Asking For Obedience Is Not Being Unkind

Today one of my Danes had to have a lump on her leg removed. It turned out to be quite a nasty lump so to be on the safe side the vet took a wide margin. As a result she has a large incision in a really awkward spot across her elbow. It can’t be bandaged so she has to stay still and quiet for a couple of days (she is ideally suited to this job having recently attained her PhD in The Evolutionary Significance of The Coach Potato Mechanism).

Anyhow, when I went to collect her she was very excited to see me. She was still groggy from the anesthetic and I was concerned that she would hurt herself. Without thinking I asked her to Down and Stay while I settled the account, got her meds etc. Even though the dear was not quite “with it” she complied quite happily.

It only occurred to me afterwards that had I been in the reception area at the time, with other people watching, I may have gotten the evil eye for being so “mean” as to ask my dog for obedience when she was not well. That’s such a pity.

I think too many people still think of obedience in a master-slave manner. Hopefully as positive reinforcement garners more and more fans society at large will realise that obedience can be a mutually respectful activity that serves a wonderful purpose – to have the tools to make our and our dog’s lives easier and safer.

PS. As I write the patient is tucked into a bed, cocooned in her favourite “blankie” while she keeps a (very heavy) eye on me.