Earlier this week, one of the two dogs I walk, Shadow, had a terrible, unexpected episode. I was walking with he and Carly, with someone walking towards us on the sidewalk. This was a regular occurence, though at most the dogs will pull slightly to sniff at the person. Carly, whom is a bit overly friendly, I was in the process of guiding out of the pedestrian's way, when Shadow did the unthinkable. Normally, he stays right by my side and couldn't care less about people, but he decided to launch himself at this particular pedestrian, and actually scraped the guy's leg with his teeth with full intent to bite, before I was able to stop him. Luckily, the guy was really...well....kind of stoned I think, so he didn't seem to care that much, despite my appologies and offering to give him information (though I'm just the dog walker, I am still responsible for the dogs while in public).
Apparently, Shadow did it again today, this time to his owner's tennent, whom lives in a seperate apartment near the house.
After doing some research, I found that fear aggression is especially common in herding breeds (shadow is pretty much 100% herding), as well as the result of lack of socialization at a young age (poor guy was a pound puppy, after all). This has me especially worried, however, because Shadow is a nice, naturally submissive dog. What he needs is some controlled practice...unfortunately these things, like delayed socialization, take time to get over, and pratice makes perfect. Donna has already talked about sending him elsewhere :(
To be optimistic, I have taken Shadow on two walks since his episode and have no had any other problems (Aka: I have to go into ultra alpha mode and correct the slightest spark of intent that shows up in him, as well as making him wear a weighted pack) but he's been just fine. I remember when my parents adopted Niles, and how he randomly started showing fear aggresion. He did get over it...but it did take time, lots of getting out, and lots of positive experiences. He's still a shy guy, but hasn't bitten anyone since those first few months.
In any case, I'm worried about my Shadow. Unfortunately, he really isn't MY Shadow, and I'm far too busy with school work to do much more than work with him a few times a week during our walks (which certainly helps, I think).
We'll just hold our breath and hope for the best : /.