Wow our consortium members have been picking some tough topics lately! I think we have Ramana to thank for this one. :) If his purpose was to frazzle my brain, he has been very effective. I'm really scraping here, but my thoughts are heading towards dog training.
I went to visit the former owners of my dog recently and had an incident where I felt compelled to discipline her dogs. They have 3 small dogs now that are mostly "in-house" dogs. When I sat on the couch, the dogs all came running up and climbed up on top of me and began tussling to see who could get more of my attention. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, but I don't like them in my face. I don't like to be licked in the face, even if it is considered a kiss. And I have very strict views about how dogs should interact with company. In my world, the dog is only allowed to greet company if she can remain calm and not beg for attention. It's fine to greet people, and to be petted as much as they want to give the attention. But when the dog begins to beg, and be insistent for attention, then it becomes impolite. Yes, dogs can learn to be polite. So when these dogs all three climbed up on my chest and began to wrestle over who would get my attention, I picked each dog up and set them down beside me on the couch. Each time they would try to climb up on my, I would set them aside again. It didn't take long for them to get the point that I was going to issue a little discipline.
I would like to mention too that one of my pet peeves is that sometimes pet owners let their animals act inappropriately because they are small animals. In my opinion, we should expect the same of a small animal that we would of a big animal. I would never allow my 83 pound Airedale terrier to jump up on the lap of a guest and begin licking their face. I also would never allow her to jump up and put her paws on their chest when they come in the room. She could easily bowl them over! I think the same standard should go for little dogs. Yes, they are little and can't knock someone over, but they do have claws that sometimes can hurt, and I just don't think it is good manners for them to jump up on people. In fact, I think it could be viewed by other dogs as an act of dominance. Okay, off my soap box, and back to my story.
Right about that time, one of their cats, who gets quite jealous of attention given to the dogs, came up and sat next to me also. When he did, one of the little dogs growled at him. In my world, animals that live in the same house are not allowed to show aggression to each other. When the dog growled, I quickly snapped my fingers at him. This came instinctively to me because I do this with my dog, and I also do it with my kids. My own dog has come to know that a snap is a correction sound. It is the non-verbal sound that means "no" in our house. It's probably the most effective dog training method that I use. It works pretty good with my kids too. lol When I did this to her dog, he immediately stopped growling and calmed down.
I have to tell you about the owner's reaction. She got a little upset that I was disciplining her dogs. I told her I was sorry, but that it was an automatic reaction for me. She kept saying, "Just as long as you don't hit my dogs. I don't allow anyone to hit my dogs." I said, "I never hit animals. There is no need to hit them. They can learn without hitting." But she kept making comments about how she wouldn't allow people to hit her dogs. I think she was more upset that I was the one who did the disciplining, but I was not going to sit there and allow her dogs to fight over me, and on top of me. My motto is that if the owner doesn't discipline an animal that is doing something to me that I don't want, then I will be the one to discipline them. I actually think the same for children. If someone's child is hitting me, or doing something else inappropriate, and the parent doesn't correct them for it, I will say something. And it is highly likely that I will use my most effective method of snapping my fingers at them. (And I will probably give them a stern look.)
I had a small moment of triumph today when this woman and her husband, thee former owners of my dog came to my house to visit. My dog got extremely excited when she saw them. In fact, I felt it was reaching unhealthy levels. I think that is what happens in a relationship where animals have no discipline, and are allowed to act inappropriately. This was the kind of relationship she was used to having with them. In a healthy home, a dog's energy doesn't get wacky. I guess another word for that type of human/ animal relationship is "dysfunctional". So when my dog began to get out of control, I disciplined her and made her go lay on her bed. Whenever she was calm enough, I would allow her to come say hello to them. But when she began to get out of control, I would make her go lay down again. I did this with my body language, and by snapping my fingers when she disobeyed. I think it was a good chance for them to see that animals need some amount of discipline, and that simple, non-violent methods really are effective.
If you would like to see how the other consortium members have sweated over this tough topic, please check out their links below. (Note: Some of these members aren't actively participating at present, but I am keeping them on the list for now.)
Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, , Padmum, Magpie11, andAkanksha,Will Knot, Maria the Silver Fox, Anki, Nema Noor Paul Plain Joe, and Rohit
and The Old Fossil