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Dog Trainer or Victim

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Unusual day today.  To give you some context for what happened, check out this short (8 sec) video clip from yesterday:

I’m working on Raika’s “drive with control”.  The training scenario is….get dog riled up, wait for her shut up (can be a very long wait), then send for dumbbell.  Because Raika particularly enjoys pounding into me on the return, I allowed some of that to release her frustration.  Note that I was wearing nylon pants; normally I would wear jeans when doing this kind of work.   When I got dressed yesterday, I wasn’t thinking about the kind of training I would be doing.  And therein lies the root of the problem.

Fast forward 24 hours.  Today I had my “women’s wellness” exam with a nurse practitioner.

All started out perfectly normal.  I got a nice, cheerful nurse practitioner who takes her job seriously – and one of her primary jobs is to distract me with cheerful talk while she does Things Down There.  She started by asking what I do for a living.

I train dogs.

Ah! An excellent opening.  What exactly do I train them for?

Obedience.

Wow; that’s wonderful!  That led to a nice little dialogue about how much she appreciates a well trained dog.  And being allergic to dogs, she particularly likes dogs that don’t jump up, because she’s sufficiently allergic that she’ll have to change her clothes.  Since our total visit time will be about ten minutes at the most, I feel no need to enlighten her as to exactly what kind of obedience training I actually do.

And then she goes silent.  Very silent. After a few seconds, she asks me about the scratches and bruises on my thighs.  The bruises on my stomach.

Ah, awkward moment.  I have led her to believe that I, too, value a well trained dog that does not jump on people.  I didn’t’ actually say that, but I also did not correct her assumptions.

“Well…..those are from my dog.”

There are different kinds of silence.  The one that ensued was the “I don’t believe you” kind.

She approached if from a different direction.

“Gosh, I’m really concerned about this.  You have some pretty significant injuries here….I’m worried for you.”

Shit shit shit.

Before they go to my house and arrest my husband, I start talking.  Sometimes I talk too much, and sometimes not enough.  In this case, I didn’t really know what to do, but I sure as hell didn’t want her calling in the Domestic Violence Crisis Committee.

I explained exactly what I had been doing which caused the scratches and bruises.

“I want my dog to have a faster return while she is holding an object, so I get her as excited as I can, send her to get an object, and then have her run at me full speed.  She then leaps into my stomach or wraps her legs around my legs.  That is what causes the bruises – her toes.  The scratches were caused by her dew claws digging in to my legs so she could hold on better.  There are multiple bruises and scratches because we did this multiple times”

I’ll admit that even as the words were coming out, I knew they didn’t sound too good.  Obedience trainer, my ass.

They let me go home.  I wonder what it says on my chart.  I wonder if I’m going to get a follow up phone call.  To be honest, I think it’s pretty likely.

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

57 responses »

  1. OH. MY. LOL

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  2. You should have just showed her that picture of Raika diving for the tennis ball. The one where she looks like a werewolf. “Well, I train THIS dog.”

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  3. I had the same thing happen to me during my visit to the OB/GYN and I had a heck of a time trying to explain where all the bruises came from. It’s funny to think about now, but it was scary at the time.

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    • I had the same thing happen from my dogs. Though mine came from Bichons jumping off the back of the couch onto my lap, and me bruising easily. My Dr was still convinced they were fingerprints.

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  4. Horrors! Well, if necessary you can always give them a Raika demo.

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  5. OMG, that was the best laugh I’ve had in a long time. Thanks for sharing. Have to admit that “bruises in strange places” isn’t something I think about before going in for my “yearly”. When I was trialling Bravo in agility he was very likely to bite at the end of a run. In a place where women would prefer not to be bitten. Multple runs meant multiple potential bites. Glad my mammograms were always in the summer, during our agility trial break. Just saying……..

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  6. I was trying to explain a bruise on the side of my boob (frisbee carried in armpit, dog tries to steal it…..), and I couldn’t remember where it had come from, so I just said “I don’t know”……at which point the NP left, and then an entire brigade of people came back in. Teh questions started, and as I looked down at my arm, with more bruises…………”OH!!! I have a really high drive bitch at home, she did that yesterday.” DEAD silence in the room. Um. Thankfully the NP had a SchH lined Bouvier and quickly caught on to what I was saying, and the interrogation ended. 🙂

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    • “I have a really high drive bitch at home….” This is the funniest story I’ve read in a long time, and I thought topping Denise’s was going to be hard to do.

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  7. Great story! Oops indeed!

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  8. LOL! I realized a few days ago that the bruises on my thigh looked like finger marks from someone grabbing me, rather than the marks from being raked by the claws of a projectile aussie that they actually were.

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  9. How funny! So glad they didn’t arrest your hubby! Great story and next time you will have to use good make up! LOL

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  10. I am literally in tears, laughing my butt off, reading this out loud to my mother who is laughing equally as hard as I am. Oh man. I know EXACTLY how you feel… my legs are always black-and-blue from my dogs!

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  11. I have to add this addendum. After I got home from the visit, I wrote the blog post and I went out to train my next lesson. That young dog promptly smashed me in the mouth in greeting, causing me to bite my lip badly enough that I thought the hole went through from the inside to the outside of my mouth. All I could think was, “I CANNOT go the hospital for stitches, no matter how bad it is”. My husband would be arrested for sure. Fortunately, I simply have a good gash in my mouth but nothing that requires medical care. What would I have done???!!!!

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    • Maybe a few more videos, on a smart phone, always carried with with your ID… and blood type 🙂

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    • Walgreens walk-in clinic 🙂 Until all docs get all records electronic and on the same system, this still works because Walgreen’s system doesn’t “talk” to the other doc’s systems. I think Walmart and Krogers have the same kind of clinics. Just don’t give them your doctor’s name 🙂

      I TOTALLY know what you went through. My husband usually takes me to my physical therapy and has since Dazzle was a pup. Those folks “watched him grow up” and I didn’t get any questions about the bite marks, sratches, etc. BUT, when I had to switch to a new place because of a switch in insurance, on the first visit questions were asked of both of us- separately- as the service dog I was blaming laid sleeping by my side! I got the silence and “the look” and so I took off his harness and pulled out a ball and then they believed me! LOL

      When I got out my husband was like “What the H— was THAT all about?!” And I told him it was the scratches and bruises and he said “What scratches and bruises?” LOL They are common enough that he doesn’t even notice them anymore!

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      • Laurie Graichen

        Yeah, I forgot to mention that “Bravo the Boob Biter” was also my mobility service dog. Gotta love these Belgians that can go from lying quietly for hours doing service dog stuff and then get in the ring and be totally balls to the wall.

    • I have been there! I have a bleeding disorder, and several dogs, and am a trainer. I show my Anatolians, and sometimes they are allowed to “hug” me, which can result in huge pawprint bruises on my upper arms. Funny, pawprints look like fingermarks….My poor hubby has gotten some really nasty looks when we’ve been in public in the summertime. Poor guy.

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  12. Ha, thiis has happened to me! When Dune was a puppy and we were doing early training. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Love it. Don’t know whether to hope you don’t get a followup call, or that you do, to at least know your doc is vigilant.

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  13. …and this is why I love short dogs!

    Hilarious.

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  14. I strongly recommend you take copies of training videos on your smartphone to all your future medical appointments !

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  15. Honestly Denise, I’d stand well back from dogs for a couple days. All you need now is a black eye and concussion and I fear for poor Millo … 🙂

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  16. I have a similar story about a visit to the nurse practitioner at the clinic when I was in grad school. Just prior to the visit, I’d parked south of campus near a field, as always, and run my dog in the field for half an hour for exercise before leaving her in the car for half a day. On this particular day, she flushed, chased, and then caught a jackrabbit. It took her 3 to 4 laps of the field to actually gain on the jackrabbit. I was running hopelessly behind, and ran breathlessly up to her when she slowed just after she’d caught it so I could ensure she dropped it so she wasn’t ALSO rewarded by getting to eat it. I ran up just as she was giving the poor thing a killing shake. Her “leave it” command was sufficiently good that she dropped the quivering dying thing. I didn’t have a leash on me so shuffled the dog back to the car holding her collar (usually she happily accompanied me, but not with her fresh kill back in the field). By this time I was nearly late for my appointment so I sprintwalked to the clinic and undressed for my exam. I was aware of how sweaty I was and apologized in advance for that to the np. It wasn’t until very late in the exam that she happened to mention the HUGE swath of fresh blood streaked across my face…..

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  17. I’m with the others… carry video!

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  18. Just be glad you don’t have to take blood thinners like I do. Even the slightest little bump causes really big, nasty bruises. I have had to explain why I look like I have been beaten too. After explaining it is from my dog training I get the lecture about people on blood thinners should not engage in “contact sports”. I

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  19. Denise – I had the same issue a few years back – went in for pre-op and they sent me to social services because of the bruises on my legs. Don’t know if they believed me either

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  20. I’m seeing a pattern here! I also had one of those experiences – leaned over at the wrong time, got a split eyelid on my brow bone and very nice purple & green black eye. Never thought to cancel my Dr. appointment. Also never occurred to me at first what he was trying to get to…..I think I acted sufficiently shocked when I realized he was trying to figure out who hit me! (my ex – was also his patient!)
    I think they need to add a special course to medical school – how to identify dog trainers and their injuries!

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  21. You get to bring this and other videos in on a laptop with you next time. Or email them the link. The advantage of short dogs is that the bruises are only on one’s shins. 🙂

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  22. When I first began working with dogs in swimming pools, another person in the same line of work told me to expect questions about the source of my bruises and scratches. I don’t have a significant other, but I’m not sure if the medical folks are going to be impressed when I say, “I don’t remember who gave me that one. Might have been Milo, or Kyla, or ….”

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  23. Really appreciating my 8 pound dog right now!!

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    • My 12 lb dogs are leaving the bruises on me. I bruise easily, so even when they stand on me or jump on me it leaves bruises, that my Dr questioned. Since I am single and not dating or even leave my house generally, he ‘sort of’ believed me..

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  24. You really need to think about sending this out for publication in some women’s magazines! It’s a hilarious and very well-written piece!
    Also, I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who is embarrassed at times by my ‘highly trained’ dog!!
    Thanks for a great laugh complete with video proof!

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  25. Oh YES, I can identify!! I have been asked about my bruises, scratches and split lip before. 🙂 Loved the post, I could just visualize the nurse giving you “that look” and could feel you discomfort. Really enjoyed other peoples additions of their experiences too. Absolutely love those Belgians!!

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  26. Thank goodness my OB/GYN was one of my clients when she got her puppy and two of the pediatric nurses either did rescue with me or was also a client. Otherwise I suspect I’d also be getting uncomfortable calls!

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  27. Best post ever!!

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  28. LMAO! Been there, done that. A few years ago, I was holding a toy close to my leg for Phoenix, he hit it hard and chomped not only the toy but bit through my jeans, leaving a huge bruise w/tooth marks on my inner thigh.

    A few days later I ended up in the hospital with a heart condition (not related to dogs!) I’m sitting in bed in my skimpy little hospital gown and the medical staff kept asking me “Do you feel safe in your home?” “Are you comfortable in your relationships?” etc. I’m sure this is perfect standard operating procedure for them but all I could think of was “I am in here for my HEART. You do NOT need to look at anything below the waist.”

    TG they didn’t. But I always try to take in easy when working Phoenix the week before that annual women’s visit so I’m not totally covered in bruises when they ask “Do you feel safe in your home?”

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  29. LOL! Bet you don’t get any referrals from her for obedience training 🙂

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  30. Reminds me of when I was pregnant and fell at work and ended up with a black eye. A few days before heading to one of my regular pre-partum checkups, I realized this was NOT going to look good – pregnant woman getting beat up! Fortunately I have had a long relationship with my doctor and we both had a good laugh about it.

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  31. We refer to my BC as “the nut cracker.” My poor hubby. Can you imagine if he ended up at the doctor for *that*? Ha!

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  32. I used to play Goalie for an ice hockey team, and my equipment wasn’t great, so I was always covered with really, really bad bruises – it wasn’t uncommon to get hit over and over in the same spots, This was 30 years ago when it was really uncommon for women to be playing hockey, I always got the same questions and raised eyebrows.

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  33. LOL oh my this post just made my morning! I have had similar questions, after a flyball tournament or practice Sophie leaves me black and blue. I had a concerned co worker once ask me if I needed someone to talk with about any problems I may have with a significant other as she stared at the bruise on my arm. I eventually taped a practice to show her what goes on.

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  34. Note to self: stop all dog training and. play one week prior to gyn visit. I got a mild bloody nose the other day. That is really hilarious. I am a vet and clients will sometimes say wow who got you? Ummm…my own dog…he’s really really friendly I swear.

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  35. This is really funny… Thanks for the laugh. I wonder if certain breeds are worse than others. Seems all of the Belgian owners I know have at one time or another been bumped, lumped, jumped, dumped, and kerplunked by their dogs. I have had more crashes into the family jewels from my dogs than I might have had playing rugby at San Quentin.

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  36. Bwa ha ha! I have a Berner who is encouraged to play wildly and is always leaving me bruised! I have been questioned by my doctors several times and I just laugh!

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  37. I cannot help this. This had me laughing out loud.
    The general public has not got a clue about dog traiining; at least, not the kind that you do.
    If you get a follow up, you just need to send the video. Of course, then you will risk their sending animal control.

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  38. Haha. I used to have to explain the bruises on my legs to my Ob-Gyn caused by my crazy Spritz but now he is used to it and doesn’t even mention it anymore. I still, however, have a scar on the right boob from the end of a particularly great agility run:-)

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  39. hmmm…similar story…went in to have a routine skin cancer once over, and when i turned around to let the doc look at my back she did the OMG!! thing…scared the crap out of me, until she commented about all the bruises on my back…the result of a slip and fall and bounce down a couple of wet wooden stairs on my ass moment, caused by trying to chase some reluctant don’t-want-to-get-my-feet-wet fox terriers out into the yard to piddle :))

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  40. Pingback: Hurts so good | Rottweilers Ate My Laptop

  41. I guess it was a good thing I didn’t have a Dr appointment in the first month with Gimme. I was playing with her in my lap and she bit and tugged on my sweatshirt and once caught the my boob with one of those needle-sharp puppy canines. I didn’t think too much about it. I’d totally forgot about it and scared myself to death a few days later when I saw a large oozing mess in my bra… and then the nasty gaping hole oozing more in the mirror. I was just sure I had some new kind of breast cancer until I remembered the source. Told my non-dog girlfriend and she thinks I’m beyond insane…

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  42. Reblogged this on Denise Fenzi and commented:

    Cant’s say the appearance of my legs has improved much.

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  43. Ho Denise, that’s too funny !!! did you really think your nurse practitionner understood what you mean !!! only people like you and me that have that kind of crazy dogs can understand this !!!

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  44. Your first blog post I ever read….hilarious….

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  45. Finally figured out why the ortho surgeon asked me if I felt safe in my house. Innocent me said, “Why sure. I have big dogs.”
    I’m single, live alone, & ‘not in a relationship’. Couldn’t figure out what he was talking about.
    Light dawns, & thanks for the laugh:)

    Reply

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