Friday, April 18, 2014

Today did not go the way I thought it would

I thought today would be a fun day of making cookies, doing the baby food test challenge with the kids and then coloring eggs.

I had a "less drama, more duh" moment early this morning.  I went out to run errands and my car wouldn't start.  I noted that my gas tank was on empty and the miles I can usually get per tank was on the high side.  (I set my trip odometer every time I fill up.)  I walked to the gas station with a can, got some gas, put it in my car and vroom vroom!

I got the stuff I needed for all the above activities and headed home.  I let the dogs out into the backyard and then heard, not barking, but snarling and growling.  I went out back to find Gibson and Peavey locked up fighting.  We'd had this issue before, but not for months. 

Gibson has always had alpha dog issues.  We adopted him 4 and a half years ago and learned we were his third family.  He'd been surrendered by his second family because they were being evicted and couldn't keep him.  He ended up with us.  When he was an only dog things seemed fine. 

Then I noticed he growled.  Not at everyone, but enough for me to notice.  He started snapping and I'd push his head down, telling him bad dog.  When we took him to the dog park, he'd run with the other dogs, but he'd try to get up and chew on the backs of their necks, a sign of dominant behavior. Eventually, we just stopped taking him because it caused friction with the other dog owners. 

Gibson bit our neighbor's daughter.  I got in touch with them and told them what I would want someone to tell me, that we'd take care of any medical bills if they took her to the doctor, that we were going to address the situation and when she came over we would put Gibson in another room.  He didn't bite again, at least not any kids. 

When Gibson and Peavey started fighting, Scott and I both got bit pulling them apart. These fights always drew blood. Never enough for stitches, but enough to need to clean them both up. I called the organization that adopted him to us and asked for help.  They sent out a behaviorist who watched our dogs and said that Gibson was displaying dominant traits.  If Peavey tried to walk up to the trainer, Gibson would turn and give him a hard stare.  If Gibson was getting attention and Peavey was playing with a toy, Gibson would go steal the toy and Peavey would come get attention.  Then Gibson would go over to get attention and Peavey would go play with the toy.  We were told to not allow that kind of thing. 

We started making both dogs work for going outside, getting their leashes put on, getting their food.  We made them both sit and stay before they could eat, made them wait to get their leashes put on and if Gibson snapped I put him in time out in our laundry room.  Things got much better.  He seemed to calm down and there weren't any more fights.

Then we had today.  I got the new puppy, Fender, out of the middle of everything and put him in his crate. I yelled for Zoe to go wake up her dad.  Scott and I each got a dog by the back legs and pulled them apart.  They were both still snarling and pulling towards each other.  Scott got Gibson into his crate and I brought Peavey inside.  Gibson growled and snarled at Peavey from inside his crate.  We put Peavey in another room.

After an hour or so, we tried letting Gibson out.  He and Peavey stayed away from each other and I stayed close.  45 minutes later, Gibson went after Fender.  I saw him turn and lunge at Fender, then suddenly Peavey and Gibson were fighting again.  Scott was in the shower and I was on my own.  I tossed Fender into my bedroom while Zoe grabbed her brother and ran upstairs, where she closed them both up in her room.

I tried shoving a chair between them, which didn't work.  I opened up the back door and ended up grabbing Peavey by the collar while I shoved a cookie sheet between them.  I was able to get them separated after a number of tries then had to kick Gibson in the chest to get him out the back door.  When I slammed the door shut he lunged at the door.  I didn't get bitten but I did get a good scratch on my arm.

I was shaking and crying.  After Scott got out of the shower we had a tearful family meeting.  Scott had said that if Gibson started to show the aggressive behavior again, we were going to have to find another home for him.  We just couldn't take the chance that he might turn on one of the kids.  He'd already bitten one of their friends and he had growled at a couple others.  We had been lucky so far. 

All four of us cried but Scott and I had to make the horrible adult decision that Gibson needed to go back to the adoption agency before someone got seriously hurt. 

I got in touch with the organization and he's now on a waiting list for a kennel.  When they have one, I'll take him to be surrendered.  I feel awful about this.  I hate myself.  It's probably my fault. I'm mostly likely not a good dog owner.  And now I have to give my dog away because I'm incompetent. 

After I calmed down some, I went and did the baby food taste challenge with the kids.  I was blindfolded and they fed me bites of baby food while I guessed what food it was.  I got them all right! Then the kids tasted all of them and gave their reactions.  When I went to upload the video, my laptop ate it.  The program had quit on it's own and it hadn't been saved.  Shit.

This has not been a good day. 

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