A quick guide to visiting my place
Hey, dear friend! So you was invited to visit my sweet home, huh? That's great! I'm sure we're going to have a great time!
There's some important points, though, that would be really neat if you knew them beforehand:
I live in a house
It's not that big but it's also not that small. All the floor is paved, so there's no grass or dirty anywhere, except in our plant pots — we cultivate some vegetables and greens “vertically”.
There's a small salon in the back where we receive our victims. I mean, visitors! Again, it's not that big, but it's also not that small.
Without a doorbell
Nowadays we're all connected and communicating all the time, but if you're already here and I didn't realize that, you'll have to clap.
(You know clapping? Do other cultures have this? Is it a possibility that you may have no idea on how to clap-as-if-it's-a-doorbell?)
(Well, you can also call my phone...)
I have 3 dogs
Two of them are big and one is what I personally consider medium-sized.
Remember I said there's no grass in my land? Well, it may happen that one or more of the dogs pooped somewhere in our patio in the meantime we were receiving you, so I hope you're not that sensible about that.
If you are: sorry about that.
We have a dog-lock.
You know what an airlock is? Well, we have two gates in our house and they serve as a dog-lock: they should not be open at the same time so that our dogs don't go astray.
So, you enter the exterior gate, we compliment each other, exterior gate is closed, I open the interior gate and the dogs go crazy.
Rufus and Dollar, that we call “the twins”, are basically the same thing: they will bark at you at first, but will soon realize you're not strangers from outside, but visitors, and then they'll try to hug you and sniff you all around and simply be the happier creatures in this planet because of your presence. Seriously, they now love you.
But they're still big dogs (Labrador and golden retrievers). And they'll be anxious to demonstrate their now-unconstrained love, but don't feel bad about showing them some limits! And don't worry: that's how it works in dog world, so they won't love you less because of that. On the contrary: on top of love, it'll add some respect.
For instance: it's not okay to jump on you and you can restrain them from doing so, both by using your hands and by saying an authoritative “no!”. If you're bringing things in your hands, pay special attention to that behavior!
Actually, the ideal behavior for visitors is to not take the dogs as a big deal. Ignoring them can feel weird or even disrespectful, somehow, but if you ask dog owners (at least those who understand the basics about dogs), they'll confirm this: best scenario is visitors being calm and focused on others things than the dogs, so that their “hyperventilation” probably won't scale up.
It's not mean. We, the owners, are supposed to do the same. Look for “separation anxiety in dogs” to know more.
(Anyway, you'll have plenty of time to pet them, later.)
Simba is a wonderful dog. He came originally from a shelter, adopted by one of my wife's aunts. Another aunt took care of him when the first one moved to the USA. And then he ended up in our home. “Temporarily” at first, but after some time we simply couldn't let the little guy go.
The thing is: we're not sure if he wasn't mistreated somehow in the shelter or before he was... found? Or born? His origins are uncertain. But we know for sure he's very wary of strangers and other animals. Actually, he'll be reasonably comfortable with other animals much earlier than with other people...
Therefore, he'll bark. A lot.
And that's why he'll much likely be locked in some room when you first come: it's enough for him to have visitors around, imagine adding all the commotion the fully-energized twins are going to create on top of that!
Simba will be barking a lot and it might be that he'll look aggressive, but he's probably more afraid than full of hatred as it may seem. And that's why it's important that you know that staring into a dog's eyes is a sign of a challenge. You'd be basically saying “I want to fight you”.
Never make direct eye contact with an possibly-aggressive dog. You can look at them, but as soon as they bark at you or look at you, the best thing to do is to look away, possibly lowering your head. That is a sign that you are not a threat to the dog, that you are not challenging him and that you are actually harmless.
Harmlessness is key. If a dog seems aggressive, do not try to pet him, do not stare directly into his eyes, do not move in a way that may make you look threatening. Be calm, look away, prefer a body language that shows harmlessness instead of “confidence”.
(I'm not saying Simba will certainly be wandering around all the time. I have some portable fences, here, so it may be that I'll simply isolate our little friend in the garage or something. We have enough space for that.)
(Besides, he's not that aggressive, but he struggles with accepting new people.)
The two-steps protocol
So, about the dogs,
- You meet the twins / They get used to your presence.
- Simba meets you / He'll bark a lot. Maybe he'll get used to your presence too.
If you're bringing your own dog
If it's a sociable animal, the protocol is the same as above. But depending on how obedient-or-not your dog is, it may be a good idea to keep it leashed while Simba first appears.
If your animal pees or poops in our patio: no problem at all. Don't feel embarrassed, we'll be actually content that he/she is relieved here and not in your car, later. I'll clean it up myself and that's how I prefer that things go, since it's easier and I'm so used to doing that.
If that happens inside the house or salon: it's not a big deal. We also have dogs, we are used to these “accidents”. Just try to make sure nobody's stepping into that and we'll quickly fix up everything.
And that's pretty much it! See you there! I mean, here.