“Your dogs are very well-behaved.”
I’ve heard this several times recently, and while I’m flattered, I can’t help but think… “Are you talking about my dogs? Really?” And then I mentally list all the things that still need work: Emmett counter-surfs, Lucas reacts to other dogs who get too close, Cooper pulls a lot on our walks, and so on.
Because even though I know that they’re usually pretty good, I can’t stop myself from seeing all the work we still have to do. Dog training is one of those things that doesn’t have an endpoint. You may pass this class or earn this certification, but doesn’t it seem like there’s always something else to work on?
Why is it so easy to overlook how far you’ve come and, instead, focus on the negative? I think most of us are pretty obsessed with keeping our dogs happy and healthy through training, exercise, and healthy eating. I think that level of care, concern, and compassion is what drives me to focus on “fixing” behaviors because I’m convinced it will make them happier. Hmm.
Anyone else in this boat?
In the interest of being – and staying – positive, I decided to post a few training celebrations that I am proud of, and I’d love to encourage you to share your celebrations in the comments!
- Cooper met an adorable dog today, and he didn’t tuck his tail! He greeted the pup with a loose body, a swishing tail, and an open mouth.
- Lucas has seen numerous dogs (from a distance) around the neighborhood on his walks this week – everyone is walking early because it’s gotten so dang hot – and he looks but doesn’t react! Wahoo!
- Emmett’s “watch me” is becoming as automatic as his sit, which is awesome because it means I can keep his attention on me even in a super busy library or school.
- Lucas’ “drop it” is freaky good. He can be running full speed across a field with a tennis ball in his mouth. We can shout “drop it” from the other side of the field… and he does. It’s amazing, particularly because I don’t think we even taught him “drop it.” And both of the other two try to get a few extra chews on something before they drop it, so while I’m celebrating this one, I can’t take credit for it.
- We’re taking an “intermediates” dog training class with Cooper, and he sailed through class with John on Sunday. John was so proud when he came home! The trainer called Cooper an “overachiever!” Yay!
What about you? What dog training successes can you celebrate this week?