My Personal Experience With Fear Aggression (Chapter 4)

Posted by Heidi Caccamise on

Just when we thought we were truckin' along, we screwed up again.

My parents were visiting and it's always a little more stressful in the house when you have company, right?

Now add to that 5 dogs.  Their 2 and our 3.  Frisbee was behaving fine, nothing unusual but all of a sudden we had a visitor.

My husband scheduled an electrician to come over to change out/update all the thermostats in our house.  I was surprised, or I might say, mad, that he chose to do this when we already had chaos in the house.

The guy shows up, even carrying a stick with a tennis ball on the end which I guess he uses as a deterrent if a dog goes after him.  However, I don't believe it would have done him any good since he stood it up against the wall once he was in the house and that's where it stayed until he left.

When he first came in I was working in my downstairs office.  As usual, Frisbee was hanging out in the office with me on his pillow.  When the electrician first entered the house my husband just shut the office door.  Frisbee, of course, kept barking which was annoying me.  So I did what most wives would do and started barking at my husband about having this guy come while my parents were there and our house was already chaos.

So, next, my husband put Frisbee behind a gate in a hallway, which I was not happy about.  Even though Frisbee has never broken free from the gate or tried to jump it, remember I said never say never.  Also, this gate is easily knocked over if bumped into even by a human so I am certain Frisbee could knock it over if he wanted.  

Keep in mind we had the wire crate upstairs in the master bedroom.  The easiest thing to do would have been to put him in the crate.  But we never did that.  


I don't know.  Seriously, I just don't know.

I didn't realize that my husband had put Frisbee in the back yard.  I guess he thought it would be safe because this electrician was only supposed to be working inside the house.  

But remember.  Our house is already stressful with visitors.  Now there is a strange man in the house.  Frisbee is being locked outside, which we had never done to him in the past and while the other four dogs were inside.  

Do you think maybe Frisbee was a little freaked out? 

I would say, most likely.

What happens next I will never forget.

About 45 minutes went by and I went to see what my parents were doing.  My dad was in the kitchen by the back door.  I thought the electrician was in their guest room but I didn't see him.  I asked my dad, "where's the electrician?"  

Just when my dad was about to tell me he went out back, here comes the electrician, practically falling through the doorway with Frisbee attached to the back of his leg. 

I stood there in shock.  What else could I do?

I don't even know what happened next.  Frisbee let go I think when he came through the door and I kept asking the guy if he was okay.  

As it turns out he had a small break in the skin and torn jeans.  He was actually very cool about the whole thing but because he was on the job he has to report it to his employer who then had to make him go get checked at the hospital.

And we know what happens when someone goes to the hospital with a dog bite.

Yep, another visit from Animal Control.  Based on the circumstances of the bite and the electricians retelling of the event matching ours, Animal Control once again just filed a report.  They actually said that the electrician should have asked permission before going in the back yard.  

I am not blaming him but I"m certainly not blaming Frisbee either.  What else do you think a fearful dog is going to do in that situation?

I blame us.  Why on earth we didn't just put him in the crate immediately is still beyond me.  I think I was so busy being mad at Peter for having the guy come at that time that I didn't even think about the crate.  

Once again, we failed Frisbee.  We set him up to fail.

And let me take a step back to the time between when the bite happened and when Animal Control actually came (about a week).  

You want to talk about visiting the dark side.  I went online and researched everything I could about dog bites and animal control involvement and getting your dog labeled a dangerous dog and what that means and when dogs are ordered euthanized.  

I was totally freaked out.  I cried every day.  I just kept thinking they were going to take Frisbee away and euthanize him and it would be all our fault.  I knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if that happened.  

I don't know if looking up stuff on the internet is good or bad.  Most people say, don't do it but I needed information.  I needed to know what we were up against. I needed to know the worse case scenario.  I needed to know this so I knew what I needed to pray for. 

When Animal Control left I was relieved to some extent at that moment, but the stress we were living under already with Frisbee just doubled.  I felt like we were on 2 strikes...3 strikes you're out.

And also, I didn't and don't want anyone to get hurt.  As I tell this story I want you to know that that's always been discussed and been and is a consideration.  We don't ignore it.

Now what?

We've had a trainer so now what can we do.  How can we be more "aggressive" (no pun intended) in dealing with this?  How can we help Frisbee?

You'll never believe what I considered doing next...

Stay tuned tomorrow to learn about disarming.

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