Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques, Books
Posted December 25, 2012
Some years ago I had a friend of mine give me a 1 yr. old dalmation. He was a purebred and one of the prettiest dogs I had seen. She gave him to me because she had small kids and he wasn't good with them. He snapped at them alot and she was afraid he would end up biting them. My kids were older so I brought him home and gave him a shot. He did okay with them but something just wasn't right. He wasn't adjusting to his new atmosphere well at all. We were trying to give him every opportunity since he was new to us and our home. He was laying on the livingroom floor one day when my niece came in. She was about 12 and had been in the house almost everyday. He looked up and seen her, jumped up, ran over to her growling and grabbed her by her arm. I immediately got him by his collar and took him outside to the kennel. He had bit her hard enough to draw blood and make some pretty good puncture marks. Fortunately she did not require stitches.
I took him to our vet to have him checked out to see if he had a health issue causing him to act that way. The vet told me that it is very common in dalmations to have serious hearing problems. He said that would cause him to act the way he had because he couldn't hear people until they were right on top of him. That would cause him to be startled or actually scared and act the way he did in self defense. He tested his hearing and sure enough Lucky was almost completely deaf. We brought him back home and tried to help him adapt. He never came out of the biting kids behavior. I ended up making the painful decision to have him put to sleep rather than risking him being owned by someone irresponsible. My thoughts were that if he ended up with an irresponsible owner that a child may be at risk of a far worse attack than the one with my niece. I still feel I made the right decision even considering how painful it was.
My overall advice is to get a dalmation checked by a vet before purchasing. We were able to house train him and teach him simple commands, we had no idea that he couldn't hear us.