Sorry for the length -- and the depressing tone.
We had a very disappointing setback this evening. I won’t lie. I’m more than “disappointed.” I’m angry and I’m kind of scared of my own dog.
I’m feeling ambivalent about sharing. Part of me wants to hear advice and uplifting stories. The other part of me is not sure that I can handle the criticism– constructive or otherwise. Other reasons for sharing is the catharsis that comes with it.
Some of you know that our biggest problem with Hector right now is the dog aggression. We’ve been to basic obedience classes with a very good trainer who we really like. DH and Hector finished the 6 weeks of obedience class very well. Then I started bringing Hector to class because the dog aggression happens mostly with me. I thought we did pretty good. The dog aggression wasn’t bad yet. I say that because I could give him a leash correction (hard pull on the choke chain) and Hector would stop.
I felt good enough to practice at home by myself. He still barked, lunged and growled. I decided to leave most of the exercising of Hector to Hubby or our dog walker. The only times I would handle Hector on walks was if DH was walking with us.
Two or three days ago, I handled Hector and we passed a dog. Hector barked and lunged and I tried to get the choke chain high up on the neck for better control. I got nipped two or three times during the encounter.
Today, I tried again handling Hector. A dog was passing us. I tried the technique that works for DH and our dog walker– which is to keep the choke chain high up on the neck and shorten up on the leash. When I tried to do this, he redirected his aggression at me. (I don’t know, maybe my timing was too late) I count at least three times that he bit me. I have a tear in one pant leg (no flesh wound). And he bit me twice in the other leg. Of the two bites, one was just a puncture wound and the other was a scratch.
Hubby could see my difficulties, so he took Hector’s leash from me. He really tightened up on the choke chain and pulled up; this is the way our trainer had advised. Once Hector stopped struggling, Hubby loosened up on the collar, but since the dog was in sight, Hector went nuts again. I can’t describe every single move we made, but suffice it to say that Hubby got bitten twice on the hand. One bite broke the skin which bled. The other was a smaller scratch.
We’ve called our trainer and left a message to set up some private lessons. We’re just waiting for a call back now.
I feel really discouraged. And angry. I did not sign up to get bitten by my own dog. I feel like I can’t really trust this dog. That may sound naive to the more experienced owners and trainers here. So be it. Mentally, I thought I was prepared to work through Hector’s issues, but I did not think that biting me was part of it.
I am so not happy right now. It’s given me a mental hang up that I am sure will affect how I handle Hector even more.
Sorry for the long post. I just didn’t know who else would be interested in hearing the long drawn out story except for other Doberman people like you all.
I'll keep you updated on what the trainer says. I'm hoping he'll have time to meet with us tomorrow.