I haven’t written in awhile because I’ve been just too depressed. Back in the middle of April, Dawg woke me up from a great nap. It was about 2 a. m., great napping time at my house. He decided that he had to go “walkies” and it was up to me to choose: outside or the living room?
Because he was whining and jumping up and down in place and I was half-asleep, I tried to do three things at once. First I unlocked the door so he’d see we really were going outside and maybe he wouldn’t give it up right there on the carpet. [Carpet! I was worried about the carpet!) Then I put his leash on him. Then I started trying to put on his muzzle, which, considering that he kept moving his head around in a circle, wasn’t as easy as you might think. Then a big gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew the door open (the latch can be iffy in wet weather). I swear there was a sonic boom as he sped through the door, barking his head off. I felt a tug and watched helplessly as his leash disappeared through the two-inch crack in the door that my 75 pound dog had just leapt through.
I grabbed a crutch and fought my way through the door (now the wind was trying to suck it closed) right behind him, yelling “Stop” and “No” and “Come” and “Home” and every other word that means “pay attention to me” that I’ve tried to teach Dawg. It turns out he didn’t need to go “walkies” after all. There was a guy walking his tiny little rug rat in our front yard, and that was what was making Dawg go spare. I hopped outside to see my well-trained companion dog trying very hard to eat something smaller than his head while some poor schmoo tried unsuccessfully to pull what was left of his pet away. I finally managed to get to the leash and slowly drug my insanely snarling and snapping dog back inside my own home, allowing the pet owner to run off down the street.
It is to my credit that Dawg is still alive. I have to admit that I’ve never wanted to beat a dog so bad in my life. But I had to settle for positional submission and a lot of “bad dog” shouting. All the next day, he looked so sad and crestfallen that I hoped maybe, just maybe I’d gotten through to him.
Then, two days later, apparently still high from his triumphant dog attack, he caught an eight-year-old boy trying to cut across our lawn in order to catch his school bus, which was waiting at the corner. Well, I say “caught”, but actually, he didn’t quite get that far along. As I was hanging onto Dawg’s strap for dear life, he couldn’t reach the kid, who was frozen with fear at this giant black boy-eating monster, barking and snarling for all he was worth. Dog was so strong that it was all I could do to hold him in place — I couldn’t move him backwards at all. Eventually I was able to convince the boy he needed to back up until he was no longer on the lawn and when he did, Dawg immediately stopped being aggressive and turned away to sniff at some bushes as if everything was perfectly normal.
I waited on tenterhooks for the next two weeks for either the pet owner or the kid owner to report my dog to our home owner’s association. I made the decision that if they insisted, I’d have Dawg put down. That’s when the depression started. Because, although neither person has complained, since then he’s never been better behaved. He even took a couple of trips to the vet where he was perfectly mannered. Obviously I’ve missed something in his training and/or socialization and I’ve failed as a doggy daddy. I simply cannot find, nor can I correct, his aggression trigger. Hell, I can’t even anticipate it.
I think I’ll go back to bed where I can hug my dog in peace. Good doggie — good boy…