Owning a dog is a life filled with ups, downs, and in-betweens. Sometimes the highs leave you almost euphoric, boasting and bragging about how smart your dog is, and the lows can lead you to believe the dog you’re currently working with is an entirely different dog than from the day before. However, remaining steadfast and positive is key, despite the many differences between dogs and humans.
Our business is a results-based business, and sometimes we need to deliver those results in a short period of time. While those results are important, we always try and make a point to keep the focus more on the journey with your dog instead of the destination. Just because now your dog can walk on a leash without pulling and won’t chew your shoes does not mean they won’t test you again further down the road. Our goal is always to over deliver in our results while also continuing to raise the bar and push your dog to further heights. Most of all, we want people to bond and enjoy a life of freedom with their dog, not one of management.
Here are three things I try not to do to keep a better perspective on the journey with my dogs.
I hope this helps you with the journey with your dog!
1. Hold onto grudges: I make sure to treat every day like it’s the first. No matter what happened the night before, I use it as a learning opportunity and greet my dogs like it’s the first I have seen them. It’s likely that they don’t remember, so I shouldn’t be bitter about a training session the day before that may not have gone as well as I expected.
2. Take it personal: Sometimes when we are rushed or pressed for time we can take it out on our dog when they excitedly bring us the frisbee or stand in the way of the door. It’s easy to get mad or rush them on a walk or if they are stopping to smell everything they see. Remember dogs don’t have a schedule to keep, so we shouldn’t take it personally when they don’t meet ours.
3. Expectations: I really try not to expect more out of my dogs than I’m willing to put into them. For example, I try to avoid teaching them a new command if I’m not feeling up to it and I know I’m not going to follow through with teaching it. I also don’t start a training session just to say I did it. I don’t treat it like a checklist item because I know that I’m not going to get the best out of the dog, and it’s not fair to either of us.
I’m no angel, and sometimes I can lose my patience while training. This is when I take a break, and decide to just play with my dogs or just hang out with them. Having four dogs, I sometimes find myself wanting to fix multiple things at once or only notice things they are all doing wrong. Despite that, I wouldn’t trade them for anything, and I have grown to love every one of my dogs, imperfections and all. That doesn’t mean I accept mediocrity or complacency, but I often don’t try to change their quirks or personality, instead I try to build upon their strengths. I have found that each one of them has taught me something and I have grown to love the journey I am on with them. I am sure you can relate to the above mentioned scenarios, but remember that it isn’t about the destination. Enjoy the journey with your dog!
– Phillip Kensington, Co-Owner KeenDog