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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Dog Trainer From Hell

Jaz and I arrived early yesterday for the 2:30 basic training class, as instructed. There were about 5 dogs. One was a beautiful little Spaniel puppy about 4 months old. Another was a fairly large mixed breed about 10 months old. He was nervous and a little snappy but his owner had him under good control.

The next was a nervous Pit puppy but again, the owner had him fairly well controlled. Then there was the beagle. He was a year old and completely out of control. His owner could barely keep him leashed. And he barked and bayed at all of the other dogs continuously. The trainer had to relegate him around the corner of the building and give his owner some tips on working to keep him from barking. This worked moderately well.

This woman said she had 32 years experience as an animal trainer including a fair amount of experience with the zoo. It took about 10 minutes for her to get the beagle quiet enough for us to hear what she was saying. After about another 10 minutes, she directed us off of the blacktop and onto the concrete because it was fairly warm outside.

As we were walking, Jaz, unbeknownst to me, put her forepaw right under my foot and I came down on it with all 160 pounds of my body weight. She screeched and lifted her paw up and I scooped her up to inspect the paw. At which point the trainer yelled at me. "Don't coddle them when they're hurt. You're training her to..."

I didn't really hear what else she said except that she went into some story about her ex husband and her Rottweiler and how the Rott ended up liking her and not her ex husband. The tears were flowing and I couldn't seem to stop them. I must have stood there for 5 minutes, my back turned, still weeping silently while she began to talk about something else. I knew I heard the words but I wasn't hearing what she was saying.

It struck me that I had done nothing to merit being talked to like that and that, 32 years experience or not, she wasn't an overly nice person. She either did not realize I was upset (hard to believe as I had my back turned to her) or she didn't care.

Finally, I walked back into the store to ask for a refund. The 2 young clerks up by the register were upset when they saw I had been crying. The young man said "We've had a lot of complaints about her. They're trying to get rid of her and get another trainer in here." They had me fill out a complaint form and I left.

About 4 hours later my phone rang. I let my answering machine pick it up. It was the trainer. She had some long story about how she was sorry that she hurt my feelings. She was only trying to help my dog. And that the barking beagle was stressing her out. Which of course led me to say to the answering machine "Then why the hell didn't you dismiss them and recommend a private training session to begin with?

What about the needs of the other 5 dogs and their owners? I didn't dare pick up the phone because I would not have felt good about saying what I really wanted to say to her.

I called the PetCo in La Mesa to find out when they were having their next basic training class and to make sure that this woman is not one of their trainers. Today I'll call the one in El Cajon to see if they have one that starts sooner. When I took Maggie to basic training, the trainer was wonderful. She never raised her voice and she dealt much differently with the problem dog. She never separated him from the rest of the group. She just used him as a teaching tool for the rest of the class.

The only thing I know is that I have taken enough shit off of other people that by now I ought to have reached my lifetime quota. That and the fact that things often don't work out as one expects.

This morning I am drinking Starbucks new Black Apron Exclusive. Kopi Kampung. It's a
Sulawesi coffee; a rather mild blend but with full, rich flavors and a bit of a spicy quality.

My agenda for the day? Stop at Babies R Us for a shower gift. Go to work to finish the nursing schedule. See if I can get Jaz into the groomer today or tomorrow. Watch a bad movie. Ruminate on the state of my life and why I still work for a person who makes me feel so bad about myself. Perhaps move a couple more boxes to my storage shed.

Kinja, the weblog guide


Blogger Vanda said...

Hiya Pam.

Humpt! She doesn't sound like someone I'd want as my dog trainer. 32 years experience or not.

Hugs to you and Jazz.

I'm going to be bad tonight and take a leaf out of your book and have a nice cold glass or two of wine.

11:47 AM PDT  
Blogger Ginny said...

You did the right thing... When I accidentally step on one of my "babies" I stop to make sure they are ok. My mother accidentally stepped on one of our cats, dislocating all the joints in her paw and leg. Poor Sammi-Louise needed surgery to put everything back together again.

Go ahead and baby your pup... I did it with all the dogs we had, and they still were mostly well behaved (Mostly because they hated the same guy, and tried to attack him whenever he came into the yard).

Give her a kiss from me... I miss having a dog.


2:14 PM PDT  
Blogger The Editor said...


Good for you in filling out a complaint form and asking for a refund.

I'm so very sorry that it hurt you and you cried. Reading that made me sad.

I love to visit PetSmart. They have training classes. PetSmart also offers grooming too. I like to see everyone with their dogs.

I want a dog myself and hope to have one in the near future.


3:07 PM PDT  
Blogger Sharon said...

I think you made the right decision in leaving this trainer's class.

I've done several training classes with Miss Lacey and I never had a trainer tell us that it was not okay to "coddle" your dog when they were hurt.

Jeez, after all we've been through, Miss Lacey should be rotten, but she's still very well behaved even though I grossly rolled back my expectations for her during her recovery period.

I'm sorry you had to go through this. Good luck with finding a new class.


6:15 PM PDT  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

Damn. I had a bad experience with a trainer as well, went to one class, and just stopped going. I paid 200 for the goofy class and never got my money back.

IMO, it is just plain insensitive to say you should ignore an injury to another living creature, who is after all, part of your family. They are to behave, as we expect all of us within our families to behave, but they are not here to be some slave, shut off from their own emotions, validity removed from them, and rendered into some robotic caricature of a living creature, instead of being a being that can both love you and be loved in return.

Bravo for walking out on her, Pam.

9:02 PM PDT  
Blogger NursePam said...

How was the wine Vanda? Or are you still sleeping? ;^)

I have discovered Ginny, that life without a dog can be rather dreary.

I hope you can have a dog soon BF. They are so much fun to have around :o)

Hi Honeysuckle! I have learned, as many of us have, that animals respond to kindness just as people do. Puppy kisses to Miss Lacey from Jaz and me.

Thanks Nelle. My heart tells me that I absolutely made the right decision. And I would have done so even without the refund. Money ain't everything.

2:09 PM PDT  
Blogger Sandra said...

What a day! That trainer shouldn't have barked (no pun intended) at you like that. I'm glad you complained. If they have had complaints about her they shouldn't keep using her! Or she should come with a warning sign, "Beware of trainer, she bites" :)
Between hurting my pup and a public scolding(even unwarranted).. well, it would have made me cry too. :(
I hope your day is a good one today!

2:36 PM PDT  
Blogger NursePam said...

LOL Sandra! Maybe the trainer has just spent to darned many years around problem dogs. She's picked up bad habits ;^) Yesterday was a good day. Thanks!

6:55 AM PDT  
Blogger KMae said...

AAaaawwww, poor Pamie... She shouldn't have hollered at you, big bully!
I had a terrible trainer once, he was supposedly "het" & said I was too soft... then started talking about going to S/M places. I left.
fucking perv.

10:31 AM PDT  
Blogger NursePam said...

What's up with this too soft business Kmae? I think of animals like children. You have to set limits but you don't need to be mean about it. Obviously, the guy you're talking about had some heavy duty issues.

8:30 PM PDT  

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