Yesterday was Lesson 6 of Blue’s 8-week Beginners Obedience course. Remembering how she behaves outside, we started the lesson off indoors, as that is where she feels most comfortable.
Blue did not do well. She disengaged. She would not even do a simple sit-stay, choosing, instead, to turn her head away from her handlers and ignore them completely. When she was moved and brought back into the position, she started hard-mouthing, biting at the leash, and generally misbehaved. She was not having it, and that was that.
We decided to take a break for a few minutes, to give Blue a chance to settle a bit. During our conversation, they told me something they had not disclosed to me at the start: When they take her into the back yard, Blue rushes them and bites them, driving them onto their small patio steps. She doesn’t stop driving at them and biting them until they are completely off the grass. And, when they try to clean up after her [after she’s pottied], she rushes them and nearly knocks them to the ground. She does this with everyone who tries to be in the back yard when she’s there.
To gain a better understanding of what the owners were describing to me, I suggested that we take Blue out so she could potty. I was not prepared for the intensity with which she came at me when she was let off the leash. She first went to her mom, slammed into her and then bit her leg near her ankle. Then, Blue came for me. She hit me hard – nearly knocking me off my feet – and bit my leg near my ankle. When I tried to grab hold of her leash, she came at me again. She was not growling, her teeth were not bared, and her hackles were not up.
When her owners got to their small patio, Blue left them alone. However, I remained on the grass – and Blue came at me again. I managed to get hold of her leash and from there, I began to slowly reign her in. All the while, she continued to try to jump-lunge towards her owners, she fought the leash, she tried to bite at me… It was really bad.
Once we managed to get back inside, I sat down with Blue’s owners. I told them Blue needs rehabilitation, not obedience lessons. She is refusing to engage, she’s ignoring them, she’s not trusting them at all… we’re back at Square One. And this is when I asked them to tell me, again, how they came to have her.
Blue is a Kijiji dog. They were told she was 7 weeks old when they got her, but I disagreed. Blue does not have any understanding about bite inhibition, she does not know appropriate play – there are so many other signs indicating that she was removed from her mother and litter mates too soon. The owners then told me that actually made sense to them – that they thought she was really small for 7 weeks old. I asked them if she was the runt of her litter, and they said no. They showed me photos of her and her litter mates, and she was actually a bit bigger than them. So, it came down to her actual age when they got her – which, based on her behavior, I guessed to be more likely between 5 to 6 weeks old.
After experiencing Blue’s behavior in the back yard, and taking into consideration her refusal to engage or even try to connect with her owners, I had no choice but to end the obedience lessons. Instead, I’m taking Blue on as a rehabilitation case so she can learn how to be around humans safely and much more calmly. Because, as she is right now, she is a danger to people – and she’s only 6 months old…