Tonite I brought Leo to the agility barn while I taught. The first class is too big for me to be able to watch him but the second class is small and low key. He has come with me to the arena more than a few times and has always been very good. Mooching treats. Sitting for pets. Charming all the people there...
Tonite he nipped at someone who ran by. It was near the end of class. He was in a down, relaxed at my feet. She ran by and all I felt was the leash go tight. Followed by a tearing sound.
He ripped her pants. High on the leg. No puncture. But there will be a bruise. It was a nip with intent to grab.
I feel awful. On two counts.
First off for the person he nipped. Secondly for Leo.
The person he nipped at did nothing wrong- and she has been very good about it. Probably makes my guilt worse.
When Leo nips it has been completely motion based- its' not about who, it's about what. This is his issue. It is a real issue- not something that is going to go away really. And I know that. I know better. But I still blamed the dog. I was angry after he did it though and did get after him. Nothing major of course but he knows I was not happy with him. He is still slinking around an hour later at home...
This kind of setback is more mine, than his. I put him in a situation that had the potential for him to lose control, didn't watch him close enough in said situation, and gave him the opportunity to hurt someone. It is completely and utterly my fault.
In my defense, I truly thought that he was past the point of such impulsive decisions. I have worked very hard with him. And because he has been so good lately I guess I let my guard down. He is a good example of why this sort of thing is hard to manage. It doesn't ever really go away.
Lately I've been giving thought about what kind of home would suit Leo. And up until today I was thinking he could really go to just about anyone who has experience with border collie-isms, and the patience and time to help him adjust. I mean he is absolutely perfect to live with. He is smart, fun to train, and is eager to please. I've had him for seven months. And he has learned a lot in those seven months. He will soon be my longest "project" dog. After this today I am just not sure. My fear is that I will find him a "perfect" home and that something bad will happen. He will nip, or growl at someone, or his behaviour could get worse until he is back to where we started, or he will really bite someone.... I don't think I could live with the guilt of that happening.
Ugh. Just Ugh.
Tomorrow I will hopefully feel better about things. But right now I feel like shit.
I have no idea now what the plan should be. I guess back to the drawing board for more impulse control training. Thankfully I have good friends who are willing to be guinea pigs... Jen, you better get your carharts on...