I’ve had the funniest morning. Not necessarily ‘hahaha’ funny, maybe, but more of a curious and curiouser kind of morning.
While I was out and about doing errands I found myself in a conversation with someone. It was light and airy, nothing too deep. My training business logo is pretty much on every jacket and sweater I own, but since they have been there for nearly 10 years, sometimes I forget that I’m branded.
This person pointed to my logo and said, “boy I bet they get a lot of yoga people for clients”. Without explaining that this was in fact my business, I simply said “huh, why do you think that?” And without even stumbling for words, which I think I would have done if I were in the other persons shoes, “well you know, it’s all that touchy stuff, all about the body and meditating and being nice, no meat, save the dolphins, ride your bicycle, recycling, being nice to the planet stuff. And if you are giving dogs treats and talking about their feelings, and being nicer, and don’t raise your voice, which is what that business does, WELL, it’s pretty much the same thing.”
I did laugh, audibly, maybe a bit too much actually. I had no response, none. How do you do a quick and witty come back to something so similar to a SNL skit. Every generalization, and assumption in the book, yet no correlation, and this person took them self pretty seriously, factually even. Has the human race peaked, or was I meant to stumble upon this person?
So through the rest of the morning I have been thinking, a great deal, about how people treat their animals, and does it in fact dictate, correlate, with their life style?
I don’t think it does, at all. I truly believe it is the core of the person, the character, the moral compass with in. Whether we are born with this knowingness or learn from those around us, I don’t know. The outward lifestyle, in my experience does not translate into how someone will treat an animal.
I’ve had tattooed, motorcycle mechanics, with a huge beards come in with their sweet little puppies, bags full of treats, and train with complete devotion and tenderness.
Men and women handlers/cowboys. Dirt, jeans, scruff, huge trucks, ropes, sometimes guns. Bulls and rams that need to be moved, and they work with grace, and understanding and efficiency. And they sometimes worship and stand in awe of their dogs and their abilities.
I’ve watched teenage handlers, braces, pigtails, nice button down shirts, hang their dogs on pinch collars to get them to sit.
I’ve had 20 something year old boys, who are into the cool, fast, and adventurous life style, take the time to train their puppy with kindness and love. Even buying a cute pink harness.
I’ve had yoga instructors come to train with me who think nothing of slapping on an electric shock collar on their dog when running off leash on trails.
I’ve seen scotch drinking Grandpa’s train their little dogs with such love, patience, and acceptance of mistakes. And I’ve seen sweet apron wearing Grannies chuck their dogs across a room when a down wasn’t perfect enough.
I’ve experienced Mom’s of young children who are devoted to parenting, being there for every moment, and providing an enriched environment, move their dogs to the yard because they can’t be bothered. Move as in, never in the house again.
I’ve watched organic gardeners who reuse, recycle, and renew for the earth, put their dogs in small pens with electric fencing all the way around, and feed them food with no more nutritional value than a leather boot.
I have stood behind people at COSTCO with a shopping basket filled with every organic product in the store for humans, and on the bottom of the shopping cart is a giant bag of cheap crappy dog food, and a bag of chemically laden rawhide chews. Just because someone is doing right for the humans in the family, does not mean they know anything about dog health or nutrition.
There is no correlation that I have found between someones chosen life style, appearance, or health choices, and how they treat animals.
As for me, I’m most certainly not a perfect person, and I don’t think I would fit a persons ‘description’ of what a reward based trainer should look or act like. So if you should run into someone with a jacket with our logo on it, it might be me. I’m tall, sturdy, and direct. I drink wine, I laugh from deep inside, and I dress semi homeless when I’m working. I enjoy people from all walks of life, I have opinions, and I read a lot. I like jokes that are outside of politically correct. I eat healthy food, and I eat fast food french fries because they rock! I love dog sports and training for the highest level of competition. And I treat animals with respect and kindness … from deep inside of me, because that is where the feeling comes from.