I am mortified to even be writing this. Seriously, I am cringing with shame and embarrassment, but if I can’t talk to you guys about it…
Here goes: Lucas bit someone.
Or, at least, he tried to. He grazed the knee of her jeans but didn’t get her.
We were out for a Saturday afternoon walk around the park. Nothing out of the ordinary. There was a woman walking a pup a few blocks ahead of us, so I hung back because I always avoid other dogs when I’m out with Lucas because he’s reactive on leash to other dogs. Dogs. Never people.
We came around a bend, passing by an older woman. As soon as she was upon us, Lucas jumped up on her. He has NEVER jumped on a stranger before. As I pulled him back, he lunged and snapped.
The woman was pissed and upset, of course, but since there were no injuries (thankfully) she walked on after berating me. The whole time we were “talking” Lucas just stood there like nothing had happened.
I have no idea what got into him. None.
But I’m in a total panic. Is this a new problem behavior? Is he going to start reacting to strangers now? Are our walks going to turn into an even bigger gauntlet? Will this lady decide to call animal control and report the incident?
I’ve been obsessing for two days over this. I can think of a ton of excuses: Lucas, like Cooper, has become extremely protective of me since I got sick. He spent the last year stuck in the house, and we all know that if you don’t constantly work on problem behaviors, they can backslide. He’s always been a high-strung, reactive dog, and since he hasn’t gotten enough exercise, he’s clearly pent up. And so on.
But I don’t know.
The bottom line? I no longer trust my dog.
Can I walk him past strangers? What if it happens again? Chances are I’ll tense up, he’ll feel it through the leash, and that’ll cause him to react. But if I spend our walks avoiding people, like we’ve always done with dogs, there’s no way to work on it and it reinforces his idea that strangers are suspicious.
I’m completely mortified that this happened. And I’m really upset. As soon as we got back, I got online and enrolled him in a 5-week “reactive dog” class, but that doesn’t start until the end of March. I just felt like I had to do something, you know?
But what else? What else can I do?
I mean, other than panic and obsess, which is what I’m currently doing.