What do you do with your pets while teaching?

Posted by: PianoKitty

What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 01:04 PM

Do you have dogs or cats? If so, what do you do with them while you are teaching in your home studio?

I always have my dog upstairs or outside, since she will bark every time a new student arrives otherwise! So I keep her away so as not to disturb our lessons. My cat is very old and is usually laying in the living room or bedroom, not bothering anyone. Students actually love him and ask to pet him at the end of their lesson LOL. That's their treat for having a good lesson =).

Anyway, the reason I ask is that I was talking to a teacher friend of mine recently, and she had an awful experience with a new student this summer. This little boy came for his first lesson and had apparently never seen a cat before...and he is 5 years old. Yes, you heard right - never seen a cat in his 5 years on this earth. The teacher's cat was laying on the couch in the living room, 2 rooms away from her teaching studio so no where near the piano, and the kid completely freaked out - starting crying, screaming, hyperventilating, and pointing at the clueless cat - the kid thought the cat was going to kill him or something, even though the cat hadn't even moved LOL. They ended up having to leave even after the teacher put away the cat, because the student was so traumatized!

Anyway, it just got me thinking and wondering what other teachers do with their pets, if they have any.
Posted by: Lollipop

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 01:23 PM

That is a bizarre reaction. I did have one student who startled badly when she saw my cat, and acted afraid. Her reaction bewildered her parents, who admitted she hadn't really been around animals much. But she did warm up to the cat eventually.

Upon the first phone call inquiry from parents or student, I do let them know that I have cats. If they are allergic they probably won't want to come here weekly. When they arrive at my house, I ask them again if they are afraid of cats.

One of my cats is very friendly - perhaps too much so. She grew up thinking it was her right to sit on the piano bench while my kids were practicing, and it took awhile to teach her that it was not her right to do so during lessons! If she bugs us too much during lessons (or is too big of a distraction for a particular student), I will shut her in my office (across the hall from my music room). Most of the time, though, she is content to just hang out in the room. She can be pretty funny with her timing - meowing at wrong notes.

I have 2 students whose parents don't like cats, so I automatically shut her up then. Both of those students rush to let her out of the office as soon as the lesson has ended.

A couple of my students fight over caring for the cats when we go out of town. I also teach siblings whose mom is a vet, and we have traded services in the past - lessons for cat care!
Posted by: Joe H.

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 01:34 PM

I teach out of my one bedroom apartment, with two cats. One is afraid of new people so she's always hiding during the lesson. The second is extremely friendly. He'll sometimes sit on the arm of the couch, right next to the student, staring at him/her. Or he'll jump up behind the music stand and start rubbing his face on it. Every student I've had usually laughs and pets him. I of course will put him down and shoo him away, but nonetheless, he seems to add a little welcomed humor to the lessons.

I do also mention this to any new student, just in case they're allergic. It just so happens that I forgot to mention it to two recently acquired students, and when they showed up, turned out to be allergic! However, they both still didn't seem to mind, and haven't started sneezing yet (fingers crossed). I make a point to vacuum before lessons and keep the apt very clean.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 01:52 PM

I teach downstairs.

The dogs stay upstairs, and I use one of those toddler gates at the top of the stairs to keep them out.

Most of the students like the dogs and visit them at the end of the lesson.

I do let prospective students know I have pets, though. I wouldn't want a new student show up and go into anaphylactic shock because they're allergic.
Posted by: eweiss

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 01:56 PM

Here's what I do. I lock up the cat...



And let the bird do what he wants! smile
Posted by: kissyana

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 03:39 PM

I try to lock up my two cats and two dogs. Well, only one cat needs to be locked up because the other prefers to mind her own business. I'm just starting out so I only have one student who comes to my house and she loves animals so if Max the cat makes an appearance, she thinks it's cute. Another student of mine has a sister and father with very bad allergies (asthma) so I travel to their home for lessons. In general, I try to keep my animals out of my studio to their dismay. Every time I come out from practicing they are all laying together right by the door waiting for me!
In the near future, I will be getting a door for my waiting room which will close off the entire studio section of my house from the living section, thus eliminating the need to lock up my animals.
My first piano teacher had two cats and they would sometimes jump up onto the bench during lessons for a quick petting. I loved those cats!
Posted by: Barb860

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 04:08 PM

My fat,friendly calico cat is the mascot in my studio. She greets every student and begs the parents who sit in my waiting area for attention. Too much attention, though, and she will bite.
Studio cat is a character and starved for attention now that my son is away at college and my teen daughter is never home either. Hubby and Cat don't get along, so that leaves me and my students to appease her.
I set up tents on the floor with music books and Cat will sit under these tents and listen to the music. Sorry, I can't get a photo of her in the tents yet, still working on that.
Posted by: ProdigalPianist

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 04:27 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoKitty
, and the kid completely freaked out - starting crying, screaming, hyperventilating, and pointing at the clueless cat - the kid thought the cat was going to kill him or something, even though the cat hadn't even moved LOL.


I used to do office work for a Hasidic Rabbi and this was exactly how his kids acted the day I brought one of my cats (in a carrier, no less) to the office. The vet's office was only a couple of blocks away from my office and I had his permission. The younger ones of his (10) kids freaked out. The older ones didn't cry but were clearly quite uncomfortable. Even the grown-ups stayed out of the office that morning.

The cat was locked up in a solid-sided carrier, asleep, and they were still terrified of it. George would have been horribly offended (he loved people) if he'd been awake wink
Posted by: eweiss

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/02/09 04:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
My fat,friendly calico cat is the mascot in my studio. She greets every student and begs the parents who sit in my waiting area for attention. Too much attention, though, and she will bite.
Studio cat is a character and starved for attention now that my son is away at college and my teen daughter is never home either. Hubby and Cat don't get along, so that leaves me and my students to appease her.

Very cute! smile
Posted by: theJourney

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 04:37 AM

What do you do with your pets while teaching?

I try to get them to sit still, hold a good posture and use one paw at a time until the get things right while learning new pieces.
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 09:18 AM

"The younger ones of his (10) kids freaked out. The older ones didn't cry but were clearly quite uncomfortable. Even the grown-ups stayed out of the office that morning. The cat was locked up in a solid-sided carrier, asleep, and they were still terrified of it."

Maybe they were mice in a former life.

I have thought for some time that the cat food makers have the wrong idea with their "Seafood Medley" and "Mixed Grill" flavors. What cats really like would be flavors like "Songbirds," "Field Mice," or "Expensive Tropical Fish." But I suppose they eat it anyway, and besides, who knows what a cat thinks.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 09:32 AM

LOL! Love this thread! My students have always loved my cat when I taught from my home, and many asked about him when I moved my studio to a separate building. I brought a picture of him to show to them. He could usually tell if someone didn't like him, though, and wouldn't force himself upon those students. I've never had someone react like those kids, though. I think it's best just to ask ahead of time if the student or parent are allergic or if they mind cats or dogs or whatever, then keep the animal locked up that day if they do.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 10:47 AM

When our last cat died, we were too traumatized to replace her, so my wife found a stuffed toy cat which is very life-like, and sits on the back of the sofa, with a commanding view of the living room and entry.

I've had several prospective students, all Asian, which may just be coincidence, be startled and nervous. I am wondering if there is a cultural thing here? Household pets are pretty much an Anglo and N. European tradition, and in my travels, I have found certain cultures find dogs/cat "dirty" or "undesirable" animals.
Posted by: PianoKitty

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
When our last cat died, we were too traumatized to replace her, so my wife found a stuffed toy cat which is very life-like, and sits on the back of the sofa, with a commanding view of the living room and entry.

I've had several prospective students, all Asian, which may just be coincidence, be startled and nervous. I am wondering if there is a cultural thing here? Household pets are pretty much an Anglo and N. European tradition, and in my travels, I have found certain cultures find dogs/cat "dirty" or "undesirable" animals.


John, I have found the same thing. The majority of my Asian students fawn all over my animals, and wish they could have their own at home. But, they say that their parents think animals are "dirty" and would never allow them in their home. It makes me wonder what these families think of me, since I have two indoor animals LOL! Guess I must be "dirty!"
Posted by: Diane...

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 12:10 PM

The students love my dog, but, she distracts them, so I lock her in the kitchen when I teach because my studio is just by the front door! When I play, she'll put her head on my foot so I end up "over" pedalling!

She looks relaxed like this when students show up, but when one of the student's dads come to the door, she growls and won't let them in!

Don't want her bite the hand that pays me now do I! smile

Posted by: eweiss

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 01:05 PM

Your dog's cute Diane. What's her name?
Posted by: Diane...

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 02:13 PM

Originally Posted By: eweiss
Your dog's cute Diane. What's her name?


Her name is Sandy, and she has a special trick that the students just love! If you sneeze, she will bring you the kleenex box! grin
Posted by: eweiss

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/03/09 03:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Your dog's cute Diane. What's her name?


Her name is Sandy, and she has a special trick that the students just love! If you sneeze, she will bring you the kleenex box! grin

Seriously? That's even cuter. You should video tape that one!
Posted by: musiclady

Re: What do you do with your pets while teaching? - 10/04/09 10:46 AM

My cats usually stay in out of the way while I am teaching, though they will greet most students, and the female cat will sometimes want to play with my clarinet student's swabs when they are packing up their instruments.

I always inform my potential students that I have cats, I had one student who needed me to come to their home because their son was severely allergic to cats.

Meri