When you're a vet, vet tech, vet student, etc. you basically tattoo "Free medical advice!" on your forehead. Everyone in your life starts hitting you up for what to do about their cat puking, their dog scratching, behavior problems, etc. Of course it can be an annoyance, particularly when you feel used or taken advantage of, or when the people you're advising ignore everything you say and you feel you've just wasted your time and had your professional opinion belittled. Most of the time, though, it's a good thing. We're usually happy to pass along what knowledge we can, particularly if it's an easy fix. I can't tell you how often I've advised people to simply add another litter box to their home in cases of inappropriate feline elimination and it has solved the problem. Also, the more we pass along good information, the more the people we tell will further disseminate it. Sometimes I get a stupidly goofy grin on my face after I get to drop a juicy nugget of knowledge on someone, because I know that sooner or later their friends and family will hear about it and pass it along.
Such was the case during my last gynecological exam to have a contraceptive implant placed. As I lay there, in the usual position, having cold things stuck into uncomfortable places and grimacing in pain, I was talking to the technician assisting the doctor about her dog jumping up on counters. She mentioned that she "disciplines" him when she arrives home to find food containers from the counter on the floor, open and partially consumed. I said that actually disciplining so long after the incident was unlikely to have any effect, because the crucial time period for a dog to form an association between a behavior and a consequence is only a couple of seconds. I related to her a study I had heard about (and cannot find, so take it as you will) where dogs were "punished" after researchers left the room and the dogs went through the trash. Then, the dogs were brought into a room where there was already trash on the floor but the dogs had not done the deed. The dogs still demonstrated the classic behavior that most owners associate with "guilt"; tail between legs, hunched posture, bowed head and looking up with "puppy dog eyes." These are the signs that owners always point to and insist that their dog "knows what he did wrong." Instead, these researchers proved that the dog simply knows that trash on the floor upsets people, not that the dog knows that the act of getting into the trash is bad.
The tech was astonished and very remorseful, insisting that she never meant to scare her dog or unnecessarily hurt him. I assured her that I didn't assume that she had intended to and now that she knew better she could work on finding a better method of trying to correct his behavior. I went home sore but happy, because I knew our conversation would become water cooler talk with the other nurses and techs at that clinic within minutes of my leaving.