My Husband is NOT a Dog Trainer
I used to be married to a dog trainer. At one point, we had seven dogs together. We often boarded clients’ dogs in our home as well, sometimes temporarily bringing the number of dogs in our household up to 15. As challenging as it was at times to care for that many dogs, there was an ease about it. Since we both were experienced dog trainers, we both understood ‘dog talk’ and knew what the dogs were ‘saying’ to each other and us. We were easily able to manage the many dogs in our care.
Fast forward several years: I am now remarried to a dog lover who is not a dog trainer. He’s a normal person who loves dogs and has a normal person understanding of ‘dog’. One of the fascinating things for me about our relationship is how much my husband doesn’t know about dogs.
My husband is such a good guy—not only is he married to a dog trainer, but he is married to a dog trainer who has managed to sneak four dogs into our home! Because of his lack of knowledge and experience, my husband often misreads communication between the dogs. He thinks they are happy when they are not or thinks they are fighting when they are playing. He gets easily frustrated with the dogs, especially our new puppy. He expects them to understand him when they can’t. He is impressed when they perform certain normal behaviors. My husband is like so many of my clients.
Living with him has been a great learning lesson for me. He is helping me to gain a better understanding of what a typical dog owning couple deals with. Generally one partner is more interested in the training part of dog ownership than the other. My husband has also helped me have more compassion for the average dog owner. He has reminded me to step out of my ‘experienced dog trainer’ bubble and see the world of dogs from his perspective, which has been a huge help for me when working with clients. Understanding perspective helps to bridge communication gaps between the owners and their dogs.
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