After reading my post yesterday about our first movie-going outing with Dionne, my friend Doris asked:
As a victim movie-goer, had the whining been distracting, I think I would have been tempted to wring all your necks. Was the movie-going experience of the people around you compromised? As a puppy raiser, at what point does the comfort of the non-raisers around you take priority over training the pup?
Good questions. I asked Steve how obvious Dionne’s whining was. He claims he was too engrossed in the movie to notice it. They were exceedingly quiet little squeaks. But I can’t imagine that the woman immediately to my left didn’t hear anything. She gave me no indication she was bothered by the squeaks, but I don’t know if that’s because she didn’t feel like being confrontational or she simply ignored them, like Steve.
If she had let me know she was bothered, I would have immediately gotten up and moved. I wanted to do that anyway, but climbing over the 8 or 10 people on either side of me would have been disruptive had it been me alone — let alone trying to do it with a 6-month-old puppy.
The take-away lesson for Steve and me — at least until Dionne gets more accustomed to behaving well in movie theaters — is always always to sit on an aisle, where we’re a) better insulated from others and b) can escape, if necessary.
The larger question about the comfort of the non-raisers is an important one. Happily, it doesn’t seem like that comfort is compromised, the vast majority of the time. (This past weekend’s experience may actually be the first time it’s come up for us in a public space.) For me the answer’s simple: if someone has paid for an experience and my CCI puppy is degrading that experience, I want to remove the puppy. Also happily, all the feedback we’ve ever gotten from having the dogs in public spaces has been positive. Lots of people like dogs, but I think it’s also an indication that most folks realize if the dogs can’t be trained to behave well in public spaces, they can never serve the disabled in such spaces.