Nessie, my miniature poodle, offers this advice for dogs who are planning to bring their humans to ClickerExpo!
My human and I are getting ready to attend ClickerExpo, a large multipack meeting on dog-human training. I have been doing a lot of thinking about what might make this experience most enjoyable for both of us. So, here are my Top 10 Things to Consider Before Bringing Your Human to a Conference.
Humans sleep in the same room with other people who are not members of their pack! Don’t bark at these strangers every time they pass your human’s bed at night to mark their territory. Suggest that your human sleep in the bed farthest from the bathroom.
Humans don’t sniff before they mark. They want us to get straight to it when given the opportunity, especially at conferences. Ask your human to teach you to go on cue before you leave home.
A lot of the time at a conference is spent lying down. Humans sit in large rooms very close together in chairs. We are expected to settle on a mat during meetings and in crates if we are alone in our rooms. Work on how to settle down in multiple contexts before the conference.
Humans like to ride in moving boxes called elevators instead of trotting up and down stairs. Ask your human to take the stairs if the elevator is too upsetting for you. If you do ride in the box, wait for a cue like “Let’s go” before exiting the elevator. A dog once darted out of the elevator just as the doors were closing. The human went completely crazy! Fortunately, the elevator was stopped immediately and the doors reopened.
Humans need less personal space than we do. Hundreds of them will pack themselves in rows close together in a room and sit for long periods of time. This can be very uncomfortable for us. Our humans need to be prepared to leave us upstairs in our rooms in our crates or exit the meeting prematurely if we become restless.
Humans’ senses, especially smelling and hearing, don’t work nearly as well as ours. At a human-run conference this can result in way too much stimulation for us. Remind your human of our sensory differences and ask to be allowed limited exposure to or avoid situations that might be overstimulating.
Humans use a variety of barks and other sounds primarily, instead of body language, to communicate. At large, multipack meetings, the noise can be grating and overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to show your human that you need to leave the room.
You may be asked to sit quietly in a large room full of yummy food that is not for you. Eat before the humans wolf down their food.
Humans growl in their sleep! Every time our roommate growled at me I, of course, growled back. I found out later that growling in bed is not a sign of impending human aggression. It just means they are asleep.
And the Number 1 thing to consider before bringing your human to ClickerExpo is…
You have to be very, very clear in communicating with your human at a conference. They will be preoccupied and tend not to read our body language very well. Ask your human to bone up on our language before the conference.