We all know that feeling when we have frustrating days with our dogs. The walk just didn’t go the way we wanted, we had to enforce the sit command (the sit command, I mean c’mon fido, are we really doing this today?), they had the nerve to keep barking after we explicitly explained that the garbage can that rolled to our side of the road is not a threat. But, we stick with it. We work on the PAW method. We don’t get frustrated with one bad day, we look to the next and know that we’ll keep working. That’s what a great dog owner does.
You know what you get for your perseverance and dedication? An amazing dog.
You’ve read the stories about Porter. We’ve come far from the food aggression and severe dog reactivity. However, sometimes I forget. I get complacent. I forget where we started. It took the guests in our apartment to make me realize how far we actually have come.
We had many people over for New Year’s. Most of the individuals present, Porter had never met before. I acted like it was no big deal that there were a bunch of new people present, and well, Porter did too.
The whole night I kept getting compliments on my dog.
“He’s so well behaved!”
“He’s not even begging for any food”
“Is he always this calm?”
“I love this dog”
At first, I looked around to see what dog had sneaked into my apartment an was receiving all this praise. I should surely adopt that dog. But, then I realized they were talking about Porter. He would calmly chew his bone, or stay in his bed if he wanted some alone time, or obligingly lean in for some pets.
And suddenly I let myself be the proud dog owner that I should be. I took pride in the work that I had done to get him to this point. By no means is he perfect. We still have work to do. But, I started to realize, it’s okay to stop and take a minute to give yourself and your dog a pat on the back for the work that you have done so far.
It’s a new year, which means sometimes we harp on the things we want to change about ourselves. But, take a minute to look back on all the work that you’ve done so far with your dog and be proud of it.
Here’s to another year of growing with your dog and working on the PAW method. But every once in a while, take a minute to look at where you were and where you are now. Give yourself a compliment. You deserve it.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH