There’s no better testament to how much owners influence the behavior of their dogs than the vastly different experiences Aaron and I have taking Jackson to the vet.
Aaron is the default parent (yes, I’m using the term “parent” because “owner” sounds so sterile) to take the dogs to the vet during emergency situations because I am NOT good with blood and panic-y situations.
But I started taking the dogs to the vet for non-emergency purposes because I’m the parent who works at home. In theory, it’s easier for me to be the vet person.
Now, Aaron always reported perfect behavior from Jackson during his vet visits. But the last few times I took Jackson, he’d get panic-y in the waiting room, cowered from vet employees, and bared his teeth at our usual vet!
WTF, Aaron, you liar!? Our baby is a god damn monster. And he really hates our vet. I have no idea why — she’s a totally sweet lady who always speaks gently to him and treats him well. And he’s NEVER been one to hate people. Other dogs while on a walk, yes. But people? No. (Well, except for that one crazy guy once… thank gawd.)
So this time, when Jackson’s weird neck wounds from two months ago refused to heal up completely and seemed to get worse, I begged Aaron to resume his role as “the vet person.” Jackson behavior and my anxiety was making the visits way to stressful for me. And I suspected that my anxiety may even be triggering Jackson’s mood.
Aaron obliged, and took off work to be a good parent. I wished him luck today as he left the house, even suggested he take the muzzle that had come in handy last time.
Aaron reported perfect behavior from Jackson! Jackson walked into the waiting room and sat like a good boy. He walked into the exam room and didn’t cower at all. And when the vet came in there was nary a lip raise, and in fact, gave her a freaking kiss at the end!
So yeah, it’s me. I’m the bad one. My anxiety disorder and my fear of all things medical turn my sweet boy into a scary monster. Take me out of the picture and in the same setting, with the same people, and with the same medical issues, Jackson is a the perfect patient.
It’s not just bad owners that make bad dogs, sometimes it’s good owners with bad anxiety. I’m sorry, Mr Jackson.