomer's is not an immediate sign your dog should be put down. We have no idea what the scenario was at the groomer's, or why your dog is biting you.

Talk to a qualified dog behaviorist and your vet before jumping to huge conclusions. And obviously don't allow the dog to be in public or with other people until then. My heart goes out to you because this can be a stressful situation to manage.
posted by barnone at 11:34 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


The best answers are those that suggest putting your dog down? If biting the groomer is all it takes, please give the dog away and don't get a new one.
posted by mondaygreens at 11:38 AM on May 20, 2010 [13 favorites]


If biting the groomer is all it takes, please give the dog away and don't get a new one.

The dog has a history of biting its owner as well, hard enough to draw blood.

It doesn't matter how much you love your dog; your dog's life does not supercede the right of others to live without being bitten by your dog.
posted by Seppaku at 11:43 AM on May 20, 2010


please give the dog away

It is incredibly, incredibly irresponsible to rehome a dog that is human aggressive.

Regardless of WHY it is human aggressive, it is; it has bitten the owner and it has bitten at least one stranger. The dog is 8 years old, and unless the OP does some serious work with a reputable trainer, the dog is going to continue biting people.

Furthermore, the OP asked not 'what can I do with the dog to prevent it from biting another person' but rather 'how can I apologize to the groomer.' This does not scream 'responsible dog owner who can effectively rehabilitate a chronically human aggressive dog.'

There are so many stable, non-biting dogs out there. There is no excuse for maintaining a dog that bites people.

I love my dogs with all my heart, and you'd better believe me that if they were to bite myself or, dog forbid, another person, I would certainly take responsibility for the situation and put that dog to sleep.

And it is not just because my dogs are what many consider to be 'aggressive breeds' that are banned in some communities. It is because it is the responsible thing to do.
posted by Seppaku at 11:52 AM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


The dog has a history of biting the owner; it is absolutely the owner's job to make sure that doesn't happen to other people. At least three other options have been mentioned here: muzzling, obedience training, or just giving the dog away. I'm assuming also that the dog is properly vaccinated and will not cause infections.

The owner posts a question on how to compensate the groomer (who "didn't sound like" she had to go to the ER) and then selects the answers that suggest killing the dog? The owner himself doesn't know all the details when he poses the question, and half an hour later agrees that it's time to "humanely" put it down?

You say that you can love your dog while putting a hypothetical scar on a human above its right to live?

God damn.
posted by mondaygreens at 11:55 AM on May 20, 2010 [12 favorites]


All dogs bite. Those of us who work in the companion animal industry need to understand that very simple concept. For those of you who say there is no way that my dog would bite, you are not putting them through the same stresses that we have to in order to do our jobs. In my experience, many dogs that would never bite have lashed out in unfamiliar, stressful situations. For this reason, the groomer needs to take some of the responsibility for properly handling the dog to try and prevent a bite. I'm not saying she did not already take those steps. I can't know that. I'm just saying the risk does come with the job. On the other hand, if an owner knows that their dog has the potential to bite, it is their responsibility to inform anyone who may be handling that dog.

I don't expect apologies from the owners of dogs or cats that try to bite me (or those 2 cats that succeeded) while doing my job. I do, however, provide some behavioral advice if I perceive the behavior to be outside of the normal response of most dogs. In this case, I would recommend an animal behaviorist evaluation and serious steps toward preventing future bites from this particular dog. Euthanasia should not be your first response. You have a responsibility to your dog as well as the people that he interacts with.
posted by little miss s at 11:55 AM on May 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Okay - that was in response to your first response. Here's the second and then I'm out of here.

Many people are okay with having dogs that bite. They just have to know how to deal with it and keep it away from other people; but that's a responsibility that humans (in all their humanist glory and me firstness) can take, and many do so. There are resources that help older dogs reform, and trainers who specialize in it. Yes, it takes time, but just because you have the ability - as a human being - to "get" a dog, you don't have the right to put it down at the drop of a hat or the first sign of human blood - at the very least not while considering yourself humane or responsible in any way. Your responsibility is not just to other human beings on this planet.

Yes, this does not sound like a responsible owner, and probably will not put in the time or effort to reform their dog's behavior. But nowhere in your post did you call them out on it; instead you said, "if this were my dog."

Putting your dog to sleep is not taking responsibility. It is shirking it.

Goodday.
posted by mondaygreens at 12:02 PM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


Pets bite groomers. The groomer in question said as much. Apologize. Thank the groomer for not freaking out. Ask her if you can bring the dog back next time. Apologize or thank her more. Get a muzzle.
posted by alikins at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2010


I'm not going to address what to do about your dog's behavioral problem because that's not what you asked about.

I'm a vet tech. I get bitten or scratched on occasion. When you work with animals it's just something that happens sometimes despite everyone's best efforts to prevent it. I will say that when someone's dog bites one of us, cookies and an apology are always better than no cookies and no apology.
posted by troublewithwolves at 12:13 PM on May 20, 2010 [11 favorites]


As FlamingBore has said, dog bites are a known occupational hazard for dog groomers. If you had warned them up front, they would have muzzled the dog. The correct thing to do is to go to the groomer's workplace and visit them in person, ask how the groomer is doing, and offer an apology. If the bite required a hospital trip or stitches, you'll surely be told (or you'll see stitches!) and then you offer to pay for it. Fear of a frivolous lawsuit shouldn't trump basic decency. And if legal action isn't frivolous in this case, then you have no right to avoid it. As you seem to realize, this is your responsibility.

However, I would *not* mention that you knew your dog had a behavioral / biting problem before taking him to the groomer. Taking a dog that bites to the groomer is bad enough, but not warning them so that they could muzzle the dog was seriously irresponsible. I'm sure you realize this, now.

And it wasn't really part of your question (for some reason), but since it has been brought up: If you're going to keep the dog, get a good trainer and work on these behavioral problems. If this is too much for you, please turn the dog over to a person or place that specializes in rehabilitating dogs and is fully aware of your dog's problem. Please don't destroy the dog just because you weren't able or willing to train it properly. If anything, let a specialist make that call.
posted by Hdog at 12:27 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least three other options have been mentioned here: muzzling, obedience training, or just giving the dog away.

None of which assures that the dog will never bite again. And seriously, just giving the dog away? Putting the problem on someone else? That is what you consider responsible?

You say that you can love your dog while putting a hypothetical scar on a human above its right to live?

Yes. Consider if it was your child, or your face. Do you still feel like my love for my dog has precedence over your or your child's scars? Over you or your child's life or safety?

Putting your dog to sleep is not taking responsibility. It is shirking it.

And if the biting dog were a Cane Corso, an American Pit Bull Terrier, a Rottweiler, a German Shepherd Dog, or a Mastiff, I'm sure that my community would sadly shake their head and beg me to take responsibility by rehabilitating my biting dog.

This kind of irresponsible 'bleeding heart' attitude towards dogs is why Cesar Milan is making bank. They are dogs, not people. You have a responsibility to your dog and to your community to be a good owner.

All dogs bite. Those of us who work in the companion animal industry need to understand that very simple concept.

This is not true. With 30+ years of experience training guide dogs, rescuing shelter animals and working in veterinary clinics, I can count the number of times I've been bitten by a dog on one hand. Those dogs that did bite were mentally unstable. We had a very promising guide dog prospect that bit my arm without provocation; that dog was removed from the program and put to sleep. It could not be trusted with a trained handler, let alone a person who was physically handicapped.

That's the reality of the situation. Accept it, or live in denial and take your chances with a lawsuit.
posted by Seppaku at 12:29 PM on May 20, 2010


By marking the answers that mentioned euthanasia as "best," I wasn't implying we were definitely choosing that action. I marked them because they brought up the larger issue that needed to be addressed and that I wasn't addressing.

It is a very difficult decision to make, but he has bitten not only me but my wife, daughter, and two other people. After each incident, though, he takes himself to his cage in the house where he waits for us to lock him in. After an hour or so, he comes out happy with tail wagging. I'll be talking with a dog behaviorist at our vet's office tomorrow morning to discuss this with her. Thanks, everyone.
posted by davcoo at 12:33 PM on May 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


Davcoo, what has happened before the other bites? It's not unusual for a dog to bite in a grooming situation. I imagine the dog feels scared and trapped and reacts out of fear. I don't think this is a reason to euthanize the dog.

I'm not a behaviorist, but if the dog bites out of fear, helping the dog feel comfortable in stressful situations might ease the problem a bit.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:44 PM on May 20, 2010


parakeetdog, his bites seem to be unprovoked (to me). For example, my wife got up out of her living room chair with him at her feet, and he attacked her shoes (that's happened many times). Once I was brushing the carpet with one hand to find a small screw; he evidently didn't like it and gave me a good bite. Two instances that were understandable: I reached out to pet him during a thunderstorm when he was clearly jumpy; and a nurse's aid snuck up behind himself and tried to grab the rawhide bone he was chewing on.
posted by davcoo at 12:54 PM on May 20, 2010


There's a Metatalk post to discuss some of the abstract biteyness.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:56 PM on May 20, 2010


I'm thunderstruck that you have not rectified this situation in some way, considering that he has bitten no less than four people. Why wait until a lawsuit or criminal charges rectify it for you? You cannot trust this dog at all. Dogs can do severe damage. You are 100% responsible for such damage. Yes, groomers and vets get bit on occasion. Owners should never, ever get bit.
posted by desjardins at 1:01 PM on May 20, 2010


Davcoo.. nearly every instance you cite there points towards a dog that is a bit skittish...some prey drive, etc.... I'm not an expert but I don't see aggression there.. I see fear, I see some startle response...

Good for you for talking to the vet, make sure you describe clearly each event...
posted by HuronBob at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately, it pretty much plays out as if YOU bit the groomer. I think you just had a huge wake up call. A couple of things:

You allowed someone to put themselves in a place of danger. Yes, dogs occasionally may bite, but you KNEW that about your dog and did not even warn the groomer. That was pretty unfair to do to her.

You (I am assuming from what has happened) have not taken any real action to retrain your dog up to this point. This should have been done from bite #1. That was pretty unfair to do to your family.

To put the dog down due to your choices is not fair either, but I think you know that.

Good for you for taking the steps needed to correct this situation. Also, I am pretty sure the groomer does not want you to put the dog down, or else she would have chosen a different line of work.

That being said (thank you for listening), to actually answer your question, I would do whatever feels right for you. Everyone already knows that your dog bit the groomer, it is not as if there is going to be any denial of it at this point.
posted by Vaike at 1:06 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry the dog bit you" isn't evidence. Or, at least, it's only evidence that you are sorry. Not apologizing because you are afraid of lawsuits is really, really short sighted.
posted by gjc at 1:09 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I retracted my previous comment, I missed where you said you would talk to the vet.
posted by desjardins at 1:11 PM on May 20, 2010


By marking the answers that mentioned euthanasia as "best," I wasn't implying we were definitely choosing that action. I marked them because they brought up the larger issue that needed to be addressed and that I wasn't addressing.

It is a very difficult decision to make, but he has bitten not only me but my wife, daughter, and two other people. After each incident, though, he takes himself to his cage in the house where he waits for us to lock him in. After an hour or so, he comes out happy with tail wagging. I'll be talking with a dog behaviorist at our vet's office tomorrow morning to discuss this with her. Thanks, everyone.
Wow, this is an issue. I don't know what to do about trying to make things up to your groomer, but based on this information, you need to do something about your dog right away. I'd say get a lawyer if you were sued, but in this case, you need some other advice, but still from a professional.

Good luck, this isn't an easy spot to be in.
posted by Brian Puccio at 1:13 PM on May 20, 2010


Once I was brushing the carpet with one hand to find a small screw; he evidently didn't like it and gave me a good bite.

This is more likely to be "IT'S MOVING GET IT GET IT WHEEEEEEE! GREAT GAME DAD-OID!" than "How dare he brush the carpet! I'm'a BITE that motherfucker!"

[All dogs will bite] This is not true.

Strictly speaking, you're right -- some dogs have oral injuries that render them incapable of biting.

Otherwise, though, every dog that has ever lived has a bite threshold that is not infinite, and every dog that has ever lived can be provoked to bite through some set of stimuli.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:20 PM on May 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I would recommend contacting the trainer I have experience with in Austin, TX, as she specializes in aggressive dogs. She was wonderful with our dog (who bit other dogs), and is willing to answer questions via email and offer guidance for situations like this. She'll be a good resource for you.
posted by questionsandanchors at 1:30 PM on May 20, 2010


Putting down a dog for biting a groomer? Good god. We had a wonderful, sweet dog, who, for some reason arising from his former life before his rescue, went absolutely ape at the groomer's. We sent him to a groomer specializing in vicious dogs and he - a 15-pound shih-tzu, managed to bite that groomer, and they said they'd only do him under sedation. So back to the old groomer he went, where they put him in a headlock to cut him. Big deal. Maybe they charged us a little extra, but he was never aggressive elsewhere. It wasn't a sign that he wanted to bite people - it was a sign that somehow grooming equipment trigged the crazy switch in his brain.

To answer your question, offer her nothing but your apologies. It does come with the business - next time ensure the dog is muzzled or handled appropriately. It's the groomer's responsibility to handle the dog, not yours. Unless you failed to disclose a prior history of biting, you've got no responsibility. Just leave it. She's a professional; treat her as such.
posted by Dasein at 1:40 PM on May 20, 2010


Hmm.. I wonder if he was startled when he bit your shoes as you got up or your hand while searching for a screw. I have a dog who gets very startled at small things. She'll jump up if I get up from the couch unexpectedly. She won't bite, but she acts really freaked out. To stop her from getting startled, I'll often tell her, "Kayla, I'm getting up now," so she hears me talking and knows I'm about to do something.

Talking to the vet and a behaviorist sound like great ideas. The vet might be able to prescribe something to calm his anxiety (if that's what happening here) and the behaviorist might be able to help your dog calm down a bit.

My dog has mellowed out a lot throughout the years. She's also on Prozac, which calms her down. As far as I can tell, it's just her personality to be more anxious than a normal dog. When she was much younger, she would growl if we put our faces too close to hers. We slowly trained her out of that habit by showing her that we weren't going to hurt her.
posted by parakeetdog at 1:49 PM on May 20, 2010


I don't have citations at my fingertips, but I recently read (in the last year or so) that hospitals were seeing reduced claims and subsequently reduced litigation when they addressed their mistakes with the patients quickly and honestly, including apologies. This goes against the lawyer-grain conventional wisdom that any admission could be used against you in court. Though that is still true, it seems that avoiding court to begin with is better, no?

The groomer was appropriate in noting that it "comes with the business". Keep the groomer and vet informed about the animal, and they can take appropriate measures.

As far as the dog's behavior goes, uh, watch Cesar Milan, and perhaps seek professional help. No need to euthanize the dog. At least not until it has proven to be completely beyond help.
posted by Xoebe at 1:54 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't take the advice to be a cringing ass. Do what's right. Apologize and give her a very nice present for being sweet and understanding. I suggest that you pay her up front for X visits -- tell her you appreciate her service so much that you want to buy a subscription -- and then don't use them. It's money in her pocket.

Also: your dog is unhappy, maybe sick. Give it space and approach it gingerly, and muzzle the fucking thing when it's around outsiders. But don't even think of killing it. Killing it is what you would do if you didn't really like dogs.
posted by pracowity at 2:25 PM on May 20, 2010


Please follow the good advice so far about muzzling, behavior modification, and keeping your dog away from non-family members. In addition, please consider that your dog may be suffering, too, if any of the biting incidents were brought on by stress, and he obviously knows that it is wrong if he immediately goes to his "time-out" area. Being extremely careful and proactive about getting him help will protect you, and may also help him feel better.

Also, I would suggest that you avoid taking him out in public as much as possible to reduce the risk of biting. When it is absolutely necessary that you do so, don't be afraid or ashamed to keep him humanely muzzled, and TELL PEOPLE who approach you to please not pet him because he bites. By warning them, you're looking out for them, for you, and for the best interests of your dog. If you had warned the groomer, you could have taken steps to avoid her being bitten, you know? She's probably used to dealing with the risk. There's no shame at all in mentioning the biting if you are actively working to fix it. It reflects well on you as a pet owner.

Please, don't delay getting him help any longer. You're very, very lucky that there haven't been more serious consequences before now. I don't say that to chastise you, I just want to stress how important it is to start working on this. Good luck.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 2:58 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Otherwise, though, every dog that has ever lived has a bite threshold that is not infinite, and every dog that has ever lived can be provoked to bite through some set of stimuli.

True. And a given dog is a dog that can be trusted not to bite except under extreme conditions, or a dog that can be counted on to bite under normal, common conditions, or somewhere in between.

Asker, I know your dog seems different than a dog that can be counted on to bite under normal, common conditions, but that's because he's doing it sporadically. So you really have an unpredictable dog that is known to bite under normal, common conditions. That's even worse.

Muzzle, muzzle, muzzle, before you do anything else.
posted by davejay at 4:06 PM on May 20, 2010


As far as the dog's behavior goes, uh, watch Cesar Milan,

Absolutely! That way you'll guarantee an aggressive dog and won't have to debate whether or not to put it down! HAMBURGER!

Entirely apart from that, I've no idea what your groomer's situation is with regards to anything or how much money they make, but a card and cash "for your favorite charity or whatever," would've made me happy when I worked customer service jobs that barely made rent or when I made good money but still sometimes had a chance to be nice to people. Where I'd spend the money would be entirely different in each case, of course. If the groomer owns the business, paying for a bunch of appointments and not using them is just going to fuck up the books. If this individual groomer doesn't, it's highly unlikely she'll see a penny.

Oh, also one time someone I'd done something nice for brought me a baklava. Unfortunately, she brought it on my day off and my motherfucking coworkers ate the whole fucking thing.

If you're interested in my opinions, which ain't entirely uninformed, about the admittedly serious, biting issue, feel free to memail.
posted by stet at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2010


Oh, also I need a muzzle for my commas apparently.
posted by stet at 4:12 PM on May 20, 2010


Around here, dog groomers don't make that much. I'd apologize about the dog and tell her you'll make sure he's muzzled in the future when you bring him in to be groomed. Then get her a $20 gift card for the grocery. She might not use a gift card to a specific restaurant or store but pretty much everyone goes to the grocery. Do pay any medical bills.
Also piling on the dog training idea. I'd give a dog a pass at the groomers for biting but at home, no. Hopefully a good trainer can help him stop this behavior.
posted by stray thoughts at 11:40 PM on May 20, 2010


freshwater pr0n on mefi is a dog trainer in austin, if you need any more dog training contacts.
posted by hungrytiger at 12:32 AM on May 21, 2010


Hi, my name is Hilary Bolea and I'm a Certified Professional Dog Trainer. The name of my business is Old Town Dog Behavior, and my website is www.oldtowndogs.com.

Of course you have to ensure your groomer's safety, so a muzzle may be your only option at this point. However, my caution is this -- your dog is clearly stressed by the situation, and muzzles and restraints can make the stress worse until it turns into a serious phobia of grooming.

I would suggest you make an investment of time and energy into training methods called "counter conditioning" and "desensitization" where you gradually teach your dog to stay calm and happy while getting groomed.

A good booklet on how to do this is "Cautious Canine" by Patricia McConnell. She also wrote "Feisty Fido" which is also good.

Here's a quick example: have your dog sit, with the nail clippers nearby.
1. Reach for the clippers. If your dog stays calm and happy, click and give your dog a treat.
2. Reach for the clippers and touch them. "
3. Reach for the clippers and pick them up. "
4. Pick up the clippers and move them toward your dog. "
5. Hold the clippers near your dog's paw -- not touching -- and squeeze them to make the clipping sound. "

It's all about going slowly, and keeping your dog in his happy place.
posted by oldtowndogs at 10:50 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda of late to the party but I wanted to chime in anyway.

Is your dog taking any steroids, like prednisone? My dog had a reaction to them once and turned pretty aggressive.

I would definitely send your groomer a card, some cookies, and maybe a copy of your dog's immunization records. I was bit years ago (broke the skin & my nose!) and my doctor wanted to know if the dog that bit me had been properly vaccinated.
posted by inertia at 4:58 PM on May 22, 2010


There are so many things that need to be considered. How old is the dog? Does the dog have eye sight problems? Is he/she on any steroids?

Putting a dog down because he/she is biting, is giving up. You should address this problem with your vet and a behaviorist. It is not something that is going to be fixed overnight, it is going to take time and patience. Definitely put a muzzle on your pup when going to the groomers. To help with putting the muzzle on, try offering a treat in front of the opening of the muzzle to encourage the dog that this is a good behavior.

Hang in there and don't give up on your 4 legged family member.
posted by zombiehoohaa at 10:54 AM on May 26, 2010


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