Lesson Learned

Avery on the couchLearning as much as I can about dog training and dog behavior is a top priority for me.  I read a lot of dog blogs, both personal ones and ones written by trainers.

The shelter where I work, I also volunteer there.  I help run play groups, walk the dogs, and also take their Canine Coach classes.  All so that I can learn as much as I can so that I can be the best parent to my dog but to also be able to successfully interact with other dogs that I meet.

I have learned a ton which has come in handy at my other job working at a local small pet food store.  Customers come in with their dogs all the time and I’ve seen really outgoing dogs, shy dogs, and reactive dogs.  I’ve been able to successfully assess their personalities and read their body language.

Up until this past Saturday.

A customer came in the store with her dog who was social and interactive.  I sat on the floor with the dog for a few minutes giving her treats and petting her.  I got her to do “sit” and “down”.

The lady needed help out to her car, so I offered to carry her dog food out.  I noticed the dog kept looking back at me as I followed them out.  The dog seemed a little unsure but not overly so.  Not enough that I felt uncomfortable around the dog.

I misread the situation and didn’t trust my gut enough.

The customer and her dog were behind me as I placed the dog food in the back of the car.  That’s when the dog went after me and attached herself to my calf and held on.

Luckily she did not break the skin but I have some serious bruising on my leg and my leg hurt and throbbed for the rest of the day.

Other than a few looks of concern the dog gave no indication that she felt threatened or would attack.  She didn’t even growl or make any noise as she ran at me and latched onto my leg.

The woman apologized of course and was concerned (as she should be) about the situation.  I gave her a card for a local trainer so that she can talk with her about what happened and how to avoid in the future.

I learned a lot this weekend.

  • Sometimes dogs give off very subtle cues and I need to be way more vigilant about it.
  • Working in a pet food store does come with it’s own risks.
  • The minute I think a dog might be uncomfortable, I need to back off and communicate that with the owner immediately.

You can be certain that I will now be way more cautious about loading food into a car!

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