I’ve recently started noticing the relationships people have with others: their friends, family, loved ones, mentors, coworkers and especially their pets. I’m not exactly sure why I’ve been so hyper aware of it lately, but I think it has to do with me being a part of dog training classes.
Over the past year, I’ve worked at an animal hospital, where I began to see so many different kinds of relationships that people have with their pets. No relationship is exactly the same. Some are wonderful and some, not so wonderful. I’ve seen people horribly neglect their pets because of ignorance or cruelty, and I’ve seen some of the happiest and truly lovely relationships that you could ever imagine. I see the relationships between veterinarians and vet staff with clients too, and while I see some interaction between the client, patient and veterinarian, I usually do not see all three at the same time as I’m not in the room with them during the entire exam. However, in a dog training class, I’m there with the client, dog, and trainer every second, so I see cooperation and a lovely sense of participation in action. There are multiple relationships happening at the same time and it is a fascinating set of interludes to watch.
There are three relationships happening at the same time: Client/dog, client/trainer, and dog/trainer. The trainer is teaching the client how to have a harmonious relationship with their dog, whatever that means to the client. What makes you happy with your dog? We as trainers want to have a good relationship with you and give you the tools you need to have a happy relationship with your dog while keeping them and you safe. That’s really the bottom line. Are you okay with your dog taking a nap with you on the sofa? Cool! I always did that with my dogs too. If not, then we can show you how to ensure they don’t. It’s your dog and your relationship.
I’m not talking about allowing unsafe behaviors in your relationship with your dog such as escaping from the backyard or biting (my next blog will be about the very serious ramifications about biting & rabies protocol, so watch for it next month!), but I am talking about the other interactions we have with our dogs without judgement.
It’s the same thing at the animal hospital. We try to guide clients to have the best relationship with their pets health-wise and behavior-wise from a medical standpoint. All of us in the animal care industry want everyone to be happy, safe and healthy emotionally and physically.
Because having great relationships is really a wonderful part of life.