Even more lessons learned

I am the proud owner of a pure bred German Shepherd Dog. She’s 3 years old. She weighs in at 95 pounds. No, she’s not fat. She’s big. Very big. We had a “come to Jesus” experience yesterday. And it almost cost me my finger. Shadow is my dog. In every sense of that phrase. I am the top dog in her pack. She’s trying to position herself as second in command. Don’t get me wrong. She wouldn’t do anything to hurt any of us on purpose. My wife and girls just don’t have the strength to physically dominate her. The problem is women get wooed by the cute puppy. They let the cute puppy get away with bad behaviors. As a result the cute puppy now has influence over the wooed wife and girls. Shadow’s made herself second in command without lifting a paw. I’ve tried to get the wife and kids to attend obedience training with me. They lost interest. I completed Shadow’s training and I am the only one she really listens to.

Shadow has developed bad habits. I hear about them but never witness them. That is until yesterday. I went out the front door and was about 5 feet from the house when I heard the front door fly open. Shadow bolted out the door and was headed toward the street. On instinct alone I reach out with my right hand as she ran by, caught her by the scruff of the neck, jerked her back and the next thing I know my left hand (specifically my pointer finger) is in her mouth. Now I know I hurt her when I grabbed her and then again when I jerked her back. She let out two distinct yelps. But when I realized she had my hand in her mouth I knew we had a bad situation. Immediately I drove her head to the ground with my right hand (still on the scruff of her neck), used my right knee to bring her back end to the ground and I bit her ear. She instantly relaxed her bite on my finger and rolled to her back. pinned her ears back and whined. I had exerted myself as the alpha dog and she knew she was in the wrong. I let her up, told her to go to the door and sit. I got up, opened the door and released her from the sit. She instantly went to her cage. By then I had noticed the blood and realized I was in terrible pain. I had no idea how bad the bite was …

I went up to the bathroom and stuck my hand under cold running water. I didn’t want to look but had to. there was no one else that could do it. Once the blood was gone I saw the damage. Two holes. And three tears. First hole was on the back side of the finger about 3/4 of an inch below the first joint. The second was on the palm side in the crease of the first joint. That one was deep and really concerned me. The tears were on the knuckle. My first thought was I needed to get to the hospital. Wife was trying to get into the bathroom to assist but I made her leave. She was getting dressed to take me to the emergency room. I managed to find some hydrogen peroxide and started pouring it into the wounds. It stung. It wasn’t supposed to, but it did. And it foamed. As the foaming stopped so did the stinging. I rinsed again with hydrogen peroxide. And again and again. basically until it had stopped bleeding. I thought for sure I at least needed stitches to close the hole on the palm side but I could see now that hole was more an indentation of skin and that the bleeding was coming from a tear above the hole. I began to move the finger and the hole was shrinking. It bled some more. I cleaned it with peroxide. Moved it more … all in all I cleaned it for about 15 minutes. By this time I noticed wife was visibly upset and was desperately trying to get me to go to the ER. I assured her I would be fine.

I got things dried off, grabbed the Neosporin and a bandage or two. Covered the wounds and went to the dog. I made her come out of the cage and she was leery. Rightfully so. At first she resisted and a growl or three later (me growling, not her) she came out. I made her submit again. This time I gently reassured her and had her sit. At this point she understood who the boss was.

Great learning experience for me and her. It drove home the point that because my girls had not followed through and were not making Shadow follow rules, Shadow developed bad habits. I am now making all my girls (includes Shadow) follow the basics.

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