I had a pretty bad day. Becky and Mr. Becky were out having a life, so I brought their dogs over to my apartment to hang out with me and Rex. After a few hours of laying around and holding down my carpet I figured they probably had to pee, so I let them all out. They were about to run to the east lawn when I remembered that the water delivery dude was supposed to come today and they always stupidly leave our gate open, so I called out, “Stop!” Amazingly, the dogs all stopped and waited for me to check the gate. As I assumed, it was wide open and there were four huge water bottles on the porch. Stupid water dude. I closed the gate and all three dogs peed.
I was feeling in tune with my universe, which of course meant that I wasn’t. Everything was bound to go to hell, and it did. Minutes later the electric meter reader dude walked up and the dogs went ballistic. In my most authoritative tone of voice I yelled at the dogs to follow me and go into my apartment. They did as they were told, the electric meter reader dude read our meter and then left to read the meter next door. I let the dogs out again and that’s where I made my mistake. They shot down the drive and started barking at the electric meter reader dude who was dawdling next door where the dogs could see him. Rex looked like he wanted nothing more than to jump the fence and either play or maul the electric meter reader dude, so I stepped between him and the fence and told him to go home.
That’s when Rex bit me. He flinched, as if I’d struck him, snarled, and then bit me right above my knee. That’s when I did strike him. Right after he bit me I yelled NO and decked him in the head. Barking like a mad dog, I pointed at my apartment and drove the dogs home. They ran inside, up the stairs and all three of them crowded into Rex’s crate. Normally, this would’ve been really funny, something like clowns in a clown car (Sorry, David.), but at the time I wasn’t amused. I dragged Guinness and Margot out and put Rex in lock down. Normally, I never use his crate as punishment, and I don’t believe I was in this case, but I needed him to be somewhere safe where I couldn’t beat the hell out of him while I got my wits together.
I checked my knee. He didn’t break the skin and there was hardly a mark, but it still hurt, as if I’d been pinched really hard. What hurt more was that he did it at all. I went through every scenario in my head of why he bit me. Was he trying to protect me, the property, and the other dogs from the electric meter reader dude, and when I stepped in the way was he trying to tell me, Get back! I’ve got you covered! I doubt that, because I put him inside the apartment and left the screen door open so he could see me let the electric meter reader dude into the yard and see that he wasn’t there to harm anyone. But, maybe he didn’t understand that. Or, was he barking at the electric meter reader dude because he was saying, Hey you! Come back. I want to play! And when I stepped in front of him, did Rex bite me because he thought I was trying to stop him from having a good time? Which, of course, in a way I was. But it still wasn’t cause for him to bite me. Again.
That’s the worst part; this has happened before. The last time he bit me was also a moment where he didn’t want to do what I was asking him to do. Which is why I think this is a problem of him not understanding that I’m the alpha dog in this household. Which is why I’ve spent a lot of today upset and researching dog trainers in the greater Houston area. I’ve also spent the day treating Rex like a dog. Quaker’s meeting has begun at The Compound and, until I find the right person to train us, Rex is working hard for his money. It’s as though we’re starting over. He has to work for praise. There’ll be no more, Hey, look at me, aren’t I cute? Don’t you think you should pet me? getting attention for no reason. If I tell him to sit and he sits without moving, then I’ll praise him and give him attention. Same with any other command. He can’t leave the house or come back in unless he sits on whatever side of the door and I tell him it’s okay to go in or out. I’m also going to walk him more. Unfortunately, the dog park is out of the question now, because what happens if I try to reign him in and he doesn’t want me to? Or, what if another dog own tries and Rex bites him? I also worry about our friends who come over to the house. Rex always misbehaves when there are visitors, and I’m always trying to reign him in. What if he decides to bite me, or our house guests? In any of these worst case scenarios the worst case outcome would be a one way trip to the Vet’s office, and I wouldn’t want that for anyone involved.