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Jul. 29th, 2011

So, I've reached complete failure as a dog mom. I just bought a heavy duty muzzle.

About three to four weeks ago, something apparently went "twang" in Duncan's brain, and he decided that he needed to full out attach Zach. I have no idea if there was a previous incident that I had missed, or if Duncan had decided he was tired of being the pack outcast, or if he just decided that Zach smelled funny. Seriously, there was no warning - I happened to be looking in that direction when he threw himself off the couch to rush an unsuspecting Zach from across the room. I tore them apart, getting a hand bitten in the process.

(Zach is not the easy choice of a victim, by the way. He's a 45+ pound Basset Hound/Pit Bull mix. He once took down an attacking Mastiff at the dog park - threw him up against the fence and put him on the ground, teeth at throat, in a matter of seconds. No dogs were harmed in the making of this anecdote, but it did mark the first time I'd been bitten by a dog - not Zach.)

Duncan spent the next few days going into a (not literal) frothing fury every time he saw Zach. The other two dogs? The four cats? Me? All fine. Zach on the other side of a pet gate? Full on freak out. As a consequence, he spent the next three days in the laundry room, and then a couple of more in the hallway behind my new heavy steel pet gate. At least there he could see the others so he wasn't completely isolated. Finally he seemed to calm down, and was released under careful supervision. Nevertheless, later that week - repeat. (And bite #2, this time to the arm.) And repeat the week after that. (No more bites! Heavy leather gloves are your friend.)

So far I'm the only one who's actually been injured in all of this. But it's been several days since Duncan has been permitted to be around the other dogs except under very specific conditions, and that's not going to change anytime soon. All this isolation cann't be helping him mentally, though, so a couple of days ago I bought a mesh muzzle from PetSmart. He is a miserable, miserable, curled-up-ball-of-sofa-misery, but he's out with me and among the other dogs for the evenings at least, and there's nothing he can do to attack Zach.

Poor Zach does jump now when Duncan starts a growling fit, though, which he's still doing a few times a night. D:

I've tried everything I can think of, so I'm going to be calling in a professional - I was just waiting for today's paycheck to make it possible. I've been shutting him down the instant any growling starts, and coming down like a pile of bricks in general for any infraction. (And I'm usually laughably permissive.) He knows I'm in charge, and that I'm mad at him, and he shows every body language sign of being completely cowed. He gets that he's stuck in the hallway by himself during the day and in the muzzle in the evening and not allowed to sleep with mom at night like everyone else, and he hates everything about all of that. Until Zach's in the room and he's freaking out and apparently can't think of anything else.

But a mesh muzzle isn't meant to be worn for long periods of time, and absolutely never unsupervised. Even if the professional mystically fixes him in a day (...a pleasant thought, but highly unlikely), it's going to be a long time before I trust him unmuzzled around Zach. So: the wire muzzle of nighttime-only permanentness.


This entry was originally posted at http://risha.dreamwidth.org/32114.html. There are currently comments there.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 30th, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry he's putting you through that and you're definitely not a failure as a pet mommy. In fact, I think you're doing a great job. You're doing everything you can, what more could anyone ask for?
Jul. 31st, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
I appreciate the thought, but when something like this happens, it's 90% certain that I did something wrong to make him nervous or unsure of his position or something. :( He was the first dog I've had since my childhood, and the first puppy, so I'm positive mistakes were made in the early days at least.

I will fix this one way or another though! I can't stand watching him be this miserable.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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