I’m a lifelong learner. And, as teachers know, the best learning comes outside the formal lessons.
So I’m not going to write about the cool new SEO tip I learned. Or why I really need to start a Pinterest page for Something Wagging.
Instead, I’d like to share the lessons I learned while wandering the halls and eating lunch at BlogPaws.
Lessons About Dogs
Here are just a few things I observed about dogs.
Pit Bulls Rock!
Of course that’s not news to many. But some of the most serene and calm dogs on the scene were the pibbles.
Does the extra scrutiny and prejudice toward pit bulls face force their people to be especially sure their pups are comfortable in the chaos? Or are they just awesome dogs? Or both?
Most Dogs would Rather Hike or Play or Sleep Than Go to a Blogging Conference
Out of dozens of dogs at BlogPaws only a few looked comfortable. Even Honey was overwhelmed by all the activity. As someone pointed out in the comments of Honey’s commentary on BlogPaws, she looked happiest when she was playing with a ball.
So don’t feel bad if your dog couldn’t handle the excitement. Many of the dogs there couldn’t either.
Nitro is a Prince
I didn’t have time to meet Nitro of Deaf Dogs Rock! But I saw him walking around all the noise and excitement with utter calmness—dare I say, a royal bearing?
I think BlogPaws should offer another award to the animal and handler who are the best good citizens of BlogPaws. Nitro would have been my nominee for this year.
Lessons About People
People are my favorite subject. I learned plenty at BlogPaws.
Bloggers Understand Their Dogs Better Than the Average Person (but only a little)
The dogs and their people were better behaved at BlogPaws than if we saw some random dog people at a festival or dog park. It’s hard to write about dogs every day without learning something, huh?
Trainers Have a Dark View
Laurie Luck of Smart Dog University shared that it’s hard, as a trainer, to observe so many stressed dogs at BlogPaws. Knowledge creates a filter that prevents a trainer from seeing cute dogs.
Another trainer expressed amazement when I told her why I wasn’t willing to trust Honey to the care of some poor dog handling I observed. She asked me, “Are you a trainer?” And when I told her no, she said, “You mean you’re just a regular dog owner?” with shock in her voice.
Spending Time With Dogs Doesn’t Make You Smart About Them
When I took Honey to BlogPaws two years ago, we visited the dog park area. Within seconds she was mobbed by over-aroused dogs trying to hump her. It was obvious the people managing the dog park didn’t see that as a problem so we removed Honey and never took her back to the play area.
This year they had an outdoor play area. I brought Honey over while the dogs already in the park rushed to the gate. I waited for the handlers to coax the dogs away from the entry so Honey and I could come in. Instead, they grabbed the dogs by their collars and started pulling them which caused one of the dogs to go from barking to snarling at Honey. We turned away from the entry and never went back while the handlers were on duty.
I found out later the dog parks were run by a professional dog walking service.
Now I understand why cities are passing laws requiring dog walkers to get training and a license. Because spending time with dogs every day obviously doesn’t teach some people about dog behavior.
Lessons About Myself
BlogPaws is about self-education. So hopefully I learned something about myself.
I Choose Honey Over Friends
I missed chatting with people I would have liked to spend more time with. I ate some rushed lunches. I didn’t hang out in the halls.
Why? Because I had to play ball with Honey or give her some fresh air.
I’m sad for the socializing I missed. But I know where my first responsibilities lie.
I Need to Protect Honey Better
I made a stupid mistake in the elevator. To keep her out-of-the-way, I asked Honey to sit and stay. I realized my mistake when I saw a big piece of her tail fur on the floor near a woman’s foot (unattached from her body).
Poor Honey didn’t even cry or bark.
I felt terrible. And I never made her sit again. It made her too vulnerable to people not paying attention.
I Will Have a Cat Someday
The more cats I see at BlogPaws the more I want one of my own. Someday.
Lessons are everywhere. You just need to be willing to learn.
Your Turn: Whether you went to BlogPaws or not, have you learned any good lessons lately?