I rarely use ATM machines. This is simply because, regardless of how convenient they are, I have yet to find one that smiles and says “Good morning! How are you today? How may I help you?” and, in this world of on-line living, I still put a high value on personal contact. There is so much to be understood from body language and voice inflections that are lacking in an on-line dialogue.
Given Ray’s distinct caution around people he does not know and therefore needs his “space”, I do my best to protect it for him. The first time I took him into our downtown TD Bank was promising to be an exercise in itself but, fortunately, it was early and the bank had only just opened and so was not busy.
Because there was no line-up, we were able to go straight to a teller who clearly loved dogs and who asked me if it was alright to give him a biscuit. BISCUIT! You could almost see a light go on in Ray’s head when he heard that.
Given that a high counter was between us, the teller did the instinctive thing and offered Ray the biscuit over the top. He clearly had no choice but to put his front paws up on the counter top and reach forward to get it which, given his size, was well within his ability! This was apparently not a problem as they considered themselves a dog friendly facility. Ray knows that he does not do that at home but we quickly found out that he can work very well with double standards! He grasped the concept that his behaviour could vary depending on where he was!
Upon leaving that teller, we headed for an exit door which took us past the bank’s Enquiries desk where we heard “What a beautiful dog. Would he like a biscuit?” BISCUIT! Ray must have thought that he had been taken to some heavenly dog place as he devoured another biscuit.
Given our constant efforts to socialize Ray so that he becomes far more comfortable around people, and given his obvious delight with the TD Bank, I used to take him there on a regular basis. The staff soon understood what I was trying to achieve and participated very well. Ray particularly liked the lady on the Enquiries desk because she sometimes gave him two biscuits and later, he even let her stroke the side of his face!
On another occasion, we went to the bank and there was a small line-up which we joined, albeit a short distance back. Ray seemed quite happy to sit and wait, until some people joined the line-up behind us, when he stood up and was clearly alert. I asked them to move back just a little, briefly explaining Ray’s situation, and they were very cooperative. Ray sat down once again and patiently waited. Biscuit power (at least with Ray) is pretty awesome!
We are very fortunate to have a dog who is so strongly motivated by food. I can’t imagine what would be involved if that were not the case!