Friday, May 9, 2014

Three Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

I have written multiple times in the past about how far we have came with Bruce and his issues.  His resource guarding, his fear aggression, his generally neurotic behavior.  Big boy can go from sweet to asshole in seconds.  We have learned his triggers, managed his guarding, and he's a pretty good boy most of the time at home.

Wednesday afternoon, I was lying in the grass with all three dogs.  We were all being lazy, soaking up some sun and the breeze.  I may have even dozed off.

I knew Bruce was nearest me, but I couldn't see him.  I reached up over my head to pet him.

What I didn't know is that he was chewing on a Nylabone, and I caught him completely off guard.  I hope he did not realize how close I was to him, when he did his loud grumble/scream combo, and swung his head around.

He open mouth hit my head.  I did not respond to him, but immediately got up and went inside.  I saw the blood, and was hysterical.

The scalp is highly vascular, so even something small bleeds quite a bit. 

I was sad, and angry.  I immediately called a dear friend of mine, who is the director of animal welfare for a nearby county and has a very difficult rescued boy of her own, who we think might be from the same breeder as Bruce.

She helped to calm me down until Les got home.  Les got home and cleaned me up.   I have a small, shallow cut on the side of my head, nothing in need of medical attention.

I was so emotionally hurt, sad, and angry.  I once read about how stress hormones can stay in one's body for 72 hours after a stressful event.  Dogs can pick up on these, even if we try to present ourselves otherwise.  Because of this, Bruce has been sequestered to bottom floor of our home, and I have had very minimal contact or interaction with him the last couple of days, but he has been sweet and happy with the interaction I have had with him.

In my heart of hearts, I do not believe Bruce meant to do this.  I believe he was attempting to demonstrate his displeasure at the thought of me taking his Nylabone away, not realizing where I was.

For the time being, we have put up all dog toys/chews in a closet.  

A friend of mine once asked why she could not play with Bruce while she was playing with Neeko and Faolan.  This is why.  He is too labile.  This is why he cannot go places. 

But I love him, and I honestly feel we make each other happy.  This was a freak accident, unintentional on either of our parts, I hope.

We will move forward.  We always do. 


  1. Rebecca I am so sorry that this happened but I do believe on his part it was truly an accident. I wonder if you did not startle him, because he was in his special zone enjoying that treat so much and he just reacted. I certainly do not know anything about bigger dogs with issues, but I do know about pugs with issues, and I agree with you that they sense our tension and anxiety and that can play into their behavior. I notice our pugs will get all wound up, jumping and biting each other, if our house gets to anxious. As sweet and loving that Stella Rose is, I know her triggers and how she reacts, but sometimes I am the one who screws up and we have some type of episode.
    Once I step back, and try to remove my feelings from it, and just look at the picture I always find out it was usually something we humans did. Loving dogs with painful histories is hard but also is a blessing. I think it makes us grow as humans.
    Hugs to you
    Stella Rose's Momma

  2. We too think it was just a freak accident. Likewise we got the impression you might have startled him. We hope you are OK now. Have a fabulous Friday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Sorry to hear what happened. I can just imagine how that feels inside, even if it was an accident. I too, know what it is like when Brut is in the "zone" if he has a treat. Brut hasn't attacked me and you are quite a hero for dealing with Bruce. I can't imagine what that must feel like or how scary it must be, but I know when there's a dog fight at our house, I can be shaken up for a couple of days or so. I've made several mistakes when dealing with Brut that have caused more fights then stopped. I hope you are OK and know it wasn't either of your faults, sometimes it just happens. I'm just sorry it happened to you. I hope you have a better weekend. Take care.

  4. wow! No doubt the whole ordeal has you shook up! So sorry for you ;(
    It is hard to really input my opinion without having being there and seeing, but you did paint the picture pretty good. This remind me of my husky Mika. She does not like being bothered while she is laying down. No dog does I would assume, but once, when we first got her, my ten year old daughter was getting up off the couch and somewhat stepped on her fur which pulled it. Mika was pretty much dozed off, so this surprised her, and in one quick snarl and a snap around of her head, my daughters leg was bleeding. She did not bite her, not one bit! But when she snapped her head around to see what they heck was going on, her teeth slammed into my daughters leg. I do not believe that Mika was trying to bite....simply surprised, she even felt bad afterwards, hung her head low, and went to another room. Needless to say, we now know this and I do my part to make sure Mika has her spot to lay down which is no where near my kids just to be on the safe side. Anyways sorry for rambling, but I feel for you, and I think your right in thinking he did not mean to get you the way he did. Most likely more of a surprise reaction.
    Take care,
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  5. hugs for you. Things will always get better.

  6. I'm sorry this happened, and I know it must be so disheartening when you felt you'd come so far, but it does really sound like it was an accident.
    We have to be careful with toys and long lasting chews with our beagle also. I got in the middle of something with her and one of her brothers over a toy and got my wrist bit. She didn't mean to bite me, and she didn't break skin, but it was pretty bruised and painful. I'm glad your wound was nothing that required medical attention, and I hope things are looking better now.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  7. Oh, I'm so sorry to read this. I have not had a similar experience, so I can't understand what you must be going through. I imagine it is so hard, but I also know you will get through it. You and Bruce love each other so much, and you are so responsible with him. As others have said, it will get better.

  8. I'm sorry I'm so late commenting, but my heart goes out to you. Working with dogs like Bruce (or my Lucas) can be fraught with emotion. I started Lucas one day right after we had moved - he was already terrified being in a new place, super jumpy, and tense. He didn't hear/see me until I was a few feet behind him and he turned and lunged. He didn't get me and immediately realized his mistake, but I cried and cried and cried... because it hurt my feelings. Knowing who he is and his specific issues was too logical in the moment. Trust your heart: It was an accident. These things happen no matter how careful we try to be. Since it's been a few days, I'm hoping all is well and settled down.

  9. Oh no! Ouch! I'm sorry that happened! It can be so upsetting when accidents like that happen. I hope you're okay! ~hugs


Thanks for the howls!!