Enjoying the Imperfections

 

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

The other day, I was talking to my cousin who shows horses. He trains horses as well and is very much part of the equestrian community in New England. I was discussing how sometimes I don’t mention I’m a dog trainer because Porter is a goofball and I feel as though there is this stigma that my dog should be perfectly well behaved. He, in pretty blunt terms, said that was a ridiculous thing to think because animals are always an unknown.

The idea of having the most perfectly well behaved dog is, quite honestly, boring. Think about some of the greatest stories you have of your dog. I bet that at least a few of them involve some mischievous endeavors.

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

We can’t be perfect owners. No one can. That goes for us trainers too. Why? Because we’re working with dogs. They’re an animal and they can’t be made into robots. Which is the greatest part about them.

Maybe we’re too quick to judge each other as owner’s as well. I am completely okay with your dog misbehaving on a walk, heck I’m even okay if your dog lunges at my dog, as long as you do something about it. Does it look like you’re putting effort into your dog? Are you trying to step in front and gain control of the situation? If so, then kudos to you. I’ve been there. I’ve had the dog that isn’t acting perfectly. It’s okay. You’ll get there.

It’s when nothing is done. This idea of passiveness. This idea that everything my dog does is okay. That’s when I have a problem. Effort is needed in order for me to respect you as an owner. Not perfection. Just some effort into making sure your dog is leading a balanced life.

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

So throughout this week, try and not focus on the level of perfection you need to hit for you and your dog. Instead take advantage of creating a balanced week with piloting, activity and work as well as some laughs. Take some time to notice the goofy things your dog does because he’s not perfect. Maybe you find him in the warm laundry, or sneaking into the kitchen where he’s not allowed. Correct the behaviors you don’t want, but realize that they’re occurring because your dog is still a dog and is not a robot designed to follow your every move. Focus less on perfection and more on the quality of life for you and your dog.

The relationship between a dog and their owner is one of the most pure relationships out there. So don’t take it for granted and enjoy every moment. The rainbow bridge comes too soon.

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH

 

 

 

 

Trusting other Pilots

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

 The best time to make friends is before you need them – Ethel Barrymore

This break Porter is staying with friends who have 3 border collies. We’ll call these owners the BC Duo (Border Collie Duo if you will). They are amazing Pilots. Honestly, much better and much less lazy than I am with Porter. I mean let’s face it, they have 3 border collies and were still willing to watch another dog. That means they’re a little crazy but also very good at dealing with dogs and providing the PAW that every dog needs.

Finding another individual who is a strong Pilot for their dog’s and yours is a gift. Those are individuals that you should probably buy a bottle of wine for every so often just to stay friends. Because guess what?  It’s going to be easier for someone else to Pilot your dog than it is for you. Yup, it’s true.

Porter with his Border Collie bestie James Franco

Porter with his Border Collie bestie James Franco

 

Here’s why:

-          Another individual doesn’t have a history with your dog like you do. Another Pilot didn’t see how cute he was when you brought him home for the first time from the shelter and felt how good a bed could feel.

-          A different Pilot didn’t just give him 478 days of love and affection. Sure, you threw Piloting in there too, but there was lots of love and affection as well.

-          Someone new to the situation doesn’t remember that one time your dog growled at you when you took away that one bone, so they won’t get nervous subconsciously when they go to take away something else. Will they be aware and smart about it? Yes. But their body language will be more confident and calm then you will be.

-          A new Pilot sees your dog as another dog. It’s not their baby, it’s not their only furry cuddly thing in the house. It’s another dog that they will be able to handle and take care of.

As you can see, there’s much less emotional baggage with a new Pilot. They are easily able to put more money into their Piloting piggy bank than you are.

A great example is when we show up at a new session. By taking your dog for a walk immediately, making the dog respect our own personal space and not giving out tons of love and affection we are instantly able to put a huge deposit in our Piloting bank. Another individual who has the skills of a great Pilot can do the same thing! It’s not just a certain kind of magic Kerry and I possess, contrary to what we’ll make you believe.

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

So, sure, your dog might act up and be a jerk for a little while he’s figuring out the new rules and the new routines. But their new Pilot for the next few days will be able to handle it just fine. In fact, probably better than you are.

Porter has never been around cats. He’ll be around cats for the next 9 days. Quite honestly, The BC Duo will be able to handle that situation better than I will be. Why? Because there’s less emotional baggage. Because at the end of the day, they’ll be able to get more money in their Piloting piggy bank quicker than I would be able to.

Porter will probably be a jerk face for a few days. He’ll need to figure out his new routine. But he’ll have some great Pilots getting him there.

So never underestimate the power of a new Pilot in your dog’s life. If you’re having a tough day see if a friend who you feel has the same outlook as you will take them for a walk or plan a doggy play date. You’ll feel like you’re not in it alone and your dog will get the Piloting he needs if you’re facing a stressful week.

Or, you know, drop your dog off at your friend’s house and say: What’s one more right?

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH