As a rule, I consider myself to be a pretty honest person. Although it would have been easy to present Maisy as a better dog than she was (and myself as a better trainer than I am), I've always opted to lay it all on the line on this blog. I've tried to avoid making excuses for her behavior. I've uploaded videos largely unedited. I've talked about some of the dumb mistakes I've made. In short, what I've written on the blog is pretty much things as they are.
But recently, I discovered the luxury of a lie.
No, not online. In real life. You see, Maisy and I were out for a walk around the neighborhood. When we are out, the vast majority of the time I will say no if anyone asks to pet her. If someone tries without asking, I use body blocks to prevent them from getting close. But one of the things that has always confounded me is how to respond to the question, “Does your dog bite?”
Not biting, but definitely not comfortable, either.
I quickly learned that this is apparently how children in my neighborhood ask for permission to pet a dog, so even though the answer is technically no- at least if you are looking at the past to predict the future- I've found that actually answering in the negative isn't good enough. Kids are fast, and she's come close to biting when I haven't been able to add “but you can't touch her anyway” quick enough. Which is why when the question came up last week... I lied.
The child in question stopped dead in his tracks, and then started backing away. When we were later approached by an 18 month old, I fibbed again, telling the toddler's mom that her child couldn't pet my dog because she bites. The mom thanked me for keeping her baby safe, and continued on their way.
Sure, this departure from stark honesty was a bit weird, but it was also kind of awesome. It was so easy, and I didn't find myself making excuses and giving lengthy explanations for why they couldn't pet my dog. My lie was readily accepted, and incredibly understandable. Some dogs bite, and you shouldn't approach the ones that do. By giving Maisy this really horrible label, I relieved us both of a lot of discomfort.
So while I can't say that I find lying comfortable, exactly, I do find it somehow luxurious.