Many of you left amazingly heartfelt and honest comments on Thursday’s post. Right now I am feeling like crap because I haven’t responded to a single one. That’s one of the things I am trying to work on, I swear. But this time I do have a good excuse. Everyone’s thoughts drifting into my inbox made me overwhelmed with emotion. I didn’t know what to say.
Full confession: writing that post was hard. It was something I had to do but I was so scared that, after I admitted I used to like that show, I would be kicked off the Internet. Because I really, really did. As I mentioned in the postscript – like a coward – at one time I had actually filled out an application to appear. Something held me back and I never sent it in, but I did fill it out. I knew if I was going to talk about television and dog-training, then I had to do it candidly. It wasn’t easy.
Thank you for not crying foul and emailing WordPress to have my blog removed. (Over-dramatic much?) Thank you, instead, for offering words of support and ideas for how we can take this bully down.
It took a little bit of searching, but I found the network’s contact information:
121 Bloor St. East, Suite 1500
Toronto, ON M4W 3M5
According to his blog on his website (which I will not link to but if you google the show title, At the End of My Leash, I am sure you can find it very easily) he has finished filming a new show to air this spring. I am not positive on the network but it is likely to be the same one.
If only that was the only disturbing news. I also read that the season six opening episode was given an award by the Alberta Motion Picture Industry. Can you beat that? It was given the title “Best Lifestyle Series of 2010”.
AMPIA’s contact information is here:
Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association
#318, 8944 – 182 Street NW
And, I found out the name of the show when it aired in the U.S. on Animal Planet – In the Dog House. Many of you said you called in and complained, which I think is utterly brilliant. Perhaps that’s why it aired only two seasons? Who knows but I like to think you all made a difference. Unfortunately, season one is available on DVD at Amazon under the above name.
A friend and I like to make fun of shows and trainers like this all the time. Frequently on Facebook or in class, one of us will make reference to dominance theory and the other will jump in with a sarcastic remark. We find it terribly amusing. It’s not, of course, but it helps us let off steam. We have both heard a lot from people on the street. Just the other day when I wouldn’t allow Shiva to approach another dog, the dog’s owner assumed my reluctance was due to her “aggressiveness.”
“No, not aggressive,” I said, testily. “Exuberant.”
My friend says she hears a lot of the same things when out with her stranger-wary Sheltie.
“You should make him be quiet. He is very dominant.”
“You let him walk all over you, I can tell.”
“He is trying to control you. You need to be more calm-assertive.”
Even tonight I received a lecture by a man on why I should use his collar of choice.
“It shows them who is boss,” he said.
Frankly, I didn’t see how his dog was any better behaved than mine but I kept those thoughts to myself.
As I sit here, I wonder if that is contributing to the problem. What is the right thing to do in these situations? When someone offers up their oh-so-wise advice, should I offer up my own in return? Instead of just nodding and smiling and hoping they go away, maybe I should speak up.
Maybe what I should have done this evening as he mansplained about his special leash and our dogs ran around in circles, is said something like:
“Actually, I have heard of that product. I don’t like it because it will make my dog fear going on a walk.”
“No, my dog isn’t trying to dominate me. She is just over-aroused because your dog is so close. That’s why I pulled into this driveway to avoid you.”
Polite but firm. I can do that.
I hope I can do that.
Now, because I need a bit of a laugh, Winnie posted a parody video about one of the UK’s coercive trainers, Barbara Woodhouse. My excellent, positive trainer has talked about her before. I suppose this song is not funny. Bully methods are nothing to laugh about. Yet I’ve had it in my head all day and it makes me giggle.
I am a bad person.