Today I want to talk about booking travel and how that relates to your dog. I’ve been booking some travel lately and have some other travel coming up. A month or two ago I went to New York for work to get a dog, and I’ve been booking Thanksgiving travel to go back home, I have a trip to San Diego coming up for a work conference, I’m going to Hawaii to work with a service dog. So I’m booking a lot of travel!
When I was on my way to New York, I found two flights. One was about $50 more, but it was nonstop—and that’s a big deal when you’re going from Salt Lake City to New York. A layover can mean several hours difference. That’s probably worth $50, right? Coming back I was going to have a service dog with me, so I figured that the extra leg room might be worth the extra money.
As I’ve booked all this travel I’ve realized something: you go into a purchase thinking that you’re going to spend a certain amount of money, and then a little shift occurs, and suddenly you’re spending a little more. We’re going out to California for Thanksgiving, and calculating how much it costs to drive. It takes twelve hours to drive there and twelve hours to drive back, and we’re only going to be there for a few days. Meanwhile, flying only takes an hour. It’ll cost a little bit more, but we’re thinking about it.
I’m also going out to San Diego for this conference. I could get in really early without a hotel room, or I could arrive the night before and be a little more comfortable and not need to rush so much. Maybe that’s worth the money, I thought.
Perhaps you’ve also done this with travel. It seems like every time i travel it costs me a few more dollars here and there. Instead of waiting for the bus, I get the Uber. Instead of doing the difficult thing, I opt for the easier one. Just to make things more comfortable, I end up spending a little bit more.
I see the same shift happening with dog owners. Their dog develops a little problem, like barking at the window or jumping on guests. It’s not comfortable, but the idea of training the dog to improve it is sometimes even less comfortable, so people do nothing. So the dog takes a few more liberties. In order to spend a bunch of money on training and do a bunch of work, though, it’s still maybe not worth it. But the dog continues to push it further, and eventually starts to show aggression or destruction.
In the same way that I end up getting nudged to spend more money when traveling, dog owners let their dogs get away with bad decisions. One decision leads to another, and it’s all based on comfort level. Many people aren’t comfortable forking out money and effort when the dog is only doing something mildly wrong. But that problem keeps growing and growing until it’s big and the only option is to spend a lot of money
My advice is the same as your mom’s: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s the same with our dogs. An ounce of work when the problem doesn’t even exist yet is worth a pound of fixing a problem that could have been avoided if you’d done things correctly in the first place. Don’t allow yourself to be nudged!