So that’s a very tongue in cheek not meant to insult anyone title. But that’s what this week has felt like.
Last Sunday was my second day as a dog trainer. I got to work with sweet puppies and reserved older dogs. The old ones are always my favorite and earning trust is one of the best things about training to me.
I am usually not reserved around any dog at all. My husband and I joke that my death will because I ran to hug a rottweiler . Mieke is too forceful with her love – She gets it from me. There is one type of dog I’m reserved about. Protection dogs. The exception to this is Hunter, the trainer’s personal dog, who is very well trained. A protection dog is highly trained and will stop on a dime. The dog loves and respects their owner and will do anything for them. Great! I’m going to let your dog do the first move for initiating friendship cause I’m not an idiot.
However, My trainer has 2 dogs in training that have done bite work, let’s call them Lu and Lo. Lu is a feisty female that looks very similar to Mieke, she has snapped at me but was told “friend” and I was good. Now Lo. My trainer has more faith in my training ability than I do. He loves to see what a dog is capable of and to get them used to male, female, young, old etc handlers. And don’t get me wrong I love that he pushes a dog’s mind this way and adapts them to every situation he can think of. BUT – Me no like Lo. He’s a Belgian Malinois. My experience with Belgian things are as follows:
- Light and Crispy
- Great with syrup
- Breakfast food with all sorts of toppings
- Dessert food with ice cream. Yum
All things from Belgian are not sweet and fluffy!
- Used as Army, Police and Secret Service dog.
- Working dog: Protection, Explosives, Narcotics, Search and Rescue
- Super freaking hyper
- Badass dog.
Now first off I have a German Shepherd and a Dutch Shepherd mix. They have no interest in protection work at all. They want to lick your face and pretend to be part of the couch. They love to train but they don’t posses whatever it is that makes them want to bite bad guys. And I’m great with that, I never worry about my dogs biting anyone but they bark when people come in the yard. Or around the yard. Or if you’re a squirrel/cat. These breeds are high energy, but on a scale.
- Pot = Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Crack = German Shepherd
- Meth = Border collie (or atleast my aunt’s blue merle)
- Bath Salts = Belgian Malinois
So the story. Lo is trained in German. I do not speak German. But I learned enough to do OB with him and he done great. Did I feel confident enough to ever work alone with him? Hell no. Did I feel confident enough to be in the training enclosure with the head trainer 15 feet away? Apparently. One second he was fine next minute I’m taking a bite to the left bicep. Can you excuse my language for a sec? HOLY FUCK. The latter word being what I repeated over and over again while my trainer choked out Lo and I GTFO-ed. At this point I’ll remind your I’m 5’6 and 125 lbs. I don’t look threatening or scary or like a bad guy.
Couple minutes later my shirt is off in front of people I’m staring at pieces of my arm fat on the ground and by golly I haven’t cried and I’m making jokes. A trip to the emergency room and I cry because I’m afraid of shots and stitches. Yup, I am irrational. But I’m dubbing myself a badass through all this. 2 puncture holes and a gash in my arm. The gash gets 3 stitches because infection has to drain and they can’t sew up the holes. Great.
It’s a week today and my arm is healing, the holes hurt and itch like hell, they still bleed and it grosses me out. I spent the first 2 days afraid to use my left arm and had to have help with everything. Getting dressed, making food, pulling my pants up, showering. These easy things that I took for granted before.
But – this is a very big but – some good came out of this. First, the worse thing that can happen while dog training, has happened to me. So I know what it feels like and I know the signs now. Second, Lo was being trained to be a companion dog for an older man. The head trainer has tried to talk him out of it multiple times to no avail. The man no longer wants Lo or a Malinois. Which is honestly great. Lo needs a strong handler that will work him and challenge him. Lo could have bit this man the same way he bit me. The big difference is I had someone there who is highly trained in protection dogs an knew exactly what to do in regard to pulling him off without damaging my arm further, how to not get bit himself in the process, and the right first aid to administer to a bite wound. The man would not have had that and it would’ve been much much worse.
So this is a sucky yet humbling experience and I’m reminded that all things happen for a very good reason.