Saturday, January 27, 2018

Dog Experiences

One big difference between Nigerian and American culture which has recently struck me is that while dogs in Nigeria are treated like other domesticated animals, a huge portion of Americans keep dogs for companionship, in some cases to the level of considering them family members. A quick Google search suggests that 44% of American households have a dog.

Now I don't dislike dogs, but for a number of reasons I find it hard to love them. I've experienced several of the less appealing aspects of dogs-- the smell, the noise, and the disruption, and haven't had the positive moments and bonding experiences that clearly make dogs worthwhile for so many people. During my formative years, most of the dogs I came across were guard dogs. While I was in college, dogs weren't in the picture for the most part, aside from therapy dogs during exam weeks.

Working in pest control, I meet several dogs each day, but I'm always a stranger to them, so hearing a bark upon approaching a house usually means things will be more difficult. At about a quarter of the pet-containing households I've visited, dogs have been barking loud enough to make talking with the homeowner impractical, or are constantly attempting escape so that the homeowner can only open the door a crack and has to talk while restraining their pet. Now that I think of it, perhaps this is largely a problem of training.

I'm sure that anyone whose work involves walking up to people's houses has a system to deal with defensive dogs. The advice I was given is to whistle a few times before entering fenced yards to bait out any canine aggression that might be within. It works just about every time, and usually sets off the dogs next door as well.

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