Bonus: One positive-reinforcement dog trainer's point of view on guns in America

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Annie reads a satirical essay she wrote, approaching the gun control debate from the point of view of a dog trainer. With dogs, we can create antecedent arrangements to control the environment in order to keep dogs from eating our shoes. If only it were so easy. If only it were so easy keep people from shooting each other...

A FAREWELL TO FOOTWEAR: A DOG TRAINER WEIGHS IN ON THE SHOE CONTROL DEBATE by Annie Grossman

As an animal trainer by profession, I am specifically interested in shoes that get into the hands, or, rather in the mouths, of dogs. From what I witness in the homes of my clients, the deleterious use of shoes by dogs is a problem with no easy solution.

Almost daily, I hear of incidents relating to shoe carnage: people coming home to find their Uggs in pieces all over the living room floor; midnight vet runs spurred by decimated Nikes causing intestinal blockage; children arriving at school late and in tears because the goldendoodle has absconded with a sandal. The problem goes beyond mere inconvenience: At any shelter, you can find dogs who face euthanasia because of sins relating to their insatiable appetite for footwear, and vets around the country will attest to the damage (sometimes irreversible and even fatal) that dogs cause themselves because of their obsession with our shoes.

After every incident, be it a small-time heel nibble or a full on closet rampage, there is one question that I hear over and over again: Why did he do it? Motive is a major cause of conversation around these issues. So many dog owners will say that shoe misuse stems from deep-seated puppyhood issues, profound mental disturbance, or a need for dominance. Some say dogs are prone to these kinds of disruptive behaviors because of spite, or inferiority complexes.

But, as a trainer, I like to remind people that we cannot read dog minds. We can make a lot of guesses, but they’ll only ever be guesses. Did he do it because of issues with his absentee father? Was he trying to prove himself to the bitch next door? Maybe. And we could spend a lot of time trying to establish motives rooted in those kinds of storylines. But, the fact is, if a dog eats your shoe, it’s because there was a shoe available to eat....

Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcast

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