Ep. 8: Give the Dog a Vote

Speakers:
Dianna L. Santos

This episode was originally aired as part of the All About Dog Sports Podcast, which has been merged into the It's Time to Train Your Dog Podcast. 

When we are choosing which dog sport, or dog sports, to do with our dog, it is important to give our dog a vote. However, it can be incredibly painful when what our dog wants to do, and enjoys doing, is drastically different from what our preferred dog sport may be.​

We delve into this touchy, tricky and emotional topic in this podcast episode.


TRANSCRIPT

(00:00):
Welcome to the All About Dog Sports Podcast. This is the podcast where we talk about halting dog sports. That can include training tips, a behind the scenes look at what your instructor or trial official may be going through and much more. In this episode, I wanted to talk about choosing the right dog sport for both you and your dog and how that's going to require a very open and honest conversation that you have with your dog and that sometimes those can be really difficult conversations for you to have. Before we start diving into the episode itself, let me just do a very quick introduction of myself. My name is Dianna Santos. I am the Owner and Lead Instructor for Dog Sport University, Scent Work University and Family Dog University. These are online dog training platforms that are designed to provide high quality dog training instruction to as many people as possible.

(00:48):
We're delighted that we have clients literally worldwide, and the whole premise is to ensure that people have access to the training that they need regardless of where they live. So maybe you're in an area where there aren't trainers locally to you or a training center. Maybe it would just be too difficult to try to fit training into your schedule. So the advent of these platforms is basically to ensure that you can still have access to really good dog training and it can also be flexible and convening for you. For Dog Sport University in particular, we provide three major types of training. We provide online courses, online webinars, as well as online seminars. And for our courses we cover a variety of different dog sports including agility, barn hunt, competition, obedience, rally obedience, just dog, tri ball tricks, and there's more coming down the pike. So I definitely urge you to check out Dog Sport University if you are interested in dog sports. Now, to know a little bit more about me, let's dive into the episode.

(01:48):
So what I wanted to talk about today is the process that you should be going through in order to choose which dog sports you're going to be doing with your dog and understanding that that may change as time goes on. Meaning that when your dog is younger, you may choose to do certain sports, and then as they continue to age, you may change the kinds of sports that they're doing for any number of reasons. It could be age related that maybe just a certain sport is just asking too much of them physically, but there could be other reasons. So what I'm hoping with this podcast is that the very least it can get you thinking and it can open up some ways of thinking that takes out some of the emotion because the one thing that I've noticed during my time as a professional dog trainer is that people get very emotionally invested in what it is that they're doing with their dogs, particularly if this is the first dog that you're doing something with.

(02:45):
So maybe you've had dogs before, but you never were involved in dog sports and maybe you brought your dog to a local training facility that also offered things like agility for instance, and you kind of fell into it, but then you fell in love with it. So dog sports is actually really important to you. You've built up this whole other layer to your life that wasn't there before and that sometimes can color and shade how it is that we're actually seeing things and the truth that may be right in front of our face, but we just don't want to admit it. And there's a lot of other factors that may play into us having a hard time deciding which sport to do with our dog and why we're making that decision and if that is really the right decision. So this is a pretty heavy topic and it's going to make some people upset as far as they don't want to think about it, and they don't want anyone to think that they're doing the wrong thing by their dog.

(03:47):
And I'm not trying to make anyone upset in that regard. I'm not trying to accuse anyone of anything. These are difficult decisions. Being a caretaker of a being that cannot adequately communicate to you is hard because you have to do a lot of guesswork. And when we're talking about these kinds of activities that have a lot baked into them for the human side as far as things that we may enjoy and things that we want to do and all that sort of stuff, it gets really complicated really quick. So the whole point of this podcast is it's not to try to pass judgment on anyone. I don't think that helps. It's just to get people thinking and really to try to be a little bit more in tune to your gut and to know that as long as you're doing what's right for you and your dog, that's all that matters.

(04:39):
Nothing else matters. As long as you are making good choices for you and your own individual dog, you're good. But that's easier said than done. So I think the best way to start is to think about how it is that many people get started in this whole dog sport thing. And it really is what I mentioned before where a lot of times people just kind of fall into it. I'd see it all the time with the facility that I was working with when I first started, and I was extraordinarily fortunate with where I started in that they had a very vibrant family dog program where people would come in to train their dogs basic obedience and stuff. I just got a dog. I don't want it to destroy my house. Help me. But in addition to that, they also had a pretty active dog sport program for a variety of different dog sports, and the way that they would arrange their curriculum is they would introduce some of these concepts to their family dog students because training is training and our dogs need to do things.

(05:41):
They're very smart, intelligent little beings. They were all designed over thousands of years to do various things. More than just keeping your couch warm, the more you can have your dog do the better, particularly mentally. So I saw and witnessed firsthand people who before that when they first enrolled in their very first dog training class, were like, yeah, I just don't want my dog peeing in the house. I just don't want my dog pulling on leash. I don't know what all this jumping around stuff you're talking about with obstacles and things, I don't care. It has nothing to do with my life to, those were the very people who would sign up for maybe an intro agility class because it looked like fun and maybe they enjoyed their one week of class for their family dog class where they got to play around with stuff a little bit.

(06:31):
Those are the people who, if they are bitten by the dog sport bug, again, it could be any dog sport agility is really common, but it could be literally anything. They're the ones who fall in hook line and sinker, and typically, which is a good thing, this isn't a bad thing, but typically they are taken in by the people who've been there for a while. So they have people who take them under their wings and they develop really strong friendships, and then maybe they're actually competing where they're actually trialing and they're traveling and they're involved in all of that, and they just get deeper and deeper and deeper into it. But it develops into this whole other activity with so many layers in strata that goes along with it that if any of that were threatened, it would be a huge loss to that person that if you were to tell them, okay, you can't do that anymore for whatever reason that they would be losing out on a lot, they would be losing out on a routine.

(07:29):
Maybe there's specific days of the week that they actually go maybe to class or practice sessions with their friends or whatever the case may be. They would lose out on things on their calendar. They wouldn't be going to trials, they wouldn't be traveling. They wouldn't be having their time set aside where, oh, I got to stay at a hotel. There are some people who really liked doing that. I got to stay in a hotel and I had a good excuse for it. They don't get to do a lot of driving and traveling and things they don't get to see and experience the joys and also the lows when they are traveling and trialing with their friends, they don't have that social aspect, they don't have trying to obtain that goal. All of that stuff that's baked into dog sports suddenly goes away, or it could be in jeopardy.

(08:13):
So I think it's really important to understand that part when we're talking about, okay, you've reached a fork in the road for whatever reason and you're trying to make decisions about which dog sport to do. Depending on where you are in your journey, that decision can be extraordinarily difficult. So you may be saying to yourself, I have no idea what you're talking about. Why would you even have to do this? Well, there's a couple different reasons. The first big one, which is probably the gnarliest as far as the hardest to talk about, the hardest for people to address is when the sport isn't a good match for the dog. Now, again, this is very icky for a lot of people to talk about, but it is absolutely true that not every sport is going to be a good fit for every single dog. And it's also true that you could have dogs from the very same litter. Some dogs will do great in that sport, and some dogs in that litter will absolutely hate it, and that's painful because you may have specifically picked this litter to do this thing, this activity that you really enjoy, only to come to find out that the dog that you have hates it. I mean, as in really hates it.

(09:40):
So some people will say, there is no such thing. Dogs are, you just need to find the right motivation and the dog will love it. I would say that that's partially true, that if you can find a way to make this activity fun for your dog and it's motivating for them, then sure maybe they will like it, but there may just be certain aspects of that activity that are inherently part of it that your dog just does not like. So a good example of this is, again, going back to agility where maybe your dog enjoys doing it at home or maybe even at class, but as soon as you bring 'em to a trial, they shut down, they go off course, maybe they visit the ring crew, maybe they leave the ring all together, maybe they potty in the ring. There's all kinds of different things that a dog could be doing, but basically they're saying in no uncertain terms, I cannot stand trialing.

(10:40):
Trialing sucks, and this is the thing that you want to do. You as the handler, you as the person. Now, does that mean this isn't something that you could work on, that you're just hopeless and oh, just throw your hands up? Of course not. You want to really evaluate it. You want to work with your instructor to try to figure out, okay, well, what's the root cause of it? Is it just that your dog has ring nerves and are there ways that you'd be able to build up their confidence to have them understand that this is a safe place? Is there maybe ways that you could break this up into smaller pieces? Could you maybe put together some mock trial experiences for them to get used to? There's a whole variety of different things that you could try, but what we're trying to talk about in this podcast is when you've exhausted all of those or when it's become plainly obvious that this is not a training issue, this is not my dog needs to learn something issue.

(11:35):
This is not a, I need to provide my dog with more skills issue. This is my dog hates this issue and my dog will always hate this issue, and I am ruining the relationship I have with my dog trying to do this issue. And those are hard. Those are really, really, really difficult. And my heart breaks for people when they find themselves in those situations, and it's not just agility. Agility is very common, don't get me wrong, but I've seen it in every sport. I've seen it in competitional obedience, I've seen it in barn hunt, I've seen it in everything, and it could even just be the level that you're competing in that maybe at the lower levels everything was great. Then the upper levels, the dog is like, this is not fun anymore. I don't like this. Or it could be, this is just too hard, I can't do this.

(12:24):
That's even harder because again, when we're talking about going up the levels in dog sports, we're talking about building skills and testing skills and all this sort of thing, which requires time. That just makes sense. In order to learn how to run a marathon, you first have to learn how to crawl. So if you're trying to work at the highest levels of any type of sport, typically that means that you're going to have spent time to develop skills to get there. But with time comes aging and with time comes, things happening to them physically and mentally as time goes on, and it just may physically be harder for them to do something where it hurts depending on what it is that they're doing as far as an activity, and that absolutely can play a role. It also could just be that the things you're asking them to do are just really super, super difficult. And to put in perspective, my first career was with horses, and my very first thing that I did was I started out was hunter jumper, but I actually was being trained at a show jumping facility with show jumping and dressage. So with a show jumping at the very highest levels, those horses are jumping six feet. It's insane how high they'll actually have jump offs to see just how high the horse can jump without killing themselves.

(13:51):
If you're not careful, you absolutely can break a horse down because you're asking them to throw their thousands of pounds of weight as well as the rider over these things of increased height at increased speed. And the whole point is to test can you maintain the right stride and the right speed and the right control, tight turns really close jumps, yada, yada. It's similar to agility in that regard, but you would see so many horses, they could do lower levels fine, they could even do midlevels. Okay, soon they hit the high level. They can't do it because it's just too hard. And some people argue, well, that's the whole point. You're trying to get the cream of the crop and everything else. That's fine. What happens going back to dogs, if you own a dog and you're in a sport and you're trying level and you're trying to do the upper level stuff and they just can't, that's the kind of thing I want to talk about. This episode, it's really difficult stuff to talk about. It really, really is. So I am not claiming to have answers because everything is individualized to the person and the experience they have with their own individual dog. But I wanted to at least put out into the ether is that you want to be as open and honest as possible, and it is okay for you as a handler to admit, I want to do this. You personally, not me and my dog want to do this. You can actually say, I like to do whatever activity.

(15:33):
Then okay to say, you know what? My dog doesn't, or My dog does it. I asked them to do it, but if we never did it again, my dog wouldn't care. Having that kind of honesty is actually really important because then you can start making better choices where maybe you could work with a friend or a colleague who has a dog who actually really likes it, and maybe you could borrow them. Maybe you could run them in a trial and then save the time that you have with your dog doing things that you both like and things that your dog would choose to do. And that's really hard. That's asking a lot, but it's really common for there to be a mix match, to have a handler who wants to do one thing and the dog for any variety of reasons doesn't really want to do it.

(16:21):
They will do it or they'll try their best, but it's just not a good fit. Then you have an even harder situation of where the dog does like it, but their body can't do it. And I happen to be personally in that ladder camp with agility with my dog, and he has two things going against him. One, well, actually three. The first is he has no self-preservation whatsoever, so the likelihood of him actually hurting himself out on a jewelry ring is really, really, really high. When I was taking lessons, it was always with my heart and my throat. I'm like, oh, you're going to break something. The other thing is that he's six, he just turned six, and I totally missed his birthday, and it was a terrible thing. But in any event, he's a 6-year-old Doberman, so there are just realities that go along with that.

(17:15):
He's now passed his prime, and for me to expect him to go and jump 20 22, 24 high jumps is just in my mind, crazy. It's asking for trouble. It's just not worth it. And the third thing is that he also has the propensity to get injured in ways that I never anticipated. Anyway, he's my bubble wrap dog. So why would I then push my luck in trying to compete? And I do think he has the speed. He certainly has speed, and he has the joy for it. I could compete with him, but why would I risk hurting him just so I could say that we did agility? But I tell you at least once a week, I think, well, maybe we could do something. Wouldn't it be nice if, well, what about that? I don't know why I keep thinking about this. I've never competed in agility in my life.

(18:20):
This isn't something that I was chasing and suddenly was taken away from me. I've never gone to a trial once with a dog. I've gone to watch. I've gone to support other people, but I've never actually run an agility trial. I don't know where this thing is. And also, I can't run an agility trial. I can barely walk. But here you have me as an example of someone who's like, I think that would be fun, but I know that it wouldn't be a good match for my dog physically. I think that he would actually have fun with it mentally. I think he would have a blast. He likes doing the small little sequences we do in the yard, very, very, very rarely again, trying to preserve his body.

(19:04):
But now just imagine that situation where you had a dog who did like to do it, but they physically couldn't do it anymore, and they had a handler who also liked to do it. That's hard. That's really, really difficult. And as our dog's caretakers, we have to be able to be ready and willing to make those decisions for them to help keep them safe and to help keep them pain-free as much as possible. So there's a couple of different ways that this is an issue. The first one is obviously the dog physically cannot do it. The second is a dog physically cannot do it anymore. And the third is the dog doesn't want to do it. And I think all of them are equally challenging. But the third one I think is the hardest because you have the handler who really likes whatever the activity is, and then you have a dog who really doesn't, but you have a handler who's pretty gung-ho and says, we are going to figure this out because I think it's a training issue, and the dog tries, but the dog really doesn't like it.

(20:08):
And they try to show that in every which way that they can. And the handler just thinks that this is another challenge, and we can do this. And you watch and you go, there's so many other things that you could be doing, and there may be other things that dog really, really, really likes. And what's painful is when the things that the dog likes are things that the handler, just as an instructor, it rips my heart out. It really does. So I had this one person that I was working with with one of her other dogs, which wasn't doing any dog sports. It was a behavioral case and was doing well. So she was a very good handler. She was very in tune to her dog. She always wanted to make sure they were doing well, but for the longest time, I didn't even know she had another dog. And then she's like, oh, yeah, be, I won't be able to work with you this weekend because I'm going to be at a trial. And I was like, oh, you're going with a friend? And she's like, oh, no, I'm taking my other dog. I'm like, oh, you have another dog?

(21:15):
And she's like, yeah, we're going to be trying for our senior title in Barn Hunt. I'm like, well, that's really exciting. And she says, yeah, we're going to see how we do. Now, senior titles and barnards are really, really hard. There's a big jump from open to senior. A lot of people spend a long time in senior. It's a bear. So we get to talking about it and come to find out that this dog is now just completely turned off to the entire thing. The dog doesn't want to find rats at all. The dog doesn't want to climb up on the bear on the bales and will hide in the tunnel. And I, at the time, was teaching barn. And I'm like, oh. I'm like, well, if you, I'd be more than happy to work with you for maybe a lesson or two just to see what's going on, and maybe we can come up with some ideas because this is, all I'm hearing is that the dog is now not performing all that well.

(22:08):
I'm like, well, maybe we just need to remotivate her. Right? The whole Remotivation speech, the dog comes in for her lesson, and as soon as she saw the hey, she said, Nope. She walked right out of the room. I mean, the owner had to pick her up, bring her in, and it was just, I was like, wow, this dog really does not like this. And we worked together, I think maybe once or twice, and I was saying, I really don't know what we're going to be able to do. I don't think that this is going to work. And finally, she shared with me that she had been trying to obtain her senior title for over a year and a half. I said, oh. I'm like, well, what about other things? Just trying to gently have this conversation. And she said, oh, she loves lurk horsing. And she kind of rolled her eyes. I was like, well, that's great. So does she have titles in lurk cosing? And she said, oh, yeah, she's got a bunch. I'm like, oh, well, that's awesome. Well, you can have her chase the bunny and that's great. She's like, yeah, but I don't like lurk horsing. It's boring. I'm like, okay.

(23:23):
But she really likes it. So here you had a dog who loved chasing the plastic bunnies, and you had an owner who didn't like it because it was boring. It's just the dog running, chasing a bag, and you catch the dog up and you cool him down. That's it. She wanted to do barn hunting. She wanted to do barn hunt so badly, and this dog could not stand it. It really just could it have been a motivation thing? Could it been something we overcame? Sure. But the dog was saying in no uncertain terms that she really, really, really did not like this. So we weren't really focusing on that. Our main focus with her working with myself was with the other dog that she had, and it was a couple of months, I think. We were just doing a maintenance program for training. And then she said, oh, by the way, I just wanted to let you know that I stopped doing barn hunt.

(24:13):
I said, oh, well, I'm really sorry. She's like, yeah, I'm very depressed about it. I'm very sad about it, and I'm angry. She's, I just feel like I've lost all these friends. I lost all this opportunity because this damn dog won't go find the damn rat. She was really upset, and I said, well, I'm really sad about that, but are you during lurk horsing? She's like, I'm not going to do lurk horsing. And I kind looked her. I was like, well, why not? She's like, I don't like lurk horsing. And I just kind of sat there and I was like, well, but the dog does. And she said it, but I'm going to say in a second. And then looked at me and then cried. So she said, if she doesn't do barn hunt, that she doesn't do lure. And then there was just a silence between us, and then she started crying and she felt awful.

(25:04):
As soon as she said it, she heard it and then went, oh my God, what a terrible thing to say. But it was the raw emotion of it. She felt that this had been taken away from her, the handler, the ability to play this thing that she really, really, really liked because her dog didn't like it. And now she was in her mind being forced to go do this other thing that she didn't like and that there would be somehow rewarding the dog for being a jerk. And again, this is not to rag on that person. She's not alone in having this kind of experience. So it took a while. She didn't do anything. She didn't do any kind of dog sports, and then she fell into scent work, and that's something they both enjoy. And she said, this is just completely different.

(25:50):
The experience of doing this makes me sad sometimes to see how joyful she is with doing set work and then remembering how miserable she was doing barn hunt and that I made her do it for so long, and that's a sad thing to think about. And I tried, I don't know if I was successful, but I tried to make her feel a better and letting her know, reminding her, you're a human being. Human beings make mistakes and everything else, she's fine. The dog is fine. The dog still loves you. But she was able to go through the situation as a handler that I think a lot of people go through, but was able to see it for what it was and didn't beat her up, didn't beat herself up too much about it, and then they were able to find a good solution that worked for both of them. And when her dog gets a title, she then will sign her up for lure coursing or a cat test or whatever. And she's like, well, that's a reward. I'm like, whatever works for you.

(26:52):
But again, I'm bringing all of this up because when we're deciding what it is that we do with our dogs, we have to be mindful of what our dogs are telling us. And that can be really, really, really painful. Particularly if we're involved in an activity that we may have fallen into with our first dog and we play for fun and everything's great. Maybe that first dog passes away and now we purposefully get a second dog with all the intention in the world of doing this activity that we love. We have this whole social network and everything else built up around it, and for whatever reason, physical, mental or otherwise, it doesn't pan out. That's painful. I mean, that's painful for the person to go through, but it's also a responsibility as the dog's caretaker to let them have a vote. Can your dog do it?

(27:50):
Probably most dogs will do things that they really don't like to do just because they know their person likes it and they want to do stuff with their person. But you can tell the difference in a performance of a dog who loves what they do, and a dog who hates what they do. And depending on the activity, you can't make a dog do scent work. It just, you can't do it. You will have a really terrible experience if you try to force a dog to do some work. But there are other things like obedience. You can absolutely tell two dogs, one dog loves obedience, the other dog hates it. The cadence in the dog, the way they carry themselves, the way they go around the ring, it is clear is night and day, and could it be potential that both those dogs qualify? Sure, they're not going to be the same in placements.

(28:41):
And you have to ask yourself, why are you doing that to yourself and your dog? There's so many other things you could be doing, but then you have to remember when you're passing that judgment that this may be very important to that person. And what I'm trying, I don't think very successfully, but I'm trying to do in talking about these things with this podcast is at least get people thinking about the importance of considering what your dog may want or need. And that you may just have to get a little creative if what you want it to do isn't what your dog would like to do or what your dog can do. And that can be hard, and that can be stressful, and that can be even very sad. But I think you would be better off helping your dog be as happy as possible doing any other variety of things.

(29:35):
Again, whether it's for competition or just playing for fun than trying to put a square peg into round hole because you're going to spend a lot of time, there's going to be a lot of time spent, money wasted, and a lot of angst and stress. You don't want to remember all of those things when your dog is gone. You want to have good memories. You want to have all those good things to make up that memory bank. Our dogs are never with us long enough. And yes, they will probably try to do things with you as much as possible, but if you can find activities, and there's so many of them now, but if you can find activities that you both enjoy, that would be best. And if there are activities that your dog enjoys, but you're like whatever, if they really, really, really like them, try to fit them in once in a blue moon.

(30:27):
It's what a gift to your dog. So for the person I was talking about, she does, she does lower cosing with her dog after summer trials. In the beginning, it was when they did well set were trials, but now it's basically she'll schedule some set trials and she'll try to make sure she does lure coursing afterwards. And what a nice gift to the dog. The dog loves nothing more than chasing plastic bunnies, but she really enjoys centr two and luckily so does her handler. So they were able to get through this experience together fairly unscathed. But it's a difficult thing. And if you are finding yourself in a situation where your gut is telling you something's not working, and you have a feeling that maybe your dog doesn't like what you're doing and you're spinning your wheels and so on and so forth, particularly if you're working with any type of professional, professional instructor or trainer, let them know and see if you can come up with a different plan.

(31:24):
And again, it could be something training related, it could be medical. Maybe it's something that just came out of the blue. Maybe your dog is sore or hurt or sick or whatnot. And once they get over that, then they're back to their happy selves and they love the activity again. But I think being mindful of the possibility that this activity just may not be a good fit for your dog, even if you really, really, really like it, that's a possibility that you have to entertain. And if that's what's going on, then I would hope that you would come up with some kind of solution that would work for both you and your dog. And I'm not going to try to claim it'll be easy, not, again, the longer you're involved in these activities, the more connections you make, the more important they are to you.

(32:04):
I've seen it firsthand. It's really painful when people are forced to walk away. But what I'm trying to urge is that you don't have to divorce yourself from it. You may not be able to run with your dog, but maybe there's some other ways that you can still enjoy it. And the one thing that I found within the dog sport community is that it's not perfect by any stretch. There's lots of times you're like, oh, so stressful, or, oh, look at this drama over here, over there. But for the most part, I think that it's filled with some pretty nice empathetic people. And if your friends, which is one of the reasons why you're involved in this activity, knew that you were going to be stepping away and doing it with your dog, but they knew you still wanted to play, they may very well let you run one of their dogs or maybe do one of their runs or just invite you to be there to just socialize with them.

(32:59):
Maybe they'll do other things with you. Maybe they would be like, oh, I've never tried. Whatever new activity you're going to be trying with your dog, I like to try that with my dog. That's the kind of thing that you could do to help lessen the blow a little bit. So I don't know if this podcast is really helpful at all. I feel like it's just putting out all these terrible potentials out there for people to stress about. But I think it is important for us to be mindful that our dogs are talking to us all the time and we need to listen to them, particularly when we're talking about dog sports, where everything is a partnership with our dog. Some are more of us taking a lead than others, but we need to be doing these things with our dogs. And if they don't like the dance, that's probably going to be a problem.

(33:48):
So if we can be a little bit more aware and try to figure out the cause, and if it is something just as simple as my dog hates it and they can't do it, or they don't want to do it, then maybe you need to evaluate doing something else and recognizing that that decision's probably going to be really difficult and challenging. And if you are a professional, it's even worse. So because you have all the pressures you put on yourself that go along with that, if you are an agility instructor and your dog doesn't like agility, that could be a problem. But understanding that your dog's sanity and the bond and relationship you have with them is so much more important than anything else. And that includes your professional status. That includes having your face at every single local trial to show people that you know what you're doing. There are other ways you can do it. I know personally this pressure that can be put on someone who is a professional and out in the world and putting themselves forward, and it's a lot of it's self-inflicted, but it's out there and it's real.

(34:57):
But that means that it's also amplified the importance that you as a professional are doing what's right by your dog. So it's, again, none of this is easy. None of this is straightforward. None of this is clean cut. It's all really challenging, hard things to do, but I think there are important things to do. So again, I hope this podcast was somewhat helpful, at least got you thinking about how to approach these kinds of things, how to maybe think about them a little bit differently. And at the very least, I hope it underlines the importance for anyone who may be observing someone who's going through the situation. Just try to be a little bit more empathetic to the person that they are struggling and wrestling with, walking away from something that probably means a lot to them and they don't need your judgment. That's not going to help.

(35:52):
Just listen to them and see if you can come up with other solutions. And it could very well be that maybe they don't have to walk away from this activity. Maybe they can make it work and the dog can actually enjoy it and everything will be fine, and unicorns and rainbows and everything will be fantastic, but maybe it's not, and it would be better for you to be there supporting them and providing them with an ear to listen to and a shoulder to cry on if necessary, than to stand there in judgment and be like, oh, how dare you. That doesn't help. And just be mindful of what your dog is telling you really is the big undercurrent of this whole episode. They're talking to us all the time, and sometimes what they're telling us is hard to hear, but that's part of being a caretaker, and that's part of being in a relationship of any sort, but particularly one where we are in control of everything of the absolute health and wellbeing of a creature. We need to be very in tune to what it is that they're saying. So thank you for listening to this episode. It was a long one. I think it was a rambling one, and it's a difficult topic to talk about. So I don't know if it was one of my more effective ones, but I think these are important topics, and I hope you found it somewhat at least interesting and intriguing. Happy training and may look forward to seeing you soon.