Stupid is as stupid does. Robbie asked if I could explain this. Until yesterday, I was also unsure of its meaning. But I think I think I've got a pretty good idea now.
I made a stupid mistake yesterday that I just can't seem to get over. An avoidable mistake gone wild. In a nutshell: I let my new client, Gizmo -- the pitbull -- say hi to three of my dogs. They were all fine. No worries. Even letting Gizmo get closer to them was fine. She was on a leash. But two of my dogs jumped out of the car. I almost lost one to city traffic as he waddled down the long driveway, away from us.
Again, everyone was ok. It just could have been disastrous. I had to flip Gizmo on her back because she was so overly-excited to see other dogs. She and Hunny had a growl/attack/standoff. I expected it. I was prepared. So, that's when I first tried to get Gizmo on her back. She fought with all her strength. She used every part of her body (including her mouth) to get me off of her.
When I felt her jaws on my forearm, I was like whoa, what am I doing here? She didn't bite me. She didn't break skin. She used her mouth as another appendage. Like a hand, trying to remove my hands from her face, neck, body, paws (where ever my hands were at that time).
It was a long struggle. I had her down three times. Each time, she got out of the hold. I couldn't give up. She would've won. And she'd have lost all respect for me. We've been working well together. I wasn't about to give that up.
I was totally out of breath, sweating and still whooping her ass. She's strong! Maybe the strongest dog I've ever worked with. Possibly stronger than Marley. She's also untrained and more importantly, unsocialized! THAT's where our work is going to be most difficult.
Anyway, my left arm is so fricken sore. I even have bruises and swelling in my forearm. I rarely bruise. I also have a nice raspberry on my knee from the black pavement. I choose my fighting grounds well, don't ya think? My white t-shirt was filthy, as well as my arms and the knees of my pants. My body is traumatized. Sore neck and all.
I feel like I was hit by a bus.
The mistake was introducing them so soon. One little hello was perfectly acceptable. But when we returned from our walk, Gizmo was going wild with excitement, trying to get to the dogs in my car. Just to be near them. She sounded like she was being tortured. I wouldn't let her run to the car. I made her heal the whole way. One. step. at. a. time. I rewarded her with another greeting. If I had tied my dogs in the car, or better yet, if I didn't open the car door, the chase would've been completely avoidable.
A dog could've gotten hit by a car. I could've gotten bit by a pitbull. Honestly though, if Gizmo wanted to bite me, to really bite and hurt me, she would have. She had every opportunity. My entire forearm was in her mouth. She could've taken it off. She didn't want to. [note: if I thought she'd ever want to, I wouldn't be walking her.]
I finally got my dogs back into my car. I got Gizmo to calm down and refocus on my commands. And before I left, I had her submitting on her back in her territory. And like every day this week, everyone in the office (they work for Gizmo's mother) who watched this whole scene was thanking me for all I'm doing with her. [I'm thinking, did you not just see any of this?] "You're welcome. See you tomorrow."
I know it sounds like everything is okay because it all worked out. And that's true. It is ok. It did work out. All is well. Except for the "what if" aspect. Even though I still really believe it's important to get this dog around other dogs ASAP, it needs to be in a more controlled environment. And in this situation I was out of control when things got out of control. That's a mistake I can't afford to make.
Sure, I put myself in a potentially dangerous situation every single day. But the moment I feel out of control is when it actually becomes a dangerous situation.
Stupid is as stupid does. It means one is stupid because of what one does, not because of who one is. My choices were stupid. I'm not stupid. But I tell ya, I feel pretty stupid. It was a stupid mistake. Just stupid. But ...
Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get. ~Forrest Gump