How to slyly encourge better dog products/food/etc without being too snobby?

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by JacksonsMom, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    8,693
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Maryland
    I don't ever want to feel like that "dog snob know it all" or anything.

    But since I do frequent forums like this, do my own research, spend a lot of time around dogs (as a dogsitter, dog events, etc), it just so happens that I pick up on a lot and know a lot, just as you all do.

    So, how do you convince family and friends of certain things without being like TOO know-it-all or whatever? Or do you just not say anything at all?

    Luckily, I got my grandma started on the limited vaccine idea. She had vaccinated her Lab for everything under the sun every year of her life and when she died too young recently, I sent her a few links regarding vaccines and cancer. It definitely got her thinking and she agrees with me.

    I also talked her out of a white Boxer puppy from PA from a "breeder" (who also bred other breeds, etc) by just giving subtle "well, sometimes they have lots of health problems..." She did not seem to listen at first but after hearing about health problems too from other people, she ended up going to the SPCA and picking out a 1 year old foxhound mix and falling in love. So I KNOW my grandma is now capable of learning and finding out new things, plus she had some nice convos with some of the people at the shelter and I really think it's opened her eyes to a lot of things.

    So anyways, I text her and said that I got a free bag of food on Black Friday that Jackson won't eat, if she wants it (that's not true - he loves his Fromm, which I got on Black Friday, and am just going to give her a bag of Acana that I have) and she said she'd definitely take it. I just wonder if I can get her to stop feeding Beneful crap too... LOL... I know it's so much information to process for someone who always just been used to going with whatever your vet says 100% of the time and listening to commercials who talk about healthy vegetables and all that crap.

    But I LOVE making another pet owner even more knowledgeable, etc. And I feel like she took it all really well and I never did it in a snobby way. But I don't ever want to be too much for someone, LOL, so I hope I'm not.

    Where do you think the line should be drawn? I would never want to act like I am trying to raise someone's dog for them (and I don't think I do this).
     
  2. katielou

    katielou Slave to the Aussie

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,278
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5
    Location:
    Washington State
    Home Page:
    Maybe send her some links to stuff about food and cancer etc.

    I find if you give people intimation but make them feel like it was their idea to make the switch it works better.
     
  3. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    Messages:
    7,788
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I don't know, at the end of the day I'm fine with people doing what they want to do. I make suggestions when people ask for them, or if they make a comment like "wow, her coat is so shiny!" then that can spark a food conversation.

    My friend has always fed her dog crap food (Science Diet, Bil Jac). He has a lot of allergies and I recommended maybe she should change his food--and she did try a couple good brands but she never stuck with them for very long, so because she wasn't seeing results she went back to the crap food. When I started Juno on raw, it was weird enough to her that she found it interesting and was asking questions and reading books and websites about it. Through that, she came to her own conclusion--she now wants to start her dog on raw, or at least switch him to a better kibble. She's also starting to get on board with my limited vaccine protocol.

    The thing is, she's a fellow vet tech so she's just as much a dog freak as I am, and dogs and their healthcare are often what our conversations are centered on--so it's super easy for me to slip in my recommendations about things. With family and other friends, it's just easier to not say anything unless asked. Unless it concerns breeders, if they're thinking of going to a BYB then I WILL give them my advice, but that's more important to me than what they're feeding etc.

    A lot of it is a "the proof is in the pudding" sort of thing. Going back to my aforementioned friend, she sees a lot of what I do with Juno and that makes her go "hey, I want to do that too."
     
  4. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Messages:
    5,326
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    In depression
    Lie. Make up/Tell a story about how X-grain free food was a lot better than A-grocery brand food when your dog had the X-problem. Through some research and links at them.

    We met a new schnauzer friend at the last agility trial who's schnauzer was a bit on the pudgy side. She was asking for suggestions about how I got Kiba trim, what/how much I fed. I told her the grain-free food seemed to have helped, as well as the portion control. So yeah.. probably portion control of any food would help get weight down, but had to sneak it in. LOL
     
  5. Tankstar

    Tankstar ~Lisa~

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2,301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1 dog, 1bird, 1 rabbit, 2 rats, 1 turtlem and a ca
    Location:
    Toronto Area
    I always use Blaze as a example for what good food can do. People always comment on how nice and healthy he is at his age. Great teeth, coat, weight (but offcourse that has to do with control and excersise. But good diet as well)

    My friend got a kitten. She is highly allergic to all animals. But what ever if she loves allergie attacks go for it lol. So she was feeding baby cat chow. And said her allergies were so bad and baby had bad skin. I explained that i would switch her food to a much better brand. As it would help her with her allergies. Its more expensive I told her. But a cat doesnt eat away at a wallet as much as allergy meds will. She changed the food. And is forever commenting to me how much it has helped babys coat. her allergies are not ner as bad, and baby has a beutiful shiny non scaly coat now. Sure her allergies could just be getting used to the cat. but she is now a believer in good foods.

    My best friend asked me a million and on quesions when she got her dog. So it was easy to talk her in to good things for Molly.

    Since i work in a grooming salon. I see horrible skin issues and teeth problems on a daily basis. It helps to talk about food since owners will ask what they can do. And I give them my suggestions.
     
  6. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    55,166
    Likes Received:
    35
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I just went through this with Neckbone's family. I had to be very careful of my approach, at one point I actually said permission to speak freely, your dog is seriously ill. I knew they were facing grave financial issues. Hyia and I agreed together that instead of sending Christmas cards, and such we would get two bags of dog food, one innova for Neckbone, and a big bag for her birth parents who also found themselves with the same problem, not a health issue, but not enough food to last the month and were unable to find homes for two difficult dogs. I told the neighbors I would like to provide the food for a month, just to see if it is what i think it is. It worked. I had to push all judgement in my head aside, i had to focus only on the dog, and by choosing my words carefully, and not acting pushy, or judgemental I was able to offer to bath the dog too and cut her nails. They didnt' believe me it was the food they had but agreed to feed the food I had provided. Now they know, and will never go back. The bag I got them gave them a head start in saving for the next one so she can stay on that food. My daughter is getting her dogs on a list for fostering.


    If the people had been the kind that were not open to suggestions, it wouldn't' have worked. I know tho that If I had gone over there any other way than the one I did would have ended up in a bitter neighbor living situation, and she would either be dead, or still licking scratching biting digging at her self. This was a hard one for me on the judgmental aspect of it, and I won't say I didn't come home and rant, good grief the Mods sure put up with me, but it worked and I am so happy for all of them. They tell Neckbone kiss the baby and she jumps up with a wagging tail and runs over and kisses the toddler. She is where she should be and it all worked out fine.

    Dealing with Sadie's people was a whole different story. EVen after offering flea treatment and flea bombs, enough to do the whole apt the problem escalated until she was tied to a tree outside and then finally let loose. IT's all up to the people if you can make a difference or not. I learned a bit this time round on approach. As my old boss would say "you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar".

    Kelly told me yesterday that I was his best friend ever because I had fixed his dog. His wife smiles when I come over to get her for her "spa" treatment. In the beginning it wasn't' that way. IN the beginning they didn't know what in the world to make of me. THe would look down or away. I told them it was just something I wanted to do because it might work, and I explained after much on line searching what I thought was going on. I kept a very low profile, and when I visited them I tried not to stare in horror at the dog, and tried to get to know them better so they would find out I was not a threat.
     
  7. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    14,011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Illinois
    Home Page:
    Well, some of it is unintentional - like somebody goes "What do you feed Auggie, Science Diet?" and the first thing out of my mouth is "GOD no." That usually leads to a conversation about food quality.

    The rest of it typically is when people ask my advice. A friend of mine was having skin problems and I told her to switch food, switch food, switch food... finally she switched food for that dog and she was like "OMG you were right!" I asked her if she was going to switch the other dog and she said no... but finally they DID switch him, I think just because it was easier to only feed one food, and again, it was an "OMG, you were right!" A co-worker got a dog and he was like "I have nothing for this dog, what do I do??" and I told him what I would pick up and why. He came back the next week and said "My friend gave me a bag of Beneful and I thought, oh, the picture looks good, and then I actually read the ingredients on the back and it was JUST like you said!" (Go figure!) So he picked up Taste of the Wild instead.

    I am MORE than happy to offer advice and help people out, but I honestly prefer not to do it unsolicited. I don't want advice unsolicited either. I would rather other people keep their mouth shut so I keep mine shut. Do unto others and all that.
     
  8. AllieMackie

    AllieMackie Wookie Collie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2008
    Messages:
    6,598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    Professional Illustrator
    Location:
    Ottawa, ON
    Home Page:
    Work at a pet nutrition store. :p Then you have the credentials, and people come to YOU for advice. It's pretty awesome and I actually feel like I'm changing people's viewpoints on food, rescues etc. on a daily basis when they're actually receptive to learning it.

    Honestly, I don't offer my advice unsolicited. I hate when people so that to me, it comes off as rude and condescending. Like Beanie, sometimes I spout a Freudian slip which inspires a conversation, but at that point I have someone's attention about the matter and they are asking ME questions.
     
  9. JustaLilBitaLuck

    JustaLilBitaLuck New Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,945
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1 Cat, 2 Dogs, 2 Parakeets
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Ditto. People are often coming into my store because they want a better food, or because they have questions, or because their dog has X problem and they want to learn how to fix it. I find it fairly easy to give those types of people advice, because they came in the door receptive to information.

    I do have issues with giving people in my personal life (friends, family) advice on dog care - it's always "well, you're not a vet, what do you know?". Yes, I may not be a vet, but I've done rescue work for years, I work at a pet food store, and I'm a VT student - so I probably know a bit more than John Q. Public.
     
  10. Emily

    Emily Rollin' with my bitches

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    1 dog, 1 guinea pig, 1 hamster, 1 American toad, 1
    Location:
    Illinois
    My approach is always, "Well here's how it would be benefit YOU." And I always try really hard not to sound sanctimonious at all. In the case of pet food, I always emphasize that the companies have a done really good marketing good, and you can't really be blamed for not knowing what's good and what's not.

    But like others have said, I don't offer my advice unsolicited. And working where I do, I have to smile and nod when a client drops off his boarding dog and says, "We just free feed her... we might have to limit her food soon, but not yet," and the dog is at least 20 lbs overweight. Or, "My 4 month old Great Dane puppy needs to get fixed soon."

    I do admit I look for openings, but try to be gentle. Example: Client brings dogs for daycare, one of whom is the worst puller I have encountered yet. She has a prong on but it's fitted all wrong. When I hand her to her owner, he says, "I know, she's bad, right?" So I said, "You know, if you fit the collar like *this* it should help." And presto chango, the pulling is reduced. lol Or my SIL complaining about her boxer's flakey, greasy coat while I was there. I suggested taking him off Iam and switching him to Kirkland, in a friendly, offhand manner. Like, "Hey, you know..." It worked, like 3 weeks later his coat was glossy and dander free. Love it when the dogs cooperate. :D But I think being casual and friendly, and not sounding condescending, gets you places fast.
     
  11. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2009
    Messages:
    6,215
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't offer unsolicited advice either. Doesn't get anyone anywhere. But, for instance my parents went from years of feeding Ol' Roy to feeding TOTW...which started with a comment on how gassy their dog was lol. I just said, yeah I used to have that problem too, but switching around food til I found one that worked really made a difference.

    Course it also helps that their current dog is about 1/5 the size of the ones we had years ago, so feeding her is a lot cheaper due to greatly reduced quantity...probably helped them keep an open mind when they first saw relative price tags. And they are in to human nutrition to some degree so taking the leap to pet nutrition had a head-start :)
     
  12. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Messages:
    8,070
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Cats, Dog, Leopard Gecko, Gerbils, Fish, African C
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Try to target something that you know is important to them. If I talk with someone about breeders I know they won't care about making sure the breeders competes with their dogs. If I try to explain why that's important I'll likely get tuned out pretty fast. So I choose to highlight health testing, nobody wants a dog who is crippled or sick. So if I tell them going to certain breeders can reduce the chances of that, they're gonna take that into consideration. Case examples are also very convincing for gullible folks (most people are I think). Say you know someone who wants a Yorkie and are thinking about going to one of those breeders who shows their puppies in tea cup with a feather boa around their neck. Bring up the aggressive Yorkie that lives down the street and tell them that if they go a breeder who does TDI/TT/Obedience/CGC, etc. that they'll know their puppies have friendly parents and won't have "aggressive genes".


    For food I find it most helpful not to target the person and their dog, but to target another dog on a crappy food. I've basically taught my mom all about good food by insulting Phoebe (on Pedigree). Phoebe smells awful, like dead things. Every time mom mentioned her odor I mention that that's what happens when a dog's on bad food. Mom will never feed Tucker a bad food because she's terrified he'll smell like Phoebe lol. Same could be done for allergies/hot spots/yeasty paws and ears. Anything people really don't want to happen because they see it happening to another dog on bad food. This technique hasn't really worked on Phoebe owner because when I mention it he feels insulted. So using another dog to point out the drawbacks to bad food works better, you're not insulting them or telling them what to do, they just hear you attribute something on a dog to it's food and want to know more (because their dog has it too or they are afraid of their dog getting it).
     
  13. maxfox426

    maxfox426 My dog tickles my soul

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    This is basically my way of doing things, too. If it is someone I know REALLY well I may offer a "have you tried this?" sort of suggestion. But I have to KNOW it's a person that won't immediately offended.

    That said, most of my issues with other people's dogs have to do with bewildering lack of training, rather than what they are feeding.
     
  14. RedHotDobe

    RedHotDobe aka RedHotBabe

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2004
    Messages:
    4,366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Maryland
    I've honestly given up. Adam is allergic to cats, and he has absolutely no symptoms when they're fed decent food. My mom has seen this first-hand, but she doesn't seem to care. One of the cats also seems to have either an allergy or sensitivity to chicken, and all symptoms were eliminated when he was switched to a higher quality food, without chicken. We have bought her an entire new supply of food, and she still continues to feed them junk. I've explained it to her, I've explained what to look for and why, and she responds as if she understands... But she keeps buying grocery store junk. I don't understand.
     
  15. Xandra

    Xandra Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    I'll sometimes offer advice, but usually I'll say... well the truth.. not that THIS IS BETTER 100% FOR SURE, YOUR DOG IS GOING TO SUFFER UNLESS YOU DO IT MY WAY, but more like "hey, you might want to try doing this, this should work better" or "funny enough, from what I've read the food the vet recommends is actually not the best, dogs are carnivores and most of what you're paying for in the vet's food is rabbit food lol grains etc. From what I've read it's better for dogs to eat primarily meat, and it makes sense if you think about it..."

    And instead of trying to get them to go all out and buy the best food there is, give them a cheaper alternative like Kirkland or something, that a decent compromise between price and quality, say something like "the food with the most meat is Acana, it's pretty pricey but it's got more nutrients and calories per cup, so you can feed less. If you don't want to spend that much there's always Kirkland, it's a good in-between" (it's good if you can say something simple but factual here, like Acana's primary ingredient is meat, Benefuls primary ingredient is corn husks, you get the picture)

    Maybe somethign like "I tried it and it worked well for me, I saw xyz improvements. You might want to give it a shot for your dog, I mean, you can always switch back if you don't notice any improvements after a few bags, right?"

    My thoughts are if you come off like it's duh common knowledge, they're going to wonder why they're only hearing it from you and get BS inklings. But if you present it as something that's not totally obvious, but that makes logical sense (eg dogs eat meat) or that you've simply observed work, then they may be more open to it.

    Don't sound like you know it all unless you actually do KNOW it, and you should be able to give them some awesome fact to back up what you say. If you have an opinion based on conjecture and personal experience, then just explain it like all the dog people you talk to recommend this because of anecdote x, y z lol. Instead of telling them what to do, share the info you've gathered from you dog experience with them (succinctly, in condensed form).

    Well, that's how I do it, but I'm no known for great people skills so take what I say with a grain of salt :D
     

Share This Page