I’m feeling really stressed out because of one of my dogs. He has previously gone to lash out and has nipped a few people – i.e. they thought he had bit them but he has never pierced their skin and if I’m honest I think it’s been about five people now and two dogs he has gone for. Just an hour ago I was walking down the communal stairs to take them out a walk and he bit another dog who lives on the ground floor of my building. I apologised repeatedly but the woman was not pleased, even when she saw there was no bite mark and no bleeding.
The first time he did it I went out and bought him a muzzle but whenever I’ve tried to use it he will just lie down and refuse to get up and walk; if he does walk he keeps clawing at it until he manages to pull it off. I know he hates it and because I see my dogs as being my babies I felt sorry for him and haven’t been using it lately.
The thing is that when he is at home or around people who he knows he is the sweetest dog ever. He just wants to be petted and every night since he was a tiny pup he has slept on my bed and is always wanting to play with his toys. I really don’t know why his personality towards strangers and other dogs changed so much, the only reason I can think of is that he witnessed so many arguments between me and my ex fiance and my ex fiance hit him quite hard once during that period. So I don’t know if he is doing it because he is scared or whether it’s to protect me or whether he is just a bad dog who is becoming dangerous to others.
He gets very over excited when he sees people he knows and yes he jumps up a lot – he is a small-medium sized dog – but he has never hurt any of my friends or family or any kids etc. The times that it has happened has been to complete strangers. When he is in an open space and off lead he is really playful and friendly when he meets other dogs – is this because he is off lead and more comfortable because he is not restricted by his lead? I really don’t know. What I do know is that I am already feeling pretty low and am starting to think that I actually can’t cope with him any more. I love him to pieces and when he is all snuggled into me like he is just now, he is perfect.
I’m really scared of the woman downstairs calling the dog officers or even the police, my flat could be at risk if I’m reported to my landlord and for the first time ever I am finding myself questioning whether or not he should be put to sleep. But I can’t do that, I love him too much, but I can’t carry on like this either. I know the answer is to use the muzzle every time and eventually he will get used to it but that doesn’t take away my immediate fear of the woman downstairs reporting me. It’s all stressing me out so much, it makes me feel as though it’s my fault somehow when he does it, and that just adds to all my feelings of self loathing and inadequacy because I can’t control him.
I really don’t know what I should do any more. My other little dog is so placid and laidback that he just loves everyone and his little tail is always wagging and if I’m totally honest I only took the other dog because at the time I was working from home and thought my little one could do with a play mate. At moments like this I wish I hadn’t and that really hurts to say. I really don’t know what I should do, I really don’t.
You are going through a lot of anxiety right now and animals can sense this. Before I took him for a walk. I would make a point of paying him extra attention and try letting him know that things are o.k even when they aren't. Pack a few dog treats and give them to him often each time you tell him no and he obeys. Dogs are very sensative creatures, when I am on a low, I have a dog that never leaves my side.