This is not one of my typical "Maisie is so cute" posts. This is unfortunately more of a "some days with Maisie are not good days" post. As I've mentioned previously, Maisie is a dog with issues. Though we've been through a lot of training together, a couple major problems persist. First, she continues to go into full-on attack mode whenever anyone she doesn't know enters the office when she's at work with me. And second, she is still terribly leash aggressive. The latter is what led to a very bad situation this morning.
Maisie generally comes to work with me for the entire day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I take her for a walk before I get in the shower, then a second quick one right before we get in the car. While on that second walk this morning, we encountered another dog who also appeared to have leash aggression. He/she immediately began barking and lunging at Maisie, which made Maisie's aggression even worse than usual. As I pulled her in the opposite direction of the other dog, I must have placed my arm in front of her face and the fact that she was insanely snapping at the enemy dog somehow resulted in her biting me. HARD. Even though she bit through my jacket, she still managed to break skin and cause a near-instant bruise.
I yelped in pain (and shock, really), but Maisie was too out of control and focused on what she perceived as the threat at hand to notice. Within seconds, the other dog was gone and Maisie was back to her normal, mostly obedient self. I put her in a "sit" and sat myself down on a stoop as I tried to process what had just occurred.
Because under normal circumstances Maisie is my little shadow and snuggle bug, I sometimes forget that she is above all, an animal...a creature who acts primarily on instinct. That instinct can be somewhat amusing when she sees a squirrel or a bird she's convinced she can catch, but I also need to remember that at any moment, without warning, her instincts can turn dangerous. And that's not a pit bull thing (though I'm sure many people would view it as such), it's a dog thing.
Within five minutes after arriving at the office, Maisie was relaxing in her bed as if nothing had happened. In her mind, I'm sure that was the case.
I know Maisie did not mean to bite me. I know she trusts and loves me and would never hurt me intentionally. But I'll have a reminder for at least the next few days that I can never, ever let my guard down with her when other dogs are present. Lesson learned.