When we moved to Indiana five years ago, I noticed the very first week in our house that this darling old man would walk past every single day at around the same time. He wore knee-high compression socks and a sweatband. His workout clothes were clearly dated – the color blocking made me think 80s. He moved slowly but with purpose. And I saw him walk past our house every single day, rain or shine, snow or sun.
Five years later, I still see the same man every single day. He’s still in those compression socks, still with the sweatband, but he’s trimmer and he’s faster. He sort of jog-walks now.
It’s inspiring. It’s motivating. It’s tenacious.
And it got me thinking about the training process.
On Tuesday, I found myself praying that the predicted overnight thunderstorms would roll in early so Cooper and I wouldn’t have to go to agility. Our first week was a disaster. The second week was slightly better in that he didn’t bark the entire hour, but it was also much worse in that I dropped the leash for a second and he charged the trainer. He gave him his most fearful back-off tirade, but by the end of class had reined it in and even accepted cheese from the trainer.
Logically, I knew we needed to go. I knew it would be good for him. I knew it would help us progress as a team. I knew it would tire him out, and I knew it would propel us another inch forward in teaching him coping skills.
I also knew it would be an exhausting, stressful, frustrating hour for me.
But then I thought of that man. He has kept up his walking every single day in all kinds of weather, and I can clearly see his progress. It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen in the first year even. But it happened.
Because he was tenacious. He never gave up. Heck, he’s still going.
So I pulled on my sneakers, loaded up my treat bag, grabbed my can of Easy Cheese, and off we went.
And it was better than I could have imagined.
He worked hard. (Have I mentioned that Cooper is REALLY good at agility? He’s a total natural! I’m the one who stinks.) He stayed calm for the majority of our hour. He took cheese from the trainer, did a down for the trainer, and even stayed focused when a squirrel ran around the course. He had one meltdown toward the end when a dog rushed the fence, but overall he did much better.
By the time we left, I was glowing with pride!
We only have one session left before we move, but I’m going to research options to continue our training in Louisiana.
My goal is simple: Build his confidence.
Now, thanks to a little inspiration from a total stranger, I’m going to pursue that goal tenaciously.
(BTW: Would it be totally weird to run out there one day before we move to tell him how proud I am of him? That would be weird, right?)
What about you and your pup? Any areas need a boost in tenacity? What goals are you pursuing boldly?