Before the town closed the dog park because of Covid, I went to the dog park every day. The social isolation was devastating for many of us who were regulars.
Last month, the mother of King, a newcomer to the park, called to invite a few of my park buddies and me to be on a weekly doggie Zoom call. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance. On the first call, everyone introduced themselves because King, a German Shepherd, was a newcomer to many in our group. Missy started the conversation; King immediately interrupted and then went off on a tangent. Archie responded to King, and the conversation went on from there.
I felt terrible for Missy, so when I could get a word in edgewise, I asked, “What were you saying earlier, Missy?”
She responded angrily, “How can I remember?”
In response, King said, “Well, it couldn’t have been that important.”
On the next call, King started the discussion. Scooter asked King for a source to back up what he was saying.
King shouted, “Who needs a source? It’s a known fact, dummy.”
During the encounter between King and Scooter, Missy screamed out on the top of her lungs, “Shut Up King.”
At that point, my mom got on the call and reviewed the rules for participating in a Zoom call. On the next call, King got into an argument with Barney. The next day, several of the old gang had a conference call. We all agreed we wanted the Zoom calls to continue, but we weren’t sure what to do about King? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
It is challenging to be in meetings when someone dominates and isn’t open to another dog’s opinion.
But I’m surprised that your group is still on the fence on how to deal with King. He has been disruptive on three Zoom calls. How much bad behavior do you guys need to blackball him? In baseball, I think the expression is three strikes, and you are out. However, if the group wants to bend over backward and give him another chance, you might look to the committee for the presidential debates to see how they dealt with similar behavior. If you recall, they told the candidates they would mute their microphones if they were rude, interrupted, or talked beyond their time limit.
If you don’t have the technology to mute a speaker, another option might be a group intervention. An intervention requires each dog to tell King how uncomfortable his behavior makes them feel.
King also needs to be informed that he will not be allowed to participate if he breaks a rule on future calls. If he is up to his ole tricks on a future call, as I suspect he will be, a vote should be taken on whether he should be allowed to continue. It doesn’t appear King will get many to vote in his favor, and that will be the end of King.
I must commend you and your fellow zoomers for all the efforts you made on King’s behalf. I’m not sure I would have put up with him for as long as all of you did. So, kudos for giving King every chance to right his wrongs.
© 2021 Geneva Woodruff
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