Who’s in Charge?

I have been meditating on this photo (off and on) for two days now.

Two of my three sons, working together to clear the fallen cherry tree from my backdoor. I have a caption for it, “Hey! I thought you said I could drive.”

I have no deep thought to share here today.  I’m a bit of a mess right now, and typing this makes it real. My dog Jesse bit the neighbor on Tuesday, drew blood. Then she went after another neighbor walking by last night, just grabbed the hem of his shorts, but still. She’s older, she’s a Border Collie, she’s a fear biter with a herding instinct and control issues.

I don’t feel she is a danger around my family and her known friends. But, if I’m really honest with myself, I probably just block the thought of it out of my mind. I don’t really trust her with my 7 year old granddaughter and I certainly didn’t trust her with my infant grandson, I locked her away the whole time.

I feel like a terrible failure.

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~ by Kimberly Mason on August 6, 2010.

5 Responses to “Who’s in Charge?”

  1. Oh Kim – I’m so sorry. I don’t really know anything about owning a dog – training them or otherwise. It’s possible that she can be trained at this late date, but I don’t really know.

    Since I don’t have anything to offer I’ll just send you a hug.

  2. It’s ok to keep her away from the kids for everyone’s sake. Fear biters react in stressful circumstances and kids are unpredictable and stressful. If she is seeming increasingly anxious talk to your vet. There is medication to reduce anxiety in dogs.

  3. Many years ago we had a dog that was a terrier mix. Our house was an older one, with a very closed floor plan; when I was in the kitchen, I had no access to see anything going on in the other rooms. My unsteady on their feet toddler children apparently went to pet the dog, who was “in a cave” under the dining room table, and the dog snapped at my son’s face, drawing blood and giving him a black eye. I know why the dog did it, and I understand it was animal fear behavior. My kids, however, were more important than my dog — even if that dog had been a wonderful pet for many years. I made a heartbreaking decision, but it was one I had to make. Never being able to trust that dog around my children just wasn’t an option.

  4. Okay, first of all, repeat after me, “I AM NOT A FAILURE!” After having trained several good dogs, I have now lived with a difficult dog for several years (three obedience classes and nothing to show for it) and I get that some dogs just don’t seem to be able to play by our rules. We hang onto them as long as we can and do what we can to civilize them, but it’s NOT OUR FAULT if the training just doesn’t take.

    I hope the meds work, but if they don’t, I think you’ll have a very difficult choice to face — assuming neither of these neighbors sues you or reports you to the police. A biter is a pretty serious potential liability: you’re not just protecting your neighbors and your grandchildren; you’d be protecting your finances as well… Good luck with this.

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