Training Talk: It Only Takes A Minute

Recently I’ve been reviewing situations where a domestic animal incident has occurred.

In most cases, they happen because of owner error–it only takes a minute for something to happen when two animals or an animal and a child are left alone.

In my career I’ve had pretty good success in dealing with animals and their owners–most are compliant–but I remember the first time someone ignored my directives.

The situation was a new dog introduction. The large weimaraner came from a rescue and really wanted to join the household. The cocker spaniel had many health issues and stumbled around.

My main directive was “don’t ever take a chance and leave the two unattended even for a second.”

Even so, I got a late night call from the client that was rushing the cocker to the veterinary hospital.

When I arrived at the home the cocker was in pretty bad shape with drainage tubes throughout her body. It broke my heart.

But I only left the room for a minute…” was what the client said.


The cocker survived and, needless to say, the weimaraner went back to the rescue group.

Why people think that they can make exceptions to safety rules is beyond me–but they do.

This story came to mind because I shared it with a client who had previous issues with their dogs–and then they unwittingly made an exception to the rule.

Fortunately, we had reviewed how to break up a dog fight and the damage was minimal.

Today, the owners are aware at how closely they really do have to monitor their animals.

The same thing commonly happens around the nation–unusual ones such as the python story make the news but these types of issues occur on a daily basis–especially with pet dogs

The moral of the story?

When a pet professional gives you guidance or directives be sure to comply because it only takes a minute of non-compliance to have a negative situation or incident occur.

And I may sound like a broken record but two new pets or a child and a pet should never be left alone unsupervised.

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  1. “Fortunately, we had reviewed how to break up a dog fight…”

    Any tips on how to break up a dog fight? It’d be a great topic for a future post sometime.

  2. Hi Andrew, missed seeing your comments. I plan on giving guidelines for the future–I generally only do this for clients but most people don’t have the slightest idea on how to stop one–ideally you stop it before it starts.

    In case you missed it, I did include emergency tips for zoological personnel and you can find them here:

    As always, I appreciate your great suggestions.