Why are they fighting over naming me? Do they not know I won’t ever answer when they call for me? Oh…those poor human beings. So naive. Get your gross hands off me! EW..ew..ew. Let me lick that real…
Do you ever have one of those days where you think you’ve got it all figured out and then the proverbial “shit” hits the fan? Everything you worked to set up ahead of time so you could power on through just doesn’t go to snuff?
I had that day, and it reminded me a) how lucky that I know about consent in dog training and husbandry and b) my dogs and my client dogs get to benefit from that knowledge.
First, my day started a little later than usual. Lots of client emails, a few employee emails, some tedious desk work to power through. I need to get it done though, as my friend is flying in and late the night before she reminded me she was arriving on Thursday, not Friday. I swear, I need a calendar for my calendars.
Power through the morning I do, and then I am extra on top and hop in the shower. When I get out, I take a call from my accountant about more godforsaken forms I need to file. The IRS might as well use stone tablets and chisels, why do we use so much paper?!
That’s done, check on a flight, the flight landed. Call my call Subaru dealership and “I need an oil change and brake check. No, I am not going to be waiting there, I’m going to leave the car there. Yes, I said I am not waiting for the car, I will pick it up when it’s done.”
Head to the airport, Alaska managed to put my friend’s bag on the next flight. After waiting a good 45 minutes, she texts me, and I swing around from the cell phone lot. “No bag?” I ask. “No bag,” she says, “we’re going to need to go shopping.” Meh, not a terrible situation.
My husband is meeting us at the dealership to pick us up as I’m expecting the brakes to be dangerous and more work will need to be done. I also didn’t picture sitting around a Subaru Dealership to be an exciting activity for an out of towner.
I pull in to the service lane and roll down my window. I give them my name, and my husband’s first name because no matter how many times I’ve told them they never fix it. It’s my car after all.
The man says to leave the keys in the car and go inside and get a drink and a snack. “Oh, we’re not waiting for the car, I’m just dropping it off, not waiting,” I say, again, for the third time. “Right, just go grab a snack and Adam will be with you soon.” “But I’m not waiting… and I don’t want a snack… and who is Adam?”
The mantra is, “when in doubt, throw food!” And when dealing with arousal in dogs, we can get a sense of how they feel about whether or not they will eat food.
I did not want to eat food. And this man was forcing me to wait inside. And I just wanted to leave.
Sarah and I look at each other, and I can feel my anxiety going up… and up… and up. Supposedly some guy named Adam is tasked with helping me. We wait… and we wait… and I ask the five employees doing absolutely nothing at the service desk who Adam is and also that “I’m not waiting, can’t you just call me?” Well no, I need to sign some paper to authorize the work.
So no, you can’t leave! And you certainly can’t go without Adam. Also, have a snack! I DON’T WANT A SNACK.
Eventually, my husband shows up and rescues us by having an escape car. I don’t know where Adam was, and low and behold John calls me 10 minutes and we authorize the work over the phone. And then I was told I couldn’t pay online, only to receive an emailed invoice when we hung up. What kind of customer service is that?! As a small business owner, I’m shaking my fist in the air. I digress…
I really felt for my dogs at that moment. How many times do we just make them do things? And how uncomfortable are they when we say “do this now.” Are we ignoring what they are telling us?
As a skilled trainer, I can see potential issues with stress in my own dogs and head them off. Just as it would have been nice if one of the 14 employees sitting around could have a) seen/sensed that I was getting upset because I was not there to wait and wanted to leave with my friend or b) stopped the sitting around and went to find our Adam and c) didn’t tell me to be quiet and sit down and eat a snack.
Because they didn’t listen to me, I had a really negative experience, and I’m going to find a new dealer. I’m not going back.
What about when we bring our dogs places, and they don’t have good experiences, and we keep bringing them back. They can’t decide “hey, I’m not going back to this place.”
That stress they feel? They don’t have a choice to choose. But we can.
I always want to make sure I’ve got my “listening ears on” and I’m looking and anticipating and thinking and also feeling confident we have excellent lines of communication, and I have a good understanding of consent.
There’s no way to know precisely how our dogs feel. But we can definitely observe and make some determinations from what we see our dogs doing, their body language, are they able to eat, are they able to perform basic behaviors, what is their body language saying? Or is the environment or activity to much for them right now?
I feel a substantial empathetic duty to make sure every dog’s time here on earth spent with me is one of compassion and understanding.
And for all that is holy, don’t tell me to eat snacks.
PO Box 726 Manchaca, TX 78652 | email@example.com | (737) 808–3049
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