Doggone It!

I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a “dog person.” The sound of a barking dog grates on my nerves as badly, if not worse, than a crying baby or a siren or an alarm clock — pain at the deepest level of my inner ear. For this reason and the fact that dogs are so “needy,” my allegiance lies with cats primarily. Dogs require far more interaction than cats. If I have issues interacting with my own species most of the time, I most certainly am not going to keep a pet that demands as much (or more) interaction as (than) humans.

I love the fact that my cats are aloof to my presence. They’re like me. Cats can only handle so much attention before they’re all teeth and claws, hissing “Leave me the fuck alone, already!”

I can relate.

My neighbors have a German Shepherd-mix puppy (albeit a very large puppy, she can stand with her paws on my shoulders, now!); and she’s somewhat vicious in her play. Biting hard enough to break the skin and leaving bruises all over my arms, practically knocking me down as she runs up on me, jumping on me, grabbing at my clothes, literally pulling my hair with her teeth — almost every time I come into contact with her.

I’ve taken to hiding from this dog anytime I go outdoors to smoke a cigarette; but this doesn’t always work. Dogs have a keen sense of smell, so she always knows when I’m outside smoking. If she’s not chained up or indoors, she comes running. I enjoy smoking outdoors because I smoke far less. Plus, my cigarette breaks have become like “Zen” moments throughout the day, a pause for a few minutes to enjoy the weather, no matter what the weather’s doing, and to enjoy the natural beauty of my surroundings — at least, usually, whenever no one’s around, including the dog.

I’m not really sure if there’s anything I can do as far as correcting this dog’s behavior because she’s pretty hard-headed and stubborn, not to mention the fact that she’s not even my dog. I’ve tried ignoring her completely, turning my back on her whenever she behaves this way, not speaking to her. That usually ends up with my hair getting pulled — HARD! Yes, she’s even ripped it out before. My hair is down to my waist, so it’s pretty easy for her to grab hold.

I’ve tried using Cesar Millan’s technique, using my fingertips to tap her hard on the shoulder while saying “tsst.” This makes her even more aggressive, resulting in the bites and bruises on my arms and hands. I’ve tried blocking her jumps with a knee to the chest. Again, she becomes more aggressive, biting and grabbing at me and my clothes. During the summer she left several bad scratches on me from her claws. More often than not, my contact with her feels like hand-to-hand combat. And I don’t like it, not one bit!

It’s a struggle to even get in and out of my car if I leave the house, not to mention she chases my car all the way down the driveway to the main road (about 200 yards). I don’t want to hit her with my car or for her to get hit on the main road. I dislike the dog’s behavior, not the dog. I definitely don’t want to get on the wrong side of our new neighbors because of everything that happened at our last place, so I’ve mostly been keeping to myself. In any case, it seems wrong to ask the neighbors to keep their dog chained up all of the time because this is a very rural setting with plenty of space for her to run free.

Any suggestions for how to deal with this type of dog behavior would be greatly appreciated. I’m kind of at a loss here.

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